Monday, August 27, 2012

New Neighborhood: Jeongneung-dong (정릉)

One thing I love about Seoul is the never-ending sense of discovery. It is hard to say you really know this city when there are so many neighborhoods and districts. Many of these areas aren't even connected to the incredibly expansive Seoul metro system. My new school is in Jeongneung, and even though it is somewhat far from my home, I think I'll love wandering around this neighborhood everyday after school.
The above-pictured park leads up to my school. As you can see, there are huge mountains in the background. From my office window, I have a great view of nature. It feels like I'm out in the countryside, but I'm still in central Seoul (well, northern Central Seoul).

Wandering around Jeongneung, you definitely see Seoul's ubiquitous high rises that make a neighborhood kind of 'meh'. In a city that is still as rapidly developing as Seoul, they are kind of unavoidable. I hope, however, that citizens start appreciating architecture and design before everything just becomes row after row of convenience and efficiency.

Efficient? Yes. Beautiful? Sometimes
Jeongneung still has a lot of Seongbuk charm, however. The area is quite hilly, and there are a lot of cute staircases, hidden restaurants, and markets. Jeongneung market, while not by any stretch of the imagination jaw-dropping, has a cute character that is complimented with the stream running by.

Entrance to Jeongneung Market
Jeongneung's Stream
Older people were bathing in the stream, drinking soju, and just enjoying the slightly cooler temperature near the water.

But what I like most about this neighborhood is something you can't really find in southern Seoul. Old rickety houses with personality. Like this two floor house connected by a rickety staircase:
Maybe the heating isn't the greatest, but it certainly has character
Of course, Jeongneung has all the amenties you'd expect from Seoul. Lots of coffee shops, pizza chains, Daisos and officetels. But it also has unique antique shops, hidden restaurants for Korean food junkies, and stairwells that lead to new areas waiting to be discovered. It also is home to the Josun-era Jeongneung tomb as well as a couple of temples. I have yet to visit these historical site, but I'm sure I will within the coming months.

To get to Jeongneung, take line 4 to Gireum station (길음). Outside of exit 2 to the right you will see various buses. Many of them go into Jeongneung, including 143 and 1114. Hop off when something looks interesting and wander around. I think you'll enjoy what you find. I'm sure I have a lot more to see.

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