Hiking is one of Koreas most popular free time activities. No matter if young or old – a lot of people escape into nature when the city and everyday life gets too busy. There are a lot of hiking options nearby and around Seoul, so of course I had to try it for myself and went on a hike to Namhansanseong Fortress, which is close to Jamsil.
You can take the bus, that will bring you to the closest spot nearby the mountain. From this point you start walking towards the mountain through a little street, which is surrounded by old, little shops, cafes and restaurants. Especially a lot of older people come here to enjoy their hiking, so the places are targeted towards that age group.
When you follow that street, you’ll also come across a Buddhist temple. I can highly recommend to make a short stop here and check it out. It’s a super pretty and a calming place!
When you’re at the foot of the mountain, you’ll see the last public restrooms before going up. There’s also an area to clean your shoes when you come back. The hike will lead you through a forest with a stream.
As a beginner myself I had some struggles going up the stairs (around 1400) to the top later.
Once you arrived the top you have an amazing view over Jamsil. The fortress is also right at the top, but when I went there the doors for public visit were closed.
I guess I was just unlucky. Nonetheless it’s a great experience! You can walk down the same way you came up.
All in all, the hike took around 90 minutes. It’s a good route for beginners as well!
Namhansanseong Provincial Park surrounds Namhansanseong Fortress, one of four forts built to protect Hanyang (the former name of Seoul). Gaeseong, Suwon, Ganghwa and Gwangju are located in the north, south, west, and east direction respectively. Namhansanseong Fortress is located to the east in Gwangju. The park is situated on Namhansan Mountain, 24km southeast from Seoul and 6km northeast from Seongnam. The length of trails is a total of approximately 12.4 km (main fortress 8.9km, external fortress 3.2km, Sinnamsanseong Fortress 0.2km). The height is 7.3m.
The fortress is alternately recorded as being the royal fortress of King Onjo of the Baekje Kingdom, whose father was King Dongmyeong during Goguryeo period or a fortress built in 673 during the reign of King Munmu (the 13th year) of Silla period during the heat of the Silla and Tang War. The old site was rebuilt several times, with its current style of construction being built in 1621 during King Gwanghae’s reign.
Namhansanseong’s circumference is approximately 12km, stacking small natural stones over big stones. The fortress includes Sueocheong (Namhansan Mountain Fortress Defense Command), Gwana (government office), storage, and a haenggung (temporary palace), as well as 80 wells and 45 springs. Also, administration was moved from Gwangju-eup to inside of the fortress, clearly showing the importance of Namhansanseong Fortress in that period. 12,700 people participated in a field exercise carried out for the first time after building the fortress by command of King Injo (17th year, 1639). These days, only a few buildings remain inside of the fortress including East and South Gate, Seojangdae, Hyeonjeolsa Temple, Yeonmu Hall, Janggyeongsa Temple, Jisudang, Yeongwoljeong, and Chimgwaejeong. Among these remaining buildings, four gates, Sueojangdae, and some parts of the fortress in the middle of West Gate still maintain their original forms. Namhansanseong Fortress is designated as Historical Site No. 57 and a provincial park.
Mountain Not Access Period
Seasonal Forest Fire Watch
February 1-May 15, November 1-December 15
[Course 1] Sanseong Rotary – North Gate – West Gate – Sueojangdae – Yeongchunjeong – South Gate – Sanseong Rotary
[Course 2 ] Sangseong Rotary – Yeongwoljeong – Sungyeoljeon – West Gate – Sueojangdae – Sanseong Rotary
[Course 3 ] Namhansanseong Fortress UNESCO Heritage Center – Hyeonjeolsa Temple – Beolbong Peak – Janggyeongsa Temple – Mangwolsa Temple – East Gate – Namhansanseong Fortress UNESCO Heritage Center
[Course 4] Sanseong Rotary – South Gate – Namjangdaeteo – East Gate – Jisudang Altar – Gaewonsa Temple – Sanseong Rotary
[Course 5] Namhansanseong Fortress UNESCO Heritage Center – East Gate – Dongjangdaeteo – North Gate – West Gate – Sueojangdae – Yeongchunjeong – South Gate – East Gate – Namhansanseong Fortress UNESCO Heritage Center
Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
[Namhansanseong Provincial Park]
Individual: Adults 2,000 won / Children 1,000 won
Group: Adults 1,600 won / Children 800 won
- Group: 30 people or more
- Adults (ages 19-64), Children (ages 7-18)
- Free (ID required): Senior citizens (ages 65 & over)
Benches, water supply systems, restrooms, cultural relics, Namhansanseong Fortress History Museum, memorial site, valley, etc.
Two-wheel vehicles: 500 won / Cars 1,000 won
Buses: Under 12 seats 1,000 won / Over 12 seats 2,000 won
Trucks: Under 4.5 ton 1,000 won / Over 4.5 ton 2,000 won
Interpretation Services Offered
- Reservation: Namhansanseong Fortress Visitor’s Center +82-31-745-2845
- Available languages: English, Japanese, Chinese