Cheonan is a small city located in Chuncheongnam-do, a province south of Seoul. It is one of the cities beyond the fringes of the Greater Seoul Area, which includes Seoul City and Gyeonggi Province. Though Cheonan is far from Seoul, it is still within reach, as it takes about an hour by bus or train. Cheonan is a short trek to Seoul, but still has exciting places to hang out at or visit at least once.
The area around Cheonan Bus Terminal is one of the more dynamic and popular in the small city’s limits. Known as Sinbu-dong, it has great shopping, dining, and entertainment. “The best place to hang out is at the Shinsegae. I like to shop, explore, and look at new things. Then, I can eat a few treats at McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme,” said Azi Robnett , an American educator who lived in Cheonan for over a year. The express bus terminal is next to Emart, Lotte Cinema, Shinsegae, and another bus terminal. There are also little shops and franchise stores in the shopping complex. Adjacent to the movie theatre is a food court, and there’s an H and M clothing store and bookstore too. Sinbu-dong is not limited to corporate dining and shopping. Across the road from the bus terminals are dozens of shops, restaurants, and bars. Though Cheonan starts to quiet down by 11 PM and most buses have stopped running, the nightlife area still has some open establishments. The first lane has cosmetic shops, fashionable clothing, accessories, and university student-geared dining. Indie cafes and establishments can also be found, and a small jazz club called Kyeongsung Jazz Club is located at the back part of the nightlife area on Meokgeori-8-gil. Many Chinese restaurants and foot massage shops are on the other end of the street. There are a few other notable stops. Banana Bar is an establishment that has long been popular with expats. It has billiards and a live music stage. Karavan Cheonan is one other option, and it serves Uzbek cuisine such as kebab and traditional dishes. Though the area is relatively quiet after 10 PM, it’s still a happening place with many options, be it for studying, hanging out, eating out, or drinking with friends.
#2. Cheonan Station
Cheonan Station is a train hub that has various tracks that include trains and the subway line 1. Next to Cheonan Station there is a commercial area that provides cuisine and food specifically to foreigners. The area around Cheonan Station is good for shopping for international food, eating international food, or a night out with friends. Three international food marts straddle the intersection, at least one foreigner bar sits there, and a few Vietnamese and Indian restaurants are scattered in the area. Dolce is a bar that is popular with local expats. The place has pool, foosball, darts, and a stage area for live music and a PA system. Dolce is a good place to go to meet local foreigners. It has the option of sitting at the bar or in private booths, so it can fit any occasion. There are random party and Halloween decorations and costumes scattered around the bar.
Mount Fishtail Is an Indian restaurant situated on the second floor of a local building. Its got standard Indian dishes like curry and Tandoori chicken and its naan is served in big portions, despite its rugged interior. A small Vietnamese restaurant called Vietnam Restaurant in Korean is around the corner from Mount Fishtail. They serve some of the best Vietnamese food available in Korea, at least for those who like authentic cuisine. Taj Mahal and Kamana are two other Indian food restaurants in the vicinity. For those interested in international cuisine, an Uzbekistan food restaurant is a short walk from the station, at the Cheonan traditional market. It’s called Uzbekistan Restaurant, which is written on a big sign, and the restaurant is found near the northern side of of the traditional market, by the entrance from Yeongseong-Ro. Though the Cheonan Station area is rundown, it has a quirky feel and plenty of delicious food at the ready.
#3. Cheonan-Asan station
With a new makeover, shiny high rises and concrete parks ring Cheonan-Asan Station. The station itself connects to both KTX trains to various cities and line 1 to Cheonan Station, Pyeongtaek, Suwon, and Seoul. The place has a few attractions. There are big hypermarkets, department stores, restaurants, cinema, and boutique areas. Popular name brand stores include Emart, Traders Mart, Lotte Mart, and the Galleria department store. For those who want a cozy atmosphere, small cafes line a residential area to the north of the Lotte Mart. There are foreigner bars nearby as well, such as the popular MBC or My Beer Choice in Buldang. MBC is probably the most popular foreigner bar in Cheonan, and gets a mix of local English teachers, expats, and young Koreans. Cheonan-Asan station is a good place to shopping for food, clothes, eat out, visit a cafe, or go out with friends.
#4. Cheonan Lake Park
The Cheonho Lake Park is a viable choice for exercise, picnicking, and relaxing. It lies next to five universities in the north of Cheonan, close to the Cheonan bus terminals and Shinsegae department store. Adjacent to the university campus, the lake park has cafes and marts for refreshments. “I like the lake view in the campus,” says university student and Cheonan native Bella Park. “You can see a beautiful sunset when you visit there at dinner time. Also, there are many romantic cafes along the lake. You can enjoy the view from the roof of the cafes.” The lake park has exercise equipment, a fountain, and a suspension bridge. The Cheonho Lake Park is a good place to enjoy the outdoors or exercise, in addition to visiting cafes with friends or just enjoying the sights.
#5. Yuryang-dong’s Taejosan Park
Taejosan Park is outside of the residential part of Cheonan. It is located to the east of the Cheonan bus terminals, at the bottom of Mount Taejosan. Taejosan Park is a rustic, green area that is a far cry from the developed parts of Cheonan. It has picturesque traditional Korean-style cafes nearby, as well as restaurants serving traditional food. The park has a small lake, basketball court, sculpture garden, observatory, and a rock climbing facility. Both the park and lake are good areas to picnic, walk, chat, or read books. In addition to the park, the immediate vicinity is enjoyable as well. The nearby cafes are a good place to chill out and enjoy the expansive views of the green mountainside. There are also trails for climbing Mount Taejosan, a particularly beautiful spot to hike in the fall. If the nearby area is explored, there are typical Korean countryside sights, like isolated houses, fields, and crops. Transportation could be difficult, though a taxi from the Cheonan bus terminal might cost a little over ten thousand won.
#6. Cheonan Museum
The Cheonan Museum is located near the Three Way Intersection, in the southeast of Cheonan. It has various artifacts that fit the Bronze Age and Chosun Dynasty. It also highlights rural living and the significance of the Three Way Intersection. The Three Way Intersection was a place where three roads connected travelers to Seoul in the north, Jeonju, Gwangju, and Mokpo in the southwest, and Daegu, Gyeongju, and Dongnae in the southeast. Leaving the museum, it’s a short walk across the road to a massive park. The Three Way Intersection Park has gardens, fields and trees, and various types of exercise equipment and basketball courts. Both the Cheonan Museum and the Three Way Intersection Park are good places to connect to Cheonan’s history as well as enjoy one of its vast public spaces.
Kyungsung Jazz Club
23, Meokgeori 8-gil, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do
464-7 Sinan-dong, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do
천안시 동남구 터미널 4길 4-1
71 DaeheongDong Cheonan
4, Beodeul-ro, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do
My Beer Choice
금강네트웍스 Chungcheongnam-do, Cheonan-si, Seobuk-gu, Buldang 1-gil, 51 KR KR 불당타운 2층
David Kute has an appreciation for Seoul’s distinct neighborhoods. From Dongdaemun’s market stalls to Hongdae’s rock music venues, the city continues to fascinate him. After spending many years living and working in Seoul and South Korea, he started the blog Rooftop on the Hanok. The blog is a place to share information as well as explore facets of life on the Korean peninsula. He enjoys writing fiction and playing basketball when he’s not researching or writing Rooftop on the Hanok posts.