남산 (Namsan, literally “South Mountain”) stands in the middle of Seoul, surrounded by major shopping districts and an ever-growing and modernizing city; however, many generations ago, 남산 marked the southern border of Seoul.
This mountain is easily accessed from many different points in Seoul because of its central location. For example, it is a 20-30 minute walk from Subway lines 1 or 2, 시청역 (City Hall Station) in Jung-gu. It is also right outside of Subway line 6, 한강진역 (Hangangjin Station) and very close to Subway line 3, 동대입구역 (Dongguk University Station)
There is more to 남산 than N. Seoul Tower, a.k.a. Namsan Tower or 남산타워. One of the most popular destinations aside of the tower for tourists and Seoulites alike during the springtime is the Namsan Circular Road that connects the Namsan Library to the Paljakjung. The cherry blossom trees that line this road are absolutely beautiful and well worth the hike to get there.
Almost every part of 남산 is full of lush, natural green landscape that offers a great contrast to the tall buildings and paved streets of the surrounding metropolis. The entire mountain and surrounding area is known as 남산 공원 (Namsan Park). 남산 공원 contains many places of interest, including the National Theater, Namsan Public Library, and several statues in memorial of Korean patriots. The park also contains Paljakjung (an octagonal pavilion), an aquarium, a fountain, and a cable car leading to Seoul Tower.
Since 남산 is, well, a 산, an added benefit of the placement of this mountain is that you can enjoy hiking without having to travel very far away. While hiking one of the many trails on 남산, you can enjoy the multitude of trees, plants, and animals as well as take advantage of the exercise equipment You might have to fight off some 아줌마 or 아저씨 to use it, but it’ll be a good way to practice your Korean!
남산 is also one of the best places in Seoul to get a panoramic view of the city. Whether you go during the day or at night, you won’t be disappointed. There are various photo spots and viewing platforms along the walking trails that give you the best view possible and help you catch spectacular photos of your memories that will last a lifetime.