Winter Vacation: Seoul Day 3, The Art Galleries of Buam-dong and the Seoul Fortress Wall to Sunnyemun


A cold, crispy and sunny day 3 saw a sojourn to Buam-dong before a walk along another section of the Seoul wall from Buam-dong ( Changuimun gate) to Sungnyemun. I’ve written about Buam-dong before, just remember its best to take the bus up the hill and descend rather than ascend like a numpty!

DSC_0666I went down the hill in Buam-dong towards the university but really it is not worth the effort, stay at the top, venture no farther than the new Seoul Museum.

The museum’s owned by the philanthropist Mr. Ahn who just before the last election dropped out of the presidential race. Above the museum is Seokpajeong a villa that belonged to Prince Regent Heungseon who ruled Korea in the late 18th Century.  It’s a beautiful setting and well worth a visit.

DSC_0667 - Version 2After visiting the museum cross over the main road and explore the quaint streets, cafe’s and galleries of Buam-dong (not on Monday’s they are closed). To take the walk return up the hill to Changuimun Gate and the Poet Yun Dong-ju’s Hill, which is where the walk downhill starts. Here in the shadow of Mt. Inwangsan, on a clear day, you have fantastic views of Seoul towards Namsan. Its easy to pick out the royal palaces and the presidents “Blue House“.

DSC_0704As I descended the mountain I appreciated the views but was constantly surveyed by the masses of security protecting us from an “impending” North korean invasion. I saw more Koreans hiding there faces from the CCTV than in any other place in SK.  The highlights (other than the views) of my descent can be summarised as follows:

  • At least 10 fellow hikers fell into uncontrolled laughter when I said hello to them, I’d like to think I make people laugh but such mirth at pleasentries was inconceivable.
  • I saw 7 young ladies making the trek in high heels, I believe Korean women are the worlds best totterers on a mountain side, they should be applauded!
  • I met 5 couples picnicking with copious quantities of makeoli, did they make it to the top or just stagger to the bottom?
  • Is it normal throughout the world to see 9 hikers applying make-up products and carry elaborate mirrors within their hiking paraphernalia?
  • I saw one lady sledging without a sledge encourage by her son to enhance her bum burns.
  • 2 people were observed squatting behind bushes less that 2 metres from the main pathway…really!

An enlightening descent was followed by a visit to the closed Seondaemun Prison History Museum (bloody Monday). I returned to Tongui-dong for beef rib stew (galbi Jim) at a restaurant called 007. DSC_0768 I had been shaken by my observations but not stirred from my ambition to circumnavigate the great Seoul Joseon Wall. I viewed a few galleries and then settle for a coffee in a gallery off Jahmun-ro 6. After an afternoon nap I ventured out into Jongno for my Khanbu and a beer. Day 4 beckoned, the 1988 Seoul Olympic Park.

Seoul Museum, Buam-dong, Hours: 11am to 7pm (5pm for the Seokpajeong, Contact: T. (02) 395-0100, www.seoulmuseum.org

Buam-dong can be accessed from Gyeongbokgung Station. Buses #1020 and 7022 serve Buam-dong from exit 2 and 150m down Jahamun-ro.  Get off at the Changuimun gate or down the hill at the museum.