The Seoul Metropolitan Government unveiled plans to build a gondola in Namsan, an initiative it has been putting off for years, posting a bidding notice. If the plan proceeds as scheduled, tourists will be able to board a gondola near Myeongdong Station to the top of Namsan. According to the plan, the gondola will leave from Namsan Yejang Park, which is 200 meters away from Myeongdong Station, and travel 804 meters to the top of Namsan. This would significantly boost public transportation access, given that the current cable car at Namsan is around 600 meters from Myeongdong Station.
Each gondola would fit 10 people, with 25 units in operation. Speed is 4-5 meters per second, carrying around 1,600-2,000 visitors per hour. It would take three minutes to travel one way. The targeted construction completion is November 2025, and the fare is expected to be around 10,000 per adult for a round trip, which costs less than the current cable car fare (priced at 15,000 won per adult). “Feasibility analysis showed that cost benefit is 1.99, which far exceeds the threshold of 1, which is considered economical,” said an official with the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “We expect to break even in around five years.”
The Seoul Metropolitan Government estimates that around 1.89 million tourists will ride the gondola annually. “Visitors to Namsan have declined since 2021, when access was cut off for tourist buses. We expect to bring back tourists again once the gondola is up and running,” said a city official. A survey by the city government of 1,000 citizens showed that 80.7% of respondents said they favored the plan.
Proceeds from the gondola operation will go to restoring Namsan’s ecological environment. A Namsan Ecological Preservation/Leisure Fund (tentative) will be created, and a related ordinance will be enacted. The Council for Sustainable Namsan Development, consisting of environmental and expert groups, held six rounds of meetings for the gondola project.