For someone who has never been to South Korea before, you have many pre-conceived ideas and expectations of what you think the country will be like. When the lovely people at KOCIS invited us to take a trip around Korea, us KCM ladies had about a million thoughts of what we would experience and see. But in the end, nothing can really prepare you for experiencing something first hand.
After arriving at Incheon, and driving through Seoul, you realise one thing; Seoul is MASSIVE compared to London. Everything was bigger – the roads with 4 lanes, the skyscraper buildings, even the Han river makes the Thames look like a stream. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. It’s huge.
To really get an idea of the scale of Seoul, we were taken to Namsan Tower which overlooks the whole of the city in 360 degrees. From this high vantage point at night when the city is lit up, you can see how far the urban sprawl goes. The night scene is so mesmerising and breathtaking. We have been up London Eye before, but that is nothing compared to the vastness of Seoul. It’s astonishing how large and vibrant the city really is. Namsan Tower is actually a communications and observations tower. Built in 1969, then opening to the public in 1980, it’s been a very popular destination for Koreans and foreign visitors alike. The tower stands at 777ft tall on the mountain, so when you get to the top, you can really feel every foot of that height.
To get up to Namsan Tower, you can take a cable car. Not only is this a fun way to reach the tower, but for fans of Korean dramas, it gives you a chance to act out and relive some of your favourite romantic scenes. One of the most memorable drama scenes, which we’re sure many of you will remember, is from ‘Boys Over Flowers’. Unfortunately, we didn’t find Lee MinHo smouldering away in the cable car much to our disappointment. However, it’s a really fun way to get to the top, and will set up your Namsan Tower visit nicely.
Once you get off the cable car, you reach the base of the tower. You’ll find cafes, a few shops and some traditional architecture here. Also before going up the tower you’ll find yourself face to face with the infamous padlocks everywhere. If you’ve researched about Namsan Tower before, you’ll have undoubtedly seen that people come here to leave a padlock or two at Namsam Tower. These padlocks are usually known as love padlocks, and it gives a chance for couples to place a padlock at the Tower and throw away the key, symbolising their love will be forever locked. Romantic! Because of these customs, Namsam Tower is date central. Couples everywhere! If you’re with your loved one, this is a perfect evening date, and we’re sure you’ll find romance everywhere. We also noticed that phone cases where locked to the fencing everywhere too, so if you forgot a padlock, this will come in handy for you to leave something at the Tower to commemorate your visit.
There’s also a range of restaurants at the Tower too. So once you’ve had your fill of looking at the vistas, you can choose from a wide range of different types of food. The range of food is pretty big, and covers Korean dishes to more European meals. We went to an Italian restaurant at the Tower, which had some amazing food. What we also noticed was dozens of couples cosied up in the special couple love seats facing the windows of the restaurant, looking out into Seoul’s night times views. It felt like proposals would start spontaneously happening any second. Namsan Tower is definitely a place to take your loved one. However, it’s also a great place to go by yourself or with friends.
Coming here as our first attraction in Seoul was great. The Tower is amazing to look at, and it’ll be great to be able to partake in the padlock tradition one day with a lover, rather then a blogmate, even though we love each other, just not in that way… Also, getting to the top of the tower and seeing the view really gives you a great introduction to Seoul and the size of it. You can see everything and was a perfect way for us to first be welcomed to the country.
Sources: N-Tower Wiki