Seoul, the dynamic capital of South Korea, is a city brimming with energy, excitement, and endless possibilities. While Itaewon and Hongdae have long been the go-to neighborhoods for expats, international travelers, and locals, there's a whole world of exploration beyond these well-known areas. In this blog post, we'll take you on a thrilling adventure to uncover the hidden gems of Seoul—five neighborhoods that are gaining popularity among those in the know. So, strap in and get ready to discover the unique charms of Seongsu-dong, Yeonnam-dong, Sangam-dong, Mullae-dong, and Ikseon-dong.
Before we dive into these neighborhoods, let's quickly touch on the allure of Itaewon and Hongdae. Itaewon has earned its reputation as a melting pot of cultures, thanks to its rich international history and diverse dining options. From trendy cafes to buzzing nightlife, Itaewon offers a little something for everyone. Meanwhile, Hongdae is a vibrant hub that pulses with youthful energy, artistry, and a thriving indie music scene. Its streets come alive with street performances, hip boutiques, and a multitude of entertainment options. These neighborhoods have undoubtedly made their mark, but now it's time to explore the rising stars that are captivating expats and locals alike.
Next, we'll delve into the fascinating history and transformation of each neighborhood. We'll uncover the stories of these underdog districts and shed light on the reasons behind their growing popularity. From industrial revivals and artistic enclaves to sports and entertainment meccas, each neighborhood has its own tale to tell. We'll also guide you through the must-visit spots and experiences that make these neighborhoods so beloved.
So, get ready to step off the beaten path and into the vibrant streets of Seongsu-dong, Yeonnam-dong, Sangam-dong, Mullae-dong, and Ikseon-dong. These hidden treasures are waiting to be discovered, offering a taste of Seoul's diverse culture, creativity, and hidden wonders. It's time to go beyond Itaewon and Hongdae and unlock the secrets of these captivating neighborhoods. So, let's embark on this thrilling journey together, and prepare to be amazed by the true essence of Seoul's lesser-known gems.
When it comes to Seoul's neighborhoods, Itaewon stands out as an international hub that has captured the hearts of expats, travelers, and even the local population. Itaewon's popularity can be attributed to its historical background, vibrant atmosphere, and its reputation as a safe haven for international residents.
Itaewon's history as a center of multiculturalism and international influence dates back to the aftermath of the Korean War. With the presence of occupying Japanese forces during the colonial period and later the U.S. Armed Forces Command, Itaewon became a melting pot of cultures, attracting a diverse community and nurturing an open-minded image. It was during the 1970s and 1980s that Itaewon developed into a bustling commercial area, known for its saloons, bars, and lively nightlife catering to the needs of the American population. However, it also faced challenges such as high crime levels and a reputation for a high concentration of prostitutes.
In the 1980s, Itaewon underwent significant changes with the hosting of the 1988 Olympics and the end of the Cold War. This marked the beginning of Itaewon's globalization and its transformation into a commercial and multicultural area. Itaewon gained recognition as "a foreign country within Seoul," attracting both tourists and locals who saw the neighborhood as an attractive introductory point to Korea.
Throughout the 2000s, Itaewon continued to adapt to changing times, welcoming a diverse international population that included workers from the Middle East and Africa. New cultural events, such as the World Food Festival, further showcased the neighborhood's multicultural character.
Despite its evolving nature, Itaewon has managed to retain its unique charm and sense of community. The neighborhood's ability to adapt has been vital to its continued development and resilience, even in the face of challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today, Itaewon continues to diversify and embrace new cultures, including South Asian influences and the inclusion of non-racial minorities such as the gay community. It has become a vibrant and inclusive destination, attracting not only foreigners but also young Koreans who are drawn to its dynamic atmosphere.
While Itaewon has experienced criticism in the past and is often stereotyped as one of Seoul's more rough-and-tumble neighborhoods, its cultural significance and rapid gentrification have attracted investments from companies and celebrities alike. This has led to a transformation of the neighborhood, with a growing presence of trendy establishments.
While some pine for the good old days of “Itaewon Freedom,” a tongue-in-cheek pop song that praised the open-mindedness of Itaewon, the neighborhood still maintains its multicultural roots, offering a wide range of experiences and opportunities to explore different cultures without all of the grittiness of its past. With its rich history, diverse culinary offerings, and lively nightlife, Itaewon continues to be a beloved neighborhood that provides international residents with a safe haven in Korea.
Another neighborhood that has captured the hearts of Seoulites and visitors alike is Hongdae, derived from the abbreviation of 홍익대학교 (Dae-hagkyo),-hagkyo) which refers to Hongik University. The history of Hongdae traces back to 1955, when Hongik University moved to Mapo district, becoming a prominent institution in the area. The university's renowned art department played a significant role in shaping the neighborhood's expressive identity.
As the university gained recognition for its art department, talented art students flocked to Hongdae, leading to the establishment of numerous art academies in the vicinity. These academies provided aspiring artists with preparation for their entrance exams, contributing to the growth of Hongdae's artistic community. Additionally, art shops began to emerge, offering a wide range of art materials, and the 108 workshop became a gathering place for art students.
During the 1990s, Hongdae's vibrant art scene expanded beyond traditional art forms. The neighborhood became a magnet for dancers and musicians, resulting in the emergence of live clubs. These clubs became popular among the youth of Seoul, who sought a place to express their passions without judgment. Hongdae has evolved into a dynamic playground for art, culture, and self-expression.
With the rise of live clubs, Hongdae experienced further commercialization. Hype cafes, restaurants, and various businesses flocked to the area, adding to its vibrancy and attractiveness. However, as Hongdae became more commercialized, the rent prices skyrocketed, leading to financial struggles for the live clubs and small businesses that were instrumental in establishing the neighborhood's reputation.
The youthful energy, artistic creativity, and trendy allure of Hongdae continue to make it a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. Its streets teem with artistic expressions, ranging from street art to boutique shops and galleries. The lively atmosphere is further heightened by the captivating street performances that showcase the talents of musicians, dancers, and artists.
Moreover, Hongdae's shopping scene offers a diverse array of shops catering to unique fashion tastes, vintage enthusiasts, and those seeking underground markets. Hongdae is popular for those who are interested in alternative fashion, rummaging through thrift stores, or people-watching for the latest trends.
Of course, Hongdae's nightlife is also major draw for many visitors. Its vibrant club scene and live music venues provide an unforgettable experience for those seeking to dance the night away or enjoy live performances. Hongdae's clubs and bars cater to a wide range of musical preferences, ensuring that everyone can find their groove.
The Hongdae Playground, once an iconic haven for alternative, punk, and hip-hop communities, has undergone a profound transformation and gentrification. The playground, which had long served as a gathering place for creative individuals, recently underwent renovations that brought significant changes to the area.
In the early 2000s, the Hongdae Playground area was a peaceful residential area surrounding the university, with numerous affordable restaurants and bars catering to locals and alternative-minded individuals. The playground itself became a popular spot for alternative, punk, and hip-hop enthusiasts to congregate, showcasing their talents through rap shows, busking performances, and impromptu street parties. It was a vibrant space where different artistic expressions collided, fostering a sense of community and creativity.
During those years, the playground was often occupied by individuals representing various subcultures, including alternative, punk, and hip-hop. They would gather near the playground equipment, immersing themselves in the energetic atmosphere. As the summer of the late aughts approached, the playground became a hub for late-night activities, with rap shows, freestyle battles, and hip-hop performances taking place under the night sky. The playground was alive with the raw beats and rhymes of emerging artists, creating an electrifying environment.
The playground attracted a diverse range of talents, with buskers showcasing their skills, street artists creating captivating graffiti, and dancers showcasing their moves. Bumping street parties held at the playground drew crowds, uniting people through music and shared passion. The playground became a sanctuary for international artists and performers, while also drawing in Korean students looking to let loose for the weekend.
However, as the years passed, the playground started to draw a more mainstream crowd, displacing the alternative, punk, and hip-hop scenes. Regular events catered to a broader audience, and the unique identity of the playground began to fade. The recent renovations marked a significant departure from its roots, with the removal of playground equipment, benches, and plant areas. The public washroom, once a symbol of the playground's vibrant spirit, has been transformed with barriers and barbed wire to stop party-goers from dancing on the rooftop.
For those who remember the playground before the big changes, the current state is a far cry from the cherished memories of the late 2000s. Although the changes have irreversibly altered the character of the once-beloved Hongdae Playground, the spirit lives on in the never-ending sea of Gen Y and Gen Z partiers in the area.
Itaewon and Hongdae, with their distinct characteristics and vibrant atmospheres, have rightfully earned their place as must-visit neighborhoods in Seoul. However, the allure of the city extends beyond these well-known areas. Let's take a look at five lesser-known neighborhoods that are quickly gaining popularity and offering their own unique experiences.
Nestled along the banks of the Han River, Seongsu-dong has undergone a remarkable transformation from a once-thriving industrial area to a thriving creative hub. To truly appreciate the neighborhood's resurgence, let's take a glimpse into its industrial past.
Seongsu-dong, also known as Seongsu-dong 1-ga, was once a prominent center for manufacturing and industry in Seoul. In the mid-20th century, the district was filled with factories and warehouses, serving as a hub for textile, shoe, and furniture production. The streets were bustling with the sounds of machinery and the hard work of the laborers who contributed to the city's economic growth.
In recent years, Seongsu-dong has experienced a renaissance as its industrial structures have been repurposed into stylish cafes, hip boutiques, and art studios. This transformation has attracted a wave of young artists, entrepreneurs, and trendsetters, breathing new life into the district.
One of the notable aspects of Seongsu-dong's revival is the rise of artisanal cafes. Walking through the neighborhood, you'll encounter unique coffee shops tucked away in former factories and warehouses. These cafes often boast minimalist aesthetics, specialty coffee blends, and a welcoming atmosphere that appeals to locals and visitors alike. It's a place where you can sip on a perfectly brewed cup of coffee while appreciating the blend of old and new in the surroundings.
Alongside the burgeoning coffee culture, Seongsu-dong has also become a haven for trendy boutiques and independent fashion brands. Fashion-forward individuals flock to the district to explore its innovative clothing stores and discover cutting-edge designs. From avant-garde fashion pieces to handcrafted accessories, Seongsu-dong offers a diverse array of fashion options that cater to unique tastes.
Seongsu-dong is more than just a hipster paradise—it also boasts attractions and activities that cater to various interests. Located nearby, Seoul Forest offers a serene retreat from the urban bustle. Take a stroll along its walking trails, relax by the tranquil ponds, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the park.
Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market: If you're in Seongsu-dong during the evening, make sure to visit the Seoul Bamdokkaebi Night Market. This vibrant market pops up at various locations and offers a delightful mix of street food, handmade crafts, and live performances.
Hot Bird (핱버드)
An authentic Nashville-style fried chicken restaurant located near Seongsu-dong, offering a mouthwatering selection of homestyle crispy fried chicken burgers, delicious chicken and waffles, and an authentic banana pudding. It's a must-visit destination for hungry travelers seeking a taste of Southern comfort.
Himton's Kitchen (힘톤씨의주방)
Himton's Kitchen is a quaint sandwich shop that delights visitors with its light and healthy offerings. Indulge in the flavorful three mousse salad, savor the exquisite truffled roasted mushroom salad, or relish the delightful mozzarella basil sandwiches. It's the perfect spot to grab a quick and satisfying bite while taking in the beautiful scenery.
Seongsu-dong's reinvention has breathed new life into its streets, preserving the memory of its industrial heritage while embracing artistic innovation. It has become a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of history, creativity, and contemporary flair. As you explore Seongsu-dong, prepare to be captivated by its unique charm and the spirit of reinvention that permeates every corner of this remarkable neighborhood.
Nestled in the Mapo District of Seoul, Yeonnam-dong has emerged as a vibrant neighborhood celebrated for its artistic spirit and unconventional charm. To understand the allure of Yeonnam-dong, let's delve into its past and how it has evolved over the years.
Yeonnam-dong was once a humble residential area known for its low-key atmosphere. However, as the years went by, the neighborhood underwent a remarkable transformation, attracting a creative crowd and gaining recognition as a hub for artists, designers, and young entrepreneurs.
What sets Yeonnam-dong apart is its distinctive atmosphere, characterized by its quirky streets, artistic touches, and an overall sense of creativity. Here's a glimpse into the neighborhood's unique features:
Hongdae's artistic sibling: Often referred to as the "Hongdae of the West," Yeonnam-dong shares a similar artistic DNA with its renowned sibling. However, while Hongdae is known for its youthful energy, Yeonnam-dong exudes a more relaxed and bohemian vibe. The streets are adorned with colorful murals, art installations, and quaint cafes that make wandering through the neighborhood a delight for the senses.
Urban green spaces: Yeonnam-dong is blessed with ample green spaces that provide a refreshing contrast to the bustling cityscape. Yeonnam Park, in particular, offers a serene oasis where locals and visitors can relax, have picnics, and enjoy the beauty of nature amidst the urban landscape.
Quirky cafes and eateries: Yeonnam-dong is a haven for café enthusiasts and food lovers. The neighborhood is teeming with unique, themed cafes that reflect the eclectic taste of its residents. From cat cafes to vintage-inspired establishments, you'll find a plethora of cozy spots to indulge in delicious treats and soak up the artsy ambiance.
When exploring Yeonnam-dong, there are several spots and experiences you shouldn't miss:
Yeonnam-dong Café Street: Take a leisurely stroll along Yeonnam-dong Café Street, where you'll find a multitude of charming cafes. Each cafe has its own personality and design, making it a joy to explore and discover hidden gems.
Cultural events and festivals: Keep an eye out for cultural events and festivals that take place in Yeonnam-dong throughout the year. From art exhibitions to live performances, these events showcase the neighborhood's vibrant artistic community.
Yeonnam Street Naengmyeon (연남골목냉면)
This charming restaurant specializes in a variety of cold noodles, offering a refreshing respite from the sweltering temperatures. One of their popular dishes is the Sweet & Spicy Bibim Naengmyeon (매콤새콤 비빔냉면), which tantalizes taste buds with its perfect balance of flavors. For those seeking a heartier option, the Sirloin Tonkatsu stuffed with melty cheese (치즈반 등심반 반반이) is an absolute treat.
A hidden gem known for its excellent tacos and burritos. Grab some tacos or a burrito and take a leisurely stroll to Yeonnam Park, affectionately known as Yeon-tral Park. Have a seat on the lush green grass, soak in the vibrant atmosphere, and enjoy your delicious food while enjoying a cold beer. It's an idyllic setting for people-watching and immersing yourself in the lively ambiance of Yeonnam-dong.
Yeonnam-dong is a testament to the power of creativity and community. Its transformation from a quiet residential area to an artistic enclave has captured the hearts of locals and visitors seeking a dose of unconventional charm. Immerse yourself in the whimsical atmosphere of Yeonnam-dong, and you'll discover a neighborhood that celebrates individuality, artistic expression, and the beauty of the unconventional.
Nestled in the northwest of Seoul, Sangam-dong has gained recognition as a neighborhood where sports and entertainment converge. To truly appreciate its allure, let's take a look at its history and how it has become a vibrant hub for sports enthusiasts and entertainment seekers.
Once known as Seoul’s legal district, Sangam-dong gained prominence with the development of the Sangam New Town, an ambitious urban redevelopment project that aimed to transform the area. The neighborhood's transformation was catalyzed by the construction of the Sangam World Cup Stadium, which hosted several matches during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. This international event put Sangam-dong on the map and laid the foundation for its future as a sports and entertainment destination.
Sports enthusiasts flock to Sangam-dong for its impressive array of sporting facilities and venues. Here are some notable highlights:
Sangam World Cup Stadium: The Sangam World Cup Stadium, also known as the Seoul World Cup Stadium, is an architectural marvel that hosted thrilling matches during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. This massive stadium continues to host various sporting events and concerts, drawing crowds from near and far.
MBC Sangam Broadcasting Center: The MBC Sangam Broadcasting Center is a major broadcasting hub where popular TV shows and programs are produced. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the entertainment industry by taking a tour of the center and witnessing the behind-the-scenes action.
Sangam-dong offers more than just sports facilities—it also provides a range of entertainment and leisure options. Here are a few attractions and experiences to explore:
Haneul Park: Situated on top of the former Nanjido Landfill, Haneul Park offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline. The park's expansive grasslands, walking trails, and eco-friendly features make it a perfect retreat for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful respite.
Digital Media City (DMC): Sangam-dong is home to the Digital Media City, a cutting-edge media and technology complex. The DMC is a hotbed for innovation, housing numerous media companies, start-ups, and research institutes. It's a fascinating place to witness the convergence of technology, media, and creativity.
S-PLEX Center: The S-PLEX Center, now focused on hosting e-sports events, is a versatile venue that hosts a wide range of events, including concerts, exhibitions, and conferences. Keep an eye on the center's schedule to catch exciting performances or exhibitions during your visit.
Sangam-dong is a testament to the transformative power of major sporting events and urban development projects. It has evolved into a thriving neighborhood that seamlessly combines sports culture, entertainment, and leisure. Whether you're a sports enthusiast, a fan of Korean entertainment, or simply seeking unique experiences, Sangam-dong offers a dynamic environment that caters to diverse interests and passions. Get ready to immerse yourself in the electrifying atmosphere of Sangam-dong, where sports and entertainment take center stage.
Nestled in the heart of Seoul's industrial landscape, Mullae-dong stands as a testament to the transformative power of art and creativity. To truly understand the neighborhood's unique character, we must delve into its industrial past and how it has blossomed into an artistic haven.
Mullae-dong's history is closely intertwined with its industrial roots. In the mid-20th century, the neighborhood thrived as a bustling industrial area, with factories and metalworking shops dominating the landscape. It was a hub for metalworking and iron manufacturing, contributing to the city's industrial growth.
Still hanging on to its nickname, “steel factory street”, Mullae-dong remains one of Seoul’s least gentrified neighborhoods, allowing for affordable rent and living costs for burgeoning artists and entrepreneurs.
In recent years, Mullae-dong has experienced a remarkable transformation, as artists and creatives have breathed new life into its industrial spaces. Here's a glimpse into what makes Mullae-dong a captivating artistic enclave:
Industrial art studios: The neighborhood is dotted with art studios and commercial graffiti that have found a home among the repurposed industrial buildings. These spaces provide a platform for artists to showcase their works, from sculptures and paintings to installations and mixed media creations. Exploring these studios offers a glimpse into the creative processes and inspirations behind the artwork.
Metalworking workshops: While the neighborhood's industrial character has undergone a transformation, remnants of its metalworking heritage can still be found. Many metalworking workshops have embraced the artistic shift, combining traditional craftsmanship with innovative design concepts. It's fascinating to witness the juxtaposition of traditional metalworking techniques and contemporary artistry and metal sculptures.
Mullae-dong offers a range of engaging experiences and hidden gems for visitors to discover. Here are a few highlights:
Mullae Arts Village: The Mullae Arts Village serves as the epicenter of artistic activities in the neighborhood. This vibrant community is a melting pot of creativity, with numerous art spaces, studios, and workshops. Take a leisurely stroll through the village and immerse yourself in the eclectic art displays and the lively atmosphere.
DIY metalworking workshops: Unleash your inner artist and try your hand at metalworking by participating in one of the DIY workshops available in Mullae-dong. Learn from skilled artisans and create your own metal masterpiece to take home as a unique souvenir of your visit.
Street art and murals: As you explore the streets of Mullae-dong, keep an eye out for the captivating street art and murals that adorn the neighborhood. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has given the greenlight to many of the graffiti murals around the neighborhood. These vibrant and thought-provoking artworks add a splash of color and creativity to the industrial backdrop, turning every corner into an artistic discovery.
Mullae-dong stands as a living testament to the transformative power of art in reclaiming and reinventing industrial spaces. It is a neighborhood that embraces its industrial heritage while fostering an environment that nurtures artistic expression and creativity. Step into Mullae-dong, and you'll be captivated by the fusion of art and industry, where the echoes of the past harmonize with the vibrancy of the present.
Tucked away in the heart of Seoul, Ikseon-dong is a neighborhood that seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern flair. To fully appreciate its unique character, let's delve into the rich history that has shaped Ikseon-dong into the hidden gem it is today.
Ikseon-dong traces its roots back to the Joseon Dynasty, making it one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seoul. Its narrow alleyways and traditional hanok houses evoke a sense of nostalgia and offer a glimpse into the city's past. Despite its long history, the neighborhood has managed to retain its cultural heritage and distinctive atmosphere, attracting visitors who long for an authentic and immersive experience.
What sets Ikseon-dong apart is its ability to preserve tradition while embracing contemporary trends. Here's a closer look at the unique features that make Ikseon-dong a must-visit destination:
Hanok revival: Ikseon-dong has experienced a revival of traditional hanok houses, with many of them transformed into trendy cafes, boutique shops, and guesthouses. The preservation of these traditional structures showcases a commitment to preserving the neighborhood's historical charm while infusing it with modern amenities and stylish touches.
Traditional tea houses: A visit to Ikseon-dong wouldn't be complete without savoring a cup of tea in one of its traditional tea houses. These quaint establishments offer a serene setting where visitors can unwind, enjoy traditional tea ceremonies, and indulge in traditional Korean snacks. It's a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the refined beauty of Korean tea culture.
Ikseon-dong is brimming with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Here are a few recommendations to make the most of your visit:
Cultural workshops: Engage in cultural workshops that allow you to learn traditional Korean crafts such as calligraphy, pottery, or hanbok (traditional clothing) making. These hands-on experiences provide insight into the rich cultural heritage of Korea and offer a chance to create your own unique souvenirs.
Indie boutiques and artisanal shops: Explore the streets of Ikseon-dong, lined with indie boutiques and artisanal shops offering unique fashion pieces, accessories, and handicrafts. It's a treasure trove for those seeking one-of-a-kind items and supporting local artisans.
Hidden alleyway cafes: Wander through the narrow alleyways and stumble upon hidden gem cafes tucked away from the bustling streets. These cozy retreats offer a tranquil escape, serving specialty coffees, delicious pastries, and a serene ambiance that invites relaxation and contemplation.
Hillside Table 힐사이드 테이블
This is a charming restaurant in Ikseon-dong that offers light and healthy dishes. Their menu features a matcha tofu cheese sandwich, salmon and chicken breast salads, and poke bowls, providing a perfect option for those looking to stay light on their feet while exploring the neighborhood.
Ikseon-dong is a neighborhood that encapsulates the essence of old and new, tradition and innovation. It transports visitors to a bygone era while offering a contemporary twist. As you explore its enchanting streets and immerse yourself in its timeless charm, you'll discover a neighborhood that celebrates the beauty of tradition while embracing the allure of the present.
Seoul is More Than Hongdae and Itaewon
When it comes to Seoul, it’s clear that there is much more to this vibrant city than meets the eye. Beyond the well-known districts of Itaewon and Hongdae, lie a tapestry of neighborhoods that captivate the hearts of expats, international travelers, and locals alike.
Seongsu-dong, Yeonnam-dong, Sangam-dong, Mullae-dong, and Ikseon-dong each possess a distinct character and allure, drawing visitors with their unique histories, cultural offerings, and vibrant atmospheres. They represent the evolving face of Seoul, where tradition harmoniously coexists with contemporary trends.
In Itaewon and Hongdae, the dynamic melting pot of cultures and nightlife have made these districts popular destinations. But beyond their boundaries, Seongsu-dong has emerged as a creative hub, with its trendy cafes and artistic spaces. Yeonnam-dong enchants with its bohemian charm and offbeat cafes, while Sangam-dong thrives as a sports and entertainment hub. Mullae-dong surprises with its transformation from an industrial area to an artistic haven, and Ikseon-dong preserves the beauty of tradition amidst a modern backdrop.
These neighborhoods offer a wealth of experiences to be savored. From exploring art studios and attending cultural events to indulging in unique culinary delights and strolling through picturesque streets, there is something to captivate every visitor.
As you venture beyond the well-trodden path, you'll discover a Seoul that is diverse, vibrant, and ever-evolving.The golden age spirit of Hongdae and Itaewon haven’t disappeared, they’ve simply shifted locations. Seoul is a city that invites you to peel back its layers and uncover hidden gems that leave a lasting impression.
So, the next time you find yourself in Seoul, take the road less traveled and venture to find out what Seongsu-dong, Yeonnam-dong, Sangam-dong, Mullae-dong, and Ikseon-dong have to offer. Let the stories of these neighborhoods unfold before you, and allow their unique charms to enchant and inspire. There's a world of wonders waiting to be explored beyond Itaewon and Hongdae.