This weekend, my husband and I decided to take advantage of the wonderful, not steamy, not humid weather and take the kids out of Seoul for the day. Saturday morning, we got in the car at 9:20am, a bit later than we would have liked, but three kids tend to slow us down, and headed out to Anseong Farmland, 70km south of Seoul. As soon as we got in the car and punched the address into our GPS, we groaned. It told us an hour and 20 minutes. Really? An hour and 20 minutes to travel 43 miles? We were thinking maybe an hour. :-/ But we’d told the boys they were going to feed some cows and pet some sheep… So there was no turning back. Besides, my husband and I were pretty excited about this place for one particular reason.
Despite being able to drive in the bus lane because we have a minivan (driving a minivan has to have some perks, right?), it took us TWO FULL HOURS to get there. It’s just south of Pyeongtaek, so it really shouldn’t have taken that long, but the traffic was awful. Anyway, we got there, stood in a line that was barely moving for our tickets, and entered Farmland. Then, we turned around and came back out. :-/
From the ticket gate, you walk into Deutsche Ville, a mini pseudo-German village that was supposed to have a German restaurant called Hoffen Pub with their very own brewery. This was all the convincing that my husband needed to drive out here. Beer and brauts. Yum! Well, we walked into the building, only to find that it looked like it was under renovation. I walked back to the front gate to ask about it and was told that it’s closed. For good. Mumbling to ourselves about how we’ve now been deprived of the one thing we were looking forward to, my husband and I had to take our kids back out the main gate because the only other food available here is outside. And our options were limited to Korean food or pizza. There were two Korean restaurants, so we just picked one. There were tons of people there, but no one at the front desk to seat us. We sat ourselves. Eventually, a waiter looked at us, appeared to be rather confused, walked over to the front desk and saw that no one was there, then came and asked us if we were there to eat as if there’s something else that people regularly do at restaurants. He asked us to wait a moment, then walked away.
We sat there for about 5 minutes, which felt more like 20 because my children were moaning and complaining about how hungry they were–we had just had a full breakfast of French toast, sausage and eggs before leaving the house. Then I decided to run over to the other restaurant to see if perhaps it was a bit more organized. I walked in, and good news is that someone was actually at the front desk. I asked if they were seating people for lunch, and she told me that they had a big party coming in at noon (I looked at my watch–it was 11:50am) and that I should come back around 1pm. WHAT?!? So I went back to the first restaurant to find my family still sitting there with no menus, no water, nothing. My husband told me that no one had come to talk to them. I flagged the waiter down, and he informed us that they had a previous reservation for a large party, so if we wanted to eat lunch, we’d have to wait a while. I was furious. And I know it wasn’t the server’s fault that the kitchen apparently can’t accommodate the weekend crowd, but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and told him that if they had a reservation, they clearly knew that all these people were coming and should have been prepared for the large party as well as the other customers who came in on a normal Saturday. We walked out and went to our only other option. Pizza. None of us really wanted it, but we were hungry and there were no other food options either outside or inside the park. We picked the pizza that looked the most normal (if you’ve ever been to a pizza place in Korea, you know what I’m talking about!), and when it came out, it looked decent–pepperoni, ham, cheese, onions, tomato sauce…and pureed sweet potato sauce. Yep. Sweet potatoes. Lincoln enjoyed it, but we could barely get Charlie to eat any of it so against our better judgement, we let him pick off the toppings and eat around the ring of sweet potato puree on the crust.
After our lunch debacle, we finally entered the park and made our way over to the tractor rides, but before we got there, we saw a stall that rented family bikes. The boys were super excited. We rented a bike–Charlie and Lincoln got strapped in on the front, Penny stayed strapped to me in the Ergo, and my husband and I got pedaling. We had 30 minutes with the bike for 8,000W. I knew that the farmland was quite expansive, so I made sure to note the time so we’d be back in 30 minutes. The guy who ran the bike stand told us where we couldn’t take the bikes (where the animals were), and we hit the pavement. For 5 minutes. It took us a full 5 minutes to ride the entire bike course. With no where else to go, we decided to ride the bike course again. And again. 15 minutes later, we returned the bike and got on the tractor ride. :-/
The tractor ride was rather enjoyable. It took us in a large circle around the entire farmland, and it was a lovely sight. Most of the ride was on an unpaved dirt road, so it’s a bit of a bumpy ride, but the boys loved all the bumps in the road.
Once we finished the tractor ride, we set off to find the horses. When we purchased the tickets, we bought the 3 ticket combo for the boys, which included admission, the tractor ride and horseback riding (19,000W). Children over the age of 4 (48 months) are allowed to ride the horses. We followed the map to where the horse rides were given and found that the entire outdoor course was under construction. And we looked terribly lost, but not a single person who worked there asked if we needed any help finding something. Finally, I asked a family who walked out from behind a quiet building, and they told us to walk around to the back of the building where not a single other person was headed. We found the stables, but then had to walk back out and around to the back of the building to get to where the rides were being offered. The boys were clearly slightly terrified of the idea of riding these GIANT horses, but once they got on, they absolutely loved it. It’s too bad that the rides were so short (maybe 3-4 minutes).
Finally, we ventured over to where the animals were. This part of the park is really lovely. There’s a dedicated petting and feeding section, but there are also goats and sheep just roaming around the area. The boys fed cows, sheep, goats, deer, and ducks and would have stayed there for several more hours if we hadn’t insisted we needed to head back home. There’s a stand that sells small baskets of feed for the animals for 1000W, but most of the animals here happily chomp of grass so the boys would pick up grass off the ground and feed it to them.
On our way out of the petting zoo area, there are hand sanitizer sprays, which was definitely a nice touch. We still stopped at the bathroom and washed with soap and water, but on our walk back to the front gate where the restrooms were, Charlie was rubbing his eyes, so I was definitely grateful for the hand sanitizer!
We bought some drinks at the little shop out front, loaded the kids in the car and headed home. Within 10 minutes, all 3 kids were asleep. Hallelujah! 😉 It only took us 1.5 hours to get home, which I guess is better than 2 hours. All in all, we definitely had a good time, but I’m not sure that we’d visit this place again, especially not as a day trip. Spending nearly 4 hours in the car with two 4 year olds and an 18 month old isn’t exactly my idea of fun. There are only so many children’s songs I can sing before I start to feel like I’m losing my mind!
Here’s some additional information about Anseong Farmland is you’d like to plan a visit.
* If you’re driving there, give yourself plenty of time. Traffic on Highway 1 is almost always terrible. The toll from Seoul was 3,600W. Be sure to have cash for it!
* Eat lunch before getting there, or pack a lunch. There are plenty of shaded picnic tables available.
* Stroller rentals are available for 3,000W. However, if you’re driving there anyway, may as well bring your own.
* There’s a nursing room with several changing tables available by the bike rental stall. It’s not air conditioned, but it has a comfy couch and a privacy screen so you can nurse your baby there if you don’t like nursing in public.
And just a bit of humor for the adults… 😉