We had a summer-like weather last week. The temperature peaked at 29 degrees in Seoul, but it was a milder 25 degrees last Sunday afternoon when we went to Namsan Park. My parents-in-law and my aunt-in-law came to visit us (again). They came to our home at around three o’clock in the afternoon. The base of Namsan (“nam” means south and “san” is mountain) is a five kilometer drive from our apartment and the sky was clear that afternoon so we thought it’s best to go there for some air.
We took the car and parked at the National Theater of Korea. The Seoul city government used to allow cars to go up to the park. That all changed in the spring of 2005 and I think that it was a good move to reduce pollution. The city is seriously in need of air purifiers. Now, only shuttle buses (yellow bus) and the Seoul City Tour bus could go up to the park.
If you’re commuting, it’s best to take the shuttle bus (yellow) at the Chungmuro subway station. If you use a transportation card, you won’t have to pay extra for the transfer. If you’re paying cash, it’s 700 won per person. You can also take the cable car (7,000 won roundtrip) or just walk.
Namsan is one of the two famous places that people go to to get a bird’s eyeview of the city. The other is the 63 Building. It is also a popular filming location. Remember that cable car scene in “My Name is Kim Sam Soon”?
On the left side of the bus terminal is a “hyugeso” or a rest stop, where there is a small convenience store and a jjajang myeon (black bean sauce noodles) restaurant. You’ll need to walk an inclined 300 meters from the bus stop to N Seoul Tower. On the way up, there’s an ojingo-juipo (squid and flyfish) vendor at the left side.
Upon reaching the top, you’ll notice on the left a group of artists who does sketches for a fee. AFAIK, they charge 25,000 won per session. The day we visited the place, a US Army band was performing for the tourists. On our previous visit, there was a South American music group that played latin songs.
N Seoul Tower is an observation tower, and you need to pay to go there. I haven’t been up the tower, since I don’t want to spend 7,000 won to go there. It’s the same view anyway. I’d rather see Seoul from the free observation decks.
N Seoul Tower has one of the best restrooms I’ve seen in the city. It’s almost always crowded when I use the restrooms so I couldn’t take any photos. At Entrance 1, you’ll find a coffee shop and a bakery. There are exhibits and a waiting area with TV monitors for those waiting for their turn to ride the elevator up the tower. Outside is a food court (where I go to drink water), convenience store, gift shop, and more coffee shops. There’s also a buffet up the tower and a revolving (?) restaurant.
The Palgakjeong (pal means eight, gak is side) or the eight-sided pavillion is almost always full of resting people. The sloped 300-meter walk is sometimes tiring specially on a hot day! To the right is a beacon built during the Joseon dynasty. The district of Jongro or old downtown Seoul is visible from this area.
A few meters from the beacon is the entrance to Namsan Cable Car. The ride is 7,000 won round-trip or 5,000 won one-way. I once rode the car with sister when she visited us. There is also a stairs that go down the mountain from that area.
As much as N Seoul Tower is the main attraction of Namsan Park, there are other places to visit in the area. One of my favorites is the Botanical Garden located near the Hyatt Hotel. There is also the Cartoon Museum, libraries and the jogging course that my husband frequents whenever he needs an exercise. There is a really nice playground for kids in front of Dongguk University (Jeon Ji Hyun attended college here). And of course, the National Theatre.
Here are some pictures that I took on my visits. Also is a video taken last Sunday (to give you a feel of what it was like). If you see a guy wearing a white shirt and carrying a sky blue bag, that’s my husband 🙂 I was piggybacking my son who was asleep that time. On the way back down, we walked… the shuttle bus would cost us 700 won each 🙂
N Seoul Tower is one of the must-visit places in Seoul. It won’t really cost you anything aside from the transportation, unless you want to go up the tower or ride the cable.