Standing at the bottom of Seoul Tower looking up, the tower isn’t all that impressive. I’ve seen it from a distance every time I went to Myungdong to go shopping but standing at the base looking up… it wasn’t all that impressive. It doesn’t even look that tall. The reality is, if you’ve seen one tower you’ve seen them all.
We bought tickets and walked into the tower lobby (which isn’t all that impressive either). We had our tickets cut and loaded onto a [slightly] crowded elevator with other tourists and locals who had taken the day off. The ride up is short and made memorable by a short (and incredibly cheesy) video playing on the ceiling of the elevator departing Earth and landing on the tower’s higher stratosphere. Step out of the elevator onto a dark corridor and walk towards the light.
Even on a cloudy day the sight is amazing. It’s not just being somewhere really high up, it’s the changes in scenery below. Walk around the tower and you’ll see the moutains, part of the Han river and all of the cityscape.
It was impressive. The tower isn’t much of anything at all, it offers 360 degrees of viewing (compared to all other towers which usually offer the same) but Seoul is an impressive and well built city. We walked around the viewing area several times to let it all sink in while other groups where having picnics or taking pictures by every window.
We headed downstairs to the Teddy Bear Museum(which was fun and themed differently from the one in Jeju), checked out a few cafes and made our way to the gift shop where we bought locks. We bought locks because the real treat of the day didn’t preside inside the tower, but just outside.
The fences outside the tower have become a memorial to locks. Thousands of locks adorn the fences and walls just outside the tower. Some of them are well rusted with age and others are brand new, placed there no more than a few minutes ago. Almost all of them are decorated with hearts (sold in the gift shop) and have messages inscribed in a variety of languages. It’s more than a little overwhelming when you get there. Some of the locks are those bought at the shop while others are most definitely not. I found more than a few that were bigger than my fist.
It was cheesy and more than a little fun while we wrote with markers and tried to tape on pictures that we took at a photo booth upstairs. But once you see that wall of locks and how long they’ve been there, it’s really hard not to want to put one on yourself. We found spots for our locks and hooked them on good and tight. It might be a year, two or maybe never but I’m determined to go back and check on them someday.
We made our way back down the tram, down the hill and to a restaurant where the day began to slow down. We made a short trip to a village styled area (that didn’t merit pictures, hardly merits mentioning) and ended the day short afterwards. But even with my intense (and reasonable) fear of heights it was amazing how enjoyable the trip to Seoul tower was.
Afterwards we headed back to Myungdong, a slow and tired trek made by three who had just walked up a hill only to have to walk back down it. We enjoyed a nice meal at 육쌈냉면 and rounded out the day at a nearby village taking goofy pictures by cutouts. All in all, a nice day.