An Icon of Seoul: Namsan Tower

When in Paris, one will definitely take a photo of the Eiffel Tower. For someone who is traveling to New York, you will see him uploading a photo together with the Statue of Liberty. So, likewise, what could be the icon for travelers coming to Seoul?

Seoul Tower photographed from its base platform

Seoul Tower photographed from its base platform

For me, Namsan Tower (also known as Seoul Tower) is a must-visit tourist attraction as you can see the skyline views of Seoul from the top of tower. Although it is not as high as the Empire State Building in New York or the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan, Namsam Tower still remains very high at a 239.7 meter. Also, the tower is located at the downtown area of Seoul, especially very close to Myeongdong, a shopping-district area where you can find many brands, such as H&M, Zara, and Forever 21.

The view from Namsan Tower (unfortunately on a  foggy day)

The view from Namsan Tower (unfortunately on a foggy day)

Although Seoul Tower is a very popular tourist attraction, the transportation system designated to come here is not very convenient as travelers have to walk for about 10 minutes from the subway station. The closest subway station is located at Myeongdong Station, Exit 3. After you have walked for ten minutes, you will see that there are two options to go up, either by cable car (which cost 6000 won for one way, and 8000 for a round trip), or by walking which takes about 30 minutes.

I have been to Seoul Tower two times already, because I really enjoyed the breathtaking view from the top of the tower. According to my own experience, taking the cable car takes about one and a half hours as you have to wait in queue for a while. On the other hand, walking up takes about thirty minutes and can be exhausting for people who are not used to do sports. (Tip: Better bring your own water bottle if you decide to walk up as you there is only a single water fountain along the path to the top).

By the time you reach the top of the mountain you can choose to go up further to the tower’s observatory platform (ticket is about KRW 9.000; discounts for couples available) or remain at the base level of the tower which is a very popular dating spot in Seoul.

Namsan Tower is a popular dating spot, especially in the evening

Namsan Tower is a popular dating spot, especially in the evening

Although I enjoy seeing the skyline view of Seoul from the top of the tower, it was also pretty interesting to see the vast amount of love locks at the base of the tower. It is a tradition that couples come up here with a lock and keys, and later, throw their keys away as a symbol for storing their love inside that lock. When having a closer look at the love locks, you can see that many couples even attached some photos to the locks. You will also see the sloping seats (V-shaped seats) around the tower. There is a commercial behind the idea of making these seats like that.

The V-shaped benches in front of thousands of love locks

The V-shaped benches in front of thousands of love locks

To conclude my travel essay, Seoul Tower is much different from other destination areas in Seoul like the palaces, shopping districts, and amusement parks. It is more of a place filled with many interesting traditions, fascinating areas to go around, and a very romantic place, especially for couples. Also, it is located in the downtown area of Seoul. So, after seeing the tower, you can have a walk around Myeongdong featuring a kind of Asian version of Time Square. So, if you have no idea what to do for this weekend, why don’t you go and see yourself Seoul Tower?

By Zaw from Myanmar

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