A Guide to the Neighbourhoods in Seoul
Over the years, Seoul has become synonymous with the rise of K-pop culture. Rich in culture and heritage, it is also a cosmopolitan city that is vibrant and modern. From cafe-hopping to trying on the latest cosmetic products, Seoul has many wonderful attractions and shopping districts that leave you wanting more. With lots to discover, here is a lowdown on what to do in each neighbourhood.
Myeongdong is a highly popular destination to get your shopping fix. Aside from the many local apparel shops, the streets are filled with Korea’s famous beauty product shops. Brands such as La Neige and Nature Republic amongst others are often lined with mass crowds taking advantage of their endless offers and free samples. Scattered around these shops, you’ll find a multitude of food stalls selling all sorts of Korean fare from traditional spicy rice cakes to their famous super tall ice cream on a cone. Also in the vicinity, is Lotte Department Store if you prefer something a little more upmarket.
Dongdaemun is a designated shopping district that features over 10 blocks of shopping malls, specialty shops and even manufacturers. Most shopkeepers generically speak basic English, and you can get a good bargain for a pair of socks or shoes and even a traditional hanbok. If you have time, make a trip to Doota—a fashion mall with a huge collective of clothing stalls spanning many levels. If you looking for the latest and hottest fashion styles, Doota has it all.
Well known for its trendy cafes, little fashion shops and a host of other entertainment establishments, this gentrified part of Seoul caters mostly toward the university students from nearby Hongik University. Stroll along Eoulma-dong Ro and discover quaint ateliers, coffee joints as well as small specialty shops selling items like fashion accessories and locally produced trinkets and souvenirs. As the area with thriving underground musicians and urban artists, some of their clubs and pubs feature graffiti interior and indie bands. You can even spot art installation pop-ups along various streets as you wander about. If you’re the artsy kind, you will feel right at home.
Travel a little further from central Seoul to Itaewon for a more culturally diverse experience. Also known as the “Western Town”, Itaewon is filled with many restaurants of different ethnic origins from Europe, the Middle East as well as other parts of Asia.
Tourists and American Military personnel are known to frequent the many drinking holes, which are found along the hilly alleyways right next to one another. Be sure to stop for a round of Soju or Makgeolli (Korean Rice Wine and Rice Alcohol).
Two of the hottest and hippest clubs in Seoul are located in this prime district of Gangnam. Famed as the city’s most prestigious address, Club Octagon and Club Arena are both high-end dance party clubs that often feature renowned DJs. Be spotted in the company of the city’s most prominent young socialites for a night to remember.