Hongseong might not be considered a small town by Western standards, but it has a small town atmosphere. Of the Korean cities I have lived in, it is the only city where I felt as if I was locally famous. Since my name is Thomas, my students made a pun on my name by calling me Tomato. Every time I went downtown, children whom I didn't even know called me by my nickname.
There are a few foreign English teachers. At one time, there were three foreign teachers from three English schools who were studying at a local self-defense academy.
Hongseong does not have a park close to the downtown area. A few years ago, they renovated a dingy old building downtown and moved their library there. Of course, it is not as good as a metropolitan library, but it is worth a look.
The closest thing to a park in Hongseong would be Hongju fortress, which is located just behind the county hall. It has some open areas for picnicing, and you can stroll around the perimeter of the old stone fortress walls. Not much to it, but it's better than nothing.
Incheon airport is the closest to Hongseong. It takes about three hours by public transportation. The fastest way is to take the limousine bus from the airport to Yongsan station, then the train from there.
Hongseong is on the Cheonan - Janghang line. There is frequent service to Cheonan and Yongsan station in Seoul. The trip to Cheonan takes about an hour, while Seoul takes a little over two hours. The cost of a reserved ticket to Cheonan is 3,500 won and to Yongsan it's 8,700 won (for mugunghwa trains). The train station is also conveniently located across the street from the bus station.
At the time I am writing this, I have a train ticket from Suweon, leaving at 8:28 AM and arriving at 10:13 AM.
To estimate for a trip between Hongseong and Seoul, add a few more minutes.
Hongseong has a single bus terminal, located directly across the street from the train station. There is frequent service to Cheonan, Daejeon, and Seoul Gangnam stations. The trip to both Seoul and Daejeon takes a little over two hours, and to Cheonan is anywhere from one hour to one and a half hours, depending on traffic and route. The cost is a bit more expensive than the trains.
There is a new bus line called Hongju Yeogaek (홍주 여객).
The hot spot for shopping is a downtown pedestrian walkway. There are clothing shops and eating places there.
Sangseol Shijang (상설 시장) is a long-standing market downtown on the west side of the creek. It has a wide variety of food and household goods, and the public responds accordingly.
A few years ago, the archway for Hongseong Shijang (홍성 시장) was built. It doesn't seem to have gotten off the ground yet.
There is a 5 day market held near the center on days ending in 1 and 6. Typical stuff to be found here.
Sadly, none exist. There is only a Hi-Mart which sells electronics and home appliances. It is also way over priced. I go to Seoul or Daejeon for my shopping needs.
Hongju Mart is located on the main intersection downtown. It has a wide variety of food, including everything you need for a Western-style breakfast.
The usual suspects are everywhere. Mostly Family Marts and ma-and-pa stores.
Hi-Mart and Samsung stores are next to each other on the southeast side of town near the cultural center.
Home and Garden StoresEdit
There are a few good book stores downtown. At Jeil Seojeom (제일 서점), you can orfder any book that is in print.
For English book shopping, you might have to take an out-of-town trip.
There's a CNA a few blocks down from the Lotteria which is the city's best stationery store. There are also trinkets for the home and some specialty clothing downstairs.
Dining and EntertainmentEdit
There is a great Expresso Shop behind the KEB Bank in a pedestrian walkway with great coffee!
Fast Food and NoodlesEdit
For Western-style fast food, there is Lotteria and Popeye's (popeye's didn't make it and is now a vacant store front) downtown. Across the street from Lotteria is West Pizza which has decent pastas and pizzas.
In the vicinity of the train station and bus station, there are several very nice hotels.
I can vouch for Tema Motel. The service is courteous and the bedrooms and bathrooms are spacious.
If economy is your motive, you might try one of the less expensive hotels in the market area.
- I checked out all of the motels in town and the Cinema motel was by far the best. It's aptly located above the main movie theatre in town, near the General Han statue. It occupies the two floors immediately above the theatre, so the 5th floor can be a bit noisy. I'd ask for a room on the 6th. Rooms go for $40 per night.*
There's a Prada on the second floor of a building just a block down the street from Lotteria. They give decent men's haircuts for about $7.
Tailoring and Dry CleaningEdit
There are several scattered throughout the city. You can usually find them within or near the large apartment complexes. There are several on the street just next to the long-standing indoor market.
When I was taking care of a friend's rabbit, I had trouble finding rabbit pellets. I finally found what I needed at Hongju Sujokgwan (홍주 수족관).
When I had to leave for a short trip, they took care of the rabbit for me.
Mobile Phone CoverageEdit
Natural Gas ServiceEdit
Fuel Oil ServiceEdit
Liquid Propane ServiceEdit
Waste Separation RulesEdit
Waste Pickup ScheduleEdit
Specialty Products and FestivalsEdit
On Children's Day, May 5, there is a festival at Namsan Park (남산공원). The festival lasts approximately from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It is great fun.
Local businessses and organizations have booths. Western-acceptable snacks and beverages are served. There are children's art events, there is a children's singing contest, and there are performances by local music and dance groups.
Sudeoksa temple, located about a 15 minute cab ride west of town, is my favorite temple in Korea. It is situated above a somewhat touristy little town on a scenic mountainside. It has a beautiful main temple complex with hiking trails that snake up the mountain to another park like area further up the mountain. To get there, catch a bus at the stop around the corner from Hongju supermarket. Alternatively, a taxi ride will cost you about $10, but is faster and more comfortable than the long and often overcrowded bus ride. There are dozens of great restaurants in the town below the temple, as well as some interesting tourist gifts.
Hiking trails abound on nearby Namsan, Yongbong, and Weolsan. Yongbong is the most visited of the three mountains, and has some very beautiful granite formations. If you like cycling, there are many small country roads that go in all directions from the city, so you can easily spend days exploring the rural environment just outside Hongseong.
If I had one wish to make for the city of Hongseong, it would be for a good centrally located park. The downtown library has trees and park benches in front, but no restrooms except inside the library.
There is an elementary school on either side of the creek. Each elementary school has a spacious playground, but neither playground exactly serves the function of a park.
There are small park areas in the vicinity of the train station and the bus terminal, but they lack restroom amenities and people seldom seldom use those park areas.
Namsan Park (남산공원) is probably the park closest to the downtown area, but it is not close enough to serve as a break for weary shoppers.
The following articles are relevant to this position:
Here you can find some more information on this town.
This is about the Hongseong flag:
Here is a new message board:
Here are some guides to tourist attractions:
If you're a mountain climber, you might like this one:
These are about agriculture in the area:
These might be good if you can understand geological jargon: