The Itaewon province looks like a "happening" place. I went during the day but I get the feeling it's hopping at night. Please see my Itaewon travelogue album on my Seoul page for more details and pics.
My hubby always buys custom made shirts in Itaewon. We normally go to Hamilton shirts for its reasonable price & quality. This time, we wanted to try something special to celebrate his birthday.
We went to steadystate, which was located on the hill behind Hamilton Hotel. The female owner welcomed us and made satisfying shirts for my hubby that actually fit his body. steadystate, despite its high price, created my hubby's own custom patterns and allowed us to choose every detail. So.. if someone wants to buy high quality bespoke shirts, I would recommend this place. The shop wasn't that large and it was quite difficult find but we had a good experience from this shop.
You feel right at home in Itaewon, especially for Muslim travellers.
There's plenty of Halal restaurants, butchers as there are lots of foreigners from India, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc setting up shops in this area.
There is a mosque here and is on a hill top, very nice view.
For full write up & photos, please visit my blog: http://www.aspirantsg.com/travel-holidays/itaewon-unexpected-treasures-seoul-korea/singapore or follow me on twitter for other travel reviews: https://twitter.com/AspirantSG
Having explored almost all of Seoul over the last few days, Itaewon is the most exotic place in the cosmopolitan city to me. Majority of expats or immigrants find solace in its accommodating nature. They chose to set up their homes there where they can be tucked comfortably in an foreign enclave away from the main korean community.
There is an amazing explosion of cultures, language and lifestyle from all over the globe within the relatively modest area. Through daily interactions, these world cultures mingled and integrated with one another, creating a unique and distinctive atmosphere.
The shopping street at Itaewon stretches 1.4 km from Itaewon 1-dong eastwards to Hannam 2-dong. The area has a vibrant ambience with shops, restaurants, bars and street vendors with most signboards written in English. English can be easily understood on the streets.
From the surface, Itaewon looks like it is just a long straight stretch of road. It's only when I ventured into one of the seeming shallow side alley that I realised the main shopping street was just the tip of the iceberg! There are well hidden cozy cafes to be found after negotiating through small corners.
In order to systematically 'clear' the area, I decided to start from 'The Flying Pan' and move in the direction away from Raymond place. That will allow me to end off on the other side of the road just opposite Raymond's place.
I love the disorderly array of shops within these narrow side alleys. It is close to impossible to tell where an alley will close off and the shops just surprises you at every turn. I love it that there are more guys apparels and accessories stores here.
One can find hip hop style, casual wear, and formal suits all clustered on either the broadwalk or the tight alleys. Good quality leather goods are available and numerous tailors can be found flunting their best works on their shop front. Just look that that gorgeous baby blue jacket, it cost a bomb btw...
Singapore fashion buyers seem to always go for a safe limited color range for men. It's always the boring white, black, dark blue. Koreans are more open to experimenting with less traditional men's colors.
I used every opportunity to stock up on pastel baby blue canvas shoes, bermudas and sweater here at Seoul at fantasic prices.
While shopping, I chanced upon a rather peaceful demostrations by a significantly large group of aunties and their family members. I supposed only aunties have the time to hold a rally on a Thursday morning. I am not sure about the content but they sure are enthuastic about it!
I managed to clear shopping at around 11am plus. Quickly head back to Raymond's place to put all my purchases before rushing off to dedicate the rest of the afternoon at Samcheongdong.
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here: http://www.aspirantsg.com/travel-list-singapore
Having lived in or around Itaewon off and on since 2004 I have experienced many of the good and the bad that a muticultural area like this has to offer. First and in my opinion the best thing about Itaewon...food. For those of us who love Korea except at those times we get a mad craving for some REAL Western food Itaewon accomodates us and then some. Second shopping, being larger than most Korean men I have trouble finding items such as shoes that fit properly in areas like Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, but Itaewon has large sizes in abundence. Third, the nightlife, whether your in your early twenties looking for a hip-hop dance club or mid 40s looking for a refined wine bar to enjoy with your wife Itaewon has something for you. Herein lies the one fault I have with Itaewon, it's sometimes too diverse for its own good. When you mix the many cultures and ages together there are bound to be some issues arise that you don't see in other neighborhoods of Seoul.
Itaewon is a great area for shopping and checking out the bar scene. There are a lot of American GI's throughout here if you're interested at all. The bars and clubs we visited generally played American music - hip hop and r&b.
The bars are open til daybreak so it's pretty easy to visit several places in the course of a night. You can shop on the street til around 9 or 10, but eventually the sidewalk stands close up, the stores shut down, and the only thing left open are the bars.
Itaewon was a little mind-blowing for me after so much time in Korea without seeing so many foreigners! If you are living in Korea, or are just visiting and want to check out the foreigner scene, this is the place to do it. Itaewon could fall under several categories, inlcluding places to eat and shopping, but I've filed it here because it really is a thing to do!
Itaewon is a neighbourhood in Central Seoul, just south of Namsan Park, and about 1-2 blocks for the American Military Base. Due to its proximity to the base, a huge market area catering to the solidiers has popped up. Here, you can buy clothes in N. American sizes, trinkets, and lots of other fun stuff. The restaurants are extremely diverse: you can eat Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, German, Chinese, Japanese, American and other food, all within 3 blocks.
We didn't visit Itaewon at night, first because we're not really night folks, and second because we had heard it's not the most pleasant place to be at night. If you are interested in going out, there appeared to be plenty to keep you busy for an evening. Have fun, but be safe.
In a sometimes drearily insular city, the district of Itaewon stands out. Located near the US Yonsan military base, it is one of the city`s tourist (and red-light) centres, and more surprisingly the home to its gay ghetto, an African immigrant neighborhood and the country`s main mosque!! This unique patchwork of overlapping influences sets the district apart from any other in the world. Its seedy, yes, but also exciting and cosmopolitan.
Despite, or perhaps more accurately, because of this, some local residents take a dim view of the neighborhood - for many Koreans it is a decadent fleshpot, and foreign residents sniff at the heavy military presence and the undeniably tacky nightclubs. But still, its is one of the most interesting experiences Seoul has to offer.
From Itaewon station turn left, (down the street outside Burger King) and then left again into the first small alley. On Sundays, this narrow street is filled with African immigrants, chatting in Lingala and Yoruba, many wearing colorful flowing robes, and eating kimchi and fried octopus at traditional Korean stalls. Its one of Seoul`s most arresting sights. (The Africans have been imported to work in the most menial and dangerous factory jobs and are often badly exploited. For many, Sunday is their only day off.)
Continue up this colorful street until you get to an intersection and a sleazy but atmospheric strip of hip-hop blasting strip clubs with names like "Russian Riviera" ,"Starbutts" and "Hard rain". At night, this street is Seoul`s liveliest. Directly ahead is "Hooker Hill"....join the dots! Walking right you`ll pass the gay district (see nightlife recommendations), then just past that, Itaewon`s crowning glory - the beautiful mosque!!
Looping back to the main strip you can walk left, eventually out of Itaewon to neighboring Nokpsapyong past the Yonsan base, to the interesting Korean War Memorial Museum (also note the beautifully decorated subway station!), or turn right to the slightly more Japanese-oriented tourist districts.
Itaewon is the famous shopping area which stretches from the US Army Base and contains over 1,000 different stores.
The area has a vibrant night life scene with many bars and nightclubs. Many street vendors selling shirts, jackets, and caps also stay up late to cater to nocturnal shoppers.
Itaewon is a great place...Shopping during the day...and all the clubs that you could want at night. I suggest the Polly's Kettle House for your first taste of Soju Kettle, but not too many they pack a kick and then some.
For lunch, Dan Xia and I decided to wonder off and explore Itaewon a little.... we took a turn and end up in a back alley.
Though it is a back alley, it was clean and we had a pleasant walk. There are many smaller restaurants that has their entrance from the back alley.
Also, all along Itaewon, we saw quite a few American soldiers. Apparently, according to the locals, Itaewon is the tourist/ foreigner spot. This is a good place to do some shopping too, mainly clothes, shoes, and souvenirs.
Itaewon is a "must-see" place that is popular with travelers from around the world. Here you can encounter a wide variety of products as well as people. Besides the joy of shopping, Itaewon offers diverse kinds of food, from simple takeouts to serious dining. With dusk it turns into a center of entertainment.
Getting to Itaewon by subway is somewhat complicated. Take Subway Line 4 (Blue Line), get off at Samgakji Station, take exit 1, walk for about 50 meters, then turn right and continue to walk for another 50 meters up to the front gate of the Ministry of National Defense. Take Bus Nos. 23 or 81 and get off after two bus stops. For two or more travelers, catching a cab might be better.