Bokjeong Station is, for all intents and purposes, simply an extension of the surrounding highways, of which there are a lot. How do I commute thee? Let me count the ways: the Seoul Ring Expressway (서울외곽순환고속도로), the Songpa Highway(송파대로), Yakjin-ro (약진로), the Seongnam Highway (성남대로), Heolleung-ro (헌릉로), and the Dongbu Expressway (동부간선도로).
The prime function the station serves is as a transfer point for workers coming into the city from Seongnam, Bundang, or other bedroom communities southeast of Seoul, and just outside of Exit 2 you’ll find a huge parking lot where commuters drop off their cars before jumping on the subway and heading to work. Bonus nifty commuting feature: Line 8 is directly on top of the Bundang Line, so if you’re transferring lines at Bokjeong all you have to do is walk up or down the steps. If only, say, Jongno-3-ga were so simple.
What’s not directly related to the comings and goings of salarymen around the station is all rather glum. Go out Exit 1 and you’ll walk past a number of abandoned greenhouses hidden behind gray metal fencing. Go out Exit 2 and you’ll walk past a garbage dump behind more gray metal fencing.
This fencing, however, is at least decorated with some playfully macabre black and white drawings.
The most salient feature of the area, however, is the small slum that you’ll come to if you go out Exit 3 and cross Heolleung-ro heading south. The slum is sandwiched between it, Seongnam-daero, and the Seoul Ring Expressway, and largely blocked from view by a long white metal fence painted in colorful cartoons of traditional Korean performers.
Small doors in the fence lead into the area, and a bit further south the fence ends and the neighborhood opens onto a small, algae-filled creek that forms the barrier between Seoul and Seongnam. A statue of a haetae (해태) stands guard here.
The Bokjoeng slum bore some resemblance to the one we came across in Geoyeo in that it was below street level and dotted with tiny churches, but the one here was much smaller and not quite as ramshackle.
One-story homes were neatly lined up in rows, their sides covered in gray insulation and their corrugated metal roofs covered in a black rubber weave.
Communal bathrooms were located outside of the homes, and at least one humble restaurant was tucked in amongst the houses. Only elderly residents could be seen, but the presence of the Peace Kids Church (평화어린이교회) indicated that they weren’t the only ones caught down on their luck at the city’s edge.