Walk Seoul’s history & culture along the Seoul City Wall
Walk Seoul’s history & culture along the Seoul City Wall
Spring is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. There are plenty of parks and urban spaces in Seoul to enjoy a walk. However, if you’re looking for something with a little more meaning, plan a trip along the Hanyangdoseong, Seoul City Wall. You’ll feel Korea’s history and culture come to life as you walk along paths treaded on by people from the Joseon dynasty.
Introduction of Hanyangdoseong, Seoul City Wall
The Seoul City Wall was built to protect the capital city of the Joseon dynasty, then called Hanyang. This 18.6-kilometer-long wall follows the ridges of Inwangsan, Baegaksan (Bugaksan), Naksan, and Namsan Mountains. The wall can be walked along the six trails of Baegak, Naksan, Heunginjimun, Namsan (Mongmyeoksan), Sungnyemun, and Inwangsan Sections.
Hanyangdoseong, Seoul City Wall
- Sungnyemun Section: Baekbeom Square ↔ Site of Donuimun Gate (1.8 km, approx. 1 hr)
- Heunginjimun Section: Heunginjimun Gate ↔ Jangchung Gymnasium (1. 8km, approx. 1 hr)
- Naksan Section: Hyehwamun Gate ↔ Heunginjimun Gate (2.1 km, approx. 1 hr)
- Namsan (Mongmyeoksan) Section: Jangchung Gymnasium ↔ Baekbeom Square (4.2 km, approx. 3 hr)
- Inwangsan Section: Site of Donuimun Gate ↔ Changuimun Gate (4 km, approx. 2 hr and 30 min)
- Baegak Section: Changuimun Gate ↔ Hyehwamun Gate (4.7 km, approx. 3 hr)
- Naksan, Heunginjimun, Namsan, Inwangsan Sections: Open 24 hr, all year round
* Excluding Namsan Section between The Shilla Seoul & Banyan Tree Club (Open 09:00-18:00)
- Sungnyemun Section: November-February 09:00-17:30 / March-May & September-October 09:00~18:00 / June-August 09:00-18:30 /
- Baegak Section: May-August 07:00-19:00 / March-April & September-October 07:00-18:00 / November-February 09:00-17:00
Website (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Sungnyemun Section - Easy (1.8 km, approx. 1 hr)
The Sungnyemun Section is a great way to see traces of the old wall in the new city. During the early 20th century, many parts of the city wall were damaged in the process of urbanization. However, some sections were restored, and the combination of damaged sections along with near-perfect reconstructions will leave you in awe. This section of the Seoul City Wall features many cultural assets of Korea’s modern history, such as former foreign legation offices, schools, and churches.
Among the many heritages you will see along this section, Sungnyemun Gate, National Treasure No. 1, is by far the most outstanding. If you would like to start walking from the gate, the fastest way to get to the trail is by coming out of Exit 5 at Hyehwa Station (Seoul Subway Line 4) and passing through Namdaemun Market.
Heunginjimun Section - Easy (1.8 km, approx. 1 hr)
The Heunginjimun Section starts from Heunginjimun Gate (Dongdaemun Gate) and ends at Gwanghuimun Gate. Along this trail, you can see modern attractions like the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, and enjoy shopping at Dongdaemun, Pyounghwa, or Bangsan Markets.
Naksan Section - Easy (2.1 km, approx. 1 hr)
The Naksan Section is a great choice for beginners and those looking for a simple walk. The course features a simple walking trail from Hyehwamun Gate, past Naksan Mountain to Heunginjimun Gate. This section is characterized by small neighborhoods built right up against the wall.
Namsan (Mongmyeoksan) Section - Moderate (4.2 km, approx. 3 hr)
The Namsan, or Mongmyeoksan, Section connects Jangchung Gymnasium with Baekbeom Square. The full course takes about three hours to walk, but you won’t have time to feel bored with all the things to see along the way. The highlight of this course among tourists is walking to Namsan Seoul Tower and Namsan Octagonal Pavilion. Of course, if you want to take a shortcut, you can always ride the cable car.
This section is especially popular in spring and early summer, when it is vibrant with new green leaves and sprouts. The area behind Jangchung Gymnasium in particular creates a beautiful harmony between the greenery and the wall.
Inwangsan Section - Hard (4 km, approx. 2 hr 30 min)
The Inwangsan Section is comparatively steep, but is popular for its panoramic views of the city. Walking along this trail can be made more fun by looking out for the many uniquely shaped rock formations, such as Seonbawi or Chimabawi Rocks. Coming down from the mountain, the trail passes popular attractions like the neighborhoods of Buam-dong and the hanok village to the west of Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Baegak Section - Hard (4.7 km, approx. 3 hr)
The Baegak Section starts from Changuimun Gate and passes over Baegansan Mountain to Hyehwamun Gate. This section is the highest and most difficult of all the Hansangdoseong trails, preferred by hiking enthusiast.
Tip) Seoul City Wall Key Point
The stones used to build the Seoul City Wall have weathered much throughout the years. Some damaged sections were repaired, while others were entirely reconstructed. As you walk along the trail, try and see if you can spot the difference in stone quality among different sections.
For a stroll: Naksan Section
If it is your first time walking along the Seoul City Wall, we recommend starting out with the Naksan Section. The trail is relatively flat, with few sections of mountainous terrain, making it one of the easiest courses. If you start from Hyehwamun Gate, you can also visit the Hanyangdoseong Exhibition & Visitors Center to pick up a trail map, pamphlet, and art catalogue.
The main attractions you might see while walking the Naksan Mountain Trail are Ihwa Village and Seoul City Wall Museum. Ihwa Village offers over 30 galleries, museums, and cafés in addition to many beautiful murals. Near the end of the trail, you can visit the Seoul City Wall Museum to learn about the 600-year history of the wall as well as its value as a cultural heritage.
Website (Korean only) ）
Address: Area of Naksan4-gil, Ihwa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 이화동 낙산4길 일대)
Seoul City Wall Museum
Address: 283, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 283)
Operating hours: 10:00-18:00 / Closed Mondays and New Year’s Day
* Hours subject to change by season
Main facilities: Permanent Exhibition Hall, Special Exhibition Hall, Doseong Information Center, Learning Center
Website (Korean only)
For a challenge: Namsan Section
If you have half a day to spare, challenge yourself to complete the Namsan Section! In addition to seeing the popular Namsan Seoul Tower, you can also stop for jokbal (pig’s trotters) and bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) at Jangchung-dong Jokbal Street, famous among Koreans.
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