The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of Seoul for those of you who are not really familiar with Seoul. Also, if you are looking for information to do your homework such as the population and size of Seoul, you will not find anything in it. Instead, what you can expect is a brief description of the key areas of Seoul, which you should definitely not miss if you are visiting Seoul.
It is the oldest and most developed part of Seoul. The palaces of the old Chosen family still exist here. In the city center, you’ll find not only a busy business district with ‘suits’ running the country’s economy but also a vibrant shopping district and plenty of places to enjoy Korean and other international cuisines.
Mye0ng-dong is the place where you will find a large buying and dining area behind the old skyscrapers that drove South Korea back to the ’70s and ’80s. It’s also a street for young crowds, especially on weekends when suits are off the road. So, what’s good here? Well, your best bet is to buy clothes and taste some well-known Korean restaurants that are 50 years old and older.
Insa-dong is a place where you see traditional Korea. Its streets are full of places selling and exhibiting traditional Korean art and craft. It is also famous because it has many art galleries. Your best chance at insa-dong is to relish traditional Korean food and tea while picking up small presents for your friends and family.
Samcheong-dong is the place where you will find a collection of restaurants and cafes representing traditional Korean and Western cuisine. Getting to Samcheong-dong is a bit difficult as the nearest subway station will still drop you off in 10 minutes. Samcheong-dong is home to small art galleries as well as clean restaurants.
Hongdae is also considered a symbol of Korean youth. It is located close to 4 well-known universities and is home to the joys of youth – swinging, dancing, drinking, and partying. Friday nights are ‘Club Day’ and you can easily see the lineup after the lineup of youngsters trying to get into their favorite clubs. On Hongdae, Friday nights do not end until the sunsets.
Hongdae is also a place where you cannot miss the experience to taste the food. Every Hongdae restaurant is designed to cater to the tastes of young people and their light pockets. i.e. You will find tasty and inexpensive places in Soil to satisfy your taste buds and fill your stomach.
Sinchon is located between two of Korea’s best universities – Yonsei University and Ehwa woman’s university. If you think this means the neighborhood is full of bookstores and libraries, you are wrong. Sinchon is full of small shops that take care of female students who are very friendly as well as happy to prepare themselves well. Items are sometimes real, sometimes fake, but often cheap and beautiful.
Sinchon is the place where alcohol enters Korean student institutions. You can’t walk a hundred yards without going through 30 bars, izakayas, Hofs, or Pochas (these are all places where alcohol is their big business).
Garusogil, which means a row of trees, where young and trendy people gather for a great meal and a sip of espresso. The tree-lined street is also lined with shops and fine restaurants that are more European than almost any other place in Seoul. On a sunny Saturday, the streets are filled with well-dressed young women who gather for international meals and expensive caffeine.
Another name of Cheongdam-dong is Beverly Hills of Seoul. As the name suggests it is a shopping district where if you have the resources you can wrap yourself in a luxury life with brands like Chanel, Gucci, D&G, Parda, Armani, and Available within a slow walk from each other. Cheongdam-dong also caters to some of the best dining experiences you will have in all of Korea. Because it caters to Seoul’s upper class small (20 ~ 40ish) affluent class, you won’t find a restaurant with hard high lips at the traditional insistence. Rather, you will find good fusion restaurants that appeal to different styles of West and East, old and young. However, beware as prices will be higher. Luxury does not come cheap!
Itaewon’s return came at a time when the only foreign presence in Seoul was the U.S. military stationed near Itaewon. It was established because of its proximity to Eaton Base to entertain and serve U.S. military personnel stationed in Seoul. Yes, Itaewon is still frequented by U.S. military personnel, but it is now undergoing a kind of renaissance as Korea’s international district.
At Itaewon, you will find the best (or most authentic) international food in all of Seoul. The range of food you can find is wide – from the Middle East to Belgium. It is also home to many ex-pat bars where you will find a front door pub and the way they bring home nachos and buffalo feathers.
In Itaewon, you will also find lots of small shops selling clothes, good leather goods and gifts to take home. (You look tough. You’ll also find fake luxury items that look very real.)
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