Standing proudly in the southeast quadrant of Seoul, South Korea is a frenetic area called Gangnam, comprised of several dozen smaller neighborhoods and emerging as the premier entertainment industry hub in the second-largest metropolitan area in the world.
The fast-paced, high-gloss section of town is one of Seoul’s most affluent areas, with ultramodern architecture towering over the consumer-filled streets below, lined with media towers allowing passers-by to check email, buy event tickets, take photos and browse the Internet as they would on a smartphone.
Home to the COEX mall and the fashion mecca of Apgujeong-dong, the never-quiet hub is constantly humming with activity. It is, perhaps, a perfect microcosm of where the megalopolis of Seoul itself is heading.
Seoul was named the World Design Capital in 2010 by the global tastemakers of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, adding kindling to the growing flame of productive creativity emerging from the region.
K-Pop, one of the most popular modern styles of music across Asia, blends English and Korean lyrics with a teen pop aesthetic helping to drive marketing efforts for Seoul-based brands like LG, Samsung and Hyundai-Kia.
Seoul boasts the world’s fastest broadband network with the highest penetration rate, which extends to its public transport systems as well; its rail system is both the longest circular system and the second-longest fully underground line in the world, all fully outfitted with free wifi. To boot, Seoul’s Incheon International Airport has been rated the world’s best by Airports Council International for eight consecutive years, dating back to 2005.
From the abundance of local and global shopping areas to the wonder of modern architectural feats like the Tower Palace, Jongno Tower, Seoul World Cup Stadium, and N Seoul Tower perched atop a mountain with staggering 360-degree views of the region from its observation floor, there’s no shortage of high-end experiences to be found in Seoul.
Its position as a leading global city is unlikely to change, given its foothold as a cultural and technological bellwether; as such, opportunities for international tourism show no signs of decline, and perhaps never will.
Photo credits: author’s archive