CONTRIBUTED BY JOE
Now that warmer weather is upon us and if you’re looking to explore the area, a trip to Seoul Tower may be in order. You can get to Seoul Tower by foot, bus or cable car. On this day we started our adventure by foot at the Camp Coiner Gate and began making our way to Seoul Tower. Once you exit the gate turn left and keep heading north up the hill towards the Millennium Hilton Hotel. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk. Across the street from the Hilton Hotel you’ll find the Seoul Fortress Wall that leads you up to Namsan Library and, if you keep walking across the parking lot, to the trail up to Seoul Tower.
On our adventure we encountered every type of climber – the guy with the crampons, full pack, and climbing sticks to the K-Pop Princess with stiletto heels and mini-dog. Koreans love to hike and like to dress the part, no matter how short the hike.
The hike from the Hilton to the top would probably take 30 minutes without kids, but with kids it’s about an hour plus. The climb isn’t very difficult but there is a steep incline once you start getting closer to the top. On the way up, you’ll pass cool statues, exercise areas, and amazing vistas.
But the best motivation to keep you going to the top is the Cold Stone Creamery ice cream. The promise of ice cream usually keeps my kids motivated to get to the top. We usually like to walk up Namsan, get our ice cream and then take the bus back down.
Other ways to get to Seoul Tower from Yongsan Garrison include:
By foot: Kimchi Pot/Friendship House Gate: Exit the gate and turn left on the street with all the kimchi pots. Walk up the hill all the way to the very top to the ring road around Namsan. From there you’ll find trails that lead up to Seoul Tower.
By Cable Car: Get off at Myeongdong Station (Subway Line 4), Exit 3 and then take road to the right of Pacific Hotel and walk for 10 minutes. The cost is 8,000 won for adult and 5,000 won for children. Or you can take a cab from the DHL to the cable car station. There’s a short but steep hike up some steps once you get out of the (usually very packed) cable car to reach the base of the tower.
By Bus: From Kimchi Pot Gate/Friendship House Gate: Turn right outside the gate and walk about 50 yards and the bus stop is right there. Itaewon: Outside the McDonald’s there is a bus stop. Step outside McDonald’s, turn right and it’s about 10 yards up. Also, near the Hamilton Hotel/Itaewon Station there is another stop. Look for the little green sign with the number “3”. Pictured below.
Take bus number “3”, which looks like the bus below. It costs less than 1,000 won per person and takes you close to the top. Once the bus drops you off, you’ll still have about a 150 yard walk up to the tower. It’s the last stop so you’ll know you’re there!
If you decide to take the bus to go back down, just wait at the bus stop next to the bus #03 sign and one will turn up in a few minutes. (Facing Seoul Tower, take the trail leading down to the left and you will find the bus stop — if you go to the trail on the right you’ll hit the cable car.) It’s VERY EASY! Especially if you have a T-Money card to pay for the bus.
You can also do the Seoul City Tour bus which stops right outside the Dragon Hill Lodge gate. I’ve never done that before but it looks pretty easy. Only problem is you have to pay the day pass rate of 10,000 won. May be worth it if you’re here visiting or have family in town and want to go to a bunch of different places. You can get the T-money cards at the Discover Seoul desk in the Dragon Hill Lodge.
Taxi: Taxis used to be allowed to go to the top where the buses are, but they changed the rules. Now it’s by foot, cable car or bus.
What’s your favorite way to get to Seoul Tower?