EXPLORING SEOUL'S NEIGHBOURHOODS
From business areas to art hubs, we take a look at how Seoul is divided in different neighbourhoods, each one serving a specific purpose to make the city multifunctional
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Dave Weatherall, Valery Rabchenyuk, Anders Jacobsen
25 November 2020
Seoul is a modern city and as such locals don't waste their time. Whether they are planning on spending the day shopping at markets or if they are busy working and setting up business meetings with clients, there are designated areas in the city designed with those purposes in mind. We take a look at how Seoul is divided in different areas so that each one can serve a specific purpose and make the city multifunctional.
The central district is a great starting point to get to know the city better. Always busy, the life here never stops and you will found yourself surrounded by travellers and locals all all times.
If you want to explore the side of the city where you can fall in love with the soul of Seoul, then head to Gangnam-Gu. There you will struggle to navigate your day, because each place is as tempting to visit as the next one. Pristine Michelin star worthy restaurants, fashionable cafés and designer shops - take your pick and explore this bohemian corner of Seoul at your own pace.
Fashion meets culture meets politics. Welcome to Jongno-gu. The district has played a vital role throughout the political history of the city. Visit Insa-dong if you want to get an authentic feel of South Korea. There, time floats by slower and the culture hasn't been so heavily westernized. Fortune tellers can read your palms, street food will charm your senses and you can even see traditional Korean artefacts in the area. Schedule a whole day there to learn more about the past and present cultural influence of the city.
This one is for the business minded. The district seems to be designed for people who mean business and it is likely you won't see many people who are not wearing suits in the area. Not known as a big tourist spot, yet just as important for defining Seoul's identity, Yeongdeungpo-gu is the business hub of the city and famous for the world's tallest business building.
The art scene in Mapo-Gu will have you fall in love with the city quicker than you might have expected. The place is home to record labels, galleries and art schools. Without a doubt one of the most young people orientated area, this place draws travellers from far and near. Hongdae and the trendy Hapjeong are hubs for the young and creative. Relax with a drink in hand in one of the bohemian cafés and enjoy watching the stylish dressed locals go on with their day around you.
One of the most diverse parts of Seoul, this district was once a home to a former US military base. Nowadays, the art scene has taken over and you should try to visit to see how the area is constantly changing. With lots of fancy restaurants and laid-back bars to choose from, Yongsan-Gu is a friendly place for nomads. Its position north of the river makes the place just as beautiful at night as it is when you are exploring the street corners by day.