There has been a lot of mention recently about Gangnam thanks to Si and his ‘Gangnam style’ I thought I would give a little insight into the real Gangnam as I knew it.
Gangnam was one of my favourite places in Seoul. It is known as the Beverly Hills of Seoul and is across from the Han river located on the Green subway line.
I had to make a stop here on my way to work each day to change busses or trains. This would very often lead to me buying at least 3 dresses and spending a lot of money I shouldn’t have.
Gangnam’s main street is a very long stretch of hustle and bustle, perhaps the best example of crowdedness in Seoul, other than Meyongdong.
Arriving here by train you will find yourself in a labyrinthine subway station full of little clothing shops and mobile phone stores and shoe stores. It is amazing. I could and have spent hours down there walking from shop to shop looking for a bargain and buying a lot of stuff that I never ended up using or wearing. But it is addictive and compelling and very very difficult to simply walk through to an exit without taking a quick look.
My friend and I after an afternoon of Gangnam subway shopping
Out on the streets of Gangnam there are all the usual coffee shop chains: Holly’s, A twosome place, Tom n Toms (my favourite), Ediya, Cafe Bene, and Angel in us. You’ll also find the ubiquitous skin care chains Skin Food, The face shop, Etude, Missha and Nature republic. Along with all the top design brands and shops you can never step foot into an ESL teacher’s wage. All of these places are sandwiched in between little unknown shops and outlets and as with everywhere in Seoul, you need to look up to the second, third and fourth storeys of the buildings to find some of the coolest and most interesting coffee shops and cafes.
It is bustling and I mean bustling with people on their way to work everyone scurrying towards a subway exit not caring if they bump into you or push you out of the way to get to the subway steps first. As with everywhere in Seoul, as soon as the first rain drop hits the pavement all the little stalls along the footpath suddenly host an array of umbrellas and other wet weather gear.
One of the novelties for first timers in Seoul are the media posts that are along the main street. They are tall posts with digital touch screens with different available options. They have web cams built in and you can take a ridiculous photo with your friends on the street and decorate it right there on the spot with little motifs and phrases. Then it lets you type in your email address and sends it to you.
Gangnam has some of the best night clubs and all different style of night club you could hope for. When I was there last I went to a 3 story club which was filled to the brim with people and I’m not sure if they had air conditioning or if it was turned off or it was just so over run with hot bodies that you couldn’t feel it but it was painfully hot inside and we were all sweating buckets. Dancing was a challenge, anything that caused your heart rate to rise would just bring on more sweat. We ventured upstairs to an ice dispenser and spent the next few minutes in heavenly coolness. It was sensational.
There are small little Reggae style hookah bars, a wicked bogan Karaoke club (Woodstock) dance clubs, and general beer drinking bars with shuffle board tables and lots of places with dart boards. It’s great and you just have to stumble upon places till you find something you like.