Just by looking at a map of Dongtan can show you that it isn’t a normal city. That’s because it’s a planned city, and its layout definitely shows. It is approximated that development began about ten years ago, but according to some friends that have lived here for a while, it wasn’t until the last five-or-so years that it has really taken off. However, it is admittedly difficult to find information on its earlier days.
Metapolis, or the four tall buildings pictured above, is literally Dongtan’s biggest landmark. They’re right in the center of the city and can be seen from just about anywhere; so if you’re lost, just look to the sky.
Metapolis is a big complex. There are apartment buildings, a movie theater, and an American-style mall — which I find pretty unique for a moderately-sized city like Dongtan. It is also the most popular location for grabbing a bus to Seoul: Gangnam is about 45 minutes north, whereas Seoul Station is about an hour away.
Directly next to Metapolis is Central Park, which I think this city is really lucky to have. During the warmer months, there is plenty to do here, so it is usually full of families on the weekends. There is a golf course, a skate park, a children’s park, rock-climbing, basketball courts, soccer fields, and a track to run around. In the spring and summer, there is a stream that runs under the bridge pictured above. The kids love it! You can always find them playing in it. Although the stream doesn’t run in the fall, it still looks absolutely gorgeous.
Street food vendors are occasionally seen throughout the city, especially near Central Park and the downtown area.
Not everything about Dongtan is artificial or modern, though. Outside of Dongtan’s subway station, you can still find farmers working hard, or people going fishing. If you look in the background of the fishing picture above, you’ll see some construction. That’s Dongtan 2 (yes, that’s the actual name), another city that’s being built directly across the highway from Dongtan.
If you enjoy nature, there are some nice biking and hiking trails bordering the city.
Central Park isn’t the only park in Dongtan. There is another park in northern Dongtan called Nojak. Although it’s a little smaller than Central Park, it offers a great view of Dongtan 2, and it tends to be a little quieter — which, to me, is a plus. It’s also connected to the hiking trails and bike path.
There are quite a few overpasses and walking paths in Dongtan. One of my favorites is what my friends and I call, “The Grassy Knoll.” We come here to kick back, relax, and watch the traffic. It tends to be really quiet here, so it’s a nice spot to come and read a book or listen to music during the warmer months.
Edited by: Rafi Feliciano