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Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower

Recent Posts, Posted by Matt in ALL DESTINATIONS,Nature,Seoul,Video, 31 Comments

Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower



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Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower play a very important role in the daily life of Seoulites and visitors, alike. That’s because in a city as huge as Seoul, finding your bearings can be a challenge. Thanks to these two Seoul icons – one natural, the other human-made – city folk can feel just a bit more secure when it comes to their sense of place.

When Yi Seong-gye (이성계) moved Korea’s capital to present-day Seoul in 1394, he protected it with 18 kilometers of fortress walls that connected four mountaintops. Namsan (남산), which means “south mountain,” formed the city’s southern border. Of course, long ago Seoul spilled beyond those original walls. So what was the city’s southern limit is now its heart. And from various points throughout the city, N Seoul Tower can be seen rising atop Namsan.

From Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower

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It wasn’t until 1984, however, that Namsan Park (남산공원) was formally established. At nearly three million square meters, the park is one of Seoul City’s largest green spaces. And despite being smack dab in the center of one of the world’s biggest cities, the much-loved park is reportedly home to over 600 plant and animal species.


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Each year, 8.4 million people visit Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower, which translates to some 30,000 a day in the high season. In addition to enjoying well-maintained jogging paths, the park includes a library, a botanical garden and a swimming pool. At the park’s northeast side there’s the Namsangol Hanok Village (남산골한옥마을) . Built to resemble a Korean folk village, free traditional wedding ceremonies and cultural performances can be enjoyed there in the summer and fall.

No doubt, the park’s most popular attraction is N Seoul Tower. Built in 1969 and opened to the public 11 years later, the communication tower is approx. 237 meters tall, topping off at a half-kilometer above sea level. To reach the tower, zero-emissions buses drive there while South Korea’s first cable car whisks people from the outskirts of the Myeong-dong Shopping District to the mountaintop.

From Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower

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Once there, visitors can enjoy a spacious plaza and platforms affording panoramic views of Seoul. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll see a safety fence that’s covered in thousands of padlocks. These curious objects are symbols of love fastened by young couples. Inside N Seoul Tower is a café and three restaurants, including the revolving n.Grill. For some, the Teddy Bear Museum shouldn’t be missed… but personally, the highlight is the fantastic Sky Restrooms on the observation level.

From Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower

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Of course, Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower’s four observation platforms are the big draw. Helpful window displays indicate Seoul landmarks and world capitals. Overall, the platforms can hold 1,100 people, and at 350 meters above sea level, they afford outstanding views of the city, day or night. Speaking of nightfall, should you be there to see it, the tower will be transformed into a piece of digital art. Until midnight, colorful flames and other images are projected on the tower’s torso every hour.

From Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower

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Finally, since the 1990s, Seoul city officials have worked to restore Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower. In March 2009, the previous mayor unveiled a Namsan Renaissance master plan. The project consisted of removing buildings, restoring the ancient Seoul Fortress (서울성곽)  walls and extend jogging paths to 7.5 kilometers. At a cost of 232 billion won ($183 million), the project is scheduled to be completed in 2015..

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For your information…

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Observatory: 10:00-23:00 (Sun-Thu), until 24:00 (Fri-Sat); Restaurant: 11:00-23:00; Exhibition Hall: 10:00-22:00Observatory Admission: ₩9,000 (adults), ₩7,000 (youth), ₩5,000 (children)02-3455-9277, 88
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Yongsan-gu Yongsan-dong 2(i)-ga San 1-3Myeong-dong Station (#424) on Line 4, Exit 3website
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31 Comments

20 May 2009 01:54

stella

I love namsan tower. it was one of my fav. places I visited when I went to korea last sept. can’t wait to go back, don’t know when that is though…

20 May 2009 13:59

kholoud

I love this place…I’ve been there to Seoul N Tower and namsan hanok village…they are wonderful…I just knew from u the meaning of namsan woow…the sad thing is that I missed going on the caple-car and the locker place…I might see it one day ^^

21 May 2009 09:05

Matt Kelley

Hi Stella,
Thanks for posting your comment. In my opinion, spring and autumn are the best times to visit Korea.

Kholoud- thanks to you, too. I can’t believe you missed the pad locks- They’re everywhere! Anyway, next time be on the lookout… they’re on the main plaza level before you enter the tower.

Best, Matt

21 May 2009 09:06

Matt Kelley

Oh, and one more thing… I’ll be uploading a Video blog about Namsan shortly.
-Matt

4 October 2009 00:44

Happy Chuseok! | Discovering Korea

[...] the base of Nam Mountain is the Namsangol Hanok Village (남산골한옥마을). The village’s theater will play host to a [...]

18 October 2009 21:35

jack

i wonder i will be able to see any autumn leaves in namsan park around mid nov?

October 21 2009 22:51 pm

Matt Kelley

Hi Jack,
Thanks for your question. Mid-November will be pushing it a bit, but you may be lucky. Leaves have just started to change en masse here in the past few days and should peak in a week or so. Good luck!

Best, Matt

20 March 2010 19:02

Discovering Korea » Blog Archive » Romantic Holidays and Destinations

[...] I’d suggest a romantic walk along the Cheonggyecheon Stream (청계천) or a gondola ride up Mt. Namsan (남산) to N Seoul Tower. But whatever you do, and whomever you’re with, I hope you are feeling [...]

20 March 2010 19:28

Discovering Korea » Blog Archive » Celebrating Seollal in Seoul

[...] Hanok Village This popular venue on the north slopes of Namsan Park is hosting several madangs, or public open spaces exploring lunar New Year activities, such as [...]

18 August 2010 20:05

Loli

Any other way to get to the N Seoul Tower without having to ride the cable car?

August 19 2010 15:43 pm

Matt

Hi Loli,
Sure, there are a number of trails that access the mountain from various neighborhoods and subway stations. The trails are quite nice... wide and, if I recall correctly, topped with a foot-friendly spongy layer. Plus, they're free.^^

I hope you enjoy your trip! Best, Matt

15 October 2010 14:14

Tweets that mention Discovering Korea – Mt. Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower — Topsy.com

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by cynthia sudrajat, cynthia sudrajat. cynthia sudrajat said: @rizkywihadi im dying to see this place Mt. Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower http://bit.ly/by1fkJ [...]

14 March 2012 15:35

Venny

hai matt ^^ wanna ask u something.. can we go to namsan park – namsangol hanok village – N seoul tower at the same day? how’s the route?

March 26 2012 11:29 am

Matt

Hi Venny,

Yes, you should be able to do all of that on the same day, no problem. In fact, there's a Namsan Circle Route bus that stops right outside the Namsangol Hanok Village that will wind its way around the mountain and up to N Seoul Tower.

Have fun!
Best,
Matt

22 March 2012 05:30

YJ

Hi Matt, based on your experience, is it better to go Seoul Tower in the day or the night? Cos i want to take the Nansam Cable Car as well, and it seems nicer to take the cable car in the day. For the restaurants over there, are the prices steep? Thanks!

March 26 2012 11:15 am

Matt

Hmmmm... totally depends on what you want to see! If you're a map and urban planning dork like I am, I prefer a day-time trip. If you're looking for a more romantic setting with a sunset and/or view of the city's bright lights, go at night. RE: restaurant prices, I think they are a little pricey, but I've heard that the food is good and you are, of course, paying a premium for the view!

Best,
Matt

9 September 2012 13:57

Jennifer Seeley Garyet

We visited in October of 2011. In late afternoon we walked through the ‘gardens’ and up to the Seoul Tower . This was perfect timing as we could see the area in daylight before heading up into the tower. Once up, we enjoyed our amazing views before, during, and after sunset. It was perfect and it also set the mood for a lovely evening stroll back to our hotel.

14 October 2012 15:05

Sean

Hello Matt,
I came across your blog on Namsan and it does seem like an interesting place to go! Would there still be autumn leaves to see in Namsan park on 1st week of Nov? I’m leaving Seoul by 7th Nov, so hopefully I can catch the autumn leaves at its peak before I leave :) Thanks!

13 January 2013 04:18

Asmina

Hello,
I am student and for my school I have to make a roundtrip around South-Korea. I will like to see the Namsan Park and the tower as well the Hanok Village. I don’t know how much I’ll spend my time in a day to see all this things. Could you tell me this information please?
Thank you!

January 13 2013 10:21 am

Matt

Hi Asmina,
Thanks for your note. It should be very easy for you to visit both Namsan and the Bukchon Hanok Village in one day. I suggest visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace, and then walking north along the palace's eastern gate to Bukchon. Afterwards, you can take a taxi to the Namsan cable car (near Myeong-dong Station), or catch one of the special Namsan buses that depart from near the station exit. Good luck!

best, Matt

16 February 2013 10:35

Lee

Hi matt. I have a 17 hour layover in seoul fron tokyo. Arriving gimpo at 2:30 pm and leaving incheon at 8 am the next day. What do u suggest i see and do? Can i do all these things…gyeongbokgung palace, myeongdong, n tower (late afternoon to dark), nangdaemun and dongdaemun til maybe 10 pm, jimjibang dragon hill till 3 am then take bus to incheon at 4am? Is this realistic?

March 07 2013 03:08 am

Matt

Hi Lee,
Thanks for your note. Hmmm... Let's assume you arrive downtown by 4 pm. Unless it's Tuesday (when Gyeongbokgung is closed - most other palaces and museums are closed on Mondays), you can see the palace and perhaps stop by the National Folk Museum of Korea, which is inside the palace walls. From there, sure, you can go to Myeong-dong and then take the cable car up to N Seoul Tower. Namdaemun is nearby... but Gwangjang Market might be more fun to get a snack after dusk. Also, it's quite close to Dongdaemun for some night shopping... and you're very smart to consider a jjimjilbang like Dragon Hill for a soak and nap before heading to the airport! Just be sure that your bus runs that early, since I'm sure you know that the subways don't start then and a taxi would be very expensive. It's a busy itinerary, but I think you can do it!

Have fun!
Best, Matt

4 March 2013 10:57

May Chua

Hi,
do you know how to get to Namsan Park from Yeongdeungpo?
Or isit easier to go through N seoul tower first to reach Namsan Park?
We are going there from 18th to 28th March. Hope for your reply.Thanks!

March 07 2013 03:25 am

Matt

Hi May,
From Yeongdeungpo Station on Seoul Metro Line 1, go north to Seoul Station. From there you can walk to Namsan's western area. Or, transfer to Line 4 and get off at Chungmuro Station. Between exits 3 and 4 is the entrance to Namsangol Hanok Village, which is also attached to Namsan Park. If you're trying to get to N Seoul Tower, however, get off one station earlier at Myeong-dong Station, exit 2, and wait for one of the funny-shaped electric buses that run a circle route through the park. I hope that helps!

Best,
Matt

13 September 2013 12:15

vivian

Hi

Do i need to take the cable car to reach Seoul Tower?
I would like to have my wedding photoshoot there, do i need to travel up to the seoul tower in order to shoot the seoul tower as background?

Thanks :)

October 01 2013 06:17 am

Matt

Hi Vivian,
You can take the cable car -or- you can take one of the special buses -or- you can walk up to Seoul Tower. Since you're doing a wedding photoshoot, however, I imagine you don't want to walk :) In the past you could take a taxi, but I think they only allow the zero emissions electric buses now for environmental reasons. Best, Matt

11 December 2013 02:32

Amna

Hi Matt!
I love love love this place! I’ve been there last summer but I’d prefer visiting it on autumn or spring next time c: you see, I’m a college student and our doctor asked us to choose any article to talk about, and I find yours very interesting! Just wanted you to know :) Thanks for sharing!

3 June 2014 16:49

ericka

Can a 14 years old girl can visit there ??
in Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower ?
even if I am alone ??

July 15 2014 15:08 pm

Matt

Hi Ericka,
Of course! Have fun :)
Best, Matt

8 July 2014 10:52

carlo villarica (@sobermusings)

It’s funny. When we got lost in Seoul, we found ourselves looking for the tower to find our bearings. In the end, we found a tourist assistance desk and asked for directions. Haha

Anyway I just wanted to say that I thought your post was really informative and decided to link to it in our guide about Seoul. Cheers!

PS – it’s linked in this article http://zerothreetwo.com/travel/our-little-guide-to-seoul-south-korea/

July 15 2014 14:57 pm

Matt

Thank you for sharing, Carlo!
Best, Matt

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