Don’t let Seoul’s concrete towers fool you, the tallest structures in the land are the verdant mountains that envelop the city. The trails here offer hikes that range from leisurely strolls to gruelling feats of strength. On weekends the capital’s denizens sport their characteristically colourful branded clothing, grab telescopic trekking poles and fill their backpacks with snacks to share on the way, including rice cakes and makgeolli (rice wine). For the adventurous, Seoul’s highest peak in Bukhansan National Park, reaching almost 850 metres, is worth the challenge. Or for a satisfying view of downtown that won’t wear you out, walk the Seoul City Wall along the 340-metre-high Bugaksan. The latter is near the presidential residence so you’ll need to show ID.;

Truefitt & Hill, Cheongdam-dong

Resembling a private gentlemen’s club, complete with a grandfather clock, a chesterfield sofa, a chandelier, some 19th-century prints and a bar serving complimentary whisky, Truefitt & Hill’s Cheongdam-dong branch opened in 2017. The barbers are trained in London and offer services that use Truefitt & Hill products, all of which are sold in store. Visit by appointment only but if it’s fully booked try The Shilla branch.

The world’s oldest barbershop, Truefitt & Hill was established in London’s Mayfair in 1805.

5 Seolleung-ro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu
+82 (0)2 511 1805

Namyangju riverside cycle route

Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: Following the river through and out of the city
Best time: Early afternoon
Nearest metro: Paldang Station 

Rent a bike at Myeong Sport World inside the station. From here head out to Paldang-ro and hang a left. When you reach a three-way intersection with a small roundabout, turn right into a car park; this will lead you down to the bike path along the Hangang, where you should turn left.  

Cycle along the path as it bends back towards the street, crossing at the lights. From this point on, the path follows the route of an old railway line. You’ll ride past farmland before easing back along the river – slow your pedalling to truly soak up the rural scene. Ahead you’ll see the Paldang Dam, spanning the width of the river, just before the course takes you through a well-lit tunnel. Down the path on the left-hand side is Neungnae Station, a café that provides a good excuse for a break.  

From here you’ll cross over an iron railway bridge as the river splits into its north and south branches. The bike path will soon run parallel with the new railway line as you enter Yangpyeong. At Yangsu Station, park your wheels and take a stroll around the riverside town. If you’re not up for the ride back, hop on the train with your bike.

Images: Jun Michael Park, Alamy

Go back: Seoul


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle 24

00:00 01:00

  • The Stack