Introduction: About Gangnam Station

Ah, Gangnam. The area meaning “South of the River” made famous by the Psy song that everyone knows–even if they don’t want to! Reputed to be the more glamorous of the gu’s, the buildings are tall, the pedestrians are fast and the cab drivers worse than any other district in the city.

Visiting Gangnam Station, it’s hard to get a sense of what to do and why this neighborhood is so famous. With crowds worthy of any metropolis, you could easily find yourself lost in the sea of office workers pouring out of the subway when quittin’ time hits. Connecting the Gyeonggido province to Seoul and serving as the meeting center for the Southern district of the city, The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs back in 2012 reports that Gangnam Station is the most popular subway station in South Korea. But with very few outstanding restaurants, and not too many landmarks, you really have to ask yourself: Where is everyone headed? And what makes the location so popular?

Stay a whole day in Gangnam and you can see the transformation of the average Korean employee–putting on a smile for the company lunch and then loosing his tie for a drink at night. On a Friday, join as a group of friends rip up a burning Friday with grilled meat and soju. Life here is fast and everyone’s partying to keep up!


How to get to Gangnam Station

The main Gangnam street, called Teheran-ro, is actually located between Gangnam Station and Sinnonhyeon Station. Depending on where in Gangnam you would like to visit, it may be easier for you to get off at Sinnonhyeon Station intead of Gangnam Station. Also, beware that Gangnam Station can be quite huge–getting off at the wrong exit could be quite the headache!

a) How to get to Gangnam Station from Incheon International Airport (or Gimpo Airport)

  • SubwayTake the AREX to the Hongik University Station. Transfer on Line 2 for Gangnam Station. Although this route isn’t necessarily the fastest, it may be a good option if trying out the bus system gives you anxiety since the route is pretty cut and dry. (1 hour 45 minutes).
  • Airport BusesNo 6020, 6009
  • TaxiDepending on traffic and tolls, your bill will come out to approximately 60,000 won. (1 hour 15 minutes)

Subway Stations

Gangnam Station, Line 2 (Green)
Shinbundang Line (Red)
  • Exit 1 & 12Walking straight out of these exits will lead you towards Yeoksam Station.
  • Exit 2,3 & 4 Behind the front of a few large businesses and stores, there are a few study cafes, love motels and residences in this area.
  • Exit 5,6 & 7Behind the front of a few large businesses and stores, walking straight of these exits will lead you towards a rarely residential portion of the neighborhood.
  • Exit 8Walking straight of this exit will lead you towards Seoul National University of Education Station.
  • Exit 9Walking straight of this exit will lead you towards Seoul National University of Education Station. There is a Megabox right outside. It is also a less crowded alternative to Exit 10. (The exits are diagonal from one another.)
  • Exit 10Exit 10 and 11 are two of the most popular exits to take at Gangnam Station and both of them face Sinnonhyeon Station. Club Mass is located quite close to the exit.
  • Exit 11Walk straight out of Exit 11 for the local CGV. This is also the side of Gangnam where the Samgyeopsal Street is located.

How to get to Sinnonhyeon Station from Incheon International Airport (or Gimpo Airport)

Sinnonhyeon Station, Line 9 (Gold)
  • SubwayTake the AREX to Gimpo Airport. From Gimpo Airport, you can take Line 9 all the way to Sinnonhyeon Station. If you can, you should definitely try to take the express as it can shave a good half hour from your trip. (1hour 40 minutes)
  • Airport BusesNo 6020, 6009
  • TaxiDepending on traffic and tolls, your bill will come out to approximately 60,000 won. (1 hour 15 minutes)

Tip 1 : Around Gangnam Station, there is a bus to take you anywhere in Seoul and even the city’s outer regions. The main Gangnam Bus Station is actually between Sinnonhyeon Station and Gangnam Station. It’s literally in the middle of the street and you’ll see a whole swarm of people running to catch the buses. They’re a great option for heading north of the river when there’s little traffic. (Also, since subways are so crowded, your likelihood of getting a seat might be enhanced on the bus.)

Tip 2 : Although times are changing, taxi drivers can be notoriously aggressive in Gangnam–especially when it hits past midnight. Taxi drivers make more money taking customers to the outskirts of Seoul and thus show a clear preference when trying to pick up customers. Don’t be too shocked if it takes you an hour or two trying to catch a ride home on a Thursday night.


The Best Places to Stay in Gangnam Station

In Gangnam, you won’t be in want of a great hotel to stay in–it’s likely the highest concentration of reasonably priced and modern accommodations in the city. Although you might be a bit further away from the Seoul’s downtown attractions, staying around here also means that you’ll be higher up with better views. If you are coming with children, however, you might want to make sure that your hotel is a “real hotel” and not a love motel. (The key’s in the windows.)




OCloud Hotel

Who says you can’t mix business and pleasure? The rare Seoul hotel that features high ceilings, the OCloud Hotel is well-known for its modern design and its amenities as well as the hotel’s conference rooms. People coming to Seoul on business can take advantage of the business lounge and try to fit in an hour or two of relaxation on the hotel’s nice rooftop garden.

  • Best for business/ couples/ families
  • Modern design
  • Rooftop garden
  • Central location

Boree Hotel

Located 10 minutes away from Yeoksam Station, Bori Hotel isn’t necessarily the best hotel in terms of location. However, there is something about the smiling staff and the simply white rooms that sets it apart from many other spaces. If you’re looking for a splurge from an independent hotel in Seoul–Boree Hotel’s Boree Terrace with a king sized bed, private terrace and larger than life bathroom is a great option!

  • Best for couples
  • Modern design
  • Loved by locals
  • Remote location

Hotel Soulhada

A relatively new addition to Gangnam’s hotel scene, Hotel Soulhada is located only five minutes away from Gangnam Station. In a short amount of time, the hotel has garnered a lot of interest because of its modern design and great service. The white freestanding bathtub available in many of the rooms are all the rage in Seoul nowadays.

  • Best for friends/ solo travelers
  • Great on a budget
  • Friendly Staff

K-Guesthouse Premium

K-Guesthouse Premium is in a prime location, a block away from Sinnonhyeon Station (Line 9). The area itself is famous for the its bars, but it's somehow unknown to non-Koreans. Walk across the street and you'll be in the main Gangnam Station area as well. It's busy, fun and there's lots to do. The guesthouse is reasonably priced as well, so you'll find excellent value here.

  • Best for couples/solo travelers
  • Great on Budget
  • Friendly Staff

Big John’s Place

A house located near the heart of Gangnam, those who stay at Big John’s Place can’t help but leave rave reviews. Unlike other guesthouses which normally have stiff and uncomfortable bunk beds, most of the rooms here are individual twin beds with plush padding. The breakfast spread here is also rumored to be unlike another.

  • Best for friends/ families
  • Great on a budget
  • Friendly staff
  • Great breakfast

The Best Places to Eat in Gangnam Station

Although there are so many restaurants and the neighborhood is bubbling with so many foodies, it never ceases to amaze us how few great restaurants there are in this neighborhood. Sure, you could walk into an average Korean barbecue restaurant in this area and it’s bound to be pretty good–but knock out restaurants? The kind where you can’t believe what you ate? That’s pretty difficult to find in this neighborhood. Of course, much of that is changing and foreign food is widely becoming available in Gangnam so go check out for yourself Gangnam’s changing restaurant scene and let us know if there’s anything we should add to our list.


Muwol Table(무월식당)

One of the trendiest in Gangnam these days, you can choose to have a meal for one served to you on an individual tray or order a large sharing dish. The individual sets where you can choose from a range of meat-focused mains (spicy chicken and soy shrimp are delicious) and have it served to you with four wholesome side dishes and a soup. The most popular main dish is likely the bossam (boiled pork) and at night, it’s paired with one of the premium sojus on the menu. 

  • Address: 23 Gangnam-daero 102-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-552-9280
  • Hours: Daily 11:30am-11:30pm
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Cheongchun Sidae(청순시대)

Literally meaning “The Times of Youth,” this restaurant doesn’t necessarily make dishes catering to the young. In fact, some of the most popular dishes here are bubbling stews–stereotypically a favorite of middle-aged Korean men. Different variations of cheonggukjang (fermented soybean soup) and soondubu (soft tofu) are served and loved here. Since the menu focuses on individual dishes, it’s also a great place to go if sharing soups grosses you out!


Tokkijung Project

Although this restaurant has now become a chain all over Korea, the most popular location remains here at the original, on the café street in Gangnam. Started up by the people of Mies Container (another well-known chain in Korea), the Japanese-Korean fusion restaurant has some hit items such as their signature-fried croquettes, the creamy curry udon and Tokkijung’s take on donkatsu. A reasonably priced restaurant that still feels slightly fancy, the variety of items on the menu will mean there’s something to please everybody!

  • Address: 32, Bongeunsa-ro 6-gil Gangnam-gu Seoul
  • Hours: Daily 11am-12pm (Last order at 11pm)
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Star Dakgalbi

Often included in top 10 best restaurants of Gangnam, this restaurant serves dakgalbi (pan-fried chicken) and jjukkumi (baby octopus) for incredibly reasonable prices. The dakgalbi is definitely the star dish (haha) and while the chicken isn’t necessarily top-notch, the meat is tender and juicy and the spicy marinade is addictive. Add your choice of udon, ramen or cheese (yes, cheese) and fried rice afterwards: it’s the stuff junk food dreams were made of.


Shakeshack Gangnam

Not from the States and curious to know what all the rage is about? The famous burger chain from the U.S made headlines when its first location opened here in Gangnam–bringing with it all the popular patties, the soft buns and of course, the milkshakes. The Shroom Burger from the original U.S menu is likely one of the few meatless burgers that exist in Seoul. From the lips of many of a burger snob, the taste is rumored to be exactly the same so if you’re craving a good fast food burger–Shakeshack might just be your answer. (Also, their delivery service is great so if you’re in Gangnam and just want a burger sent to your room, you know who to call.)


Muchacho

Although Ko-Mex might have been made famous in Los Angeles, it’s slowly integrating into the Korean dining scene as well. Case in point is the ever-popular Muchacho with lines out the doors on weekends. The signature Muchacho burrito includes a generous helping of kimchi-fried rice and their burrito bowls won’t leave you feeling hungry. The best part is that they actually call themselves “Korean tacos,” instead of claiming to be authentic like many other tacquerias in town.


Best Bars in Gangnam Station

From izakayas to pubs and self-serve beer bars, Gangnam Station is full of different types of bars for the enthusiastic imbiber. In this area, you’re less likely to just walk into a friendly, atmospheric bar and there’s a different energy than other areas of Seoul, for sure. The size of many of the bars means that they can accommodate larger groups and there’s much more people-watching to do. With the exception of Itaewon perhaps, there’s a certain type of mingling that’s acceptable only here–men asking women to join tables, winks from across the room and women talking to each other in the bathroom. After all, what’s a party without the drinks?

KLOUD

Located on top of the Mercure Ambassador Hotel, Rooftop Bar Kloud is one of the most successful rooftop bars in the Gangnam Station area and perhaps one of the few bars in the area to have a quiet cocktail with a great view. The top-shelf cocktails are delicious and the food (Korean-Western fusion) is decent. Full of after-hours office workers and those in Korea on business, the bar is more crowded on the weekdays than it is in on weekends.


Rainbow Bar

Talk to most alcohol-loving exchange students about Rainbow Bar and you might see a dreamy glossed-over look in their eyes–the legendary basement hookah bar has almost become a rite of passage for their years in Korea. With a small pond in the center, self-order bucket drinks, writing on the walls and floor seating, the bar plays into the hippie feeling well and attracts a lot of attention from fun-loving locals young at heart as well. You might get the feeling that the bar has somewhat passed its heyday, because it has–but there’s also no denying that there’s no other bar like it in Gangnam. It’s also one of the few bars in Korea very strict about verifying your age so make sure to carry identification with you!


Miinzikazaya

An izakaya located in a basement, Miinzikazaya maintains its Japanese-bar feel with floor seating and wooden panels. The anju (food to go with your alcohol) menu focuses on seafood with the sashimi platter being a local favorite. Although soju and beer are probably the most sought after drinks, there are several different kinds of sake are available for those trying to have a Japanese theme for the night.


Beer Tour

Since most bars in the Gangnam area require you to order food with your drinks, it can be quite inconvenient if you’re already been stuffed full from dinner. A great alternative to the pressure of a “full-service bar” is these self-service beer bars where you can grab beer from the refrigerator and pay at the end. At this particular bar, you can even bring in your own food (chicken is a popular choice) and have it accompanied with your favorite kind of beer. All of the prices are written clearly on the refrigerator and there are occasionally bottles available for incredibly reasonable prices.  There are two different locations in the Gangnam area, so make sure and check it out!

  • Address: 3F, 40 Teheran-ro 1-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-2051-7222
  • Hours: Daily 4pm-4am
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Samgeori Pocha (삼거리포차)

For locals in their twenties or thirties, it would be pretty rare not to recognize the name Samgeori Pocha–it’s particularly well-known in the Hongdae area. Meaning “a tent-bar at a three way intersection,” the truth is that this bar is not really in a tent. Soju in little green bottles is the preferred drink of choice and it’s served alongside a variety of spicy stews, stir-fried meats and fried delicacies. Don’t come expecting a safe ride for your stomach–even if the food is rather delicious! The love from locals means it’s pretty hard to get a seat here anytime from Friday to Saturday, but it is open until the wee of hours of the morning and trust us, your chances of getting in increases dramatically after 3am!

  • Address: 45 Seocho-daero 77-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul
  • Website:
  • Phone Number: 02-532-1904
  • Hours: Daily 7pm-6am
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

AY Lounge

A beautifully decorated bar quite close to Gangnam Station, AY Lounge proves that this area’s bar standards are slowly catching up to places like Cheongdam and Hannam-dong (and slowly bringing with it Cheongdam prices). With chandelier lighting, plush seating and high ceilings, the lounge has established itself as a go-to for small groups going out together. With sets that include a bottle and a food item ranging from 170,000 to 270,000; it’s a not bad price if you split the bill between a group of 4-5 as long as you don’t expect to be wowed by the platters.

  • Address: 13 Gangnam-daero 92-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
  • Website: http://ay8199.modoo.at/
  • Phone Number: 02-552-8199
  • Hours: Mon-Wed 6:30pm-3:30am, Thu-Sat 6:40pm-4:30am, Sun 6:30pm-4am
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Best Cafes in Gangnam Station

In all honesty, the Gangnam Café Street pales in comparison to Samcheong-dong or Hongdae but there are still treasures to be found. Unlike the big brand name shops on the main street, the Gangnam Café Street (located on Bongeunsa4-gil and Bongeunsa-6gil) doesn’t necessarily have small hole in the wall joints that feel like they’re completely yours–instead, they’re open and wide spaces that allow for plenty of sunlight and people watching. You don’t have to feel pressured by a café manager to leave and you can watch dramas for as long as you’d like on your computer. Since cafes in this area die young, try not to look for the same café on a returning trip to Seoul and savor the moment while you can!

Best Things to Do in Gangnam Station (Rooms)

Since people rarely live on their own for social and financial reasons, bang culture or private room culture is huge in Korea. There are pc-bangs with computers mostly for gamers and even questionable private pc-bangs where young men rent out small rooms with computers in them. There are DVD-bangs where friends or couples go to “watch movies” and multi-bangs where you can sing, play Wii and watch movies. There are norae-bangs where you and a group of friends can have a private karaoke room to yourselves. In general, the quality of bangs in the Gangnam area is much higher than others. There are snacks served at the door, an extensive collection of movies at the DVD-bangs and the rooms are as clean as these types of establishments can get. Among the bangs, the one you can’t miss is the norae-bang and while in Gangnam, you have to try out these luxury establishments with twirling lights, large seating and plenty of play-instruments!

Cameo Noraebang (까메오노래방)

  • Address: 43 Seocho-daero 77-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-599-8855
  • Hours: Daily 12pm-5am
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Manekineko


Show King Noraebang (소리궁노래연습장)

  • Address: Gangnam-daero 65-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul
  • Website:
  • Phone Number: 02-535-5309
  • Hours: Daily 10am-4am
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Best Clubs in Gangnam Station

Although “Gangnam clubs” are often, the reality is that many Gangnam clubs are not exactly around Gangnam Station. Even attempting to reach popular Gangnam Clubs like Club Arena or Octagon via taxi is quite the feat since many cab drivers aren’t willing to go such short distances. If you’re looking to dance near Gangnam Station, these clubs below might be your best bets.

Club Mass

Only five minutes from Gangnam Station, Club Mass has definitely stood the test of time in a neighborhood where venues change quicker than the seasons. A two-floor venue, there’s a large stage in the front for the DJs, a few podiums with elevated poles and a prominent bar. Although the club focuses on EDM, the music that’s played here varies from weekend to weekend and on the DJ that’s playing.


Between Night and Music (밤과음악사이강남점)

Although this club and lounge now has a few locations all over the city, this location in Gangnam is definitely the most famous. Unlike many other clubs in the area, you’ll find the visitors’ ages to be much more diverse and the vibe much more local. The music brings back tunes from Korea in the 80s and 90s, and encourages those who aren’t interested in EDM or hip hop to dance. Towards the end of the night, they also alternate between fast, jumpy music to slow ballads–allowing you to cozy up with a certain stranger you’ve just exchanged looked with.

  • Address: B1F, 1 Gangnam-daero 65-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul
  • Website:
  • Phone Number: 02-594-2625
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 7pm-5am, Fri-Sun 7pm-6am
  • Map Link: Between Night and Music

Salsa Club Naomi

While it may not be as well-promoted in the mainstream scene, the ballroom dancing culture is huge in Korea and there’s nowhere better to evidence that than the Salsa Club Naomi. Well loved by locals, there are special parties that go on here every week and a community of dancers gather to show off their moves. You may find it a bit awkward to try to fit in at first, but be bold enough to make the first move and you’ll be fine.


Best Things to Do in Gangnam Station (Sports)

You may have heard it said that Gangnam is the playground for adults and you’ll find it more true than ever when you see the streets late at night–especially in the area sandwiched between Gangnam Exit 9 and 10 on Seochodaero-73gil and Seochodaero-77gil. There are a few trucks with carnival games so that when you’re drunk, you can aim to pop a balloon and win an overstuffed teddy bear; a mechanical punching bag that’s outlived most of the cafes in that area and a few Korean flip the coin games for small prizes. Additionally, there are dozens of places to play coin baseball, screen-golf, screen-baseball and drunken bowling.

S-corising

Although S-corising functions as a full time gym (requiring a full time membership), there is also a section of screen baseball for enthusiasts dying to get their full in this concrete jungle. A lot more luxurious than coin baseball centers, there are a wide variety of balls and bats as well as an option to play screen-golf. It might be worth the investment if you’re putting a whole night into it!  


Beer and Bowl

Riding on a drinking and bowling trend that boomed back in 2012, Beer and Bowl offers the best of both worlds. The bowling lanes are lit up in fun neon colors and the menu offers everything from bottle service to cocktails and imported beers, not to mention decent buffalo wings. Since its feature on popular television show Tasty Show, it has been incredibly difficult to find spots so try to avoid peak times.  


Best Things to Do in Gangnam Station (Shopping)

Underground shopping

Connected to Sinnonhyeon Station, the Gangnam Station Kyobo comes in second only to the Gwanghwamun branch. This Kyobo is separated into two separate floors. One of the floors is dedicated to books and the occasional lecture while the other has a colorful corner devoted to children’s literature and art goods.


Kyobo

Connected to Sinnonhyeon Station, the Gangnam Station Kyobo comes in second only to the Gwanghwamun branch. This Kyobo is separated into two separate floors. One of the floors is dedicated to books and the occasional lecture while the other has a colorful corner devoted to children’s literature and art goods.


Kakao Friends Flagship Store

Located on the main Gangnam Street, this Kakao Friends created quite the sensation when it opened its doors. A towering building, it’s jam packed with favoritecharacters from Korea’s most popular chatting app. There’s large caricatures for you to take photos with and a café on the third floor.


MUJI

A Japanese brand that receives a lot of attention in Korea, this particular branch is one of the biggest in the country. With a larger snack and home goods section than most locations, if there’s a MUJI product that you haven’t been able to find elsewhere, this might be your best bet.





Best Things to Do in Gangnam Station (Other)

Gangnam Style Horse Dance Stage

Does being in Gangnam make you so happy you could dance? Is the image of Psy’s famous horse dancing impressed so strongly upon your hands are naturally crossing one on top of another? Then the Gangnam Style Horse Dance Stage is for you. A stage nestled in between Gangnam Station Exit 1 and 11, this is a must-have photo location

  • Address: 858-29 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
  • Map Link: MAP LINK

Sool Gallery

Previously located in Insadong, the Sool Gallery has now moved to this venue near Gangnam Station. Here, you can learn about the different types of alcohols in Korea­–soju, makgeolli, yakju and more. Additionally, you can also sign up for a tour and tasting that’ll help you develop a more refined taste for these drinks.  Email [email protected] for a tour reservation and more information.


Samsung D’light

A three-story exhibition run by Samsung Electronics, here you can interact with the latest technology and see the latest innovations from the company. A colorful and futuristic place, it’s a great place to stop by–especially if you’re bringing children on your trip.