Last weekend, I grossly overestimated my hiking ability and went hiking in Namhansanseong (남한산성) Provincial Park. (Challenge: Try saying Namhansanseong quickly 3 times without messing up LOL). Just a short subway ride from Seoul, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a great spot to explore and spend a free afternoon. You can hike along the 12 km long wall surrounding Namhansanseong Fortress, visit one of the temples, or even explore the village located inside of Namhansanseong.
Our plan was to walk along the Fortress wall, see the views of Seoul and the Han River, and just enjoy the beautiful weather. The entire journey was estimated to take around 5 and a half hours long. Our anticipated route was to walk from Namhansanseong station to the southern gate of the fortress (60 min), then walk counterclockwise to the eastern gate (30 min), then to the Northern gate (1.5 hour), then to the Western gate (30 min), then end up at the Sueojangdae Observatory (30 min). It seemed like a long time to be walking, but it was supposed to be an easy hike, so I thought I’d be fine.
I WAS LIED TO!!!
First of all, the first hike to the southern fortress was BRUTAL. As someone who is just getting into hiking, I thought that I was going to pass the hell out. Like, I was this close to giving up and calling my mom for support. It was incredibly steep, and I was not prepared. I took a break and had already eaten most of my snacks before we even made it to the fortress. By the time we got to the fortress wall, I had to go and buy more water because I was already out. #thestrugglewasTOOreal
Once we finally made it to the Southern Gate, the hike got a little easier. That just means that I didn’t feel like my life was coming to an end the entire time. There were still sections of the fortress wall that were incredibly steep, but there were areas in between that were easier to walk and offered some relief. I still had to take a lot of “picture breaks” throughout the hike. **Note: a picture break doesn’t actually require you to take pictures. It’s just a way to make me feel better about having to stop every 10 minutes to prevent my death LMAO**
Although I almost passed out a few times, the hike along the Namhansanseong Fortress wall was actually a great way to spend the afternoon, and if you have even the smallest iota of stamina, then you’ll enjoy it.
Getting to Namhansanseong Provincial Park
It’s pretty easy to get to this park from Seoul. Take line 8 to Namhansanseong station and get off at Exit 4. Walk straight for about 15 minutes, and you will end up at the entrance to the park. Entrance to the park is free, so you should check it out!