South Korean K-Pop sensation Psy is in Toronto this Sunday co-hosting the 2013 MuchMusic Video Awards, aka the MMVAs. It’s been almost a year since he first brought the world his song-and-dance hit Gangnam Style but few people know that the song has roots back in Psy’s hometown, Seoul. The Gangnam District is a neighbourhood in the capital city that some have compared to Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. It’s a high-end and luxurious place and Psy’s signature dance named after the ‘hood pokes a bit of fun at this lavish lifestyle. But what’s Gangnam all about?
The city’s third-largest district is known for its high standard of living and wealthy residents. This is where young socialites go to see and be seen at Gangnam bars, clubs and designer stores. In Apgujeong, you can shop at the Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Gucci and Prada stores. Over in Cheongdam, you’ll find the MCM’s (South Korean luxury leather goods) flagship store as well as a Vera Wang bridal shop.
At night, dine at one of the many upscale restaurants, including many classy vegetarian joints. Cruise with the high rollers at the Seven Luck Casino, but only foreigners can roll here as gambling is illegal for Koreans, so bring your passport. Club hop near Gangnam Station where you’ll find plenty of hip hop, K-Pop, and house clubs alongside jazz bars and even a Western-themed pub.
Psy was recently named as a Korean travel ambassador by the Korean Tourism Organization. Learn a bit about the country with the help of Psy’s Wiki Korea. Watch Psy co-host and perform on the MMVAs this Sunday, June 16th at 9 pm ET/6pm PT on MuchMusic.
Quick facts – Gangnam District
Best time to go: Autumn (September to November)
Worst time to go: Summer (June – August) can be hot, rainy and humid.
Average hotel price: $150 – $200
Do stray off the main drags to find the next big clubs.
Don’t smoke. Gangnam Boulevard is a designated smoke-free zone.
Top 5 things to do in the Gangnam District
- Shop (or window shop) at the high-end boutiques in Apgujeong and Cheongdam.
- Try your luck at the Seven Luck Casino (if you’re not South Korean).
- Visit the Bongeun Temple, the biggest, richest and most visited Buddhist temple in Seoul.
- Escape the bustle with a picnic at Yangjae Citizen’s Forest park.
- Bust out a song at some classic Korean karaoke.
Closer to home
Four-time MMVA winner Kardinal Offishall has his own musical ode to his hometown of Toronto. The Anthem praises everything about Toronto and the music video for the song covers some of the top sites for visitors to the T-Dot (ohh ohh). Check out cameos from Honest Ed’s, St. Lawrence Market, the Beaches, the CN Tower, Little Italy, Ontario Science Centre, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Hockey Hall of Fame.