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Mountainous Seoul

September 30th, 2008 by

Seoul MountainsThere is always something interesting to do in Seoul. If you have grown tired of shopping, shopping, more shopping, or seeing the more touristy sites like royal palaces, etc., one thing new that you can most certainly try is to do a little bit of mountain-hopping in Seoul.

The vibrant and colourful city of Seoul is not only surrounded by towering concrete buildings but by majestic mountains as well. These mountains of Seoul have played a very important role in helping Seoul protect itself and its people from all forms of foreign invasions and even rebel forces that attempt to break Seoul’s barriers. And still up to this day, the overpowering mountains that overlook the bustling city serve an important military purpose that cannot be ignored.

In this modern age, when uprisings have already lessened and not as strong as before, the mountains of Seoul not only provide security. These mountains now serve as a getaway destination for the people of Seoul when they are yearning to reconnect with nature, breathe the freshest air, relax, get fit, bond with loved ones, go somewhere where they can break out from their hectic city life or take in some of the remarkable views of the urban landscape from high above.

One mountain that plays multiple roles in the way of life of the people of Seoul is Mt. Bugaksan. This mountain provides a prominent background for the Gyeongbokgung Palace which used to be Korea’s center of authority and power. It is also the background for Korea’s current center of power, the Cheong Wa Dae’s Presidential Palace. Since 1968, Mt. Bugaksan has been closed to the general public given that it was a military zone. Recently, it was partially opened to hikers and to tourists in order to give anyone who is curious about this mountain a chance to experience it and see its ancient walls and proud fortress gates.

The different mountains of Seoul allow anyone to literally rise above the busy streets of downtown Seoul and savour the fresh air while relishing the gorgeous view of the city. Visitors can also appreciate Korea’s history and the culture of Korea’s ancient capital.

Seoul Tower

Another famous landmark in Seoul that allows visitors to experience Korea from an elevated perspective is the Seoul Tower. This structure rises high above Mt. Namsan which is right at the center of the capital and it offers the sweetest views of the city from a height of 262 meters. You can get to Namsan either by foot or by riding the cable car. If you decided to ride the cable car, your adventure starts from the Hoehyeon-dong Station where you can appreciate the scenery that flashes before your eyes during the cable car ride. But another structure called the Palgakjeong Pavilion which sits atop of Mt. Bugaksan, competes with the N Seoul Tower for the recognition of being the “top” viewing deck.

Namsan Garden

See the entire city from this pavilion and be prepared to sigh in pleasure because of the wonderful sights that you can take in with your eyes like royal palaces, both historical and modern landmarks like the steel glass skyscrapers that overshadow Seoul’s skyline. Like most tourist destinations, you can also visit the other attractions that you can find at Namsan aside from the pavilion like restaurants, coffee shop, convenience stores, tourist centers, a playground, a zoo, a botanical garden, etc. Locals will advise you, though, that the food served at the restaurants of the Palgakjeong Pavilion is only average. It is a better idea to just relax your abused feet while sipping your cold drinks or hot cafe. You might also want to order of the restaurant’s delectable sweets that will surely make your mouth water and your taste buds scream in delight.

This is not as you can also look turn your head the other way and be treated with another view of the cityscape. Anyone who is looking for adventure would be treated to the overpowering stance of the Mt. Bukhansan National Park. Mt. Bukhansan has stood watch over city of Seoul for a long time.

The trek to the top will not be easy. Of course, climbing mountains is never easy. You will constantly look up and wonder how much more of the uphill climb you can actually take. But when you reach the summit and feast your eyes on the view of the city from the Palgakjeong Pavilion and after you feel the cool breeze caress your hair, you will immediately realize that the experience is worth all the effort. You will be lost in the beauty of what you will see and be captivated by the towering mountains – granite cliffs, tall trees, protruding branches, stony roads and all.

Nowhere in Seoul can you enjoy the view this way. If you are looking for a fresh change and would like to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, then the summit of Seoul’s mountains are just perfect for you — quiet, calm, and totally invigorating. Savour the view and hear yourself say “wow!”

6 Responses to “Mountainous Seoul”

  1. Monica Says:

    I won’t get tired of shopping haha but if in case i do, then maybe i should check out these mountains. :)

  2. Kitci Wong Says:

    that’s funny monica… it seems like you are a shopaholic! :D

  3. How Well Do You Know Asia Challenge Says:

    […] the numerous offerings of South Korea, is it from the a) Exotic Jeju Island, b) Mountainous Seoul, or the c) Splendid Sea City of […]

  4. Crute Says:

    Nice way that you present your ideas. You have a well set out blog and I will check back again. Thank you.

  5. Things To Do In Incheon Says:

    […] beaches and numerous nearby islands available for visits. It is especially accessible from Seoul due to its proximity with the capital and the fact that the subway systems of both cities are […]

  6. ron armstrong Says:

    Have read several descriptions of Seoul mountains, trying to determine which mountain
    was location of my stay during war years 1950-1953. I conclude it must have been Bugaksan, determined by your descriptive writing, “…background for the palace” I have a
    picture of the mountain with the palace in the foreground which I made with my camera
    while walking through the area. Thanks for helping me solve this decades old mystery.

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