What a better way to spend New Year’s day than taking a historic hike along the great walls of Namhansanseong Fortress in southern Seoul. Following the fortress wall that snake eight km along the peaks of Namhan Mountain, we spent the day hiking through massive gates and around Buddhist temples, and to top it off, some spectacular views of New Year’s Day in Seoul.
Located 25km southeast of Seoul, this historic fortress of Namhangsangseong is perfect for a day trip. After a 20-minute walk from exit 2 of Namhansanseong Station you come upon the main entrance to the park and you can read the amazing history of the fortress on the many information boards located in the park.
A strategic point throughout Korea’s history, fortifications were first built here in 672 to defend against Tang China. Then in 1624, with the Manchu’s threatening, King Injo ordered massive new walls to be built “along the ancient site". The result was the fortress that still stands today. In 1954, Namhansanseong was designated a national park, following the end of the Korean War.
Originally there were nine Buddhist temples built around the fortress, but today only one remains, called Changgyeongsa. We hiked to this temple to light a candle and take in some smoke from the incense and to wish happy new year to Buddha too!
Our hiking group spent about five hours on the hiking trails and met many hikers and tourists along the trails, greeting each other with warm wishes for the new year. Last year at this time, I had a nasty hangover and spent the day in bed; this year I promised myself I would have a much more memorable New Year’s day. And I fulfilled my promise, with beautiful views of the city below, clear skies, good friends, and wonderful weather I had an amazing New Year’s Day on this historical site.
• By subway: The park is a twenty-minute walk from exit 2 of Namhansanseong Station.
• By bus: Take city bus no 9 to Namhansanseong
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