The N Seoul Tower, officially the CJ Seoul Tower and commonly known as Namsan Tower/ Seoul Tower, is a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain in Seoul, South Korea. It marks the highest point in Seoul.
Trip to Bundang
We took a bus to Seoul to meet with a prospective employer. Being in Korea while you search for a job is great because you get to go meet the director, see the school, and also check out the neighbourhood where you will potential be living. Being February, the air was still cold and the trees were bare.
Since we had taken the bus all the way to Seoul, we thought that we would do a bit of sightseeing. We looked up the most popular tourist attractions, and Namsan Tower was high up on the list, so that is where we decided to go!
Map of Namsan Park
Trekking up to the tower
Many visitors ride the Namsan Cable Car up the mountain, and then walk to the tower. As you can see, above left picture, the tower looked miles away but we were sure that we were already near the park so the way up to the tower must not be far from where we were. Carrying my backpack, I grew tired and frustrated. As usual, Justin was strong and supportive. He kept assuring me that we were getting closer. I don’t know why but we never did see the cable car station. We followed others who seemed to be heading up towards the tower. This wasn’t the most pleasant walk, but then again, we were not too fit at the time, so that’s not very surprising! Old Korean men and women passed by us briskly with hiking staffs in their hands. They barely looked out of breath – How do they do it?!
Once we did reach the top, we were met with lovely views of the city below. There seemed to only be couples here – almost as if no single people are allowed entrance to the tower. It appears that Seoul Tower is a romantic pilgrimage for couples who wish to express their unfailing love for one another.
Despite being in Seoul, the biggest city in South Korea, we were still being stared at by many people passing by us. This is something we have just gotten used to since moving to Asia.
Leaving our mark
The wooden banisters surrounding the tower were covered in graffiti – all love notes and marks left by couples. While we relaxed our tired muscles, and took in the view, we also left our mark.
“Justin and Catherine 4 Ever, 2/8/11”
The tower features a gift shop and restaurant on the ground floor.
We walked around the base of the tower for a while, looking at all that was available to be purchased.
Lovers can buy locks, write a message on them, then leave them as a declaration of their love, and then throw away the key. This is a popular practice in Asia and other parts of the world. In cities like Paris and New York love locks are presently cut down, however Seoul Tower actively encourages people to leave locks in specially designated areas. They have even assigned metal trees and hearts for this purpose, allowing thousands of love locks to be left at the base of the tower as a message of love.
Excited to also leave our love locks, we entered the gift store and looked for ones that we liked. The love locks come in all shapes and sizes, and some are even sold with permanent markers so that lovers can write messages on the locks.
Our Love Locks
The problem with these locks, in other parts of the world, is that lovers throw the keys away – often off hillsides or into water causing environmental issues – to ensure that the no one finds the key to unlock the padlocks, meaning that their love won’t endure.
In an attempt to fix this problem, Seoul Tower has come up with a helpful option. Couples are encouraged to leave their keys in the Postbox of Love and part of the revenue from the keys collected is donated to underprivileged children.
Love Message Tile Board
Yet another reason single people should stay away: The base of the tower has large walls where people can affix “love tiles”. The tiles are bought in the gift store, a message is written on them, and they are permanently glued to this wall. Those who don’t want to spend money on a tile simply choose to wrote directly on the wall, but pretty soon all of that will be covered in tiles.
I wonder if they ever remove all these tiles?
Surely they would run out of wall space eventually…?
Although most of the messages were written in Korean, it was interesting to look over them. Some lovers had put tiny little photographs onto their tiles. Great idea! Since we were going to leave our love locks here at the tower, we planned to take our love tile – which had a magnetic backing – home as a souvenir.
Writing a message on our tile
One of very few English tiles in this sea of Korean writing.
A short walk from the tower, we found Cibo Cima, an Italian Restaurant. The restaurant in the tower was full and noisy, so this was just perfect for us. Hidden away, quiet, and much more romantic!
And when I say quiet… I mean QUIET!
We sat down by a window table and enjoyed the pretty view of the city.
All wrapped up and ready to go.
After a late lunch, and some coffee for me, we wrapped ourselves up again and got ready to brave the cold once more. With our bellies full, we were ready to go to the top of the tower and see the view. We had been waiting for the sun to start setting so that we could get a view of Seoul as the city lights started to come on.
It was a beautiful sunset!
There are four observation decks (the fourth observation deck, which is the revolving restaurant, rotates at a rate of one revolution every 48 minutes), as well as gifts shops and two restaurants. With a superb 360 degree view, most of the city of Seoul can be seen from the top.
Each glass pane listed various other cities that you could travel to in that direction.
As usual, we spent some time in the gift shop looking around. There is also a teddy Bear Museum at the tower but we had just been to the one on Jeju Island 2 weeks prior, so we didn’t feel the need to pay a visit to this one as well. Posing next to this big brown bear above was enough for me!
Towers of the world
Second from the right, you can see how small Seoul Tower is compared to the Empire State Building, the Oriental Pearl Tower and the CN Tower, but because the tower is located on a mountain it appears to be much taller than it really is.
Breathtaking! A replica of the Trevi Fountain in Jamsil
We spent the night at a hotel in Bundang. In the morning we ventured around Jamsil, and then into Lotte Department Store to do some shopping and find some food.
This is a small scale replica of Rome’s Trevia Fountan in Jamsil, Seoul. For good reason, this is a popular spot among tourists for photo opportunities and delight in the fountain’s beauty. The fountain is indoors, and in fact, it is actually underground as well! To find it, head towards Lotte World and the Lotte Department Store as you exit Jamsil subway.
Auntie Anne’s Pretzel
Much to Justin’s surprise – I had never had a pretzel like this before.
Garlic, salted, hot and delicious ~ It was incredible!
N Seoul Tower
105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
The love locks are located outside N Seoul Tower and are free to see.
To go to the observatory costs about $8 for adults and about $5 for children.
There is also a fee to ride the Namsan Cable Car or for a bus to the peak.