by Marion KDL
Aside from enjoying the views from a rooftop cafe or restaurant, how about checking out lookout points this Summer? If overpriced cakes and coffee isn’t quite your thing, then just pick up a few of your favorite snacks and drinks and head to one of our recommended spots — and the view is free.
When planning for a visit, be sure to chose the right timing. Some of these lookouts are best visited during the day, while some sparkle at night; others are 24/7 jewels that shine no matter when you go.
From historical ones, to those off the beaten track — let’s jump straight into our thematic list of 15 K-Dramaland lookouts!
Joseon Era Lookouts
Neighborhood: Dongsung-dong [동숭동]
Quite a few of K-Dramaland’s lookouts and viewing platforms are directly part of, or very close to Hanyangdoseong (literally translated as the Seoul City Wall or Seoul Fortress Wall); Seoul’s Joseon era borders.
The most K-Dramaesque starting point to explore the Joseon frontiers of Seoul would certainly be Naksan Park [낙산공원]. It lies directly at the 2.1 km long Naksan section of the Fortress Wall (its Eastern part) that runs between Heunginijimun Gate and Hyehwamun Gate, passing via Naksan Mountain. A trip to this section can be easily combined with a visit to Ihwa Mural Village [이화 벽화마을], which lies directly on the slopes of this mountain with Café Gaeppul [개뿔] and Ihwa-dong Village Museum [이화동 마을박물관] that also sit along the Seoul Fortress Wall.
Naksan Park not only offers a splendid view of Seoul on any given day or night; if what we see in K-Dramaland is anything to go by, this is also the perfect place to bond with family, relax with friends (or alone) — and for some, fall in love.
Neighborhood: Hoeyeon-dong [회현동]
Since Mich KDL told me about her visit to this place, and seeing her photos with the backdrop of lush autumn leaves, this 6.3 km long Southern section of the Seoul Fortress Wall is definitely on my bucket list on my next trip to Seoul. This trail leads you toward two other lookouts, Namsan Tower/N Seoul Tower [N서울타워] and the famous Kim Sam-soon Stairs [삼순이 계단].
Neighborhood Muak-dong [무악동]
These two best friends definitely know how to choose places to hang out and have a heart-to-heart talk. You don’t need to ‘cosplay’ them entirely by renting a scooter to visit this lookout, which has a direct view of Seoul Fortress Wall’s Inwangsan Section. You can also go for a walk and climb the staircase that you see them leaning against.
Neighborhood: Buam-dong [부암동]
This lookout would probably be one with the most historical and cultural depth in this overview. Aside from being located at the Baegak Section, which is Seoul Fortress Wall’s Northern part, it also opens up to a quite dark chapter of Korea’s history — its colonialization by Japan. During your visit here, you would also be introduced to the life and work of one of Korea’s most reknowned poets, Yoon Dong-ju. My tip is to make it a day trip when coming here, so that you can discover and dwell in lovely Buam-dong.
Classic K-Drama Lookouts
Neighborhood: Yongsandong 2(i)-ga [용산동2가]
You cannot find a location more classic than this, when looking for the lookout to visit; at least as a K-Drama aficionado. When here, look out for the pavilion. I always feel that this is one part of the N Seoul Tower platform that is too overlooked, as the love padlocks get all the attention. One option to getting here is by taking the Namsan Cable Car [남산 케이블카], which already allows you take in views Seoul on your way to one of its peaks.
Neighborhood: Itaewon-dong [이태원동]
No doubt, Cha Hyun-o (Shin Hyun-soo) picked the perfect (K-Drama) place for a heart-to-heart talk. This platform sits on a trail that also leads to Namsan Tower; a perfect way to rest in between the hike, by taking in the view from a distance.
Han River Lookouts
Neighborhood: Sangam-dong [상암동]
I totally understand why Deanekitty29 has chosen this lookout as her favorite location. As she shared with us, “Seeing the wonderful view of the city – especially at night – in dramas like Manhole, really amazed me.”
Neighborhood: Eungbong-dong [응봉동]
On the other hand, I think I can safely say that this mountain park would be my go-to lookout (sorry, deanekitty29). A calm environment, with a pavilion, an exercise area, and a splendid view both day and night. It indeed has everything going for it — what more could I ask for?
In K-Dramaland, this is also a place where feelings grow, or are confirmed. Maybe you’d want to see if the K-Dramaland spells also works on your crush, by bringing them here?
Neighborhood: Huam-dong [후암동]
In K-Dramaland, this staircase is a place for retreat or for heart-to-heart talks. So, when looking for a place to be on your own, get lost in thoughts or just to cry your heart out, you might want to consider coming here. Because afterwards, when relieved of some emotional weight or having regained a clear head, you can enjoy a great view over Seoul and letting your s(e)oul just be.
When visiting, I suggest following along Sowol-ro [소월로 계단] till Bus Stop Bosung Girls’ Middle & High School Entrance [보성여중고입구 정류장] — a bus stop in shape of a radio — while enjoying the ride, ahem, walk.
Neighborhood: Songrim-dong [송림동], Incheon
Disclaimer: Do not expect Gong Yoo to show up with a steak when you light a match here. That said, this staircase definitely redeems itself with a nice view (and access to Songhyeon Neighborhood Park [송현근린공원]) after some climbing.
Neighborhood: Samseon-dong [삼선동]
“It was as if I was standing from the rooftop of a tall building overlooking the city!,” described Iris27, as she shared how she’d felt when climbing up this staircase and lingering at its top.
Neighborhood: Yonghyeon-dong [용현동]
This is certainly not a bad place that Kim Jin-hyeok (Park Bo-gum) chose to wait for his beloved. Yet, he was probably too impatient to see her, that he did not have eyes for the beautiful view … if only he could have just turned his head to the right for a second?!
If somebody else has the same idea as you and also comes here for a break, just head a little bit down the street to Mind Travel [마음여행자] and the staircase right next to it.
Neighborhood: Hoeyeon-dong [회현동],
Let’s close this section with K-Dramaland’s most famous staircase lookout. This is definitely a place to go on a date. Most people seem to concentrate on the walk up — but don’t forget to turn around, once you’ve arrived at the top.
Two Bonus Lookouts
Neighborhood(s): Sangwolgok-dong [상월곡동]/Hawolgok-dong [하월곡동]
If you prefer the more off-the-beaten-path K-Drama tracks, this lookout might be right up your alley. Why not end an afternoon visiting Secret Forest locations right here, enjoying the view and relaxing from a day of discoveries?
Neighborhood: Pyeongchang-dong [평창동]
Even though Seoul is already a rather green city, you might want to escape the city’s hustle-bustle for a little while, but not heading too far out. This park on Bugak Mountain [북악산] offers some fresh air and a splendid view over Seoul. You would certainly want to bring a picnic basket with you as Eun-chan did. But make sure your love-rival is not in close proximity, in case you want to spend some time with your crush here.
Have we missed out any others from your favorite Korean dramas?
Tell us in the comments!