On July 22, Seoul Metropolitan Government published a guidebook to Seoul titled Around the World in Seoul. As part of the city’s “storytelling tourism” activities, this guidebook introduces various stories about the history and culture of Seoul as well as its history of immigration and the foreign people that have influenced the city. The guidebook has been published in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese.
This chapter offers a tour of Myeong-dong that highlights the Chinese influence on the area, presenting a unique perspective on the city’s famous shopping paradise.
The two most prominent examples of the Chinese presence in Myeong-dong are the Chinese embassy and the Hanseong Overseas Chinese Primary School. This chapter also contains descriptions of Chinese-operated Chinese restaurants, stores that sell traditional Chinese tea and Korean celebrity souvenirs, and long-established shops that have been in business for three generations.
A district that has long been a center of foreign cultural influence in Seoul, Itaewon has become a tourist attraction offering unique and easily approachable experiences of international culture.
During the Joseon Dynasty, the area occupied by present-day Itaewon was filled with lodgings for travelers passing through the city. In the 1970s, it became famous among flight attendants of foreign airlines, who often came here to purchase tailored clothing and leather products. Now, Itaewon is a truly unique place in Seoul, where night clubs and pubs stand side-by-side with a mosque. Around the World in Seoul includes useful information on weekend flea markets, the Village Tour program, festivals, and other sightseeing opportunities in Itaewon, giving tourists plenty of options for exploring Itaewon by both day and night.
The guidebook also contains stories on the countries of five continents (Asia, Americas, Europe, Africa, and Oceania) that have influenced Seoul throughout its history.
For each continent, there is a separate chapter that introduces districts in Seoul that reflect the cultures of countries in that particular continent. There are stories about Nepal, which has had diplomatic relations with Korea for 40 years, and a description of Changsin-dong, which features many Nepalese restaurants. Another section is devoted to the Hongik University Station area, where one can learn the traditional dances of countries of South America, the continent that is geographically farthest from Korea.
The chapter “Following the Footsteps of World Stars in Seoul” introduces tourist attractions in Seoul that have been visited by international celebrities and famous people.
The stories about famous international figures who have enjoyed the attractions of Seoul will pique the curiosity of tourists. There are descriptions of the Dongdaemun night market, which was visited by Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the Hongik University “club street,” which was visited by pop star Beyonce. There is also a description of Michael Jackson being so impressed by a statue of a mother and her children in Children’s Grand Park that he tried to replicate it at home as well as a picture of Tim Burton’s doodles on the wall of a bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) shop in Gwangjang Market.
Through its “My Note for World Travel in Seoul” chapter, the guidebook differentiates itself by allowing other tourists who have visited the city to share their own stories.
After taking a tour of Seoul based on the stories presented in the guidebook, tourists are invited to write about their own experiences, thereby creating another story of global culture in Seoul. These reflections will be collected and used to assist in the development of Seoul Metropolitan Government’s future tourism policy and programs. Those who submit their travel writings to any of the various tourist information centers located throughout Seoul will receive a souvenir.