Friday, February 10, 2012

Suwon, South Korea

Suwon (수원) is a city about 30 kilometers south of Seoul.  Its is located in the Gyeongii-do province of which is is the capital. Suwon is a major city of over one million people and 14 universities. The city is divided into four districts or gu - Gwonseon-Gu, Jangan-gu, Paldal-gu and Yeongtong-gu. In turn each of these gu are divided into smaller neighborhoods called dong.

Suwon is home to the Samsung Electronics headquarters and factory.  There is an increasing number of  foreigners living in Suwon and because of Samsung these are not just English teachers.  You can find quite a mix of nationalities for example there are many Indians and Eastern Europeans.

Suwon is famous for Hwaseong Fortress it is the only remaining completely walled city in South Korea so it is a very popular tourist destination. Built in 1796 the wall is 5.74 kilometers long, there are four main gates and numerous other structures along the wall. Hwaseong is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Galbi is the city's most famous dish - it is marinated and grilled short rib.

Suwon is connected to Seoul and other nearby cities by the Seoul Metropolitan Subway system and numerous buses, trains and the KTX also makes some stops on services from Seoul to Busan. Suwon is on the dark blue Seoul Subway Line 1 and has numerous stations namely Sungkyunkwan University, Hwaseo, Suwon and Seryu.

Transport within Suwon is very easy to find with the green city buses being numerous, frequent and cheap.  There are also many taxis available which are also reasonably priced.

All in all Suwon is a really nice city to either visit or to live.  When I was originally looking for a job, while still back in New Zealand, I was only looking at Seoul.  I am a very picky eater and knew that I could not go anywhere rural where the options would be more limited.  Seoul as the capital is very metropolitan so I figured I would be able to find numerous amounts of western food should I not like the Korean options.

However as many of you will know it is quite hard to find a job in Seoul, not impossible but it can take a while.  I turned down a few options before I took the job I have now and I am very glad I did, I was not confident in them and the job I have is really good compared to some of the horror stories I have heard.  When looking at the job I figured that it was close enough to Seoul to be a reasonable trip and I was right.  I often go into Seoul to go shopping or to meet up with friends.

Suwon is big enough to be have a really great city life but its also not too big. I also think that the air is a bit better out here, the first time I went to Seoul I really noticed the pollution. I don't really notice it much now but that first time I remember coming out from the Subway station into Itaewon and being very glad I lived in Suwon.

(Suwon Information Reference: Wikipedia)

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