Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Exploring the Lesser-known Neighborhoods in Seoul

Exploring the Lesser-known Neighborhoods in Seoul

Old Jan 2nd, 2020, 08:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 188
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Exploring the Lesser-known Neighborhoods in Seoul

A travel guide of 7 lesser-known neighborhoods (a.k.a. dongs) in Seoul. From what to see, what to do, to what to eat - relax in a trendy cafe, or taste local food and search for an Instagram moment!

I am sure who has visited Seoul have heard of (and been to) Myeong-dong, Gwanghwamun, Dongdaemun, Itaewon, and Gangnam, Apgujeong, and Sinsa. These districts are the main tourist districts in Seoul, and each of them takes up a chapter in any travel book. True, they have their own niche and character – Myeong-dong is the shopping paradise, Dongdaemun’s mall close late at night, Itaewon has exciting nightlife, Apgujeong is a high-end district, and Sinsa is a trending and hip area that is filled with fashion boutiques and fine-dining restaurants. If you visit Seoul for the first time, there are probably at least a week of things to see and do there, plus Lotte World, Seoul N Tower and so on.

If you visit Seoul the second time, you may cover Yeouido, Ewha Woman’s University, Hongik University, and a few of the modern art spaces and museums that I mentioned in Instagram eoul Modern Art Scene; or you may venture to a few exciting restaurants and try Korean cuisines that I mentioned in Yummylicious! Seoul!

For the third time, and much more time afterward, we dig deeper. We explore and discover some lesser-known and new districts for visitors. Some places that are less likely on your bucket list, but worth a visit because of its new restaurants, cafes, shops, galleries or attractions.Sinseol-dong 신설동: Seoul Folk Flea Market

The Seoul Folk Flea Market is another highlight of the neighborhood. It’s a special market of its kind because it’s a true flea market. Many shops sold old clothes, second-hand records, toys, and home products that are basically useless to many. But if you look closely, you may find an antique or hard-to-find treasure that you love. If you have a thing for old toys, records, or furniture, this is the place for you. Photography is generally not allowed in the market, but it was fun to look around, and who knows, you may have an exciting find!Ichon-dong 이촌동: “Little Tokyo”

Nickname “Little Tokyo”, Ichon 1-dong is home to many foreign residents, especially Japanese. So don’t be surprised that you hear passer-by talking to each other in Japanese, or the menu in restaurants are written in Japanese. Apart from that, the neighborhood is not as trendy as the Gangnam area, or as busy as Gangbuk. I visited there one afternoon and so there were many students running walking along the street, or playing in the nearby basketball court and playground. It was also the time for tea. �� I sat down in the Tea house & Gallery, an intimate local cafe and enjoyed an earl grey sponge cake and grapefruit frappe before heading to my destination – Yongsan Park. Yongsan Park was part of the US military base Yongsan Garrison and then returned to public use in 1992. The park is a lush green space that is perfect for a leisurely walk around the man-made mirror pond. Another important landmark in the park is the National Museum of Korea. The museum is a 3-story modern building with an impressive collection of valuable items from Korea through time.
In fact, the neighborhood has a lot more interesting cafes and restaurants to explore. Like Kevin’s Pie, featuring delicious raspberry cheesecake pie, apple cheesecake pie, marbled cream cheese brownie. Another place is Cafe Moss. They use ingredients imported from Japan and offer mochi, and hot spring steamed buns. Lastly, make a reservation at 초록 바구니 and taste their molecular cuisine!Mangwon-dong망원동: Town of Selfies

A little further away from the popular and congested Ewha Woman’s University and Hongik University is an up-and-coming district called Mangwon-dong. While the two universities are already filled with unique cafes, dessert places, and restaurants, university students are expanding their footprints to their surroundings; experimental cafes and trendy shops could be found for the hip and young due to its lower property value and rent. Lots of media also set up offices in Mangwon-dong.
Mangwon Market is the centerpiece of the area – this is a traditional market where the locals could purchase fresh produce, Korean snacks, fruits, and groceries; the market is also filled with some fast-food chains and banks so you know it’s really a place where the locals are active. In fact, traditional markets are moving away in Seoul – thanks to urbanization – Mangwon Market is the few markets left. However, it’s a great place to visit because it’s location is great, it’s clean and neat, and lots of street food and local snacks are available; more, it’s a great place to buy kimchi and souvenirs!
Seongsu-dong 성수동: “The Brooklyn of Seoul”
This area was filled with shoe-making workshops in the early 90s ad gradually faded out due to industrialization. A few years ago, a group of young and passionate design professionals renovated the warehouses and workshops and gave this place a new life, transforming them into eclectic cafes or art spaces that still have a trace of old-fashioned brick walls. More and more businesses operate in Seongsu-dong now and it’s nicknamed “The Brooklyn of Seoul”.
Mural paintings can be seen anywhere in Seongsu-dong, and Maxim’s (now closed) mural painting was the one that started it all – it was a place for a series of cafe “flash mob” events and the mural remained after the event was completed. More, the painting was featured in a Korea TV Show in 2016 and a lot of fans come to take photos of the wall until today!

The wall portrays three English writers: Hemingway, William Shakespeare, and Jane Austen.Hannam-dong 한남동: “Mini Global Village”

If you find cafes and art spaces in Seongsu-dong exciting, continue your exploration in Hannam-dong. The area is a “Global Village” in Itaewon, central Seoul, and popular among foreign residents. At night, Itaewon is lit up with bars and exciting nightlife. It looks different during the day. Instead, the rather narrow streets are filled with unique bakeries and cake shops – and many of them gained attention from the cake lovers. Like the rainbow cakes and mint chocolate cream cakes at Frank’s, Halloween themed lemonade, grapefruit ade and cupcakes at Monster Cupcakes, and fluffy pancakes at Pancake Original Story. There is always a new shop popping up somewhere in Hannam-dong and I was excited to see something new every time I visited there.Banpo-dong 반포동: The Montmartre of Seoul

Moving to Gangnam, Banpo-dong, or Seorae Village is a coffee street in Seoul that’s basically a coffee-lover paradise. This is an area close to Express Bus Terminal station and it’s an old residential neighborhood. The area is the home of Seorae Village, a small French enclave, with its large concentration of French residents and European-style restaurants, dessert cafes, as well as wineries and cafes stand along its main street. So it is also nicknamed “Montmartre” due to its hilltop location. Another highlight of the area is to see the Bangpo Moonlight Rainbow Fountain in the evening at the Bangpo Bridge across the Han River. The fountain only works from April to October and opens only a few shows daily. The fountain is a dynamic water jet coordinated with colorful lightings. Check the showtime before visiting.

For some more tips and districts: https://knycxjourneying.com/2020/01/...oods-in-seoul/
knycx_journeying is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Dec 27th, 2001 05:28 AM
Jun 1st, 2001 04:45 PM
daniel lee
Mar 10th, 1999 11:33 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -