Monday, May 05, 2008

A Tower by Any Other Name...

On Sunday we decided to head up Namsan Mountain to go to Seoul Tower. The funny thing about this tower is that its considered one of the top 10 tallest in the world, but its actually a very tiny little thing. What winds up pushing it towards greatness is the fact that it stands atop the center of one of the biggest mountains in the area in the middle of Seoul.

I also think the tower suffers a bit of an identity crisis as it goes by 8,000 names. You'll see it called Seoul Tower, Namsan Tower, and N Seoul Tower. The official website calls it N Seoul Tower, but once you get up there you'll see all three names in various places.

To get to the tower take the subway to Myeondong and leave out exit #3. Walk towards the hotel and then walk about 15 minutes past it up some stairs and then walk to the right towards the cable car. In order to get to this tower you can do one of three things - A) walk up the many many many stairs B) hike up the trails or C) take the cable car right to the top. My friend and I of course being the lazy SOB's that we are, opted for the cable car. It was about an hour wait to take the cable car - but it was also a Sunday afternoon of a 3 day weekend. The cable car is a great little ride, so in essence its worth the wait.

Once on top of the mountain you'll walk up some more stairs and pass a huge stoned enclosure that used to be a smoke signal area to warn Seoul of an emergency or an attack. This thing must have constantly been smoking for as many times as Korea has been invaded throughout its history.

We bought tickets to go up and had to wait about 20 minutes. There are little shops and snack bars everywhere so we got some tea and waited. The tower has two floors - the top floor which as you walk around shows you the customary distances to other cities in the world, and then the second floor which has various places of Seoul on the windows with little histories.
(Long way away from home)
If there's one thing you do when you visit this tower it should be to go to the bathroom. Being that there's absolutely nothing in front of you the whole bathroom is one gigantic window. It's the same in both the men's and women's bathroom:

Overall its an excellent way to become more aware of this sprawling city and a good way to spend an afternoon. We ended up walking down the mountain afterwards and it wound up spitting us out somewhere near Seoul Station. Not what I intended, but it worked out. Get a map or something before you head out.

1 comment:

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