Going up to the N Seoul Tower on Namsan Mountain is great, but I have an extra activity that will make it even better. Not only can you see for miles and miles when you get up to the top of the mountain (and even further when you go up to the observatory), but you can also go to the Teddy Bear Museum. The Teddy Bear Museum is separate from the N Seoul Tower but located in the same area where the tower entrance is. You can either buy tickets for the N Seoul Tower AND the Teddy Bear Museum, or tickets for just the museum. We had already done the tower, and since it still wasn’t a clear day, we opted to just go to the museum.
We used the cable cars to get to the top of Namsan Mountain, and I must admit, I wasn’t impressed. Last time we went up the tower, we took the Seoul Bus Tour, which was worth the admission fee of the tour, but this time we wanted to do something different. We stood in line to get to the cable car for about 20 minutes. When we got onto the cable car: it was a quick (standing) ride to the top, in an enclosed box, squished with tons of other people, with not much more than a window on the top of the car for air flow. Sure the views were nice, but not worth the round trip ticket price (8,000 Won per person). To say it was hot in the cable car would be an understatement. I would not recommend the cable car in the summer, that’s for sure. We are hoping to go back one more time to hike up, but this will definitely be in the fall, when it’s cooler.
There are two exhibit halls in the museum. Both are located in the same area where you take the elevator up the Seoul Tower. The first time we went to the tower, we thought the little bear shop outside was the museum, we were completely wrong. Exhibit I in the museum is about Korea’s past; here you will see bears wearing traditional outfits. The scenes show old Korea from the Joseon Dynasty to present day Seoul. Exhibit II presents modern-day scenes in Seoul; here you will see the teddy bears hanging out in Myeongdong, Insadong, etc.
At first, Jim was skeptical about the whole concept of a Teddy Bear Museum; he really thought it was going to be the dumbest thing ever (I’m almost positive he said those exact words). But to his surprise, not mine because I knew it would be awesome, he enjoyed himself more than he thought he would. (This was mainly because he liked using his new camera lens, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. ) We both really enjoyed ourselves at the museum. Some of the bear scenes involved the bears moving, eating, dancing, etc. There were a few Korean paintings that were refurbished into bear paintings. Those really made me laugh, I thought it was such a creative idea.
The Teddy Bear Museum isn’t huge. We probably went through it in about 45 minutes, but it could take longer with kids. It’s a great addition to your trip up the N Seoul Tower, and a great way to beat the heat on a hot day. I would recommend buying the package tickets for the museum and the tower. I really think kids of all ages would have fun here. Not only do you get to see bears acting like humans, but you can also read about what the bears are doing in each scene, which is a fun way to learn about Korean history. Don’t forget to get a family photo next to the PSY bear on the way out!
While you’re touring all the N Seoul Tower has to offer, dine at “The Best Burger in Seoul,” which is located at the top of the mountain before you enter the attractions area. We have eaten there twice and were very satisfied with our burgers. (The burger buns are so good and so are the fries!) You can eat inside, with the A.C., or outside overlooking the city.
Directions to the Teddy Bear Museum: head up Namsan Mountain by taking a shuttle bus, hiking, Seoul Bus Tour, taxi, or cable car. (To reach the cable car entrance, take Seoul subway line 4 to Myeongdong, exit number 3, walk toward the Pacific Hotel and turn left, turn right at the ministop and continue to walk until you see the cable cars. This will be a 10-15 minute walk.) The Teddy Bear Museum is located in the same area where the entrance to the Seoul Tower is.
Fees: N Seoul Tower package (observatory and Teddy Bear Museum): 14,000 Won for adults (over 18), 10,000 Won for seniors/ teens, and 7,000 Won for children under 13. Teddy Bear Museum only: 8,000 Won for adults (over 18), 6,000 Won for seniors/teens, and 5,000 Won for children under 13. Tickets for just the observatory are 9,000, 7,000, 5,000. As you can see, getting the package is worth it!
Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (last entrance at 9:00 PM)