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Infinite Views at Seoul Sky: The Highest Outdoor Observatory in the World

If you’ve lived in Korea for any length of time, you know that clear skies and good air quality are not necessarily a given. So, when you get 3 uninterrupted weeks of glorious blue skies, fluffy clouds and bright sunshine, you know it’s time to mark the occasion with something special.

For Hallie of The Soul of Seoul and I, that something special, was a trip up Korea’s tallest building to the 3rd highest observatory in the world – Seoul Sky.

Panoramas from Seoul Sky are astounding, with views of the city, the surrounding mountains and far-off oceans stretching out as far as the eye can see, in every possible direction.

Located on the top 7 floors of the 123 story, 555 metre tall Lotte World Tower, Seoul Sky is without a doubt THE best place to get a birds eye view of one of the world’s few mega-cities. It’s hard to appreciate the incredible vastness of this densely populated metropolis on ground level, but at 500 metres up, it’s impossible not to be wowed by just how huge the city is.

There’s something spectacular to see out of every single window at Seoul Sky, but I was particularly entranced by the south-side view, which showcases the Han River, Namsan, and the Seoul Tower in the distance.

It was – in a word – breathtaking.

A breathtaking view

From the basement level, the Sky Shuttle elevator deposits you on the 117th floor in less than a minute, with a world record breaking speed of 600 metres per minute. Something I definitely felt in my popping ears, but couldn’t see, because the entire interior of the elevator is covered in the world’s first ceiling and four-walled screen, which shows video of Seoul, the Han River and it’s impressive progression over the last 50 years.

It was kind of a bummer not to be able to see outside as we rocketed up the building, but since the elevator isn’t on an outside wall, I guess you wouldn’t see much anyway.

Once you arrive on the 117th floor, escalators take you up 1 floor at a time, until you reach the top and final floor accessible with a general ticket – the 122nd. (A special ticket is required to access the 123 Lounge on the top floor).

To keep things interesting, each level is slightly different with unique features and engaging window layouts.

On the 118th and 119th floor Sky Decks, you can test whether you’re ACTUALLY afraid of heights by walking out onto transparent glass floors that give you an unobstructed view of just how high above ground you are. I admit to shaky knees and a sickening feeling of vertigo as I made my way onto the Sky Decks, but I’m proud to say I did it…and even spent some time lounging around on top of them. Literally.

If you ARE afraid of heights though, beware on the 119th floor, because you might find yourself standing atop transparent glass unawares. Staff have control of the clarity of the Sky Decks, and I bet they have quite a bit of fun scaring those among us who have a phobia of heights!

The Sky Terrace on the 120th floor is a definite highlight of Seoul Sky. It’s the highest outdoor observation deck in the world at 486 metres, and the perfect spot to get those crystal clear pics of the fantastic landscapes around you.

Visiting Seoul Sky
The ticket office and elevator for Seoul Sky is located on Level B1 of Lotte World Mall. There’s tons of signage around, so you don’t have to worry much about getting lost, but if you do, there are information booths where you can ask for help.

If you visit earlier in the day, during the week, you’re more likely to avoid queues and crowds. We visited Seoul Sky on a Friday around 11:30 in the morning, and it was essentially empty, aside from a few super noisy elementary school groups, which are easily avoided by moving to a different floor.

Tickets can be purchased for a 30 minute elevator boarding slot, on the hour or half hour. We’d bought tickets for the 12:00 – 12:30 time slot, but were able to go up earlier since there was no line. There’s a handy electronic board outside the ticket office that lets you know how many slots are available in real time. As you can see, when we were there, it was super quiet, with plenty of tickets available.

Once you pass ticket control, you’ll have to go through a security check that felt so much like an airport one, that I took out my electronics and placed them in a bin. (not necessary – and um yeah, embarrassing). Once through security, you enter the elevator boarding area, where you’ll be entertained by huge video installations about the construction of the tower, tourist destinations in Seoul and the natural wonders of Korea.

You can’t get back onto the exhibition level once you’ve taken the Sky Shuttle to the top, so make sure you get your fill before you step onto the elevator and ascend to Seoul Sky.

What’s the tallest building you’ve ever visited? Would you stand on a glass floored observation deck, or are you afraid of heights? Tell us all about it in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Wander Mum
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20 Comments Post a comment
  1. beautiful travel blog!

    June 10, 2017
  2. I actually had no idea Korea doesn’t usually have blue skies. Always thought the opposite :/ You do not look like you are afraid of heights at all! That is amazing that each level is different with different layouts. The view looks spectacular alright and you did a good job of taking photo without glare or reflection in the windows πŸ˜€ Here in Melbourne we have the Eureka Tower where you can see the views of Melbourne high from above. It has 91 floors and it costs $20 to go in for an adult. Unlike Seoul Sky, this one only has one floor. I’ve been twice and on both occasions I’ve stayed only an hour. I do want to go back again at some point around sunset and get some sunset shots – but it would be a gamble whether or not it will be a good sunset πŸ˜€

    June 10, 2017
    • It seems like the air has been getting worse and worse with every passing year. 😦 That said though, we’ve just had almost a full month of the absolute best weather, so who knows what’s ahead. I hope it continues like this…we were seriously considering moving because of it.

      The view really was incredible. Definitely the best one in Seoul by far! Though it seems like there are more and more supertowers being built here now. Eureka Tower sounds pretty high too. 91 floors is nothing to sneeze at! I really liked how Seoul Sky had 7 different levels to explore – it made the $27 entrance fee totally worth it, I think! I would also like to get some sunset shots…but I have a feeling it’ll be super crowded up there then. 😦

      June 13, 2017
  3. Wow Shelley, this looks and sounds amazing!
    Alison

    June 11, 2017
    • We really enjoyed it, especially because there were so few people inside. It’s definitely a spot you have to see if you visit Seoul. πŸ™‚

      June 13, 2017
  4. I have been in the Willis Tower (I still call it the Sears Tower) in Chicago a number of times. Our little tower is ONLY 108 stories tall (haha), but we also have one of those clear decks that you can walk out on – eek! With Chicago and Illinois being so flat, on a clear day you can see for miles and miles. The city and lake views are amazing, and we have taken many visitors there. Your tower is just as amazing (and taller, of course), your city is so much vaster to look down upon, and your visit sounds great with so few people there.

    June 12, 2017
    • Those clear decks are terrifying…and the fact that they let the staff control them is somewhat sadistic. I definitely saw people who were truly scared to walk out onto them. Can you imagine if they were standing on one, and then all of a sudden, they could see 500 metres below them? Probably enough to give someone a heart attack! πŸ˜‰

      June 13, 2017
  5. I only went to Namsan Tower last time, I will definitely check this out the next time I am there! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    June 14, 2017
    • Namsan has a decent view and it’s a nice place to visit, but it definitely doesn’t compare to Seoul Sky – especially on a clear day. Well worth going next time you’re here! πŸ™‚

      June 14, 2017
  6. Ruth #

    It is really breathtaking! One of my coworkers visited Korea recently and he can’t stop raving about the country. I would really want to go (and eat all the food!). #CityTripping

    June 21, 2017
    • Haha, yes, eating all the food is definitely of high priority when you visit Korea. There’s so much variety, and if you like spicy food, you’ll be in heaven. And a visit to Seoul Sky (on a clear day), is a great way to get a view into how huge the city actually is. Hope you make it here one day! πŸ™‚

      June 22, 2017
  7. Wow.. that is some Vantage Point!!! Would love to head there some day πŸ™‚ Cheers!! #citytripping

    June 21, 2017
    • Definitely the best one in the city and all of Korea. I think it’s currently the 5th highest building in the world! πŸ™‚

      June 22, 2017
  8. What wonderful views from the top of that tower. You’ve captured it wonderfully #citytripping

    June 22, 2017
    • We were lucky to visit when the sky was crystal clear and there were no crowds to battle. So worth visiting when travelling to Seoul.

      June 22, 2017
  9. travelingchristie #

    ooh this looks amazing I just love seeing a city from so high up all that life buzzing around below is fascinating. thanks so much or linking up #MondayEscapes x

    June 22, 2017
    • Hopefully the first link-up of many. πŸ™‚ It really is a great way to see a city – especially one as incredibly massive as Seoul!

      June 23, 2017
  10. Looks cool! Great photos!

    June 24, 2017
  11. Oh WOW. I recently congratulated myself on going up to 50-odd floors – they highest I’ve ever been in a building, but this is just a whole other ball game. And how cool that you go up and up the final ones yourself. Not al ALL sure I would have been as brave as you on the glass floor!

    June 24, 2017

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