One of the most famous landmarks in Seoul is N Seoul Tower, which sits on top of Namsan (not to be confused with Namsan in Gyeongju). Namsan meants ‘south mountain’, and it was once on the southern edge of the city. However, Seoul kept on getting bigger and bigger, and now the ‘South Mountain’ is in the center of the city, in the appropriately named Jung (Central) District.
Namsan / N Seoul Tower, of course, is possibly the single more touristy place in Seoul, even more so that the palaces. It’s a little like Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. It was built in 1971, and is the general radio wave broadcasting tower in South Korea, and it still broadcasts TV in the Seoul area today.
Being the highest place in the urban core city (as opposed the edge of the city limits, like the true high point of Seoul, like Baegundae), it is the best place to get wide views of the city in all directions. Many tourists choose to take the cable care or one of the mini-buses, but I decided to ascend Namsan the cheap, slow, and athletic way – on foot.
The Joseon-era fortress wall which once encircled the old city was built over Namsan (being a hill, it was a favored location for defensive structures). Parts of the old wall are still visible, as in the photo above.
I was surprised to find such a large wild bird, shown above, right in the heart of Seoul. It’s probably a Korean ring-necked pheasant.
The photo above looks towards northeast.
Most of the people on the trails I used seem to be local people getting exercise. There was even an outdoor gym along the way.
However, once I got near the cable car / minibus stop, the number of tourists – and the crowding – increased dramatically.
Someone raked the fallen leaves to form shapes on the ground.
By the time I reached the top, it was getting close to sunset (I had walked all the way to Namsan from Changgyeonggung and stopped to each lunch in Insadong.
And I saw the sun set over the Han river, the principal river flowing through Seoul.
I could have paid the 9,000 won fee to go to the tower’s observation deck, but I was fine with the admission-free views at ‘ground’ level.
Near the tower, there is a place where lovers can place their ‘locks’ of love.
There are also old signal beacons, like the ones at Hwaseong Fortress.
Once the sun was down, it was time to watch the buildings of Seoul light up.
I didn’t expect much of Namsan and N Seoul Tower. I think the tower is ugly, and I couldn’t imagine this being too exciting. However, it is *the* place to get panoramic views of almost all of Seoul, and it’s a great place for people-watching, whether watching locals on the trail, or the tourists at the top. And watching the transition from late afternoon to sunset to lights in the night is splendid to watch.