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In most areas of Seoul, superb mansions may be found on back alleys, bordering tiny grocery stores and specialty shops.  Commercial zoning as found in your home country is not the same in Korea, so you may find a house close to a sports stadium, behind a supermarket or off a main road.  There are, however, several areas where foreigners make up a large portion of the population and this, of course, make car-pools, school bus stops and spontaneous visiting easier.





Located above a main shopping street close to the U.S. garrison on Yongsan, Itaewon is hilly and crowded with large houses and gardens, apartments and villas. Transportation is convenient, and there are many shopping areas nearby.  A new subway line is open with stops in Itaewon.  There are guard boxes on the main roads, but each home is responsible for their own security.  Although rents are quite high and the houses & apartments are attractive, gardens may be small in relation to the size of the houses.   Many ambassadors have their residences in this area, and there are a few embassies as well.   The area is close to the Grand Hyatt Hotel, and a short drive will take you to the Hilton Hotel and Namdaemun Market downtown.   School bus access is good, but buses will not travel on some of the narrower, steeper, back streets.   There are several Christian schools in the area which provide school bus service, and the Hannam-dong preschools also provide bus service to Itaewon.     Itaewon is known as the foreigners' shopping area, having numerous small shops and grocery stores.   It is also a popular nightspot for U.S. servicemen and other foreigners.    




Close to UN Village is the Hannam-dong area, where there are many nice houses and apartments.   This is not a closed area, so tenants must tend to their own security and most residents do take precautions.   Since there are several high ranking Korean officials' homes and foreign ambassadors' homes in this area, so there is the added security of many national police on duty twenty-four hours a day nearby.   There are mostly individual homes, and a few apartment complexes in this area.  Hannam-dong is about 45 minutes from Seoul International School and Seoul Foreign School.   There are two English-language preschools in the area.   School bus services are available to most foreign schools.  



UN Village

This compound in Hannam-dong is guarded and patrolled by area guards.   It is on a hill over looking the Han River and is known for its large homes, new apartments and a quiet atmosphere.   There are playgrounds and the area has light traffic.   Most houses are suitable for Westerners. It is safe and clean.   The guards in UN Village provide a taxi-calling service for a minimal fee.   The nearest subway station is Oksu-dong #25 on the Orange line.   The German School is located near U.N. Village.




This name means the area east of the icehouse, used prior to the advent of electricity to store blocks of mountain ice during the summers of Chosun Dynasty Korea.   Many foreign embassies and ambassadors' residences are located here, and guards (paid by the neighborhood residents) are employed twenty-four hours a day.   It is a pleasant, convenient residential area.   Most homes are large with gardens.   There are a few apartments in the area.  All schools have buses servicing this area.




Ichon dong

Ichon-dong is called "Little Tokyo" in Seoul. It is usually called Dongbuichon-dong but this area administratively belonlgs to Ichon 1-dong, Along the main street in the area, where big apartments complex lineup, are many Japanese restaurants and liquor stores.Ichon-dong is special apartment area, 100% of residential buildings are apartment complex size varies from 22 pyung to 100 pyung. Japanese and US Government Service members like to live in this area.





One of the earliest "foreigner' enclaves" was the "Kangnam-won," which still exists, although it is not quite as exclusive as it was in the past.  Bangbae-dong is one of the locations where foreigners prefer to live, particularly the French since the French school is here.   There are many Western-style houses and apartments in this area, and it is convenient to the subways and several shopping centers.   Commuting time to City Hall ranges from 30 to 45 minutes.  Public transportation is readily available, and school bus service is available for Foreign Schools.  Travel time to schools is about 30 to 45 minutes.  





Songbuk-dong is a lovely suburban area of large homes in the mid-to upper-price range.   It is not too far from downtown Seoul.  Located to the very north of the old Capitol building and Kyongbukkung Palace, it is an area with handsome, traditional Kisaeng houses.  A number of embassies have their residences here.  The big advantage to Songbuk-dong is its beauty and wooded surroundings.   School bus transportation is usually at a central location in the area, and it is about 20 to 25 minutes from Seoul Foreign School and 70 to 80 minutes from Seoul International School.   There are several supermarkets and other conveniences in the area, as well as two major hospitals close by.   However, living in Songbuk-dong can have its disadvantages.  Public transportation and taxis are not as convenient, so a car may be a necessity.   Teenagers often complain about the difficulty of finding transportation to and from Songbuk-dong, although there is a subway station down the hill, one mile from the main housing areas.   It may be difficult for students to attend sporting events and school activities.  




Yonhi-dong is a residential area on the northwest side of Seoul.   Supermarkets and a number of small stores make up a convenient shopping area.   Houses and apartments are relatively large and there is a missionary-owned foreigner's townhouse compound located next to Seoul Foreign School.   There are some playground facilities and hills nearby for hiking.   Severance Hospital, Yonsei University and the Swiss Grand Hotel and Suite Apartments are only a mile away.   The area is relatively close to downtown Seoul, 15 to 30 minutes by car, depending on traffic.   Rent is somewhat less expensive than the Hannam-dong and Itaewon areas.  The big advantage in choosing to live in Yonhi-dong is its proximity to Seoul Foreign School and the British School.   Seoul International School does provide a bus service that can take up to 90 minutes.   The Chinese School is also located here.   Because of the distance from Hananm-dong, Itaewon, and areas south of the river, Yongi-dong can be a little isolated from other activities in the foreign community.   Some foreigners who are staying for shorter periods choose the Swiss Grand Hotel.   They accommodations can be let furnished or unfurnished.   They are convenient, with access to all of the school buses as well as the hotel shuttle, and have many other services such as baby-sitting and maids offered through the hotel.



Kangnam & Apkujong-dong

These areas are abundant with popular stores and restaurants boasting of American and European products.   But the merchandise and meals are generally a bit more expensive.
Because much of the area south of the river was built during the 1980's the major arteries are wide, but still some parts congested, especially those roads leading to the bridges.



Olympic Park Area

There are several apartment complexes located in Kangdong-gu in the southeastern area of Seoul that were built for the 1988 Olympic athletes and their families. The park is a good location for jogging and the subway connections are efficient.

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