A Walk in Hongdae

Every once in a while, I experience a sense of total calmness walking among a crowd of people. It’s hard to identify what exactly summons this feeling, but when it washes over you, it is unmistakable.

During my time in South Korea, I experienced many unforgettable sights, sounds, and tastes, but most notably, I experienced this feeling of serenity with extreme frequency.

The majority of my time in South Korea was spent in Seoul – the nation’s capital. In Seoul, I stayed in a small backpacker’s hostel located on a vibrant side street in an area known as Hongdae.

Hongdae, located in the Western end of Seoul, is known for its contemporary urban art, music, and design culture.

The area’s unique personality is the result of its influence of nearby Hongik University - a prestigious art institution. In the neighborhood’s early days, the proximity to the university and low rent prices made it the perfect location for artists, musicians, and designers looking to make their mark.

As artistic, creative personalities occupied the neighborhood, it soon became home to many unique caf├ęs, venues, and shops that embodied the spirit of the area’s residents.

Today, the area, although undergoing gentrification, is packed with a diverse range of music venues, bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, independent clothing stalls, boutiques, and vintage shops.

Once night falls, the streets become illumined from the glow of the countless signs adorning the narrow streets. Walking through the sea of people, one can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be an active member of the Korean youth culture groups that occupy Hongdae.

In Hongdae there is a certain, indescribable sense of youth and liveliness in the air. This was a refreshing feeling – one that I will treasure.

Images via Point of References 

Damian M.

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