The Real Gangnam Style

Pampering yourself Gangnam Style isn’t just a myth popularized by a phenomenal horse-dancing singer that is worth around 805 million views on YouTube (even overtaking Justin Bieber’s “Baby”!). Gangnam District, a stunning Mayfair metropolis that has been home to South Korea’s most stylish, does exist.

Real estate here is so expensive that it accounts for one-tenth of the entire country’s land value. Nestled in the bosom of Seoul, who would have thought this sprawling district used to be farmland in the 1980s? Thanks to a prodigious development program over the last three decades, Gangnam District has been turned into what it is now an exclusive neighborhood that has attracted only the world’s best. Even the 2010 G-20 Summit had to be held here!


The real Gangnam Style means subscribing to a fleet of top-of-the line services. It embraces luxury as a philosophy to live by. This experience should not be limited to dressing in head-to-toe designer items or driving fancy cars. This is more than just building a Kimchi Museum because of one country’s love for that pickled dish. It is not Hong Kong, but you will find the shopping experience to be the most extensive – ranging from authentic arts and crafts to the most modern mobile devices and video games and high demand technology item. It is not Milan, but posh business casual is the template dress code in this K-Pop universe for both work and play. You are not in Tokyo, but Gangnam District at night transforms into an impressively lit up sea of wonder.

No Gangnam wedding is complete without famous, over-the-top wedding photos where the bride and groom are photographed having a conversation under large trees in Dosan Park. Check out Cheongdam and Nonhyeon districts to discover more about “Wedding Town”.

You could literally spend a week at the COEX Mall, and still feel that you have not scoured every square inch of the shopping opportunities. This is after all the largest underground shopping center in all of Asia. (A part of Psy’s Gangnam Style video was filmed here.) High-end hair and make-up salons and art galleries are also found here. Proof that it is really expensive – a single haircut can cost 225USD. If you find yourself too tired to shop, you can hire a “Hajuseyo,” a fleet of high-earning personal assistants. All it takes is a phone call, and these personal assistants will be ready to do your bidding.


The Kimchi Museum is located within COEX, and should be an interesting detour after all the shopping. The place is solely devoted to the history of Kimchi, a traditional food, and tasting rooms are found inside the museum.

Apjugeong, Seoul’s “Beauty Belt”, is home to both domestic boutiques and flagship stores of many of the world’s top luxury brands. Here you also find a whole slew of clinics specializing in plastic surgery of every type. The streets are packed with young well-dressed teens mingling with the super-rich. Tucked in alleys are stylish cafes where you might just see a Korean star enjoying his coffee. The thriving area heats up with a nightlife that rivals the clubs in New York City. Now that is the real Gangnam style!

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!