Even before Psy introduced Gangnam to the rest of the world through the hit song “Gangnam Style”, this district has already established itself as the most upscale district of Seoul. If Seoul is the heart of Korea, then Gangnam-gu (“gu” means local government district) is the heart of Seoul.
From designer brands to lavish night clubs, this is where most people come to work and play.
Gangnam-gu is often referred to as the “Beverly Hills” of South Korea because of its expensive real estate prices and rich residents. Properties in Gangnam are so expensive they cost three to four times the average Korean property and there’s a reason for this.
Gangnam district boasts strengths in safety, infrastructure, accessibility, education, medical care, and more.
The district of Gangnam is located on the southern bank of Han River. The name itself literally means “South of the river”. It is the third largest district in Seoul.
Map of Gangnam District
Gangnam offers a lot of modern, sophisticated high rise apartments, goshiwons (dormitory complexes), officetels, villas, and one-room buildings. Single-detached homes for sale are very rare.
Apartments in Gangnam feature 1 to 2 bedrooms with 1 bath, while villas and officetels usually have 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom. All residential spaces feature large windows, built-in cabinets for kitchen storage, and a modern open floor plan where the living room and kitchen share one great space. Some apartments are semi-furnished, others are fully furnished.Almost all apartments, villas and officetels are walking distance to a nearby subway station, with plenty of convenience stores and facilities all around.
Is it safe in Gangnam?
Gangnam’s local government was the first in the nation to install CCTV in its public facilities in 2002. This has the purpose of recording crime, natural disasters, and automobile accidents. Surveillance cameras have helped resolve many instances of conflicts relating to crime and car accidents in recent years.
The local government has been making other efforts for safety as well. It has launched an emergency hotline in public areas, begun regular check-ups on residential gas and electric systems, and installed streetlights in order to promote the safety of women and children at nighttime.
Shopping, Entertainment and Dining
If there is one thing many people associate with Gangnam, it is its long list of entertainment options. You’ll never get bored here! From parks to malls, to concert halls and theaters, you’ll find something that will capture your interest in Gangnam.
Korea on its own already has a wide range of food to offer. Gangnam, as a hub for many foreigners and Koreans, delivers a long list of dining options that cater to its residents’ international taste. You’ll find many restaurants serving a fusion of Korean and international dishes. Each restaurant has its own appeal and vibe. Some dining establishments are posh and modern, while others are cozy and traditional.
Gangnam is home to hundreds of department stores, underground shopping centers, and malls. It has numerous shops carrying branded and luxury items. In fact, Gangnam is where you’ll find the largest underground shopping center in Asia, the Starfield COEX Mall.
Gangnam is known as the best educational district in Seoul, which is one of the reasons for this district’s success as a top destination in South Korea. Students who attended any hagwons in Gangnam are more likely to be accepted at Korea’s top universities and at other international schools abroad. Parents flock to the region to send their kids to schools of the highest caliber in the nation.
If you are looking for exceptional schools for your children, you’ll find that Gangnam has some of Korea’s best. Notable schools with long traditions, such as Kyunggi High School, send off an abundance of students to Korea’s best universities each year. This district has many private institutions where many of the teachers are foreigners and Ivy-league graduates.
Most of Korea’s best hagwons can be found in the Gangnam district as well, especially in Daechi-dong. Gangnam-gu is one of the most competitive academic regions in Korea, if not in all of Asia.
Gangnam is Seoul’s busiest area. As a commercial and entertainment district, people converge on this area to do business, shop, attend hagwons, or simply be seen.
Besides these reasons, Gangnam-gu is generally convenient in terms of lifestyle. Some of the best hospitals, like Samsung Hospital, can be found in Gangnam.
Yangjae-chun, a stream that runs through the district, offers solace and nature in a large busy city.
Shopping comes as no problem – there are major areas for shopping like Garosugil, Gangnam Station, and Coex, as well as some of the country’s most renowned department stores in the regions of Apgujeong and Seoul Express Bus Terminal.
The following are some of the busiest commercial areas of Gangnam:
- Gangnam Station – This is the busiest subway station in Seoul. It boasts of a huge underground shopping center.
- Gangnam Main Street – A busy street lined with tall buildings and commercial spaces left and right. This street is included in the world’s ten most expensive shopping streets.
- Garosugil (Tree-lined street) – If you look at the main street, you’ll find a lot of Korean and international brands, a great commercial street. If you venture off the main road, you’ll find a lot of quaint cafes, restaurants, cute bars and more.
- Teheranno – Dubbed as “Teheran Valley” in reference to California’s Silicon Valley. This street has a number of tech companies, including Google.
- Apgujeong and Cheongdam – These are shopping destination neighborhoods that fashion trendsetters like to frequent.
- Starfield COEX Mall – One of the largest malls and exhibition centers in South Korea. A great place to go shopping and dining.
The Transporation Hub of Seoul
Being a newer addition to the city of Seoul, Gangnam’s infrastructure is new and sturdy. Its roads are wide, spacious, and clean. Transportation in particular is efficient. Large roads such as Gangnam-daero, Yeongdong-daero, Olympic-daero, and Nambu Beltway allow you to easily reach other parts of Korea by car.
The Korea City Airport Terminal, a bus terminal in Samsung-dong, can take you directly to Incheon International Airport. Also available are the subway lines numbers 2, 3, 7, and 9, the Bundang line, and the Shinbundang line. The Shinbundang is currently under construction to extend to key areas of northern Seoul like Gwanghwamun Plaza.
Gangnam is clean, safe, comfortable, and high in quality. There are no signs of its falling in popularity as a residential area anytime soon. Finding a home for yourself in Gangnam is a safe investment for years to come. If you’re looking to rent a apartment in Gangnam, then you’ll want to check our complete beginner’s guide to Korean housing.