Bugaksan Seoul Fortress
Bugaksan Seoul Fortress
4.5

Top ways to experience Bugaksan Seoul Fortress and nearby attractions

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Jen L
Tokyo, Japan652 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2013 • Solo
Seoul Fortress is on the recommended list of almost every guide book, and also promoted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government ("SMG"). I figured (incorrectly) that it was a touristy thing to do. It isn't for everyone.

I used the walking route on the SMG website. Adding the fact that I got slightly lost near the Hyehwamun area for about 10-15 minutes, it actually took me almost 3 hours to get from the Hansung University Station to the bus stop nearest Changuimun. The first tip is this -- if you can't walk and climb for three hours (with short rest stops), this isn't for you. Sure, it's paved and all, but you will be walking for a long time, and it's steep is several places. The 2.2 km distance is just the secured area. I think getting to the secured area on foot from Hansung University station is another 2.5 km (not sure). Don't take that for granted.

Not taking that for granted also includes the following:

a. Eat beforehand and bring some food if you can -- there are no stores to buy food along the way.

b. Bring water -- I had a bottle of water that I had to refill at the security checkpoint because I walked so long half a liter of water was not enough even for half the route, and I couldn't buy any along the way.

c. Consider the weather -- it's not just about walking for three hours; it's doing it at a certain temperature so unless you're sure you can sustain walking in the cold/heat or wet/dry, think again.

I found that listening to music on my iPod distracted me from what I wanted to do, which was cry. It was so cold and tiring. I think the difficulty of the walk surprised me, which was why I was unhappy.

This is not to say I regret going there. The place was really lovely. 4.5/5 for lovely -- mountains, trees, the city visible from the heights. I had to give it a 3/5 overall, though, because it was very difficult for me.

Other tips:

a. Someone at the forum told me that taking the walk in the opposite direction is worse. Yup. It's steeper to climb from Changuimun to Hyehwamun.

b. There aren't enough English signs -- well, not as many as other places in Seoul. I recall that in the secured area, there were crossroads at some point, and the signs were in Hangul. Thank God I could read. There's more than one route, you see -- I could have ended up somewhere else, i.e., not exiting Changuimun.

c. No reservation required so just show up! there's a cut-off in terms of time so make sure you make it in time to enter the secured area.

d. Passport required to enter (I'm not Korean).

e. They were not kidding about the place being guarded by the military. There was a soldier every few meters throughout the secured area. If you come from a country where you are unused to soldiers and barbed wire, it's pretty freaky. I was scared although no one bothered me while I walked.

f. Going back to the city from Changuimun? Cross the street and take the bus from the opposite direction. Research beforehand on what bus to take from there -- there are three buses stopping at Changuimun.

Recommended for the strong and healthy, and fans of natural beauty.

I could come back, but on a warmer day, when I am fed and hydrated.
Written April 25, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Xi M
Singapore, Singapore53 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2014 • Friends
Beautiful view. You must go because photos are restricted, and you won't be able to experience the beauty through viewing those photos uploaded onto the internet. Bring your passport, wear comfortable clothes (best not to wear jeans and dresses/skirts) and a good pair of walking/hiking shoes. Depending on the route you take, it might be useful for you to bring a hiking pole as a certain section of the trek would be rather steep. Try not to plan another activity into the same day so that you can spend as much time here as possible. Likewise, don't bring too many things with you in your bag, you will definitely regret halfway through the journey. Trust me, you won't need those things at all. No need for coats, scarfs etc in autumn, the exercise will warm you up. You can go with your friends, family, or alone. Not for those travelling with young children because the steps are tall.
Written October 23, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrew M
7,541 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Family
My son and I did a day trip to visit all the remaining gates of seoul fortress. We started at the Malbawi Information Center and hiked to the Changuimun Information Center. This course was easier than hiking from the Changuimun Gate.Depending on your level of fitness, the hike may take between 2 - 2 1/2 hours. The steps should not be underrated as they are very steep in some areas. There are no toilet or garbage facilities after reaching the Malbawi Center, so ensure that you have sufficient water and carry your garbage with you until the end of the hike.

Malbawi Information Center may be reached by taking subway line 3 to Anguk Station, then bus # 2 to Sungkyunkwan University Rear gate. There is no visible bus stop at the university, but it will be clear that you are at the last stop. It is the stop after the entrance to Waryog Park, and is a steep climb uphill. I think that it was the 8th bus stop from Anguk. Continue to walk uphill for 5 minutes and the Seoul Fortress wall will be seen. Walk along the path next to the wall for 600 meters, always keeping the wall in view on your left, and you will reach Malbawi information Center. It should be noted that there are few signs in English , and at one point a small foot bridge is passed and a really steep staircase that when climbed takes you over the wall. When on the other side of the wall, the malbawi Information center is a 5 minute walk away.

Passports have to be provided for inspection and a form filled out, after which an ID tag will be received. This tag is placed around your neck and will have to be returned to Changuimun/Malbawi Information Center after your hike is completed. Guards are posted at regular intervals along the trail, and photos may only be taken at the following areas: Sukjeongmun gate, Baegakmaru, Chatdaebawi Rock, 1.21 Pine Tree, Baegak Rest area and Dolrae Rest Area. If in doubt, ask the guard if you can take a photo.

The hike offers beautiful views of Seoul, and the North and Northwest gates of Seoul Fortress. At the Changuimun Gate there is a bronze statue and memorial stone for soldiers who died during the 1.21 incident. Buses to Gwanghwamun Square can be easily taken by crossing the road at Changuimun gate.
Written August 25, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lunalite
Singapore, Singapore27 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Friends
We started the the trail from Waryong Park and ended in Changuimun Gate. To get to Waryong Park, go to Anguk Station, Exit 2 and take bus 2 from the bus stop right outside the exit. Get off at the stop called Waryong Park (which seemed more like the back gate of Sungkyunkwan Uni and nowhere like a park) and walk up slope along the road until you really reach Waryong Park.

Malbawi Information Centre is still ~30mins walk away from Waryong Park. There, you will need to fill up a form and register using your passport. After which, a tag will be passed to you which you will have to wear for the rest of the hike until you reach Changuimun. The information centre also have toilet facilities and you can fill up on water too.

There seemed to be a few side trails but as a rule of thumb, we just followed the fortress wall. The down side of this is that part of the view is blocked by the wall. In addition, photo-taking is not allowed for some places (generally in the direction of the Blue House), and there are guards along every few metres to ensure that. However, you still can catch a good view of Seoul city.

The trail comprises of ascends and descends until the peak at Baekakmaru and where the view is not to be missed. The real descend comes after Baekakmaru and is done by walking down stairs and more stairs until Changuimun. I was glad I did not start the route from Changuimun gate. There are simply too many stairs to climb.

To get to metro station from Changuimun Gate, follow the sign to Gyeongbokgung until you reach the main road, cross the road and take bus 7022 or 7212 to Gyeongbokgung Station.

Will recommend to do the hike towards the end of your vacation in Seoul as my calf muscles were aching for the next few days from walking all that stairs.
Written May 17, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Matilda T
31 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The whole hike/climb/walk of the Seoul Fortress is about 12.8km so please be prepared to walk a lot if you want to complete the whole city wall! There is a shorter version, which is only 5.6km that's provided by the Seoul Tourism Organization that you can go for too! I hiked during Winter and it could be really dangerous if you don't not have appropriate attire. Please prepare spikes for your hiking boots because the ice could be really slipper and dangerous!

Seoul fortress walk does not only provide a beautiful view but also an area with political and historical context. It is heavily guarded by soldiers because of its close proximity to North Korea, the Blue House and many other prominent and significant buildings. Most importantly, North Korean tried to take down the Blue House via that entrance and hence, security was breached. Because of that, there are many directions where you cannot take photos of.

You can talk to the soldiers along the way and some might even give you some valuable insights! Some of them are even fluent in English.
Written December 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

luv2trvl2012
Las Vegas, NV148 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Solo
I probably should have done my homework a bit better and read other reviews that recommended climbing Seoul City Wall beginning at the western part of the wall at the Malbawi Information Center. Instead I started my ascent at the Changuimun Gate. As others have said, this is a restricted military area and one must show a resident card or passport and sign in. You will be given a badge to wear for the duration of your climb, and boy what a climb it was. I cannot say I am in the best shape so this was very strenuous and hard on the knees. At points I thought it was never going to end but the views were worth it and I met many nice people along the route. It also was not very crowded. I started my journey around 1330 and ended up at Samcheong Park around 1600. Make sure you bring plenty of water. There are no restrooms or facilities along the way. Pictures of the city are restricted in many areas, with the 121 bullet tree a stark reminder of why this is a military zone. I will say the tree was further away from the Blue House than I thought it would be. I took a picture of it as I doubt I will be adventurous enough to try this walk again...even if I began from the other direction!!! I probably should have exited from Waryong Park but was told it would be easier to catch a cab by Samcheong Park--that was a good 1/2 trek from the Malbawi Info Center, but luckily it was largely downhill. In the end I found a bus as I exited the park that dropped me off in front of the Sajong Performing Arts Center and picked up the metro from there. Altogether I am glad I did this but boy were my legs aching the next day.
Written August 28, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chan V
16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015
To safe time, we simply took a taxi to our starting point, Waryong Park from Myeongdong. By taxi actually cost less than the subway (4 person fare). We hiked through Sukjeongmun and finished at Changuimun. The whole journey took about 2 to 3 hrs. The veiw and scenery is pretty unique and you will be amazed to see young soldier holding M16 running to their guard post. Remember to bring your passport because the main route is a restricted area. One more tip, don't take the easterly direction (Changuimun to Waryong Park) which many tourist book suggested. The uphill staircase will kill you. The westerly route (Waryong Park to Changuimun) is much easlier since Waryong Park is already in mid peak.
Written September 15, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gary M
Shanghai, China223 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Solo
I spent two mornings hiking in Northern Seoul city. You can reach the Seoul fortress from Jongno area by foot, bus or taxi and it is simply quite stunning location. The fortress itself requires you to bring your passport to enter. You then have the choice of left of right. Right direction leads to the East Gate and West leads to the west gate. The east side is far more gentle and accommodating, and leads you through some lovely neighbourhoods and residential districts. Note that in the gap section, you have to walk past the high school, down the hill to Eksu and then through the theatre district up the hill behind the Arko theatre to rejoin the wall trail. TO the West, it is abundant nature, long trails and steep hills, most of it is paved or has wooden walk way. It is easy to get lost, but that is part of the fun, as if you follow the trail, you will eventually get back to somewhere where there are buses and subway. Make sure that you check out the wall with the bulletholes from North Korean soldiers.
Written July 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Madzia85
Stavanger, Norway43 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Couples
Try this trip if you want to get closer to the nature. There is a trail through the Waryong Park and then walking by the fortress wall. You will get a really nice view over Seoul and mountains surrounding the city. It is a military area so remember to take your passport (you will need to register and show your passport to get a pass). Take some comfortable shoes.
We took subway to Anguk Station, exit 2, and then bus no. 2 that departs like 10 meters from this exit. Bus ride takes about 10 minutes, we got off on the last stop and walked from there.
Written April 25, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

598saml
Sydney130 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Solo
Bugaksan was one of my favorite sights I visited - despite being restrictive in photography, one can still enjoy the beauty and views of the area with the eye. There is high security on the trail and many cameras watching you due to its proximity to the Blue House (Cheongwadae). The walk is not difficult - the entire path is well marked and paved, only once or twice did you have to walk on some unpaved areas - which had been well groomed and cleared. If you are tired, there are rest areas (but no toilets).

Tip: Start from the Malbawi Information Centre (Waryong Park/Anguk Station end) as it is the easier course and has more frequent (and visible) transport options back towards the city. Starting at the other end, Changuimun, means a steep uphill climb up stairs... recommended for those who want a challenge. Passport for foreigners is a must.
Written April 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Bugaksan Seoul Fortress - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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