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Stroll along Buldang Stream and Cheonbyeon Park (천변공원)

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How to escape from Corona cabin fever? Go for a stroll along the Buldang stream.

In this post, I would like to introduce you a nice walking path in Buldang-dong. The path starts at Cheonan-Asan library or Moda Outlet and goes all the way along the Buldang stream down to Shin-Buldang, or vice-versa, depending on where you would like to start.

This is one of the rare paths which is suitable for riding your bike or for jogging. It’s great for taking your baby out for a stroll as well. Many people also come for a walk with their dogs.

Impressions

Even though the path goes through a busy part of Cheonan, it is surprisingly quiet and you can hear the calming sounds of the stream.

Splish splash

Can you spot the ducks?

You will pass four bridges on your way. The only thing which is a little inconvenient is that the path ends at Buldang bridge 3 and you have to cross the street to continue walking. Unfortunately the traffic light is turned off and the street could be busy. Hence, you need to be cautious when crossing, especially the elderly or when you are walking with a stroller. In my opinion, this could be improved to enhance safety.

Once you cross the street, you will find something interesting on your right.

There is a barefoot/ acupressure path. Why not give it a try to refresh your mind and give your feet a quick massage?

My highlight is the Cheonbyeon park (천변공원) and playground, which is located just across Buldang Middle School, Buldang Elementary School and Buldang bridge 4 (불당교4) near the Shin-buldang entrance of the path.

Playground

 

While the playground itself is more geared towards older children, the park area is also nice for babies and toddlers since they can practice walking on the grass.

The park is surrounded by coffee shops and restaurants. I imagine it would be very nice to enjoy a cup of coffee outside once the situation allows us to do that again.

The bridge is very pretty in spring and summer when the riverbank is full of luscious green and the bridge is covered with flowers.

The autumn scenery with its colourful red and golden leaves is charming, too.

Late autumn

Facilities:

  • Playground

  • Outdoor gym

  • Public restroom

  • Dog waste bag dispenser

  • Barefoot/ acupressure path

In a  nutshell, this path is great for an easy walk for everyone at every time of the year.

How to get there?

Two locations:

  1. You can get off the bus at Moda Outlet (Pentaport) and start walking from there or

  2. Start at Shin-Buldang. The nearest bus station in Shin-Buldang is Buldang Hyundai iPark No.1954

 

If you can read Korean, I would recommend to check out Naver Map for more accurate directions.

Click here 천안 천변공원

How to get there?

Light Displays at March Avenue Park

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Looking for a nice place to take a walk or enjoy an outdoor light show?

March Avenue Park (마치파크) located in the Baeksondong area is a great place to enjoy a light show with family or friends any time throughout the year. In addition to the display of lights, you will also find several photo zones around the park where without a doubt you can spend very pleasant moments while taking funny pictures.

The main light show is the one in the shape of a large castle that changes its shapes and colors of lights to the rhythm of a background song.

On the other hand, among some of the most popular photo zones is that of a ¨ full moon ¨ and the ¨ circle fountain ¨ which draws the attention of children especially since when one steps on any circle the light automatically turns on and in summer season this fountain releases water to make the environment more refreshing for visitors.

If you go with family including children, the park has different games for them, such as swings and seesaws.. As well as, if you craving something during your visit in front of the park there are different options for restaurants and cafes where you can try delicious food at different prices.

The start time of the light show varies each season, in summer it starts at 7pm and in winter at 6pm and lasts until approximately 10pm.

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Barefoot hiking and eco-healing trail (Buong Park 부엉공원, Yonggok Park 용곡공원)

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Ready for an unusual hiking experience? Try barefoot hiking.

 

Today’s post is about the “barefoot hiking and eco-healing trail”, a unique hiking spot for nature lovers.

It is located just between Cheonan and Asan. The Cheonan side is called Buong Park (부엉공원) and the Asan side is called Yonggok Park (용곡공원). This is a little confusing since they are both referring to the same place.

However, locals just call it Hwangttogil (황톳길), which means red clay path.

 

Hiking level and characteristics 

The trail is a an easy hiking trail along a small mountain. It is the ideal hiking spot for beginners and for the whole family.

The path is very comfortable to walk and the terrain is not steep at all. I could even comfortably hike with my baby in the hiking carrier.

The main circuit is about 2.5 km long and it takes 40 minutes more or less. There are various routes to choose from.

It is also a suitable “untact” activity  for social distancing since the paths are wide and are usually not crowded.

 

About barefoot hiking 

 

Did you know that barefoot walking has various beneficial health effects and strengthens the immune system?

It will be an experience for all senses and a massage free of charge for your tired feet.

How does it feel like? Walking on the red clay is very comfortable.

Why not give it a try?

Don’t worry if barefoot hiking is not your thing. Most people wear shoes and it will be a wonderful hike regardless of your footwear preferences.

 

The benefits of barefoot walking

Best season to go 

 

Whereas the barefoot experience is limited to the warmer seasons, the trail is beautiful for a hike all year round.
Spring and summer (except of the rainy season) is the best time to ditch those sturdy hiking boots and try barefoot hiking.
Moreover, it will be nice to watch the cherry blossom in spring. Autumn offers a beautiful scenery with red, brown and golden leaves and the sunlight shining through the trees. However, it is also wonderful for a winter hike when the sky is clear and the air is fresh.

 

Attractions for kids 

 

  • Forest playground

There is a lot to discover for the whole family. A hidden treasure is the forest playground which is located near the Cheonan entrance of the park. The attractions are built from wood and blend in perfectly in the mountain and forest scenery.

Kids can play while the parents can take a rest in the small hut.

 

Forest playground

  • Nature experience and learning trail

Discover the local flora and fauna. Who is living in the forest?

Young and old can learn something about the forest and mountain inhabitants.
Do you know who is living here? If you look carefully, you may discover foot prints.

Facilities 

Along the trail are shelters and benches to take a rest and enjoy the view. For those who cannot get enough exercise, there is an outdoor gym located at the Asan side of the park.

How to clean your well massaged but muddy feet afterwards?

Typical for Korea, the land of convenience, they have thought of everything.
There is a feet washing station in front of the restrooms at the Asan side of the park. It is a good idea to bring soap and a towel if you want to wash your feet afterwards.
Moreover, there is a station where you can blow off dust and dirt and a tick repellent spray.

 

Can I take my dog?

Unfortunately this is unclear.
I saw a sign in spring/summer saying that you should refrain from taking dogs to the barefoot trail. However, this post disappeared and along the paths are signs reminding of petiquette. Hence, I assumed that dogs are not banned, at least not in winter. In my opinion, this needs to be clarified by the park management.

I took my dog in the winter but would not take the dog when the barefoot season starts. When in doubt, it would be better to avoid the barefoot trail and choose another route instead or head right next to Jisan park (지산공원) near the Cheonan Asan library, where many dog lovers meet.

 

Sausage dog loved the winter hike

Directions 

The barefoot and eco-healing trail is located close to Cheonan-Asan KTX station and Moda outlet (10 minute walk).

The closest public parking space is near the Cheonan-Asan library.

From the library, just walk up to the big intersection before the tunnel and cross the street. You will see the frog wall near the entrance of the park right in front of you. Walk left towards the tunnel and turn right to enter the park. You will see a wooden entrance sign and stairs. You are there!

 

Have a happy hiking day!

 

How to get there?

Our Snow Village during Christmas and New Year 2021

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I came from a country having no Winter season. That means, no SNOW!

Anyways, one of my childhood memory is to visit and see the miniature of a Gingerbread Village as display of this famous bakeshop in our city. It is their annual tradition which I also enjoy seeing yearly. Aside from beautiful houses with chimneys, the village is filled with white powder and tiny foam balls that depicts SNOW!

This one below is one of their display years ago.

With this childhood memory, I have dreamed of seeing a snow. And not only that, to experience a White Christmas! Yes, because the Gingerbread Village was usually displayed during the Christmas season in that bakery.

For the past years, heavy snowfall rarely happened in Cheonan. But gladly before the year 2020 ends, we experienced a White Christmas as well as a Snowy New Year!

A dream come TRUE!

Sharing to you a view from our window of our snowy village on Christmas and New Year’s day.

Our house is located on the foot of Taejo Mountain (태조산). From here, you can see the downtown of Cheonan.

How’s your experience during the White Christmas and New Year? Did you see a spectacular view too?

Christmas Time in Cheonan

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Christmas time is finally here in Korea. That means that it’s time for Christmas Drinks, Christmas Decorations, and Christmas Trees. As a foreigner, you may not know where to go this holiday season to celebrate Christmas. In this month’s article, I will show you some places to buy decorations for your own home as well as some places you can go in Cheonan with your family.

Emart

If you are looking to decorate your apartment or house this Christmas season, Emart has all of your Christmas items. The Christmas section of the store is located on the bottom floor of Emart. In the middle of the section is all of the fake Christmas trees for sale. The trees are all reasonably priced between 30,000 won to 70,000 won. The walls are divided into three sections; Wreaths and stocking, ornaments, and Christmas lights. There is a huge selection you can decorate until your heart is full of the Christmas spirit.

Located on the third floor of the Shinshage department store is Kyobo books. Last week they put up their Christmas section. The store has snow globes, mini Christmas trees, wrapping paper, and Christmas stockings. They even have advent calendars for the little kids. The items in Kybob were a little more expensive than Emart. The mini trees were 40,000 to 120,000 but very high quality. There were also cheaper items like the advent calendar, which was only 9,000 won. The Christmas section in Kyobo books was worth checking out.

Address 충청남도 천안시, 43 Mannam-ro, Dongnam-gu, Chungnam, Chungcheongnam-do

If you are not wanting to decorate your house but want to see some Christmas lights with the family, you should go to Cheonan Station. Every year Cheonan station puts up a tall 20 foot Christmas tree. Along the base of the tree, many-colored lights decorate the fence. It’s the perfect place to get some Christmas photos with the family. If you are interested, Cheonan Station also decorates the entire street across from the station with overhead Christmas lights. If you want to feel the Christmas vibe, Cheonan station is a must-visit place.

Drive-in Movie Theaters: Social Distancing at the Movies

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What’s the next COVID-safe place to enjoy a movie outside your home? An outdoor one, of course! Watch the latest Korean movies on a wider screen at an outdoor theater. Head out to a drive-in movie theater in Cheonan. You’re in for a unique movie night experience. 

Drive-in Theater

This is has been gaining popularity in this pandemic era. It’s a good alternative while still following social distancing protocols. They are mostly scattered in bigger cities and Cheonan has one. Just search for 자동차극장 in your Korean navigation map.

It’s a pretty simple set up near the highway. It has two screening areas. Each can accommodate 50 cars. 

Ticket booth is right at the entrance. Directly next to it is the restroom and a small snack store. You can buy some chips, snacks and drinks there. You can also bring in food in your car. Just please be mindful of how you dispose any trash afterward. 

Tickets and Showtimes

As of this writing, no reservation is needed. Tickets can be bought on-site for 20,000 per car. You can just show up before the screen time at 7:00 or 9:40. It’s better to double check before heading out. Showtimes can change as per their website’s advisory. So please always check within 24 hours. 

Below is how a week schedule looks like for a regular Korean movie screening.

Movie passes are also available for regular movie fans. 

Your 5 tickets paid by cash can get you 1 free pass to use on weekdays. And 7 tickets paid by card can get you free pass to use on weekdays.

Good to note:

They usually screen Korean movies but currently, there is  foreign one running. It is an American comedy-horror flick. Showtime for such can change so do check their website

They can also accommodate 3-4 minutes “proposal events” if you are keen to arrange  one in advance. You can’t just ignore the Koreaness of the idea before watching your movie, right?

How to Get There

From Cheonan City Bus Terminal by car, it would only take about 20 minutes. You can drive via Nambudaero/Mokcheon IC heading to Hwaseongri. It’s also just about 10-15 minutes away from Sangrok Resort and Hong Dae Yong Science Museum if you also want to explore the area nearby. 

188-6 Hwaseong-ri, Seongnam-myeon, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do

Q746+QR Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do

충남 천안시 동남구 성남면 화성리 188-6

Tel. No. 041-555-4895

Check their website 24 hours before going.

Screen Golf in Cheonan

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With winter weather right around the corner, it’s essential to keep your health and keep active. Just because the weather is cold doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite sports with friends. Korea has a lot of indoor sports places like golf, baseball, fishing, and archery. For this week’s article, I will show you a famous indoor golf chain called GOLFZON.

In Korea, the land is tiny, and large golf courses are quite expensive. However, a cheaper and more fun alternative for all those golf enthusiasts is screen golf. The most famous chain in Cheonan is Golfezen. Here you can play all the best golf courses in Korea and America for a fraction of the cost. If you want to improve your golf game, the place offers one on one training with a real golf pro.

How much does it cost

Golfzen has a flat cost of 15 dollars an hour. If it’s your first time, you have to use the driving range for practice before you can try a course. If you are interested in personal training with a golf pro, it costs 600 dollars for ten lessons. There is no fee for club rentals. Each of the rooms has a set of golf clubs that are free to use.

Getting ready to golf

I went to the Golfzon in Sinbudong. After talking to the worker, you can choose two golfing types: practice or a real game. The software has over 20 golf courses in Korea and one in America. There is a large couch in the back when you want to take a rest. When you want to change your shot or direction of a ball, buttons on the floor are labeled in English. After every swing that you do, there is a camera that shows you your swing. It’s an excellent tool for seeing problems in your form. It all adds up to a realistic golfing experience.

The screen golf experience

When I walked into the room, I was told that I had to use the practice mode to get used to the system. It was my first time golfing indoors, and I was a little timid swinging a golf club in a small room. I was nervous that I was going to hit the projector or the lights. The worker was very helpful in explaining everything in English to me. When the worker saw I was timid, the club pro came in and helped me with my fears. He showed me some full-power swings and told me not to worry about hitting the ceiling. After 10 minutes of practice, the worker brought me in some orange juice and some water. For 15 dollars, it was enjoyable. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys golf or exercise. This is the perfect activity for solo or groups..

Where is it?

Hours of operation: Everyday 10am to 1am

Phone: 523-0753

Good Street Food in Cheonan

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Korea is home to many delicious foods. They have spicy tteokbokki, Pork Belly, Chicken Skewers, and seasonal foods like HoDeok. Sometimes it’s hard to find time to go to the restaurant and enjoy these kinds of foods. Luckily for all you busy people,  there is a street in Chonan where you can enjoy these street foods for very cheap.

Chicken on a stick (닭꼬치)

The first kind of street food that I visited was chicken and pork on a stick. There were five types of foods that you could get. You could have regular chicken, flavored chicken, rice cakes and hot dogs, pork on a stick, and fried chicken on a stick. There are optional dipping sauces that you can get if you want. The prices are listed below in the picture but are all around 2500 won or 3000 per stick. There was seating if you wanted to eat there or you can ask for take- out.

Rice Cakes Spicy Tteokbogi

The next food is Tteokbogi food stands. This place has spicy rice cakes, some traditional Korean pancakes, fish cakes, and some soups. All of the meals are around 3,000 won.

Bread and Waffles

After eating lots of cheap and delicious chicken or Tteokbogi why not enjoy some Korean deserts. The first desert place I visited was this waffle and bread place. There were little balls of bread that were either spicy or sweet. The prices were listed in the photo. But the waffles were the best.  There were four toppings that you could get with your waffles: Honey, Nutella, apple, and cream cheese. The waffles were all around 2500-3000 won. I got the cream cheese one and it was amazing.

Sweet Deep fried rice cakes (호떡)

One of my favorites fall foods in Korea is HoDeok. Its a sweet. deep-fried rice cake with cinnamon and sugar in the middle. In the fall it’s a must-have for the winter blues. The rice cake place I visited was great. They made the rice cakes fresh to order right in front of you. They are very cheap only 1 dollar for one rice cake.  It’s a must-try if you have never eaten one before.

Where it's located

Board Game Cafe: Good Gaming Fun.

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Red Button Board Game Cafe

Korea is well known for its interesting themed cafes. If you are interested in Cheonan you can go to dog, sheep, ferret, raccoon, and even insect cafes. My favorite type of themed cafe in Korea is the board game cafe. I love getting together with my friends, having a delicious drink, and playing some games. In this article, I’m going to tell you what my board game experience was like. If you’re a gamer like me, it’s a must-try in Korea.

The cafe is divided into three parts: a cafe, game selection area, and playrooms. When you first walk in, you have to write down your information because of COVID. After signing in, you will receive a puck with a number on it. This will be the room you will use. At the end of your time, you hand in the puck and pay for your room fee. The room costs 4,000 won per hour. Each person who uses the room has to buy at least one drink. The cafe has a mix of drinks and snacks that were all reasonably priced.

The boardgame cafe had about 30 rooms for use. The one exciting part was that they had little couples cubby cubicles where you could play games. The room was tiny and looked like they were for couples. The cafe also had 17ish full-sized rooms for big groups of people with curtains for privacy.

There was a good variety of board games to play. There was a nice mix of role-playing games, mystery games, and cooperative games. If I had to guess, I would say there were about 200 different board games that you could play. One nice touch about the cafe is that all of the games have stickers to let you know if the game is easy, medium, or hard to play.

I went to the cafe on a Saturday night with my friend. We each got a drink and stayed for 2 hours playing games. The store worker gave us a tablet loaded with videos on how to play all of the games. Including drinks and the board game room rental, we paid 17 dollars. There were a couple of problems that might be difficult for a foreigner. First, none of the workers spoke English, so it might be hard to order and pick a room. Second, all of the games and videos on how to play the games are entirely in Korean. Unless you are playing a game, you know well it might be hard to try a new game there. Other than that, it was a delightful experience. I could easily change games, the room was cozy and very private, and the drinks were delicious. This is a must-do for any board gamer.

Address: 충청남도 천안시 동남구 만남로 48 RGB빌딩 7층

Business hours: 
Sunday 12:00 – 24:00
Monday – Thursday 13:00 – 24:00
Friday-13:00 – 01:00
Saturday 12:00 – 01:00

Hodu-gwaja – Cheonan’s Iconic Walnut snacks

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Just about anywhere you go across Cheonan, you’ll find stores selling Hodu-gwaja, or 호두과자 – which translates to walnut cookies or walnut cakes. What is the history behind these treats, what are they made of, and where are some good spots to purchase them from? Read on to find out.

Cheonan’s Connection to Hodu-gwaja

If you’ve ever tried hodu-gwaja, it might be news to you that they were actually first made right here in Cheonan – all the way back in 1934, in fact! Their popularity spread across Korea around the 1970’s, and nowadays you can find them in all corners of the country. I’ve tried them in numerous places across Korea, and I still think the ones I’ve enjoyed in Cheonan take top spot.

What are they made of?

Hodu-gwaja are a pastry-like sweet which is shaped like a walnut. The outer dough is made of pounded walnuts mixed with flour, and inside you’ll find smooth red bean paste and a piece of walnut itself. They have just the right amount of sweetness, but not overpoweringly so – they’re a great pick-me-up with a cup of coffee.

Where are some places to find Hodu-gwaja?

Naturally, given the popularity of hodu-gwaja, there are a large number of places to find them. If you’re heading through Cheonan Station, head out of Exit 1 (past the tourist information center) and you’ll find a number of bakeries selling them right there. Hodoonara is one of the first you’ll walk past, and you can take a look at their menu online here to plan out what you want to purchase before your visit. Just around the corner from there, you’ll find a place called Hakhwa Grandma’s Walnut Confectionery, said to be one of the most famous places to buy hodu-gwaja from. This is what the front of the building looks like.

The prices for hodu gwaja are also very reasonable. At this place, you can get 20 pieces for only 5000 won. You’ll also find hodu-gwaja when you’re on the road, as they are sold at just about every rest stop – including Cheonan’s Manghyang Rest Area.

Have you tried hodu-gwaja in Cheonan? Where are your favorite places to buy them from? Let me know in the comments below!

How to get there?