Early Morning Hike to Mount Namsan Park

I’m one of those people who consider waking up early in the morning as a big achievement. There’s just something magical about those quiet, early hours when the world is still asleep and the day stretches out before you, full of endless possibilities. So on the last day of my solo trip in Seoul, I decided to go for an early morning hike to the magnificent Mount Namsan Park.

To get there, I took the subway to Myeongdong Station and then went to Exit 5. On my way to the base of the mountain, I got lost for a while because I couldn’t find the entrance to the trails. I finally found the trailhead after walking back and forth in an alley when two young Koreans asked me if I was lost. They kindly led me to the stairs leading up to the hiking trails.

I was not expecting such amazing scenery from what looked like a random path in the middle of Seoul. I normally don’t hike alone especially when I'm in a foreign country, but seeing how established the trails were, I decided to go for it.

me at the trailhead of Mount Namsan

It was the start of the autumn season, so the leaves had begun to change, resulting in a beautiful mosaic of reds, yellows, and oranges. The mountainside was lined with trees shedding their leaves, so I found myself surrounded by a sea of foliage. I was surrounded by beautiful red leaves, which contrasted beautifully with the blue sky above.

Mount Namsan is a beautiful place located in the heart of the city that many people don't know about. It's a peaceful place where you can relax and connect with nature. As I climbed higher, I looked back to see the whole city of Seoul spread out below me. The view was amazing, and it reminded me how much progress South Korea has achieved.

I continued my journey, occasionally crossing paths with fellow hikers who just like me, were avoiding my gaze. If there’s one culture in East Asian countries that I can totally relate to, it’s their culture of turning away or avoiding the eyes when their gaze meets with someone they don’t know. In the Philippines, it’s so normal to stare or openly greet people but I always find that a little awkward.

It was interesting to observe this cultural difference and embrace the unspoken understanding among hikers on Mount Namsan. There was a sense of camaraderie, even without exchanging words. We were all there for the same purpose – to escape the bustling city and immerse ourselves in the serenity of nature.

Eventually, I made my way to the viewing deck at Mount Namsan Park. I took a moment to simply breathe and take in the majestic landscape that stretched out before me. The viewing deck provides a bird’s eye view of the city of Seoul. On a clear day, you can also marvel at the 360-degree view of some of the mountains in South Korea.

Panoramic view of all the mountains in South Korea which you can see on top of Mount Namsan

As I descended the mountain, I felt re-energized and clear-headed. The hike had invigorated my body and refreshed my mind, reminding me of the importance of taking time for myself and finding solace in nature.

As I made my way back to the city, I couldn’t help but smile at the memories I had made on that mountain. Seoul had captivated me with its vibrant energy, but it was the tranquil escape to Mount Namsan that had left a lasting impression on my heart.

Unfortunately, my time in Mount Namsan was cut short. Just as I was fully enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of the mountain, my busy schedule reminded me that I had a flight to catch back to Cebu and that time was running out. Sadly, I had to leave the mountain and head back down. However, I promised myself that I would return, as Seoul has so much to offer, and Mount Namsan deserves more than just a quick visit. Hopefully, on my next trip to this captivating city, I will have the chance to dedicate an entire day, or even more, to truly experiencing the mountain's magic and charm.

Also read: Old Soul in Seoul: My Solo Trip to South Korea

Guide to Mount Namsan Park in Seoul, South Korea

Mount Namsan Park is a beautiful natural spot in the middle of Seoul's busy city. It's a must-visit destination for any traveler, with its greenery, historic sites, and famous Namsan Seoul Tower.

Getting to Mount Namsan Park

Seoul has an efficient public transportation system that makes visiting Mount Namsan Park easy. The closest subway stations to Namsan Mountain are Myeong-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4) and Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3 and 4). From these stations, you can walk or take a short bus ride to the base of Namsan Mountain. Bus stations are also situated near Namsan Mountain, providing easy access to the park and its surrounding areas. The Namsan Cable Car is also another convenient way to reach the top of Namsan Mountain. It takes about three minutes to reach the top from the lower cable car station. You will find several guides when you reach Myeong-dong station.

Essential Tips

Best time to visit

Spring and fall are the most picturesque, but Mount Namsan Park is a delight throughout the year. Visiting early in the morning or late afternoon avoids crowds.

What to wear and bring

Comfortable walking shoes are essential. Also, pack layers to adapt to changing weather conditions and carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated.

Safety precautions

Stay on marked paths, be aware of your surroundings, and always follow park safety guidelines.