Let me begin by saying that I didn’t hike up Namsan, rather I hiked down the mountain. The idea of hiking up a mountain lugging my laptop bag, camera, and tripod sounded like a small slice of Hell. I wasn’t alone as the bus heading up was completely full (strange for a Thursday afternoon) and the crowd was only larger once I reached the peak.
Once at the peak, I had my choice of paths to make my way back down to the bottom. For the most part, Namsan is surrounded by subway stations and, theoretically, each of the paths should drop you off near one. But this being my first foray down the mountain I decided to take a rather direct route down toward Myungdong. I can’t speak for the other trails but this one was about 1.2 km to the base of the mountain and another 1 km to a subway station to the No. 2 line.
Walking down the path was more interesting than I had expected. There were more than enough clearings to give me a decent view of the city below. And the path winds around more than enough so that you can find a spot to get a good view of the hike ahead. This time of year the forest is thinned out so there wasn’t much to see as far as nature was concerned but it was a breath of fresh air to be able to walk around somewhere in Seoul without the jostling and shoving that come naturally here.
By the time I reached the bottom, I had passed at least thirty people walking up. For the most part they were teenagers and older couples but there was the occasional younger couple and small family making their way up. I did not envy them, nor do I feel the need to try walking up the mountain in the future.
All in all, I’ve had easier times satisfying my wanderlust but I’ve never had such a good view of Seoul from above.