Gangnam Travel Guide: Attractions, Food, Where To Stay

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Gangnam is a luxury district in Seoul, South Korea. It has breathtaking skyscrapers with beautiful views, designer brands and shopping, and trendy nightclubs with famous DJs who play in them. 

Gangnam is the perfect district for those looking to indulge in an upscale life, and also good for those looking for adventure and partying.

The rest of this article will cover what to do in Gangnam, where to stay in Gangnam, what it’s known for, and a brief conclusion.

What To Do In Gangnam

It would be strange to visit Gangnam and not shop. Gangnam (강남구) translates to South of the Han River, and it’s a common tourist district in Seoul

There are quite a few activities for you to do including, but not limited to: shopping, sightseeing, eating, and studying Korean culture.

Some specific activities you can try are as follows: shop at the Cheongdam Fashion Street, immerse yourself in Korean culture at the Starfield Library and Bongeunsa Temple, learn about Samsung at the Samsung D’light, and visit the largest underground mall in Asia called COEX.

Cheongdam Fashion Street

Shopping is huge in Gangnam, and the Cheongdam Fashion Street (청담동 명품 거리) is a perfect example of that. 

Home to famous designer brands, Cheongdam is perfect for those looking to up their style. Fashion lovers will be in paradise while shopping there.

In Gangnam, Cheongdam is one of the best places to go for an upscale shopping spree. It houses brands such as: Prada, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, and much more. 

The architecture alone will draw you in, and the fashion will keep you shopping.

However, shopping for designer brands isn’t the only thing you can do. You can also visit the elite restaurants and cafes around the area. 

It’s nicknamed the ‘Celebrity Street’ since celebrities shop there, and locals and tourists come out feeling like they’re celebrities too.

Lastly, if you’re looking for even more ways to up your style, you can visit the various beauty and hair salons. 

Korean beauty techniques are some of the best on the market, and at Cheongdam, you can get pampered and treated like a star.

Starfield Library

The luxury of Gangnam is evident in the Starfield Library’s beautiful architecture. 

Inside the COEX Mall and at the center of the main area, the Starfield Library is a gorgeous sight every photographer wants to have a photoshoot in. It’s also a must-visit for tourists.

The Starfield Library stands two stories tall with a width of 2,800 square-meters. It has more than 40,000 books, including from foreign, famous authors.

 You can find mainstream books from western authors there such as the Harry Potter series.

As much fun as seeing the architecture would be, there’s more than one reason to go. 

Look for a day that an event is happening. In the library, they like to do events such as book concerts, book talks, poetry and book reading, meeting with authors, and more!

Bongeunsa Temple

After shopping and hitting the books, your next stop is the Bongeunsa Temple (봉은사) to give yourself a taste of Korean culture. 

Bongeunsa is a Buddhist temple, and the name Bongeunsa translates to ‘Offering Mercy Temple’.

Back in the year 794, the Bongeunsa was established under the name Gyeonseongsa (견성사). This was during the Shilla dynasty. 

Most temples are on mountains, but the Bongeunsa is different. Bongeunsa is on the ground near the COEX Mall’s northern side. 

The temple’s statue of Budda is 23 meters high, and people are seen taking pictures of or praying to it. 

As for the temple itself, you can stay overnight and learn more about the culture and history residing inside. It’s a nice break from the shopping of Gangnam, and it immerses you in history.

Samsung D’Light

Did you know that Samsung (삼성) originated in South Korea? To show off their technological achievements, Samsung has the Samsung D’light located in Gangnam. It’s a fun activity that gets you away from the streets and instead into the growth of South Korea.

The Samsung D’light is a wonderful spot if you love Samsung products. 

It’s inside the Samsung headquarters, and it’s an exhibition center displaying the newest Samsung products including phones, TVs, and other electronics you may be craving to buy.

D’light comes from two words: digital and light. 

Combining the two brings D’light to life. Samsung chose this name to be symbolic for how they’re bringing light into the digital world with their technology. 

The exhibit proves this is true by showing off the new and old tech.

On the first floor, you’ll find exhibits and interactive opportunities. 

You can go through the old and current technology and test it out, and if you like it, you can buy Samsung products in the retail store on the lower floor.

The second floor is where the new technology comes into play. Samsung’s future plans are demonstrated on the second floor. 

This includes, but isn’t limited to: new technology, education, and healthcare.

Starfield COEX Mall

Shopping, shopping, and more shopping. When in Gangnam, why not shop til’ you drop? The Starfield COEX Mall (스타필드 코엑스몰), or COEX Mall for short, is an underground mall located at the Korea World Trade Center. 

You can even book tours of the place in advance.

The COEX Mall is home to many events and stores. Not only can you shop, but you can attend the activities that go on there both during the week and on weekends. 

For example, some events are as follows: Korean vegan fair, cosmetic exhibitions, and automotive expos. 

However, what it’s most known for is shopping. It’s an underground mall, and it’s also the largest underground shopping center in all of Asia. 

There’s plenty of Korean cuisine there, and there’s even a museum featuring a popular Korean food: kimchi.

It’s gigantic and has the following: international brands, retail, food courts, a movie theatre, restaurants, an arcade, a kimchi museum, an aquarium, and a concert hall. Since it’s so popular, prepare to wait in line for long periods of time. Especially at the aquarium and museum.

The museum is a unique attraction that’s exactly what it sounds like: a home for all you need to know about kimchi

At the kimchi museum, you’ll learn about kimchi and the different ways to make it, and you can even participate in kimchi-related activities.

Where To Stay In Gangnam

With Gangnam being such a large tourist spot, especially for big-name celebrities, you can expect lots of 5-star and 4-star hotels to be in the area. 

There’s also 3-star hotels that offer an affordable but comfortable stay. 

GLAD Gangnam COEX Complex

Starting off this list is one of the best hotels in Gangnam you can get at a fair price. 

The GLAD Gangnam COEX Complex (글래드 강남 코엑스센터) is a 3-star hotel that has high reviews, and even a perfect 5 star review on Tripadvisor, where it’s also a traveler’s choice in 2022.

The reason this hotel is so popular is because of the location. It’s within walking distance of 190 restaurants and 15 attractions. 

It’s also right near Jamsil, so you can visit both Gangnam and Jamsil in one visit. For example, the Jamsil Baseball Stadium is a 10 minute walk from GLAD.

As for amenities, GLAD includes: meeting and fitness rooms, valet parking, airport transportation, free Wi-Fi, complimentary tea, a restaurant and breakfast buffet, vending machines, dry cleaning and laundry service, baggage storage, and so much more.

Address: 610 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Shilla Stay Samsung

The Shilla Stay Samsung (신라스테이 삼성) is a 4-star hotel that’s also highly rated, earning yet another perfect 5 star review on Tripadvisor. It’s known for its variety of room styles, including: suites, family rooms, non-smoking rooms, landmark view rooms, and city view rooms.

It’s the perfect hotel because it has 70 restaurants nearby as well as 4 attractions within walking distance. 

The amenities it has are as follows: a rooftop terrace and bar, video game consoles, sun decks and terraces, picnic areas, complimentary instant coffee, laundry service, and more.

The Shilla Stay also has plenty of room amenities: blackout curtains, a sofa, a safe, bottled waters, coffee/tea maker, private bathrooms, laptop safes, electric kettles, a minibar, a hair dryer, a walk-in shower, soundproof rooms, a wake-up service, and more.

Address: 506 Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

What Gangnam Is Known For

It would be impossible to mention the impact of Gangnam without stating how luxurious it is. Gangnam is known for being one of South Korea’s richest districts. 

Even apartments are expensive with average prices being 300,000 won ($265.60) per month.

Gangnam is the third largest district in Seoul, and tourists go to immerse themselves in an upscale livelihood. 

Since it’s so luxurious, big names and K-pop idols live there. Plenty of tourists go hoping to get a glimpse at their favorite stars.

Of course, the song Gangnam Style (강남스타일) by K-pop sensation PSY is based on Gangnam. 

The reason why is because Gangnam is known for exuding a life of luxury, and the famous song reflects that.

Underground shopping, malls, department stores, and designer brands line the streets of Gangnam. 

Some of these companies are: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Versace. However, designer clothes and luxury aren’t the only reasons why Gangnam is popular.

Technology in Seoul is jaw-dropping, and Gangnam also has technology that increases the living quality. Another thing is entertainment. 

Entertainment in Gangnam is huge and the main reason why tourists go. Gangnam is home to some of the largest K-pop companies to date.

Conclusion

Whether you’re visiting the shopping areas, like the Cheongdam Fashion Street or the COEX Mall, the Starfield library, or the historic Bongeunsa Temple, Gangnam oozes luxury and charm to anyone who visits. 

It’s a gorgeous and extremely popular tourist spot in Seoul, South Korea.

There are plenty of 5-star, 4-star, and 3-star hotels to stay in while visiting Gangnam. Prices will vary depending on the location and quality of the hotel. 

There are some hotels, like the GLAD Gangnam COEX Complex, that are close to both Gangnam and Jamsil.

About The Author

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Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul over 4 years and during that time, he has experienced a lot of the city's quirks and charms. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others who are interested in learning more about South Korea.

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