As the Korean national pastime is hiking without doubt, A good ole’ nature walk will do you a world of good. Taking a Setting off on an early morning in search of Namhansanseong Fortress in Namhansanseong Provincial Park sounds like an awesome idea.
Sitting just on the outskirts of Seoul is a fortress little known to the outside world. Significantly less well-known than the UNESCO recognized Hwaseong Fortress which is in Suwon, Namhansanseong is actually older and has a more interesting history than Hwaseong just not as well publicized.
Namhansanseong is a haven for hiking and enjoy a more natural setting. The fortress walls completely envelop the peak, and the valley in the fortress’s belly is where a small town with traditional buildings and several restaurants can be found. Strolling along the beautifully restored ramparts, you can get a wonderous view of the southern part of Seoul and the Han River. However, if you look the other way, you will see a thick forest filled with wildlife. Which way will you enjoy viewing more?
Both on the inside and outside the fortress walls, Namhan Mountain is choked full with small temples and shrines everywhere so keep a sharp eye out for them, also some of the original buildings from the 16th century are close by on your hike, keep an eye for those ttoo. On weekends, you’ll find many Koreans in their hiking gear make the hik the walls and checking out the mountain’s other attractions.
If you are just visiting Korea and only have enough time to take in one fortress outside of the city, It is highly recommended skipping Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon due to the high volume of people and instead making the effort in seeing Namhansanseong. It’s a fantastic day trip for both nature lovers and history lovers in all of us.
Despite how close it looks to Seoul on the map, Namhansanseong’s mountain location makes it a bit difficult to reach. The most accessible way is to take subway line 8 to Sanseong Station, get out at exit 2, and take bus number 9 for approximately 20 minutes until you reach the town on inside the fortress walls.
For the hikers looking for more of a challenge out there, take subway line 8 all the way direct to Namhansanseong Station and walk out of exit 2. And from here walk uphill along the road for roughly 20-25 minutes until you come upon a series of hiking trails. Follow the signs that will lead you to the south gate, which will take you up the hill, We love going uphill right? Now, From the park entrance, it’s about 45 minutes of a fairly muscles killing, energy draining hike, but you will eventually reach the fortress walls and the south gate. Give yourself a pat on the back and bask in the glory of Nature. Happy Hiking!