Sunday, February 12, 2012

Itaewon, Seoul

A must visit in South Korea


Itaewon is a unique place in Seoul where one can meet people of diverse nationalities and cultures. There is a popular joke saying that international residents may not know Seoul, but they know Itaewon. Seoul even designated Itaewon as its first ‘Special Tourism District,’ to highlight it as a destination for internationals to enjoy a diversity of culture, shopping, and entertainment experiences.

Itaewon is in the middle of Yongsan-gu, which borders the northern part of the Hangang River. It is also close to Seoul Station, Myeong-dong, and Namsan Mountain. The formation of this exotic and global tourism site is closely associated with modern Korean history.

In the aftermath of the Korean War, American soldiers began to stay in the Yongsan Garrison and, consequently, numerous businesses and housing complexes were formed in Yongsan. In preparation for international meetings, the Seoul Asian and Olympic Games, the government strengthened tourism infrastructures and revitalized commerce, prompting international tourists from other parts of the world (such as Japan, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, etc.) to visit Itaewon.

Itaewon typically refers to the street full of stores, restaurants, and stalls over 1.4 kilometers between Itaewon 1-dong and Hannam 2-dong in the east. Fashion shops specialize in various imported clothes, leather goods, fur goods, handbags, shoes, and antique furniture. Big and tall sizes unavailable in other areas are well-stocked, and experienced tailors offer customized clothes. 

Another one of Itaewon’s many draws is its diverse food culture, which features cuisine from around world. Restaurants right behind Hamilton Hotel form a type of exhibition hall for international foods from Korea, New York, London, India, Thailand, China, Greece, Pakistan, Italy, France, Mexico, Australia, and more. Unique flavors, exotic interiors, and diverse nationalities help to make Itaewon befittingly ‘the global village in Seoul.’

Then off we go to check out such diverse culture place

This how it looks like

Lots of international food restaurant around there. I think one of the reason is because the principal U.S. Army base in Korea, Yongsan Garrison, is located nearby. Itaewon is visited mostly by the large number of Americans (both Military and civilian) and other foreigners who work, shop and relax in the area. Many of the bars and restaurants in Itaewon are frequented by and cater to this immigrant population. There are currently over 30,000 U.S. troops in South Korea and Itaewon is expected to be strongly affected if the United States Forces Korea (USFK) completes the planned shift of the vast majority of Yongsan Garrison personnel to Pyeongtaek in 2015.

And we saw a lady wearing like this while jogging? =S

Moving on..... the restaurant around there...
Super Hero Coffee(left) =S, Ho Lee Chow; chinese cuisine (right)

Some restaurant getting ready for Halloween already...haha

So how do you get there?
Take a subway and get down at Itaewon Station, Subway Line 6

Interesting place right?

Photos credit to Ho Wei Zheng & Chong Juin Yu


Henry Tan said...

that jogging lady is training to be ninja? LOL

missyblurkit said...

haha...the jogging lady is becoming a common sight in my neighbourhod. had a shocked of my life when 1 saw 4 of them walking in the morning at 730am. lol.