For visitors of Seoul, South Korea, one popular attraction can be seen from nearly every spot within the city. At over 750 feet in height and centered on top of a small mountain just north of the Han River, Seoul Tower is definitely a landmark that you notice right away. Although its main purpose is to transmit radio broadcasts throughout the metropolitan area, the tower has recently pulled double duty as an “island of love” where, according to its website, “your happy love comes true.” Ingenious marketing ploy or sincere re-branding gesture? With all the hubbub surrounding Seoul Tower, I figured it was worth a trip over the Valentine’s Day weekend to see for myself.
Reaching Seoul Tower
About the only way to reach Seoul Tower is by bus. There are several different bus lines that cater to visitors on a continual basis throughout the day. Since cars are no longer permitted within the Namsan Mountain natural area, the only other option for reaching the top is walking. That being said, those who walk the 2.6 km, uphill route are usually exercising and not dating. If you visit during late evening, you’ll first notice the color of the tower. Seoul Tower is lit up nightly with different, changing colors. When my wife and I arrived, the tower started out blue and then shifted to green as we left. The view from the base of the tower is worth the trip alone. Visitors have a near 360-degree vista of Seoul and there are plenty of vantage points for photos. After taking in the sights, we moved to a large observation deck outside of the tower where the love theme finally materialized.
The Many Ways to Profess Your Love
The first, and most popular, way to profess your love is by affixing locks to different parts of the structure and then “throwing away” the key. One lock, you, firmly secured to another, your lover, hanging forever as an unbreakable bond. In the past, couples literally threw the key down the mountain so the locks could never be opened. I think they’ve stopped this practice due to environmental concerns, apparently the only force more powerful than love. Locks hang everywhere, from the safety barriers to trees, each with little messages of love inscribed on the metal.
The second way is taking the obligatory kissing picture on the various broken benches. The benches around the tower are shaped like a ‘V’ so that when two people sit, they automatically slide together to meet in the middle. Supposedly, these benches even foil scorned lovers taking respite from their journey to the tower. Once they sit and rest, gravity takes over and they are forced to commingle and make up their differences.
Lastly, couples can profess their love at one of the many restaurants located at Seoul Tower. A few of the fancier ones have outward views of the city. My wife and I went to one of these and watched the city transform into a sea of lights as the sun went down. If you feel so inclined, there is a restaurant at the top of the tower with full views of Seoul. It even slowly rotates, so there’s never a bad seat. Bring plenty of cash, though, as this eatery is very expensive.
Ready to Visit Seoul Tower?
If you live in Seoul or are visiting the city, a trip to Seoul Tower is a must. Transportation information is listed on the tower’s website and all signs around the area are translated in English. Remember to bring a date while visiting Seoul’s “island of love,” rest on a broken bench, and enjoy the view.
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