The first time I visited Namsan Tower in Seoul was in 2003. That time, private vehicles were allowed to go up to where the tower is located. Two years later, in 2005, only designated buses, tour buses and taxis with foreigners in it were allowed to climb up. They said it was to minimize the pollution caused by vehicles and preserve the cleanliness of the air in the mountain. To get to the tower, one had to board the yellow bus from bus stops around the base of Namsan.
Late last year, the Seoul city government introduced the new Namsan tour buses. My son and I visited Namsan last Saturday afternoon (while my husband accompanied his boss to Bukhansan) and he was so excited to take the new bus designed with the colorful N Tower and Hetchi, Seoul’s official mascot. The bus is shaped like a peanut. It’s electric-powered so it’s eco-friendly. Since it’s new, it was really clean inside. The bus we took was full but we managed to get a seat at the back, beside the window. There were two free seats and I tried to have my son sit but he said he’d rather sit in my lap so others can take the other seat ;p