Home of the K-pop moves

02:55, Oct 18 2012
Gangnam style
SPEED FREAK: Korean rapper Psy teaches Red Bull Racing drivers Mark Webber, left, and Sebastian Vettel the Gangnam Style.

The YouTube parody has millions of people busting out Psy’s dance moves in clubs, lounge rooms and even on the street, but what is Gangnam? To find out we catch up with Joon-kil Jo, the Korea Tourism Organisation’s Director for Australia and New Zealand.

Q. MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WORLDWIDE HAVE NOW HEARD OF GANGNAM, BUT WHERE IS IT?
A. Gangnam is the trendy southern suburb of Seoul, with its very popular designer fashion stores, cafes, bars and nightclubs, which attract the young and wealthy Korean celebrities and their fans.

It is Seoul city’s Rodeo Drive where all the young fashionable Seoulites hang out seeking all the latest trends of the emerging Korean style and fashion scene.

Q IS IT A POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATION?
A. It is a very popular place for visitors to Seoul. It’s a great place to spend a day or two to see the modern young heart of Seoul and enjoy the many attractions in the area.

Cheongdam and Apgujeong shopping streets draw a lot of young travellers with their trendy fashion stores. These streets are the most popular shopping areas frequented by Korean celebrities and you may even be lucky enough to see Psy or some of Korea’s famous girl bands, performers or actors in the area. Psy actually grew up in this area and lives in Gangnam.

Q. WHAT ACTIVITIES CAN TOURISTS EXPECT IN GANGNAM?
A. There is much to enjoy in this southern suburb of Seoul for all ages. Take a Gangnam-style day tour starting with some Gangnam styling at one of the many beauty salons.

Advertisement

Enjoy brunch at one of the cafes in Sinsa and Garosu-gil streets. Hit the stores on Cheongdam and Apgujeong to get the whole Gangnam fashion look or experience a traditional Korean dinner in one of the many restaurants in the area and then go clubbing in Gangnam.

Aside from Gangnam-style activities, the massive Lotte World Shopping Complex with its Lotte World Adventure and Magic Island is popular for familes with children.

Also in the area you can enjoy the outdoors at Olympic Park and visit the Olympic Museum to learn about the 1988 summer Olympics in Seoul.

Q. HOW ACCURATE IS PSY’S REPRESENTATION OF GANGNAM?
A. Psy’s film clip is a parody of the Gangnam lifestyle, a bit of fun.

Q. DO YOU THINK THE SONG WILL HELP BOOST KOREAN TOURISM?

A. There is no doubt that interest in Korea as a result of the Psy phenomenon will boost interest in tourism to Korea from all over the world.

Psy is easily identifiable as Korean and very proud to be the first Korean to break out of the music industry in the country and become such a huge sensation all around the world in such a sudden and dramatic way.
People are keen to learn more about Korea as a result and thus become more interested and curious about the country, its culture, people and K-Pop stars. Many will be encouraged to see Korea for themselves through their interest in Psy.

Q. HOW HAVE TOURISM BUSINESSES BEEN EMBRACING THIS NEW INTEREST IN GANGNAM?
A. An example of the tourism industry here and in Korea getting involved was the release of a ’Gangnam Style’ package by Novotel Seoul Ambassador, Gangnam, and Accor Hotels.

Novotel Seoul Ambassador has created a ’Gangnam Style’ package which includes accommodation, breakfast, a half-day tour of the Gangnam district and discounts for the Art Performance Centre in Gangnam and Gangnam shopping centre.

AAP