The name Gangnam is more than likely familiar to you, thanks to PSY’s catchy 2012 hit “Gangnam Style”, but did you know it’s actually not just a snazzy song, but a district in South Korea’s capital city? Join me in Gangnam Square for a look at this popular district!
For starters, Gangnam is the third largest district in Seoul, and is its fourth most populated. It’s also one of the more affluent areas, with a higher than average (for Seoul) standard of living, comparative with places like Beverly Hills! Seoul is already notorious for being expensive with regards to property, but Gangnam takes the prize, costing almost double compared to the rest of the city!
It’s safe to say that Gangnam is a happening area. It’s a glossy metropolis boasting eye catching skyscrapers, is a hub for business, and has a plethora of shops. It has several shopping arcades, as well as malls (COEX is the main one), making it a great place to splash the cash. I actually prefer the smaller, more local shops you find off the beaten track. If you venture long enough, you’ll come across “Gacha Shop”, a quirky shop consisting entirely of Gashapon (capsule machines). These are very popular and can be highly collectible, and some of them are downright hilarious (underpants for your phone anyone?). Even if you don’t bother with any, it’s worth a quick look. Another shop I really enjoyed was Art Box, which is a combination stationary, home, and beauty place. Lots of cool gadgets, edgy office supplies, and cute make up! I could’ve easily spent an hour in there. Finally, as a bit of a make up enthusiast, I couldn’t not check out some fine Korean beauty products. Aritaum has a wide selection of both make up and skin care, and it won’t entirely break the bank. Another brand worth looking for, with a slightly heavier price tag, is Etude House. Their pressed powder in particular is a new favourite of mine!
Gangnam is a veritable outside art museum, with interesting sculptures dotted throughout the district. My favourite is the large pointing person (kind of looks like it’s disco dancing!). There’s also a huge tribute to PSY outside Coex mall.
Hungry? You won’t be for long. As well as shops, Gangnam is packed with eateries. If you don’t fancy Korean food, you can also sample Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, and more! Yakiniku (BBQ style) is popular, and you won’t be hard pressed to find one. If you don’t want a huge meal, hunt down one of the trendy coffee shops and rest your feet with a warm cuppa! Gobiter is nestled away from the main part of Gangnam, down a small flight of stairs. It’s modern, cosy, and has the most delicious cake! I highly recommend a slice of their rainbow cake; it’s pretty big though, so maybe think about sharing (or not, no judgement).
Lastly, no visit is complete without a quick stop at Gangnam Square. There’s a little stage there, an art installation dedicated to PSY (it’s perfectly fine to recreate the dance moves, I promise), and it’s close to the subway station.
Overall, Gangnam is worth at least 3-4 hours of your time. You could spend an entire day (or longer) there, but if your trip to Seoul is short, a few hours is enough time to soak it all in.