As you wander through the vibrant streets of Seoul, your gaze is captivated by the regal silhouette of Namsan Mountain. Standing proudly amidst the bustling city, this majestic peak, known as “South Mountain” in Korean, holds within its embrace a tapestry of history and natural beauty.
When Seoul was founded at the end of the 14th Century, Namsan Mountain dominated the southern portion of the city. Today, the city has grown to both banks of the Han River, and Namsan remains a central landmark. Its upper parts have been transformed into a city park called Namsan Park, where automotive traffic is restricted, making it an ideal escape from the urban bustle.
To reach the park, you have several options. One is to embark on a leisurely walk, taking roads leading up Namsan from Myeong-dong, Chungmuro, or Itaewon. While a scenic route, it may prove challenging for some due to the difficult city streets and the long ascent up the mountain.
Another option is to hop on the Namsan Sunhwan Shuttle bus, which leaves every 15 to 20 minutes from nearby subway stations. With cash or a metro card, you can reach the top of Namsan for a nominal fare. The shuttles run from 10:00 AM until 11:00 PM and provide a convenient and affordable way to access the park.
For a touch of nostalgia, the Namsan Cable Car offers a charming experience. Built in 1962, it gracefully ascends from the Hoehyeon-dong platform to the Yejang-dong platform near the base of N Seoul Tower. From Myeong-dong station, you can easily reach the cable car platform. A round trip on the cable car offers not only convenience but also a delightful perspective of the city below.
Once you arrive at Namsan Park, a world of enchantment unfolds. The park boasts a botanical garden, a library, a National Theater, and the captivating Namsangol Hanok Village—an immersive cultural village showcasing traditional Korean architecture. These attractions are worth exploring if you have the time, offering glimpses into Korea’s rich heritage.
Yet, the true allure of Namsan lies in the view it presents—an awe-inspiring panorama of Seoul. To behold the city in all its splendor, make your way to the observation deck of N Seoul Tower. Standing at a staggering height of 777 feet, the tower offers a vantage point like no other. As you gaze upon Seoul’s cityscape, ancient palaces harmonize with modern skyscrapers, weaving a story of dynamic growth and timeless traditions.
As day surrenders to twilight, the city’s lights ignite, painting the night sky with a symphony of colors. It’s a moment to cherish, a testament to Seoul’s vibrant spirit that thrives both day and night. The N Seoul Tower stands as a beacon, guiding the city’s aspirations and dreams.
While N Seoul Tower claims its place as the crown jewel atop Namsan, the mountain itself holds its own enigmatic treasures. The Joseon-era smoke signaling devices, located near the tower, whisper tales of Seoul’s past. These ancient artifacts once served as the city’s vigilant eyes, safeguarding it from potential threats. Bilingual signs nearby unravel the secrets of their operation, transporting visitors back in time to an era of watchful eyes and vigilant hearts.
As you descend from Namsan, gratitude fills your heart—for the memories etched in your soul, for the panoramic vistas that took your breath away, for the city that unfolded its treasures before your eyes. Seoul and Namsan Mountain, intertwined in their majesty, beckon travelers to embrace their wonders and embark on a journey of discovery.
Jungchan Lee/Korea Travel News