gangnam_seoul2Here is the real Gangnam. This is the city that PSY raps about in his popular Gangnam Style, song. Gangnam is one of the wealthier areas in South Korea. It is the place that people aspire to call home, and it is a must-see stop in the Seoul region.

People were drawn to the song, Gangnam Style, because they liked the song’s catchy beat, and the accompanying dance was so comical that they had no choice but to love it. Did they understand a word that PSY sung? They probably caught the chorus, but there’s no doubt that some people probably thought that PSY was singing about gang life. No. PSY’s infamous song touted a life of  luxury in Gangnam.

Like Beverly Hills in California, Gangnam is noted for its high-brow shopping, plentiful attractions, and affluent neighborhoods. Most people in Korea’s cities live in high-rises, and Gangnam is no different. Whereas in America, huge mansions are a symbol of wealth and status, simply living in Gangnam is a status symbol. Even an average apartment by Gangnam’s standards could cost about $10,000 a month.

Gangnam is also a destination of choice for discriminating tourists who seek five star accommodations with Western-style amenities. The most glamorous hotels in Gangnam include The Ritz-Carlton, the Grand Intercontinental Seoul, and the JW Marriott Seoul. Stylish suites, restaurants galore, sports facilities like indoor golf driving ranges, and pools with view of the city make these hotels alluring to tourists and business associates.  Impeccable service is a given.

In addition to its five star hotels and tempting restaurants, Gangnam has a healthy share of attractions. The luxurious COEX Mall and the popular regional business venue, the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center, are both in Gangnam. The COEX Aquarium, Simone Handbag Museum, and the World Taekwondo Center are also located in this thriving city.

Most of the large cities in Korea have excellent transportation systems. Visitors and Korean citizens usually take the subways in and around Seoul, because the subways are clean and fast. The downside is that the subways are such a popular mode of transportation, that they are often crowded during rush hours and on the weekends.  Some cities are linked by a railroad system, affording people the chance to visit Busan, the second largest city in South Korea. Busan is also a hot destination during the summer months when Korean people head to Haeundae beach and the lavish Centum City. The train ride from the Seoul area to the beaches of Busan is under five hours.

Photo courtesy of the Park Hyatt hotel in Seoul