From an Australian perspective, understanding the many districts in Seoul and how to get to them was an educational challenge. In Perth, Western Australia there are not many districts and it is mainly divided into suburbs. Suburbs however can be compared to neighbourhoods in Seoul which are described by the word “-dong”. Perth can generally be categorised into 3 main districts separated by the Swan river. When describing where an individual lives the three main categories are north or south of the river and the city – much simpler which is mainly due to the fact that Perth is much smaller in comparison to Seoul which has nearly five times the population. Seoul has a total of 25 districts called “-gu” which are further separated by neighbourhoods.
As interns being supported by the Seoul internship program which helps students from all across the world, we will spend most of our time in the Mapo-gu district and living in the Seogyo-dong neighborhood. To commute, we will either use buses or the subway system to travel to different districts across Seoul. As an intern working for DIOKOS, we would be required to use Seoul’s elaborate subway system to travel to the Seocho-gu district for work and career development.
One of the many popular neighbourhoods in Seoul is Hongdae located in Mapo-gu, it is quite popular to foreigners due to its affordable accommodation, nightlife and cafes. It is also the home to many prominent universities famous in Korea. During the night you will be able to see many street food vendors selling delicious Korean foods as well as doing light shopping just before hitting the infamous local clubs.
One of the most popular districts in Seoul is Gangnam-gu which is famous for its shopping and luxury goods. Considered the wealthiest part of Seoul, it was mainly made famous by the hit song “Gangnam Style” which is a parody of the district’s excessive wealth. Its rather central district makes it a fine location for many tourists for its shopping, luxury and great view.
Many locations in Seoul are easily accessible with its elaborate subway system and it would be a shame if you did not explore them yourselves. Districts such as Mapo-gu and Gangnam-gu are some of the most popular areas however many of the other districts also have plenty to offer. So depending on what you are looking for where it be shopping, nightlife, view or just to party Seoul has nearly everything you could possibly want.