Day 1 in Suwon

If you travel to South Korea, you certainly don’t think first about Suwon or at all. So why am I here? Well, Suwon is the twin city of Freiburg and that’s where I work. To the German Blog

first glimpse of South Korea after landing at Seoul airport

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Our travel agency has organized a citizen’s trip to Suwon together with the city of Freiburg and I am now accompanying the members of this trip.

roofs at Hwaseong Palace

After almost 10 hours of flight with Asiana we land in Seoul at noon. Here we are 7 hours ahead of the German daylight saving time. The luggage arrives quickly, our guide is easily found. First we want to exchange money. Cash can be changed quickly into Won ( 1 € = about 1335 Won), so I suddenly have a lot of money in my wallet. If you want to withdraw money from the vending machine with VISA, that´s easy as well, but with a Mastercard it doesn’t work. Now I got some guests without cash. Funnily enough, paying with Mastercard while shopping works, my guests try out several vending machines, but without any result.

entrace of the Hwaseong Palace

By bus we go about 50 km south to


South Korea has got about 3200 more or less large islands and a few of them we see on our drive from the airport to the mainland. But we also see a lot of high-rise buildings, in between again and again a lot of green.

Suwon is also connected to Seoul by a kind of Metro. At the same time, it is the capital of the province of Gyeonggi-do. Nearly 1.3Mio People live here. What strikes me, are the many great churches that I would not have expected.

We stay for three nights at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, which is quite centrally located in the city center. Everyone rests a little before we try Korean specialties in a small restaurant that is diagonally opposite the hotel.

traditional Korean martial arts

The next morning two representatives of the Suwon Center for International Cooperation (SWCIC) welcome us. They will accompany us for the next two days and show us around.

The first stop is for the visit of the

Suwon Hwaseong Palace

It was founded in the 18th century by King Jeongjo. Unfortunately, everything except one house is a replica, since during the Japanese occupation and the Korean War everything else has been destroyed.

a scene of the life of the King

The palace reminds me a bit of the “Forbidden City” in Beijing, albeit much smaller, with its large courtyards and the many winding houses. In some, scenes from the life of the king are recreated. We do not have much time, but it is still enough time to see a demonstration of martial combat techniques of the soldiers of that time.

traditional clothes that I wore at the tea ceremony

In the

Han-ok Technology Museum

they show us the construction of the typical wooden Han-ok houses with their curved roofs. In the past, they built these houses without any nails. To demonstrate this, we can build a small model of it ourselves.

Next door, in one of these Han-ok´s we are invited to the tea ceremony. Before that, however, we get all dressed in traditional robes, then we get taught “behaviour”. How we gracefully sit down in the tailor’s seat and get up again, without seeing our feet under the long skirts, how and when we bow.

typical roof of an old Han-ok, this one at the palace

Drinking tea also needs to be learned, from the preparation to the precise touching of the small drinking bowls and what is said and when. Above all, no noise should be made when drinking. Neither when sniffing the aroma nor when drinking.

Thus our first day here in Suwon ends.

Day 2 in Suwon

Again, we are picked up. Today, the whole morning is reserved for the interesting

Korean Folk Village

This is a kind of amusement park, but it is primarily about depicting Korean life in the past centuries.

old houses at the Korean Folk Village

For this purpose, ancient houses from all provinces have been demolished and rebuil here. Everyday scenes of the mostly peasant population are recreated. In addition, there is a fantastic, colorful and very loud folkloric performance in a kind of small amphitheatre. The drummers I like best! The rhythm goes straight to the legs and pulls the spectators along. In contrary, the dances of the beautiful dancers is very graceful in their colorful costumes. Rarely has a folklore performance touched me so much and enthusiastic.

Many school classes of all ages are here with us. The discipline,even of the very young children, is striking. Everyone wears the same T-shirts in their group, so no one can be lost.

little school kids in Suwon

After lunch we have a few minutes to roam the park alone. A small part is equipped with fun rides but does not seem to interest the visitors at all.

folk dance in Korean Folk Village

After less than an hour of driving time in which I actually do a little “eyecare”, we arrive at the next museum.

It is the

Haeujae Museum

That doesn´t tell you anything? Me neither. Why has it got such a strange shape? And then I stand in front of it and can hardly believe it. Mr.Toilet is written on it and that´s what it is.. In fact! Here we learn everything in word and picture about the development of the toilet up to the “fun toilets” of the Japanese, from which we have one in our hotel room.

Mr. Toilet from above

A toilet “lover” has donated his house after his death to the Toilet Association, which has made it its mission to provide clean toilets to all people in the world. That is, in any case, a good goal.

Around the house, “toilet scenes” from all eras are depicted very vividly. Very vivid… some things you don’t want to see or know. Delicately stringed natures should skip a few lines here:

An earth toilet above the pigsty, the little animals eat what falls down, the people eat the little animals… is this the cycle of life?

the circle of life?
old earth closets

Our last stop in Suwon is at the

Freiburg Tower

A similar one stands in Freiburg, so this is a kind of tribute ot the twin city in Germany. We got a great view over the artificial lake and the skyline.

Freiburg Tower in Suwon

This ends the really varied programme that we were able to experience here in Suwon.  Tomorrow we will continue our South Korean trip to the next city.

What is to be mentioned, only a few people understand or speak English here. Even in most of the places visited, Korean had to be translated by our hostess into English. However, many things are labelled in English, at least in approaches. So, if possible, inform yourself well before you start your trip to this beautiful country. For people who like to travel by public transport, there are rechargeable ticket cards, e.g. also apply to taxis.

view over Suwon from Freiburg Tower

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See you there!

pavillion at Korean Folk Village

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Recent Comments


  1. July 20

    I wish my home twon hat such a great destination as a partner town… It must have been a very impressive experience for you.
    Best wishes,

    • Gabriela
      July 20

      Dear Sanne, it really was a special trip and experience.
      Best regards

  2. July 18

    Das sieht aus wie aus einem Hollywoodfilm finde ich, genau SO stelle ich es mir eigentlich vor, wenn man dort in der Ecke unterwegs ist. Klasse Aufnahmen, toll beschrieben, Danke dafür!

    • Gabriela
      July 18

      Vielen Dank, lieber Andreas!
      Ja, ist manchmal schon fast wie eine Filmkulisse gewesen.
      Liebe Grüße

  3. Barbara (Barbaras Spielwiese)
    July 16

    Hi Gabriela,
    I’ve heard of Suwon because a blogging friend went there (to work for a few days) and she actually inspired me to travel to South Korea for a weekend! During my stay I only saw Seoul which I liked a lot. The country is very interesting and I’d like to go there again for a longer time. Suwon sounds nice. I like “normal life”, normal cities, normal people – not only the top sights of a country. That’s why I think that such twin cities are a great idea to get to know other countries and find friends there.
    Your Korean outfit is great! 🙂
    Best regards, Barbara

    • Gabriela
      July 16

      Hi Barbara! Thanks for your comment!
      Yes, it’s a great thing these twin cities. My first visit to a twin city was, when I was 14. I went over the Atlantic to Canada. A long time ago…
      And thanks for the compliment;-)
      Best regards

  4. July 15

    Dear Gabriela,
    a very interesting article! South Korea seems to be worth a trip 🙂 I really like you style for the ceremony!
    Best regards

    • Gabriela
      July 15

      Thank you, dear Ines!
      South Korea is a very interesting country and worth a trip.
      See you there 😉

  5. Hallo Gabriela,

    leider bin ich des englischen nicht so mächtig. Daher habe ich mich diesmal hauptsächlich von den Bilder “verführen” lassen. Das traditionelle Ensemble steht dir ausgesprochen gut. Rot ist eine tolle Farbe.

    Liebe Grüße

    • Gabriela
      July 15

      Hallo Liane,
      manchmal sprechen ja auch Bilder Bände 🙂
      Liebe Grüße

  6. Liebe Gabriela,
    was für tolle Fotos! Besonders schön finde auch ich die Dächer der Han-ok Häuser. Ich kannte Suwon übrigens bisher gar nicht. Danke für die Infos!

    Viele Grüße

    • Gabriela
      July 15

      Hi Feli!
      Ich war auch sehr von den Dächern mit den tollen Farben angetan.
      Liebe Grüße

  7. Anonymous
    July 14

    I’ve been travelling a lot, but Asia is still a not very often visited region. Thanks for inspiring me to have a closer look at South Korea as one of my next travel destinations.

    • Gabriela
      July 14

      Thank you very much for your comment. I hope, you will have a great time there!

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