Where 'The Privileged' Stroll
A video of me trying 'Gangnam Style' with a friend on our way out of Gangnam:
So—what do I have to say about Gangnam?
That visit, for me at least, was an action purely initiated by curiosity—and convenience.
After clicking through search engines and hotel websites, I was down on luck with my friend on places to go for the Chuseok Holiday (Korea’s Thanksgiving) last month. Tickets to the Phillippines, Taiwan, and Japan were mostly sold out or astronomical so my friend Nina had the bright idea of staying in Korea. We could save more money and see something we hadn’t seen before, Gangnam. Oh, this would be fun, I thought. So I agreed.
What is Gangnam? Where is Gangnam? What is Gangnam Style?
Otherwise known as “The Beverly Hills of Korea”, Gangnam is an area of Seoul that rests south of the Han River (a river that runs through Seoul). It is one of the relatively newer wealthy areas in Seoul. Many European sports cars, posh night clubs and plastic surgeons, along with Korea’s own Rodeo Drive (Apugjeong-ro) are located there. The hit song ‘Gangnam Style’ is a parody of the district.
We spent a total of 4 nights in Gangnam. Our lodging was top notch given it was a holiday. Most hotels slashed their prices in half or more, so we were able to stay in places we typically wouldn’t be able to afford. Our first place was in an area of Gangnam known as Sinsa—a quaint neighborhood of coffee shops, Western restaurants and a place full of whiskey bars.
The second place we stayed was the Park Hyatt. A grand building with superior views from every corner, this was the best place for me.
Then there was the Grammos Hotel—a boutique hotel down a sidestreet that was damn near hard to track down with hotel directions and our phones but the rooftop pool made it worth the rigorous smartphone navigation. Because of the holiday we didn’t do much shopping as the stores were closed, and we both were under the weather with colds so we didn’t drink either. We stayed in and enjoyed the hotel amenities.
One of the last walks we made outside of our hotels was down Rodeo Drive. I had to see for myself what it looked like. I had seen pictures of Rodeo in Beverly Hills. Could this compare to it?
Who knows but I every driveway at the stores had top-of-the-line Mercedes parked in them. More Bentleys than I could count drove past us as we ambled past Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, etc. It was unreal. I’d never seen this much conspicuous consumption in person—thing after thing, car after car. Wealth speaks differently in different places—I don’t know what it is. And I can’t compare it to Beverly Hills since I haven’t been there. But who needs to? This is South Korea—this is where some of the privileged stroll. That’s all I need to know.
View my pics from Gangnam below: