Pocheon is a small city that lies 42 kilometers northeast of Seoul. It is not a popular destination for Seoulites. The city is known mainly for its maekkoli (rice wine) and galbi (Korean BBQ). This is an unfortunate misperception, as it has more to offer than just alcohol and meat. There is a beautiful lake, three mountains, and a carnival-like amusement park. The area is not overly developed, and as such, it does a good job of balancing nature and comfort. This all makes for an excellent weekend destination for adults and kids.
The Reasons To Go
Pocheon is a quiet city with a population of a mere 160,000 people. It is perfect for those who are looking to get out of the city and breathe some fresh air while taking a gander around a beautiful lake.
Sanjeong Lake (산정호수) is the central attraction. It is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains, which creates a picturesque scene. A trail runs around the lake. Along the trail you can find a cafe, statues, maekkgoli stands, and scenic resting spots. A walk around the whole trail will take anywhere from thirty to ninety minutes, obviously depending upon your pace.
If you prefer getting into the lake, you can rent a paddle boat, canoe, or even a motor boat. All three are reasonably priced
Lake Sculpture Park
Close to Sanjeong Lake is a sculpture park. The sculptures are unique and abstract. They allow for nice photo-ops.
Mini Amusement Park
The path that leads to Sanjeong Lake is lined with carnival-like games including basketball, shooting, and darts. Closer to the lake is a mini amusement park where there are multiple rides for kids such as bumper cars and a merry-go-round.
Myeongseongsan Mountain is the most well-known mountain around Sanjeong Lake. It has an altitude of 923 meters. It can be accessed from Sanjeong Lake through a series of trails. It is known for its fall festival when hikers can see the flame grass (silver grass).
The entire area is filled with hiking trails that circle the lake and climb the hills and mountains. Take a few hours and get lost on some of them.
How To Get There
The simplest way to get to Sanjeong Lake in Pocheon is to use a combination of subway and bus.
Take the subway to Uijeongbu Jungang Station on the U-Line (Brownish-Orange Line). Do not confuse Uijeonbu Jungang Station with Uijeongbu Station on Line 1.
Once at Uijeongbu Jungang Station, walk out of exit 2 and make a u-turn. Walk for 100 meters and you will see a bus stop named Uijeongbu Boodaejjigae-geori, Jungang Station (의정부부대찌개, 중앙역). ***Beware---depending on your source, you may find some discrepancy on the actual name of this bus stop. To be safe, the bus stop ID is 08145.***
Board Bus 138-6 and take it to the last stop, which is Sanjeong Lake Parking Lot (산정호수, 상동주차장), bus stop 40707. You will be on the bus for approximately sixty to ninety minutes. Once you arrive at the parking lot, you will see a 7-11, a few restaurants, and a number of pensions. There are signs that will lead you to the lake area.
There are other, quicker ways to get to Pocheon. You could go to Express Bus Terminal or Suyu Station and take a bus to Uncheon Inter-City Bus Terminal or Cherwon Inter-City Bus Terminal. From there, you could take a local bus to Sanjeong Lake. If you are logistically savvy, then this is the better and quicker option, but there will be some confusion when you arrive in Cherwon or Uncheon. You will need to figure out which bus you need to take to get to the lake.
Where To Sleep
Close to Sanjeong Lake there are a number of cozy country-style pensions. The pensions on the side streets tend to be cheaper. If you pay in cash, you also may get a cheaper deal.
Where To Eat & Drink
Around Sanjeong Lake there are a bunch of restaurants. Many people come to Pocheon to try the galbi. It is essentially two cuts of meat that are glued together. Even more popular is the maekkgoli. It is quite smooth and is perhaps the best maekkgoli in Korea. The galbi and maekkgoli are respectively known as ee-dohng galbi (이동 갈비) and ee-dohng maekkgoli (이동 막걸리). They both come from Idong-myeon (이동면), a small community in Pocheon. Be sure to at least try the maekkgoli as it is hard to find in Seoul.
Although Sanjeong Lake is easy to get to via public transportation, once in Pocheon, the public transportation system is lacking. If you wish to thoroughly explore Pocheon, a car is needed.
- Pocheon Sanjeong Lake - by Visit Korea
- Myeongseongsan Mountain - by Visit Kore
- The Korea Blog: Trip to Pocheon - by Korea.net
- Day Tripping: Pocheon's Herb Island - by My Seoul Searching
See the Pocheon Photo Album to see more pictures of the area.