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Seoul Guide

 

Seoul - 서울

 

A city with 2000 years of history, yet leading the world in the latest technologies…

 

Seoul and it’s surrounding areas makes up the world's second largest metropolitan area with over 25.6 million people – over half the South Korean population.  It is also home to more than 600,000 foreign residents.   With a population density almost double that of New York, Seoul is a vibrant hive of activity, offering endless opportunities for discovery and fun.

 

Even with such a huge population, however, Seoul is a genuinely beautiful city, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the sea, and built around the Han River.  It is possible to travel outside the hustle and bustle of the city in just minutes.

 

Most of all, Seoul is a city of villages, with 25 separate districts offering their own unique experiences.  Here are some that you just can’t miss:

 

 

Gangnam - 강남구

 

Gangnam is the beating heart of Seoul fashion, a place where people come to people-watch and to be seen.

Gangnam rocketed to prominence through K-Pop sensation Psy’s  “Gangnam Style”, a slightly sarcastic take on the wealth and excesses of the area.  He may have had a point!

 

The character of Gangnam is intrinsically woven into modern Korean culture.  Movie and Korean drama fans will quickly recognize much of the district through shows such as ‘Beautiful Days’, The Bourne Legacy, Cheongdam-dong Alice, and of course, ‘Gangnam Style’!

 

Lexis Korea is right in the heart of Gangnam, just a couple of minutes’ walk to the station and in an area of clubs, bars, restuarants and endless shopping options.  A stunning list of Korean and international media companies based in the area also makes it the perfect location if you fancy your chances of being ‘discovered’ for a K-Pop career!

 

Hongdae  - 홍대앞

 

If the glitz of Gangnam is wearing you down, it might be time to give Hongdae a visit.

The Hongdae area is known for its indie spirit, urban street arts and a vibrant underground music scene. The area also offers street art festivals and performances, as well as music concerts by independent artists.

 

Despite the recent explosion of upmarket brand shops that have pushed artists to move toward the southern area near Hapjeong Station, new indie rock bands show up every year and the area still enjoys a reputation as the city’s prime spot for indie musicians. YG Entertainment, the major K-pop agency is also located near the street.

 

On Saturday and Sunday mornings the nightlife gives way to Seoul’s best flea markets, with a particular emphasis on art.  After a morning shop, visitors find themselves a meal at one of the countless ethnic restaurants in the area.

 

The biggest night of the week in Hongdae, though, remains “Club Night”, an institution in the late 90’s that has recently gone through a huge revival.  On Club Night, all the clubs in the area offer entry for the price of a single ticket, and the area draws clubbers and revellers from all over the city.  You have to go to at least one Club Night while you’re in Seoul….your  Lexis classmates won’t let you miss out.

 

Jongro - 종로

 

Jongro is Seoul’s main business and embassy district, and is the main stop for international business in Korea.

 

An area of soaring office towers, Jongro also has many hidden reminders of Korea’s long history, including Dongdaemun, the old city gate.  Bargain hunters will struggle to find a better range of cheap and cheerful shopping than that offered at the nearby Dongdaemun markets, either.

 

Probably best known in the Jongro area is Insadong, a mix of traditional attractions and the tackiest of Seoul’s tourist shops.  It’s not to be missed!

 

Myongdong - 명동

 

Myongdong (“Bright Town”), crams more than 2 million visitors per day into some of Asia’s best shopping!

There are few bargains to be had in Myongdong, but if you’re looking for top international brands such as Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren, Forever 21, Bulgari and Louis Vuitton, there are few better shopping locations in the world.

 

In recent times, Myongdong has become known for the quality of cosmetic shopping, with great local brand such as Nature Republic, Missha, The Face Shop and Skin Food all represented.

 

A recent survey of visitors to Seoul listed shopping in Myongdong as the most popular activity in their stay.  Even if you’re not a shopper, it’s hard not to enjoy the bustling crowds on a big day out in Myongdong.

 

Whether you are in Seoul for a wild weekend or a year of hard study, there is always something else to be discovered.  We look forward to sharing our city with you!

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