Knowing that I love to take long walks everywhere I go my aunt wrote down for me a walking trail in Seoul she researched a while back. I’d put it away somewhere along with maps and brochures and whatnot, and had nearly forgotten about it. But on Monday while I was eating lunch and thinking about what I might do in the afternoon, it dawned on me that I could go find this walking trail. So I went through my Seoul folder, found her note, tucked that piece of paper in my back pocket, and headed out to NakSan Park for a stroll. She’d written down that I should start from DongDaeMun but I did the trail backwards, opting to end in DongDaeMun and return home via ChungGaeCheon streams.
I figured I may as well check out the University area at the base of the mountain called DaeHakRo, a place well known for small theaters for independent plays and musicals, art galleries, and hangouts for young people. I took the subway to HyeHwa station and wandered around for a bit before heading up the hill towards the mountain.
Right by the subway station there was an open space where performance artists and singers were delighting the passersby. It was a lively and vibrant area.
I saw signs for NakSan Park but got lost in the back streets of DaeHakRo, so I ended up having to ask a friendly police officer for directions. I’d walked right past this sign moments before talking to the police officer!
As I walked up the hill towards the park, I started to get better and better views of the city below. Here in the foreground is a traditional Korean home, but in the distance you can see low rises and high rise apartment buildings of Seoul.
It was fascinating to see the old Seoul still remaining and I enjoyed walking amongst the residents of this neighborhood. I had been on the outside of the fortress but I passed through an opening back into the village to find this little community garden and an old lady tending to it.
There were a few murals there, too.
Back out by the walls, I saw a Buddhist temple floating amongst the sea of tall concrete forest.
My brother and our friend P. arrive in Seoul later this afternoon. Since they don’t want to do anything “touristy,” I’m going to suggest that we go to Naksan Park for a walk. Maybe in the morning this time.
Naksan Park: 서울특별시 종로구 낙산길 54 (동숭동50-111), 50-111 Dongsung-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul (map). To get there, either start from DongDaeMun subway station exit 1 and walk up. Or start from DaeHakRo, HyeHwa station exit 2.
The trail I did is called 낙산공원 성곽길 (NakSan GongWon SungGwakGil) and the name of the village is 이화동 (YiHwaDong), 벽화마을 (ByukHwaMaEul, meaning mural village).
About Naksan Park from Visit Korea website: Naksan Park gets its name from its camel hump-like appearance. In Korean ‘nakta’ means camel and ‘san’ means mountain. So people refer to the park as Nakta Park or Naksan Park. The mountain is solid granite bedrock. The Joseon royal family enjoyed the natural beauty of the granite mountain, but during the Japanese Colonial Period a hasty manner of urban planning resulted in the demolition of most of the mountain. In an effort to save the remaining green belts, Naksan was designated a park on June 10, 2002. Located in the center of the Seoul, this historical and beautiful park allows its visitors to view the magnificence of the entire city.