Seoul/Yongsan

Itaewon, the "Western town"

Yongsan (용산) is in Seoul's geographic center, sandwiched between Seoul's two major cultural and economic centers, Gangnam and Jongno/Jung. The main area of interest here for travelers is Itaewon, the most international and foreigner-friendly neighborhood in Seoul, and one of the only places where you can find authentic Mexican, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Indian food on the entire peninsula. It has Korea's largest mosque, markets hawking souvenirs and cheap t-shirts, Turkish ice cream parlors, and a nightlife scene dominated by foreigners. This may be partly due to the presence of the nearby US military base, which is also in Yongsan. Other attractions include the National Museum of Korea, the War Memorial Museum, and the Yongsan Electronics Market, a huge building selling gadgets at a steep discount.

For the time being, Yongsan is relatively quiet compared to its northern and southern neighbors, with many one and two storey houses covering rolling hills and the southern side of Namsan. However, things may soon change; the US military base is moving to a different location, and talks are underway on the construction of Yongsan International Business District, an ambitious $28.8 billion project involving dozens of skyscrapers, including a 665m centerpiece, making it the second tallest in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. If and when this project goes through, it would utter transform the urban landscape of Seoul, not to mention Yongsan itself.

Get in

Itaewon Station is on Line 6 (Brown). All exits empty out onto the main drag. The subway does stop running early, so if you are hitting the bars, plan on finding another way home or staying out all night.

See

National War Memorial

Do

Tickets to e-Sports in Seoul can often be purchased on the TicketLink website's e-Sports section (in English). Warning: payment must be done using a Windows computer using Internet Explorer and often sell out nearly immediately after going on sale.

Buy

A celadon turtle-shaped kettle from the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392), from the collection of the National Museum of Korea

Eat

Mid-range

Drink

Itaewon

Itaewon Pub street

Itaewon is Seoul's international district, with a wide variety of Western-styled venues to eat, drink and be merry. Since many foreigners congregate there, Itaewon remains somewhat of a niche nightlife area for Koreans interested in a more international scene. A number of notable bars and clubs spot the area, both on the main street and in the nearby alleys. Long notorious for being somewhat seedy, with prostitutes plying their trade and alleged (gasp!) drug dealings, Itaewon has become cleaner and more gentrified in recent years. Of course, this is by Korean standards—Western travellers, especially American travellers, will wonder what all the fuss is about. Due to Itaewon's proximity to the nearby United States Army base, many GIs are found here in the evenings and weekends. However, the US army has decided to move the base outside of Seoul within the next few years, so expect regular changes to the area.

Bars and pubs

Many bars in Itaewon celebrate Thursdays as Ladies' Night, which often means that women drink free before 24:00. There are also a few gay bars located two alleys east of the main street, with a mix of clubs and places to drink.

Nightclubs

For some good house/trance music, try some places such as:

Haebangchon

Sleep

Bogwang street with Hamilton hotel

Budget

Mid Range

Splurge

Connect

As with elsewhere in the capital, there are plenty of PC Rooms available.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 24, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.