The (N) Seoul or Namsan Tower is a communication tower located on top of Namsan Mountain in the middle of Seoul. At 236 meters, it’s the highest point in all of Seoul. As such, it offers a fantastic view and has become one of Seoul’s biggest attractions.
The view from near City Hall. You can clearly see the mountain and tower in the background.
Thanks to a promotional offer, I was able to get atop the tower for the absurdly low price of one dollar. It’s definitely worth more than that.
There are multiple ways to get to the tower. You can hike up the mountain, take a cable car that offers a fantastic view, or take a cheaper but less scenic bus ride. You can find all the necessary information on the English site of the Tower, so I won’t go over them here. I took the cable car up and walked down since I was too impatient to walk in line. Hiking is definitely also an option since the path is very well maintained and offers some more great views. However, the way up might not be a piece of cake as the incline can be pretty steep at times.
First off: It was recommended to me to go up to the observatory platform of the tower about half an hour before sunset so you could see Seoul during the daytime, as well as at night. I cannot recommend this enough. Take the cable car up, walk around a bit, get something to eat or drink, and then go up. Afterwards, you can pretty much repeat that process to see a whole different side of Seoul, and then either take a hike down (the path is illuminated at night so that’s not a problem) or take the cable car back down again.
There is a sightseeing platform slightly below the cable car arrival point that you should definitely check out. The view is already pretty spectacular since you are already near the top of the mountain. Furthermore, this is probably the best spot for taking pictures. Of course the view from the tower is much better and gives you a 360° view, but you are stuck behind thick windows and there are a bunch of LEDs and other stuff behind you that will reflect off of them, so it can be difficult to get a perfect shot up there.
Once you make your way up to the tower, there is a lot of stuff to see up there as well. Apparently, this tower really brings out the romantic side in people, as there are thousands of love locks all around the place. Even if the concept is completely lost on you, I’d still argue that it looks pretty cool.
Near the foot of the tower, there are a bunch of visiting platforms, shops, and restaurants. Here, you can finally get a look at the part of Seoul that is located on the other side of the mountain:
I discovered an odd place called “PHOTO STORY” here. The place is absolutely tiny – you can’t even stretch out your arms without knocking down a bunch of Vegeta figurines – and the contents are a bit odd. I expected a typical tourist-y shop to buy postcards and whatnot. Instead, approximately 70% of the shops products were Dragonball merchandise. Did not expect that.
And yes…that’s Dragonball GT merch. I finally found something to hate about Seoul. Gross.
Anyway, let’s get the tower. Of course there are a bunch of restaurants and shops in the tower as well, and I imagine you can spend quite a bit of money in there. After all, who can refuse a bag of popcorn while taking in an incredible 360° degree view of Seoul? This was also the first place in my nearly three weeks of Seoul where I found any post cards. I guess the postal service is not all that popular in Korea. I’m sure I just looked in the wrong places before, but the lack of postal cards was pretty noticeable considering that they seem completely omnipresent in European cities.
I’m not gonna say too much about the view. It’s breathtaking and something you really need to experience yourself. There are markers pointing out the direction and distance to most major world cities. Watching the sunset up there was a fantastic experience that I can’t do justify to with my shitty camera. So yeah, that was really neat.
Back down, I decided to grab some food. The view was great and the food surprisingly was quite cheap and cost about the same as in the shops near my university. After that, I decided to stroll around some more, go back to the visiting spot, and ultimately decided to walk down the entire hill since I was too impatient to wait for the cable car. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
If you’ve read my previous post about Umyeonsan Mountain, this will ring a bell: There were a bunch of exercise machines halfway up the hill. And of course, there was some dude using them in total darkness at 9pm. Yikes.
Overall, I can’t recommend this place highly enough. Seems like a must visit destination for every tourist and citizen (unless you suffer from fear of heights or something like that). The view is indescribeable. One downsight: I could see how this place can easily be a bit of a tourist trap and get you to spend a ton of money. But, it seems rather easy to avoid overspending if you pay attention to that. The cable car itself is not even all that expensive (8500 won for a round trip), but there are cheaper options available, one of them costing nothing and giving you some exercise. Of course the restaurants in the actual tower can be quite expensive and I’d imagine that the candy shop on the observation platform can’t be cheap, but nobody will stop you from bringing food. And as I mentioned, the Korean restaurant that I went to next to the foot of the tower is really not any more expensive than any counterpart in the city.