The fortress wall surrounding the city of Seoul displays Seoul's past and present along with its urbanization and nature. It adds grandeur to the city and provides people with a chance to rest in nature. The Seoul Fortress Wall Footpath consists of four walking courses that include Course 1, the Baegaksan/Bugaksan course, Course 2, the Naksan course, Course 3, the Namsan course, and Course 4, the Inwangsan course. In an effort to vitalize the walkway, Jongno-gu District of Seoul provides a tour guide service. Tourist groups that consist of four or more people who make reservations three days in advance can walk along the pathway with trained tour guides. This program will help tourists who want to enjoy the relaxing side of Seoul and make a special memory while doing so. There is also a stamp map on which visitors to the courses can collect stamps at the end of each course and redeem them for special commemorative prizes.
Course 2 connects the vibrant Daehangno (University Street) and Dongdaemun, Seoul's shopping mecca. It takes approximately two hours to complete the course, and is the easier one of the four paths. From exit 1 of Hyehwa Station, walk straight toward the four-way intersection and turn right, and then walk 200 meters toward Dongseoung Middle School. You will see Hyehwamun Gate and the starting point of Course 2. From Hanseongdaeipgu Station (exit 5), you can walk for five minutes to get to Hyehwamun Gate. At the gate, you will see maps of the Seoul Fortress Wall Footpath and the Naksan course. The whole wall consists of light hiking and is difficult to get lost on. However, the path branches off in many directions at Naksan Park, so it is recommended to refer to the map.
The Naksan course is especially beautiful at sunset and night. Since the course is on high ground, visitors can take in panoramic views of the surroundings below. Looking up, the sky is visible in all directions without interference. It also has with it Seoul's untouched nature. The walls along the trail look mysterious and beautiful. The awe that people feel when they see the walls is beyond description. Naksan Park is located in the middle of Seoul Fortress Wall Footpath. The park is a popular place to bring a date and also famous for its beautiful nightscape. With a stunning landscape and atmosphere that makes you feel like you are out of town, the park is able to provide a great amount of respite from the stresses of daily life. If you visit Course 2 at night, it's recommended that you enjoy the nightscape. There is an observatory just a five-minute distance from the park. It is frequented by people who want to enjoy the city lights. You can feel the grandeur and beauty of Seoul created by the shining city lights as if they were stars in the sky.
After Naksan Park, the trail branches off in three directions. You should take the middle one. If you are confused, follow the signpost in the picture on the right. Signposts and maps are installed along the trail, helping hikers find the right path. Also, feel comfortable to ask a local resident or passerby for directions. After walking along the fortress trail for a while after Naksan Park, there will be a downwards incline and a street with many cars. Here, you will see Dongdaemun Gate, the endpoint of the Naksan course. If you walk slowly and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Naksan course, you may feel it was short and wish you had more time to enjoy it. However, any regret will quickly be forgotten once you enter Dongdaemun. When you look at Dongdaemun Gate standing tall amidst the rush of cars flying past it, you will see the past and the present of Seoul overlapped. Given its juxtaposition of past, present, nature, and city, the Naksan course is arguably the best place to capture the full breadth of Seoul.
Photo) Nightscape of Dongdaemun Gate
Visit Korea Journalist
Article and photos courtesy of Ha Taeyong (firstname.lastname@example.org)