Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Inevitiable Gu IV: The re-re-re Gu-ining (Mapo, Nowon, Seocho, Seodaemun, Seongdong)

For the rest of the Gu Project, check out part one (Dobang, Dongdaemun, Dongjak, Eunpyeong, Gangbuk), Gu Two - (Gangdong, Gangnam, Gangseo, Geumcheon, Guro), Gu 3 (Gwanak, Gwangjin, Jongno, Jung, Jungnang), and Gu V: Damn Gu-ed! (And here the series ends with Seongbuk, Songpa, Yangcheon, Yeongdeungpo, and Yongsan)

Mapo-gu



What’s the picture of?

Hongdae lights.

Where is this gu?


Western Seoul, north of the river.

What’s this gu best known for?

Though it’s the home of Seoul’s largest soccer stadium, Mapo is most famously the gu that Hongdae is in. Hongdae, for those who don’t know, is one of the biggest nightlife districts in Seoul, full of clubs, bars, and restaurants.

When did Jaehak first go there?

I went to Hongdae with some coworkers within my first few days in Seoul.

How were epic walks involved?


An epic walk from World Cup Stadium through Hongdae and on to points east last year kinda re-energized my distance walking habit.

If I were in Seoul for one week, should I bother?

Probably. Hongdae is worth at least one night out when visiting Seoul.

Is there a related blog post I could check out?

Sure. I’ll go old school here.


Nowon-gu


What’s the picture of?

Eunhaeng Sagoeri, AKA Bank Intersection (Or Gingko Tree Intersection). This is taken from the roof of my former apartment building.

Where is this gu?

In the far northeast corner of town.

What’s this gu best known for?

Clearly, this gu is most famous for hosting me for over three years. In fact, the only other neighborhood in the world that holds the honor of housing me for so long a time is Lawrence’s own Prairie Meadows. Nowon is also the home of Noblock and Mojito. It’s the only neighborhood in which I’ve broken a finger, and it has happened twice. There are also some mountains around too, a bunch of English academies, and a couple solid bagel places.

When did Jaehak first go there?


For a job interview on December 22, 2006. Then, I moved there on January 1, 2007. No, I didn’t have to look up the dates.

How were epic walks involved?


A large portion of them began or ended here.

If I were in Seoul for one week, should I bother?


Bar Mojito is cool. There’s a Bennigan’s and a movie theater. Most every restaurant that I ever loved here closed. Short answer: no.

Is there a related blog post I could check out?


Egad. A million. Lets go with this one since it was a fave from last year.


Seocho-gu






What’s the picture of?


Apartment blocks and Central City Mall, taken from the Hannam Bridge.

Where is this gu?

South-central. Between Gangnam-gu and Dongjak-gu.

What’s this gu best known for?

It’s rich, so it’s often considered to be part of Gangnam. Seoul’s largest bus terminal is here, and in fact it’s called the Gangnam Express Bus Terminal. At Gangnam Station, the businesses on the west side of Gangnam Road are actually in Seocho. Thus, a lot of the best bars and clubs in “Gangnam” are in Seocho. The French Village (Seorae Ma-eul) lies in Banpo-dong, a district of Seocho. For whatever reason, most of the restaurants in this area are Italian. Disaster struck Seocho in 1995, when the Sampoong Department Store collapsed and killed 500 people. Unfortunately, the owners of the store were not amongst the dead, as their greed, negligence, and stupidity directly caused the collapse. Google it. It's an unbelievably sad and shocking story.

When did Jaehak first go there?


Right at the start. My first job was in Seocho, as was my first apartment. Both the job and apartment were comically awful, but Seocho itself is a good location to live in.

How were epic walks involved?


In something of a proto-epic walk, I walked from Seocho to Itaewon in October 2006. I've walked through Seocho several times since then.

If I were in Seoul for one week, should I bother?
Possibly. Seocho is fairly central, and if you were taking a bus out of town, Seocho is the best option.

Is there a related blog post I could check out?

Again, I'll go way old school. This blog isn't so much about Seocho as it is about me as a Korea n00b. Strange to think there was once a time when I cared about fan death or North Korea.


Seodaemun-gu




What’s the picture of?


The Independence Gate.

Where is this gu?


West of Downtown, northeast of Mapo.

What’s this gu best known for?


Seodaemun Prison, most likely. It was used by the Japanese during their occupation of Korea during the first half of the 20th Century. Seodaemun also contains Sinchon, another major entertainment/nightlife district. Sinchon is in the front yard of Yonsei University, one of Korea’s big 3.

When did Jaehak first go there?

November 2007, when I went to check out out the Prison Museum.

How were epic walks involved?

The walk from World Cup Stadium and Hongdae moved on the Sinchon.

If I were in Seoul for one week, should I bother?

Seodaemun is a cool gu, lots of historical stuff and nightlife. However, it gets a bit overlooked - nearby Jongno has much more in the way of sightseeing, and neighboring Mapo is bigger in terms of nightlife.

Is there a related blog post I could check out?
There is not.

Seongdong-gu



What’s the picture of?

A hill near Oksu Station

Where is this gu?


North of the river, east of Yongsan-gu.

What’s this gu best known for?


Seoul Forest, one of the largest parks in Seoul. Wangsimni has a major subway station and a large mall. Eungbong-san is a fun hill to climb with an excellent view of Jungnang Stream flowing into the Han River.

When did Jaehak first go there?


2009, when I went to Seoul Forest.

How were epic walks involved?


Same 2009 trip to Seoul Forest.

If I were in Seoul for one week, should I bother?


Seoul Forest is quite a nice piece of green space. Seongdong-gu also has a lot of riverfront for walking and biking.

Is there a related blog post I could check out?

Not as of yet.

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