While retaining a charmingly ramshackle setting that speaks of old Korea, the expat enclave of Noksapyeong now thrives on shared cultures and fresh ideas.
Gyeongnidan and HBC
Gyeongnidan leads from Noksapyeong Station’s Exit 2 up to the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Once a sleepy street of ’70s and ’80s villas and mom-and-pop cafes, the hill is now a bustling – yet still relatively laidback – thoroughfare of artisan coffee shops and cool restaurants. There’s a whole alley devoted to craft-beer pubs such as Magpie Brewing Co. Cross the road and discover Haebangchon, famed for its vibrant HBC indie music festival (above).
Golmok Vinyl & Pub
Opened in 2013, this intimate venue is one of the pioneers of the vinyl pub trend in Korea – and a firm favourite of music fans. DJs play anything from ’60s rock to modern electronica from around 12,000 vinyl records in-house. The owners, who chose the area for its quaint alleyways and diverse clientele, also host live gigs with local and international indie musicians.
Itaewon 557, Yonsan-gu
It’s a 10-minute wait for one of Street Churros’ signature cinnamon churros with chocolate dipping sauce. The hole-in-the-wall shop is so popular, the queue often stretches right down the street. But once you make it inside, it takes only about four minutes until each sweet donut stick is fried golden brown. And the taste is worth every jeon (cent) of its 3,000 won (US$2.55) price.
N Seoul Tower
Celebs are often spotted in Noksapyeong, but the location itself is just as famous, with many landmarks recognisable from Korean dramas. N Seoul Tower has been the setting for some of TV’s most romantic moments. Most memorably, in My Love from the Star, leading couple Cheon Song-Yi and Do Min-Joon pledged their love there by attaching a symbolic padlock to its railings.
– TEXT BY HANNAH STUART-LEACH
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.