The Itaewon district of Seoul is the South Korean capital's most cosmopolitan area and has steadily gentrified and become less seedy over the years.
Always popular with American soldiers from the nearby base, Itaewon now has trendy pavement cafes and bistros, international restaurants as well as its many hostess bars on "Hooker Hill" and the recent addition of gay hangouts on adjoining "Homo Hill" close by.
Itaewon has since become the capital's most gay-tolerant zone in a largely gay-intolerant country.
Itaewon is the place to come if you seek an Indian curry, Turkish kebab, French pastry or German beer, as well as order a custom-made suit or pick up some typical Korean souvenirs such as drums and masks.
Nearby tourist places of interest include the War Memorial Museum near Samgakji subway station and the Leeum Museum of Art, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.
Read more about Itaewon entertainment.
The main point of reference is the iconic Hamilton Hotel near the Itaewon subway station. The main street sloping west downhill is lined with clothing stalls (bargaining is de rigeur), tailors and western pool joints. The Nashville is a large restaurant on your left.
Behind the Hamilton Hotel is a maze of side streets packed with bars, restaurants and shops to suit most tastes. 3 Alley wass a long-standing German pub in this area (now closed). Itaewon can get very lively on Friday and Saturday nights, with a colorful mix of US soldiers, English teachers, tourists and Korean girls, keen on meeting foreigners, bar and club-hopping the narrow streets.
It's common to see small joint patrols of U.S. and Korean Military Police patrolling the streets and enforcing the 3am curfew imposed on military personnel.
For more spiritual nourishment Seoul's Central Mosque is located in Itaewon.
Hotels in Itaewon
Itaewon Access - Getting to Itaewon
Take a Seoul subway Line 6 train to Itaewon Station, which is four stops from Seoul Station, change at Samgakji. The station has a tourist information, with internet access, on your right as you ascend the escalators to street level. The staff can offer tourist information in a variety of languages including English.
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