Better Know a Dong: Palyong Dong!

Palyong-dong (팔용동, sometimes spelled 팔룡동), is a large, boot-shaped neighborhood located at the northernmost end of Changwon. At its heel are the main bus terminal, Homeplus, and Changwon Stream, which is currently being developed into a beautiful park. Most of the boot’s shaft, running up Changwon-daero (창원대로), is comprised of factories. Finally, you have the boot’s collar, where Changwon meets Masan and where all of the interesting things are located.

Let’s start at the heart of the neighborhood, Palyong-dong Community Center (팔용동 주민센터). The four blocks surrounding the intersection of Palyong Road and Sahwa Road are the liveliest and busiest at all times. Next to the community center are the post office and the Hyesung Building (혜성빌딩) across from the KB Bank, which currently houses a Seorae Galmaegi (서래갈매기) barbecue chain based in Busan and known for delicious skirtmeat at low prices, as well as a Juk Story (죽이야기) with homey porridges to eat when you’re sick. Nearby is a large new café called Grey House that serves decent lattes and cheesecakes. It is good for studying or meetings.

Across the street is the large Palyong Shopping Center (팔용종합상가). Inside this giant building are a Mr. Pizza, Versailles (베르사유 노래연습장, 3F), a “singing room” with a better selection of songs in English than others in the area, Humchin Ribs (훔친갈비, 2F), where you are given plastic gloves to keep your hands clean as you dive into huge portions of Western-style ribs, and Long Life (롱라이프, 2F), a bar that boasts “absurdly tall beers”. Special tables keep your beers chilled and have a mini-drinking game built in.

The southern corner of the intersection is occupied by the similarly large Dreampia(드림피아) shopping complex. Its Baskin Robbins is a typical meeting spot. Also on the ground floor is a Skybori Pizza (하늘보리피자). On the second floor is a new Sulbing (설빙), a very popular traditional Korean dessert café based in Busan – get your patbingsoo fix here! Yeungnam University Taekkyeon (영남대 택견) is located on the sixth floor, offering adult classes for the UNESCO World Heritage martial art on weeknights.

Across the street from Dreampia is the Palyong Plaza (팔용프라자), which has a Dunkin’ Donuts on the ground floor. A few doors down are Buldon Barbecue (불동바베큐/Warrior Pig Restaurant), which specializes in giving you lots and lots of samgyeopsal and smoked duck, as well as a brand-spankin’ new (as of this posting) Starbucks and Shabu Hyang (샤부향) for those times when you want a full hotpot meal for fifteen bucks followed by a pumpkin spice latte for, like, the same price. Continue down Palyong Road for a minute and you’ll see Hangali Sujebi (항아리수제비) on your left. Drop in for some of the best and cheapest pajeon (savory pancake), sujebi (noodle soup), and makkeoli (traditional rice wine) around in a charming and very traditional, floor-seating pub.

Let’s head southeast from the main intersection now. From Dreampia, head down Sahwa Road with the apartment complex on your left. First, you’ll pass an Angel-in-us on your right, followed by a string of hair shops and small cafés. At the next intersection (Bangye Road), you’ll find a Lotteria, a Paris Baguette, and a Pizza Maru.

At this point, if you turn right and walk down Bangye Road for ten minutes, crossing Changwon-daero, you’ll find one of the entrances to Palyong-san (more on hiking here). You’ll know you’re on the right road when you pass the large Maxim factory and/or when the air suddenly smells like coffee. Cross the train tracks to access the hiking trails. It’s an immediate uphill climb at first, but after about half an hour, you’ll come to the Palyong Reservoir, one of the most beautiful and serene spots in the entire city.

If you continue south on Sahwa Road, you will pass Palyong Middle School and then come to Wellbeing Plaza, inside of which are a branch of Kyongnam Bank (경남은행), a branch of the secondhand chain store Beautiful Store (아름다운가게) (more here), a Dream Depot, and Simsanyugok (심산유곡) a large, incredible 24-hour bathhouse/sauna/jimjilbang/fitness and health center that everyone should visit at least once while living in Changwon.

Continue south for about three kilometers and you will reach the Changwon Bus Terminal (창원종합터미널), Homeplus, New Core Outlet, CGV, and the beginning of a nice riverside path that leads to City 7.

Now let’s go back to Dreampia and see what’s up north. Behind the Palyong-dong Community Center is an Ogada (오가다), a Korean teahouse chain that specializes in traditional teas and a warm, health-conscious cultural experience. One block down that same side street is Bonga Milmyeon (본가밀면), famous in the area for one simple dish: chilled noodles in broth or mixed with spicy sauce. The small restaurant is packed during the summertime peak season.

Keep heading northwest: you will pass the “Dumpling Shack” (충무김밥), a roadside stall that sells steamed dumplings (jjinbbang and mandu) for cheap, and then a Daiso and a TOP Mart for your local shopping needs. If you turn left at this point, you will come to two very small Asian grocery stores (more Asia marts here) with stocks of imports from South and Southeast Asia and the Gyeongnam Migrant Community Service Center (경남이주민사회센터) (for Korean Classes, click here). Or, continue for a few more blocks until you reach Changwon Station for the KTX and other train lines. (Travel tip: northbound intercity buses (going to Daegu or Seoul, for example) stop at the train station (창원역 시외/고속 버스정류소) to pick up passengers, and you can buy your tickets here, too, without having to go down to the main bus terminal.) Across the street from the station are a Dream Depot and a McDonald’s with a drive-thru, but most of the businesses around here are cheap motels, bars, and noraebangs.

From the train station, follow Uichang-daero south to get to Masan. Follow it north and you will eventually reach Seosang-dong. This road itself is empty, but south of it is a hub of bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, as well as another Daiso/TOP Mart combo. The large park in the center of this maze has been dubbed “The Pirate Park” because of the pirate ship-shaped jungle gym in its center; this park is another good meeting spot, and in its immediate vicinity are plenty of good duck barbecue and Korean-style sushi restaurants.

At the corner where Uichang-daero meets Palyong Road/Cheonju Road (before you arrive at the Daedong Apartment Complex), there is a famous bulgogi steak restaurant called Im Jin Gak (임진각식당). Their “steak” looks like a giant hamburger patty and you eat it with rice and lettuce only, but it is to die for. Expect long waits around dinner time. Palyong Road will take you past Namsan Park and back to Dreampia and the community center.

That’s all for now! Enjoy your explorations of Palyong-dong, and contact our editors if you know of hot spots we missed or new recommendations!

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