Living near the iconic N Seoul Tower is a great way to navigate – it’s the easiest thing to spot when you’ve found yourself turned around and lost amidst the crowded streets of Seoul!
I’d planned to go up the first night I was there, but it was rainy and foggy and i couldn’t even see the tower from my room, so I aborted that plan and hung out in my room instead. Day 2’s weather was a bit more uncertain; it looked pretty gloomy in the morning when I headed out to Gyeongbokgung, but soon became swelteringly hot and the foggy weather cleared some, so I decided to chance it and headed back to Myeongdong.
The cable car up to N Seoul Tower was supposed to be pretty near Seoul Tower Ville, but adventurous me decided to take a different path, and I’m not sure that was the best idea! Instead of my usual path back to STV on the left of Pacific Hotel, I headed right instead and… just kept walking. It got pretttttttty steep at some points and I was definitely panting and sweating like crazy. After about a 15-20 min walk (felt longer though!) I finally came to the cable car building! I think I might have saved some time and effort if I had walked up to STV like usual, and then gone out the front entrance and follow the main road.
I did find out that there were many less tiring options to get there though! Check out this super detailed article with pix to guide you!
– By bus from Chungmuro station (Yellow Bus #2)
– By Lift (the oreumi connects to the road just next to Namsan Tunnel 3.)
The cable car ride cost about 7,000won for a round trip. While waiting for the cable car, my camera battery gave out on me. Thank goodness for my iphone! If you want a good view in the cable car, you better get in quick because the prime spots (at the extreme ends) disappear pretty fast, and you’ll be stuck in the middle with not much of a view, like me. They pack in the people, it can take about 40+ people.
The ride was not particularly exciting, but a pretty splendid view of downtown Seoul as you ascend the hill. When you reach the top however, it’s another hilly climb up a bunch of stairs (kinda precarious!) to the base of the tower. You could also head down the path if you wanted to hike the rest of Namsan or head to the other areas.
There’s quite a lot of natural foliage all around at the base of the tower, so most of your view is of the Hangang area where there’s a glass terrace.
And of course, N Seoul Tower would not be complete without its signature locks of love, where Korean couples stick a lock on a fence and declare their undying love to each other. It’s pretty impressive – on the ground level there are 5 christmas tree like structures of these locks, but the main event is one floor up on the observation deck where most of the railings are covered with all sorts of locks – teeny tiny cute ones, to combination locks, to huge bicycle locks.
There are also these odd ‘couple chairs’, with v shaped seats that slant towards each other so you have no choice but to cuddle up to your partner on the chair. Great for lovers, little antisocial for the singles because that is not a comfortable chair in a crowd.
The ticket up to the tower cost 9,000won, but you have the option of dining at the various restaurants there too, which would be fun in a group, but being on my own i decided to just get the admission ticket. You can also buy entry to the teddy bear museum, which didn’t sound that appealing to me so i skipped that too.
Oddly, to get up to the top of the tower you have to go down to the basement first. It’s a lift ride up, complete with built in phototaking opportunity in the queue before you enter. There are no windows in the lift, but you do get a ‘shocking elevator’ (yes, that’s their name for it, and you’ll encounter some other ‘shocking’ experiences shortly) where a video animation makes it look like you’re shooting up… into outer space. Yes. If you don’t mind a little spoiler, take a look here (this is the one I saw on the way down):
At the top of the tower you’re treated to a 360 panoramic view of Seoul, and it is awesome. Definitely worth it to go up on a clear day!
That first level you’re on is where the gift shop and the photo shop is, so its pretty packed. You’ll also encounter the ‘shocking floor’ which is a little lame in my opinion, having seen other towers with glass floors that really made me nervous – like the ceiling, this one just looks like the ground beneath you broke.
There is also the ‘shocking step’ which underwhelms with shocks but provides a nice area to sit down and enjoy the view if you’re quick enough to grab a space.
A staircase leads down to a level below it where you can find the cafe – i chilled out here for a good long time writing my journal and enjoying the view of the Hangang. It isn’t particularly more expensive than the other cafes in Seoul, which is nice in a touristy place like this.
Also, the ‘shocking toilet’ (ok i don’t know if that was its actual name, but go with it) which is probably the most picturesque place to wash your hands. Lovely view, would be cool if you could see the view while having a pee! Maybe the guys can if they have urinals in their toilet?
I wanted to catch the sunset, so i headed back up to the main level and jostled with the tourists for window space.
I contemplated staying till it was dark but decided i’d been there for a long time, so I headed back down to the ground level. Would be nice to have dinner in one of the restaurants there though =)
By the time i took the cable car down the city lights were starting to come on, so it made a nice contrast of views. Like Singapore, Seoul looks pretty different by night! Unfortunately i ended up squashed in the middle again.
Then I took the elevator down to the real street level and managed to meander by way back to Myeongdong, using the N Seoul Tower as my guide. This was just the beginning of my footsore days!
All in all, would definitely recommend you to go up to N Seoul Tower if you can get a clear day there, and possibly work in a hike or 2 of Namsan if you’re feeling fit!
- Hours: 10am – 11pm
- Round Trip Fee: 7,500 won / One Way Fee – 5,000 won
- Hours: 10am – 11pm (sun-thur) / 12am (fri–sat)
- Admission Fee: Tower only – 9,000 won /Audio Guide – 3,000 won
Namsan can be accessed via Subway (Myeongdong station, Line 4, Exit 3, afther which you can take the cablecar up.
- Walking: 20-30min walk behind Pacific Hotel to the cable car
- Lift: Walk towards Namsan Tunnel 3 and take the lift up to the cable car (closed Mon 9am-2pm)
You can take a bus up the hill too.
- Yellow Bus #2 from Chungmuro station
- Bus #3 from Itaewon station
Around the area:
- Myeongdong is just down the hill so you can grab some dinner and shopping there
- The traditional market Namdaemun is pretty nearby and not to lengthy a walk. You can also take the train 1 stop down to Hoehyeon station (line 4) –> links coming soon!
- Namsangol Hanok, the old style Korean village is located at Chungmuro station, 1 stop away from Myeongdong in the other direction on line 4.