Itaewon at night © S/Sgt Stull
Without doubt the most popular area of Seoul for foreign visitors, the gritty neighbourhood of Itaewon is one of Korea's coolest, most cosmopolitan urban enclaves. Located near the US Army base in Seoul, Itaewon is full of great bars, restaurants, clubs and shops, while on any given day a polyglot of languages can be heard in the streets. Shopping in Itaewon is a unique experience, as everything from fine tailored suits to cheap plastic jewellery, from impossible-to-find vintage records to American football jerseys can be found. The area is also celebrated for the range and variety of its restaurants: over and above the plethora of fast-food joints and Galbi restaurants, visitors can tuck into authentic French cuisine, fine Indian and Pakistani curries, and even thick steaks and racks of barbecue ribs (Nashville Steakhouse).
However, as wonderful as Itaewon is during the day, it really comes alive at night, offering visitors an inexhaustible selection of clubs, bars, discos, karaoke rooms and live music venues to choose from. Some of these places are very upmarket and feature internationally-renowned DJs, while others are pretty seedy, and should probably be avoided. An exciting, edgy neighbourhood, Itaewon is the perfect base for young travellers looking for an unforgettable big-city experience in Seoul.
Address: Yongsan-gu, Seoul