‘The Gangnam district of Seoul lies in the south of the city, across the banks of the river Han. Gangnam literally translates to ‘south of the river’ and is one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Seoul…’
Gangnam has a reputation as a haven for shopping and nightlife, but it’s also full of history and culture. These are 7 must-see sights in Gangnam-gu
Starfield COEX Mall
COEX sits beneath SK’s World Trade Centre and is billed as the largest underground mall in Asia. It is, quite simply, absolutely humongous.
Consisting of more than 250 stores, 800 restaurants, a convention centre, bookstore, a Kimchi museum, a multi-screen cineplex, and an aquarium (because obviously). It’s more of an underground city than a mall, but it’s well worth a look, even if you’re not much of a shopper.
Location: Samseong Station (Exits 5 and 6) / Starfield COEX Mall
This Buddhist Temple sits in the centre of the Gangnam-gu district and dates back to 794. The temple was previously surrounded by green space, but the city around it has expanded so much, it’s now enveloped by modern technology and a very busy neighbourhood.
Outside the temple sits a 91ft high statue of the future Buddha, Maitreya. The statue is one of the largest in South Korea.
Location: 531 Bongeunsa, Bongeunsa-ro / Bongeunsa Temple
VR Plus Cafe
Korea has a reputation for being technologically advanced and if being home to the world’s first virtual reality cafe doesn’t prove that I honestly don’t know what will.
The VR Plus Cafe sits in Gangnam Station. It offers visitors the chance to enjoy their coffee with a side of imaginary roller-coaster. Probably drink your coffee first though, yes?
Patrons can also try out the HTC Headset and take themselves around the cafe, while seeing things that probably aren’t really there. Sounds fun, right? If you’re looking for quirky, Seoul certainly has you covered.
Location: Gangnam Station / VR Plus Cafe
Paju Samneung / Royal Tombs
Samneung Park is a beautiful green space within the hectic Gangnam neigbourhood and is crammed full of history. The park is the burial place of King Jungjong, who was the 11th King of the Joseon Dynasty.
Also buried in the tombs is the 9th King of the Dynasty, King Seongjong, and his wife, Queen Jeonghyeon. The tombs of the Kings are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I’m unsure why the Queen’s been left out…
Although the park is in the midst of Gangnam, it is surrounded by dense woodland and is a surprisingly quiet and relaxing area.
Location: Samneung Park (short walk from Seolleung Station) / Samnueng Park Tombs
Rooftop Kloud Bar
This beautiful rooftop bar is the place to be and be seen in Gangnam. Well, you know, if you like that sort of thing, anyway. Me? Not so much. However, what I *do* like is cocktails and views of city skylines. Kloud offers both.
It’s not cheap to eat or drink at Kloud, but you are paying for the views and the surroundings, as well as your drinks. That’s the mantra I had to keep reminding Les of while we were there when I saw his wide-eyed stares at the drinks menu…
Location: 10 Teheran-ro 25-gil / Rooftop Kloud
Heeeeeeeeeey, sexy ladeee!
No trip to Gangnam-gu should ever be complete without a visit to the Gangnam Style statue. Let’s face it, the reason so many people in the West have even heard the word ‘Gangnam’ is because of the annoyingly catchy Psy song.
Seoul is understandably proud of the track, and its hometown singer, and commissioned a large installation of two gold hands doing the iconic horse dance, which sits at COEX Mall and plays the track on loop.
There’s also a second, rather fetching statue outside Gangnam Square metro (Exit 11). This doesn’t play the song on loop, but it does have outlines of Psy doing his dance moves.
Both statues have a steady stream of tourists having their picture taken dancing. Still, you can’t really go without doing it, can you?
Location: COEX Mall, Samseong Station / Gangnam Metro / Gangnam Style
Although this seems to be billed as being in Gangnam, it’s technically outside. Anyway, it’s still close by and is definitely worth a visit on a good day.
The Olympic Park is the lasting legacy from the Seoul Olympic Games back in 1988 and showcases the 6 stadiums that were used during the competitions. There’s also a magical World Peace Gate at the entrance and a host of more than 200 art installations and sculptures scattered throughout. The park is free to enter.
Location: 424, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu / Olympic Park
What are your favourite things to do in Gangnam?