Welcome to our METRO series: a guide that aims to take you on a journey through Seoul by literally using the metro as your map.
The Seoul Metro has been consistently voted as one of the best transport systems around the world. This is due to a number of factors including its frequent service, cleanliness, low cost and general ease of use. It’s no surprise then that, when travelling around Seoul, the metro is the easiest and best way to travel, especially for first time visitors.
In this series, we’ll be covering our six favourite lines and how you can utilize them as an easy itinerary. In our fourth edition, we’re covering the wide expanse of Line Six and all it has to offer. Line Six is home to many k-pop music video and k-drama filming destinations throughout Seoul, making it the perfect line for this month’s K-ENTERTAINMENT magazine. Starting off at Digital Media Station in western Seoul, we aim to take you south across the city, down to Hapjeong, and then back across central Seoul passing through Itaewon Station and then back up to Korea University Station in the North. We’ll show you the best locations for learning about the vibrant k-entertainment culture in Korea along the way.
Digital Media City (디지털미디어시티역)
The first stop on our list is Digital Media City (DMC), the home to Korea’s thriving media, entertainment and IT industry. In DMC you will find the headquarters of many of the big media companies such as YTN, MBC and KBS. You’ll probably recognise the buildings as many k-dramas are filmed here against a modern high rise architectural background.
Most of the entertainment companies have their ground floor lobbies open to visitors and some offer some paid tours of the buildings, so you can get a true glimpse into the inner workings of the k-entertainment industry.
The overall theme and architecture of DMC has a futuristic feel to it, and there are many modern art sculptures all over DMC. In the main complex you can find the famous ‘Square-M, Communication’ statue of two men facing each other through a kind of 3D screen. The statue was featured in Avengers: Age of Ultron so its a must visit when going to DMC.
World Cup Stadium (월드컵경기장역)
Just one stop away from DMC on line 6 is our next location, The World Cup Stadium (월드컵경기장). The stadium itself was built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup hosted by Korea and Japan, but now it is the home to FC Seoul. So why not watch an FC Seoul game during your visit? It’s fairly easy to get tickets at the stadium, but definitely check ahead if you’re hoping to watch a match. The first floor of the stadium also has a 2002 FIFA World Cup Museum for all the football fans amongst you.
If football isn’t your thing — fear not. There’s still plenty more to see at the World Cup Stadium. Surrounding the stadium are a number of beautiful parks that overlook the Hangang River. Noeul Park, Haneul Park and Pyounghwa Park collectively make up World Cup Park. The park covers a vast area that you can spend many hours exploring.
We recommend visiting these parks at sunset as you’ll get a beautiful view across the Hangang River and across into southern Seoul. This is a great place to take photos to keep precious memories of your trip to South Korea.
Most visitors who have ventured through Korea know of the famous Hongdae area of Seoul. It’s an area famous for its fashion, food and lively vibe due to its street performers and many bars. However, right next to Hongdae is an area much quieter, called Hapjeong. Hapjeong is only three stops from World Cup Stadium, so it’s the next place on our list. Hapjeong is absolutely full of cafés and even has a street known amongst koreans as Hapjeong’s Café Street. For a list of great cafés, check out our Hidden Café Guide which features one of our favourite quaint and cosy cafés in the area: Hello Stranger.
So when you’re tired of the Hongdae crowds, Hapjeong is only a short walk away. While cafés may be your main focus, there are also many shops; especially shops dedicated to arts and crafts. The nearby Hongik University is a famous arts university so you can often find many students buying their art supplies at these specialists shops. For any art lover, these shops are worth a visit. You can find three-floored shops filled with every craft supply, some with a whole floor dedicated to selling textured papers. Since these shops are aimed at students, the prices are very affordable too.
Itaewon is where Korean and foreign culture collide. It is home to many restaurants selling foreign and fusion food, you’ll find everything from Mexican to Turkish cuisines. You can also see many supermarkets and shops selling imported foods and ingredients from all over the world.
Itaewon is one of the most lively areas to visit in Seoul. The roads are often filled with people dancing and singing on Friday and Saturday nights. The streets of Itaewon are lined with many bars and suljibs (술집) (Korean drinking houses). The packed streets made it the perfect location for MOBB’s “Hit Me” in 2016, which showed Bobby and Mino dancing and singing amidst crowds. The music video was filmed all over Itaewon but the main part was filmed behind the famous Hamilton Hotel (해밀톤 호텔).
Itaewon is constantly featured on Korean TV as the ‘foreign’ neighbourhood of Seoul. As Korea is still a very homogenous society, Itaewon allows people to experience vibrant cultures from across the ocean that might otherwise be missed out on.
The fifth stop on our list is Sindang (신당) or more specifically Sindang Tteokbokki Town. Tteokbokki is one of Korea’s most famous and popular street food dishes. It’s made from rice cake and fish cake, and cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce. There are many variations containing noodles, egg, cheese and various other ingredients.
Usually there are also many fried foods sold alongside tteokbokki made for dipping in the spicy tteokbokki sauce. Tteokbokki is so popular because not only is it extremely tasty but it is, for the most part, extremely cheap.
One of the oldest vendors in Tteokbokki town is Maboknim Tteokbokki. The restaurant has been featured on many Korean TV programs and you’ll see various pictures of celebrities eating there lining the walls. The tteokbokki is served in a huge dish cooked at the table, and will cost 11,000KRW for two people.
Korea University (고려대역)
Korea University (고려대학교) is one of Korea’s oldest and most famous universities. Founded in 1905 it now consists of around 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It is a university most famous for it’s Law program, which is considered the best in Korea. Korea University’s campus is very unique; nestled amongst the tall high rises of Seoul, it’s both stark and beautiful against its surroundings. The buildings resemble castle-like buildings found in many western countries; this architecture is very rare in Korea. Because of its unique architecture, Korea University is often featured in countless music videos and TV programs. If you decide to visit, you are free to walk around the campus and the gardens; just remember to be quiet and respectful to all the students working extremely hard on their classes and exams.
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Featured Image: ©zheng2088, 28.07.19, pixabay.com