Small Detours to Take While Waiting for the Subway
See & Do Tours
Utilized by millions of commuters on a daily basis, Seoul Metro is sprawling network of 320 subway stations (according to data from Dec 2016.) While some stations are major transfer points with a large number of traffic daily, there are also some stations that receives almost little to no traffic. Once thought of as simply a mean of transportation, many subway stations have recently been transformed as cultural spaces representing their respective area.
If you suddenly feel like taking a short trip or have extra time to spare, there are several subway stations you can visit to make the most of your time here in Seoul.
Most people probably have never heard of Sindap Station. Taking “Sin” from Sinseol-dong and “dap” from Yongdap-dong, Sindap Station is located in an obscure spot between Sinseol-dong Station and Seongsu Station which can only be accessed by transferring cars. It’s also a station known for receiving the least amount of traffic in Seoul. Located between Yongdap Park and Gunja Park with Cheonggyecheon Stream flowing behind it, Sindap Station can be called an eco-friendly station.
Sindap Station is especially unique in that there's a park within the station platform. Although small, it's a perfect place to sit and unwind surrounded by greenery. The station is located inside a park and a portion of the park has crossed over into the station platform, creating a eco-friendly look. Unlike those stations with multiple exits, there's only one exit in this small subway station that may remind onlookers of an outdoor train platform. Surrounded by plants, it's the perfect spot to sit and take a breather as you wait for the next train.
As expected of a historical and cultural site, Gyeongbokgung Station has its own gallery inside the station called Seoul Metro Art Center. Simultaneously with the opening of subway line 3 in 1986, this facility was opened with the aim of providing more content regarding art and culture to the public. Tens of thousands of people pass through this station daily. Due to the ease of access by visitors and tourists, this station has been a beloved attraction for the past 30 years.
years. Seoul Metro Art Center is divided into two spaces, allowing it to showcase various exhibitions of all sizes to the public. Additionally, there are no admission fee which allows people to freely look around during their spare time. In fact, most people have been seen to browse through the area as they wait for their friends.
There aren't any current exhibitions (as of Apr. 30, 2019) but as this gallery showcases many different exhibitions frequently, it might be worth it to stop by and visit when you're in the area. In fact, some art enthusiast are known to always put this place in their itinerary whenever they have to stop by Gyeongbokgung Station.
On March 2019, Noksapyeong Station (subway line 6) was transformed into an underground art garden. Noksapyeong Station was originally built to house city hall facilities before the plan fell through. And it is for this very reason that the ceiling of this station was made of a glass dome, allowing natural light to filter in all the way to the 4 basement floors. Due to its unusual structure, this place was used as a set for many different dramas and music videos but was never really utilized to its full potential for a long time. That is until "Noksapyeong Station Public Art Project" transformed this station into a free public space for people to rest and enjoy beautiful artworks.
Basically, "Noksapyeong Station Public Art Project" turned this ordinary station into a global cultural space for the arts. While visitors can find small pieces of artwork displayed throughout the station, the main art piece representing this station is the thin curtain of metal hanging from the ceiling in the main hall. The curtain of metal reflect the sunlight from the dome into many different colors, letting visitors feel a sense of wonder as they stare at it as they ride the escalators. Because this station connects Namsan, Itaewon, Haebangchon, and Gyeongnidan-gil, it's a great place to stop by to take a break from the fast pace of the city.
A mecca for the Korean film industry, Chungmuro is often endearingly called "Korea's Hollywood". Located on the basement floor of this station is cultural space for movie lovers and fanatics called Oh!Zemidong. Equipped with an archive, gallery, theater, education hall, editing room, and a film equipment rental station, Oh!Zemidong is a cultural playground for movie fans.
Sponsored by Seoul Metropolitan Government and operated by Seoul Film Commission, this place is a public media center where visitors can enjoy all kind of things for free with the exception of renting out film equipment. Equipped with various film projects, art books, editing rooms, and film equipment, this area is often frequented by aspiring film makers. Although small and not well known among regular people, this place is so famous among people in the film industry that it's super difficult to reserve spots on the weekends. It's a must visit place for people who are interested in working with videos and film.