Nestled in the hills of Busan you’ll find the Somang Stairs, or also known as the Stairs of Wishes. But the true star of this enchanting site are not the stairs themselves, but the Somang Stairs Monorail. This charming mint-coloured monorail wasn’t just built for looks though – it was designed with the elderly residents in mind, offering them a convenient way to not have to walk up and down the 192 steps.
And here’s a little secret – when the locals aren’t using it, visitors are more than welcome to hop on and enjoy the ride, free of charge!
The Somang Stairs Monorail is most definitely a TikTok worthy location and when I shared my video from my visit it gained a lot of attention. And since I have no intention of gate-keeping this beautiful hidden gem, here is everything you need to know about visiting this vibrant location.
About the Somang Stairs Monorail
Somang Stairs is a vibrant staircase located in Busan, South Korea. And while it’s have been there a while, the 192 steps and the area surrounding them have undergone a major transformation in 2022 and are now beautifully decorated with murals and artwork, as well as a newly added mint-coloured monorail.
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The Somang Stairs monorail is a residents-first mode of transportation, but if there is no one there you are more than welcome to ride it, in fact I was encouraged by an elderly citizen to get in and give it a try!
The monorail is comprised of two sections and while it’s a lot faster to just walk up the stairs, it is definitely a unique experience riding the Somang monorail instead. The ride on both sections will take about 6 minutes.
Climbing the Somang Stairs or taking the Somang Stairs monorail is not only an aesthetically pleasing experience but also a rewarding one, as it offers panoramic views of the city of Busan from the top.
The Somang Stairs of Wishes boasts an array of colourful murals on its steps and walls that lend an artistic charm to the stairway. From uplifting messages to intricate mosaics, the artwork adds an individual touch to each step, making the climb a visually stimulating and engaging experience. Not to mention it’s a joy to photograph!
The legend of Stairs of Wishes
The Somang Stairs of Wishes are located at the foot of Eomgwangsan Mountain, where an ancient spiritual site, Dongja Rock, was once located. Legend has it that this revered rock was a place where countless individuals sought to make their deepest wishes, believing that they would unfailingly come true. However, with the arrival of the modern staircase, the enigmatic Dongja Rock vanished in the blink of an eye.
However, locals still believe that the energy of Dongja Rock, buried somewhere in the ground, penetrates the stairs and still grants wishes, and this is why they decided to call the Somang Stairs the Stairs of Wishes.
PS: Please don’t quote me on this explanation, it’s a combination of me reading and translating a Korean sign and talking to a kind elderly resident. It still doesn’t hurt making a wish here though, does it? 🙂
How to get to Somang Stairs Monorail
Location and Address
If you want to save it on your Google maps, here is the address: 87-176 Dongdaesin-dong, Seo-gu, Busan, South Korea.
I would highly recommend using Naver for navigating in South Korea though, and here is the Naver address:
Somang Stairs Monorail
부산광역시 서구 동대신동2가 87-302
Use the above Naver map address in your navigation and head to the Buksalli Public Parking Lot, which is located just across the street from the Somang Stairs Monorail. The price is only 600 KRW per hour.
By taking the bus
If you happen to be traveling from Busan Station then the most convenient bus (and the one I took) is bus 190. The trip took about 20 minutes and you’ll hop off just a few meters from the start of the monorail. The station you’ll need to get to is called “Dongdaesin 2 Dong” and only bus 70 and 190 stop here. Use Naver to plan accordingly on the day.
Opening hours for the Somang Stairs Monorail
The opening hours for the Somang Stairs Monorail is weekdays from 07:30 to 20:00 and weekends and holidays from 10:00 to 17:30. The monorail is free to use for both residents and tourists.
How to use the Somang Stairs Monorail
The Somang Monorail in Busan is a distinctive and eye-catching mode of transportation that adds to the charm of the Somang Stairs. The monorail has a bright mint-colored exterior, making it stand out from the typical monorails one might encounter elsewhere.
Before you use the monorail here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Priority is always given to the elderly, pregnant women, disabled and local residents
- A maximum of two people are allowed in the monorail, with the weight of both not exceeding 130kg
- No smoking or eating while riding the monorail
- Keep your pet in a carrier
- Make sure you close the gates correctly
- Keep your noise down since this is a residents area
It’s highly likely that there will be an elderly resident helping you board and operate the monorail, but in all honesty it’s incredibly easy to do yourself as well. Here are the steps on how to operate the monorail:
- If no cabin is stationed, press the green button on the metal box to call it to the station
- Once the cabin arrives, pull to open the iron doors and close them carefully
- The monorail is comprised of two sections and each of these sections is comprised of another 2 sections. To go all the way up you’ll select the larger number on the destination buttons
- When arriving to your station, open and close the gate carefully
Dakbatgol Mural village
Once you are done experiencing the Somang Stairs Monorail in Busan, you should walk down towards the Dakbatgol Mural Village. Established in 1953 as a residential area, the Dakbatgol Mural Village in Busan has evolved into a vibrant hub adorned with charming murals under six distinct themes. The transformation into a mural village took place in 2010, with the collaborative efforts of artist Koo Bon-Ho and local residents. Furthermore, the village is a hidden gem for cherry blossom enthusiasts, as the blooming cherry blossoms amidst the captivating wall paintings create a picturesque spectacle during the spring season.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the Somang Stairs Monorail and hope you’ll love it as much as I did when I visited in autumn 2023. If you need more tips on what to do in Busan then see this article as well.
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