Seoul’s most happening place is hands down the sky crawling N Seoul also locally called the Namsan tower. The tower that has been functioning as a tourist spot since 1980 stands a charming icon catering to every kind of tourist imaginable. It has woven itself into the cultural experience that the country has to provide for its throng of visitors. N Seoul tower isn’t just a bus or a train ride away. Its a cable car’s drive away! That’s right; standing tall on the lofty Mount Namsan is the city’s most happening place for tourists and locals . Although accessed by plying buses and foot, the cable car ride is part of the whole experience. Stretching sky high, it puts together a number of spots to take selfies from and engaging activities in its arsenal of interesting things.
A climb up the steep stairs is met with the wooden landing before the actual tower begins. On reaching the tower’s landing, the first thing that hits one is the multitude of colors that seem to pop out of the sides. These baubles that look like frozen butterflies are to our surprise locks with messages hand written on them. The infamous “charm locks” of Namsan are found in this airy open deck with people adding a piece of memory every hour to this modern monument. Rows and rows of fences sit with not a glint of iron to be seen. They are clamped with thousands of colorful and patterned locks, Iphone cases and other items of interest with doodles and messages written on them. It has almost slipped into the Seoul culture as an unconscious tradition, these “lucky charm locks”.
Lines of ink marks the Seoul tower with walkways lined with little post-its in every spatial expanse, on walls pop out boards, and even the ceilings. So, get your markers and leave behind a piece of your thought behind in this tower of wonder. While at it, don’t forget to capture a the view down, from the deck – its one of the best bird’s eye vantage points exhibiting all of Seoul. The wooden landing also stages various performances. The very famous Pungmulnori, a traditional folk show is performed by local artisans for the gathering crowd to feast their eyes on.
A few paces ahead, a giant ‘N’ perching close to the entrance welcomes everyone with its fluorescent face. Entering through the electronic gates into the tower, what catches the eye is the ease with which people walk in not looking one bit lost. The walls and pillars are all not merely glowing to add to the visual charm but in fact, serve as information dispensers. The high-tech ticket suites are also very helpful with detailed leaflets available in 4 different languages – English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese. It goes without saying that the influx of foreign tourists yearly is impressive given its charm and easy navigation.
Once you’re loaded on ammo (information), you can roam around the perimeter looking for whatever interests them. The electronic signs that read “Teddy Bear Museum”, “Restaurant” and “Souvenir shop” with elevators next to them are a prelude to what’s in store for a tourist.
The teddy bear museum is a place of awe for all children and teddy bear lovers. Every version of teddies with an array of costumes are stationed at different corners. One can also find a selection of these teddy bears to drop inside your shopping cart to take home. The Souvenir shop also helps in that area. Profuse varieties of gifts and trinkets with a hint of beautiful orient Korean patterns are available to bag. The ‘Hancook’ restaurant serves a nice quiet spot for lunch with its pleasant red and beige interspersed interiors and two dozen buffet meals to choose from.
After recharging your batteries, head out to the observatory which is next in list. Placed at a soaring elevation, it is a wide platform with digital high powered telescopes facing its own window panel. These windows as expected of a place so modernly stunning, has controls that can be used to navigate through the city views. This is very popular as a date spot owing to the fact its free of charge to avail the telescope and to enjoy the outstanding city-scape. There’s even an analog observatory with seats to observe the night sky.
As the saying goes, the best is served for last. In fact it is served on a the finest of wares on a mosaic floor that revolves! The NGrill fine dining restaurant is the cherry on the top – found at the top most deck of the tower. It completes the whole experience with a revolving theme added to it. The entire floor revolves at a pace of 1 hour and 40 minutes. In that time span, the guests would have not only chosen from an eclectic selection of Beef steaks and Fish grills, but also taken a 360 degree panoramic view of the entire Seoul skyline. There’s even a restroom on the top floor which is widely famous for its effusively rich interiors and spectacular views of the city wrapping up a unique experience in such an intimate setting. The sheer work and deco it rooms makes it a place to check out for tourists, funnily enough.
As the day grows to an end and the night filters in, the roof terrace offers a brilliant vista overlooking reeds of lights shooting out as long stemmed flowers. By inserting a 100 won coin, you can make the lights also stream out as showers for a stretch of time. Those who visit between 7 pm to 12 am in the evening also get to witness the tower’s light shows illuminating the evening sky. A picture may speak a thousand words but the cliche takes a new meaning here. For this monument, speaks in pictures, words and even in different languages to anyone who understands the language of beauty.