Want a great view of Seoul that doesn’t require a challenging hike, but don’t want to brave the crowds at Namsan tower? Achasan is an excellent option. It has a great view of Seoul and the Han River, especially the almost finished Lotte World Tower which really dominates Seoul’s skyline.
Achasan is not a difficult or long hike, and it isn’t even necessary to hike to the top to get the views. I took the easiest path there is, and started at Gwangnaru Station on line 5. Leaving exit 1, There’s a bit of a walk uphill to get to the entrance. Currently there’s some construction going on as Gwangnaru station is being expanded. I had to cross the street and then walk across a bridge to get to the entrance. I started at Achasan Ecological Park, which is small, but nice.
From the ecological park, there are signs pointing to the trail. Achasan was once the site of an important battle during Korea’s 3 Kingdoms period, that was used to protect Hanseong (Seoul’s former name), the capital of the Baekje kingdom, from Goguryeo and Silla. Not much of the fortress is left, only some bricks. The fortress path is a bit off the main path, and I didn’t bother walking there since I heard most of the fortress is gone, but there is some information in English about the history of the wall.
After the fortress area, it isn’t long before the viewing pavilion can be reached.
Enjoy the view!
The way down is also easy and doesn’t take very long, although it was on solid rock so the first part of the way down was a bit steep for me, luckily an old man let me use one of his hiking sticks for that part. On the way down I passed through the ecological park again and a residential area. Not too far away was Gwangnaru station again.
As mentioned before, the viewing pavilion is not at the peak of Achasan so it’s an option to follow the signs and continue to the peak. A nearby mountain on the same trail is Yongmasan, which can be combined with Achasan for a longer hike.
For me personally though, I was happy to just stick to the pavilion view. I wanted to possibly stay after sunset to see the city lights, but then realized I might have more of a problem climbing down in the dark, so I left at the beginning of sunset.