This is part of an ongoing travelogue, to start at the beginning click here.
Day 3 started early as we went down to the nearby Ediya Coffee for quick breakfast. Yesterday, we had bought breakfast the night before from Paris Baguette, the bakery that’s a bit like Delifrance and is found on almost every street in Seoul. Ediya is like their local Starbucks, and at 8 something in the morning, it is surprisingly quiet here. So we had a peaceful breakfast listening to Christmas music on the sound system.
That’s a cream filled chocolate bun, waffle with cheese spread and the small long box is a cheesecake.
Today we are going to N Seoul Tower atop Namsan Park in the morning, and shopping in Ewha Women’s University area in the afternoon and visit the Seoul Lantern Festival along the Cheonggyecheon River.
First up, N Seoul Tower. it is walking distance to from our hotel, so we took a slow walk, taking in the scenery along the way.
This is the Bank of Korea, with the European style stone faÃ§ade.
Traffic at peak hour is nothing like here, the roads are relatively clear even right in the city centre.
If you are walking from Namdaemun, you can take a free funicular tram up to the cable car station.
The tram is actually very small but you can take the stairs or wait for a bus to take you up to the cable car station above.
The Namsan Hill cable car is popular, so there is always a long line of people waiting. Buy the ticket at the counter (keep the stub if you’re buying return ticket) and take the stairs about 2 floors up. The line started on the stairs up into the waiting area.
There are two lines of cable cars running, but each have a capacity of only 30 people so the line moves slowly. But if you get into the car, try to go for a side spot if you want to snap pics. Alternatively if you don’t want to take the cable car, you can hike up Namsan Hill for a scenic view. There are a few routes, it can take anywhere between 1 to 2 hours.
Getting to the top of Namsan Hill is worth the wait. The park above is actually quite big, it affords many different levels of panoramic view of the city around it.
There are also thousands of locks left behind by tourists and lovers latched onto the railings and metal frames. We lost our luggage bag lock during the flight here, so we bought a pink heart lock from the souvenir shop. it cost KRW 8,000 and it comes in a nice cardboard box, matching key and a complimentary sharpie pen (to write your message).
Atop the hill there is an old beacon station, back in the days of the empire they’d light the beacon and send smoke messages to the other stations far away to warn of enemies attack. Every day there is a symbolic ceremony where these pretty boy guards come, march around a bit, and light the beacons (I suspect they use cigarette lighters). You can rent hanboks for free and take photos with the guards.
After that we bought our tickets and went up N Seoul Tower. If you are inclined to, there are many things to see and do in the Tower. There is a Chinese and Italian restaurant, a teddy bear museum (Koreans seem to like this very much), and even a trick eye museum. But if you want to just go to the observation deck, just the basic ticket.
N Seoul Tower is much like the KL Tower and other towers they have in other cities like Hong Kong, Gold Coast, etc. This tower isn’t very high, but it has an advantage of being on a high hill to start with.
Atop the tower you can buy lots of souvenirs and also send a postcard (like on the Eiffel Tower). Anyway we were hungry so it was time for lunch. The queue for the descending cable car was much shorter (thankfully). From the station, we planned to take a free shuttle bus to Myeongdong, but the information counter told us it would be faster to walk downhill. So we followed the crowd and walked. It wasn’t really very near, but apparently Koreans are used to walking much more than Malaysians.
After passing to side lanes packed with small hotels (a good place to stay if you want to be near Myeongdong), we reached somewhere near Prince Hotel. We were really hungry by then, we picked one BBQ restaurant for our lunch. the reason why I chose this one was because I saw some construction workers having lunch inside, always trust hungry construction workers for cheap, local food.
Lunch was really good.
Next up – Shopping Around Ewha Womans University