Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bundang, South Korea: Living and Thriving

Here's the question:

I am arriving in Bundang a week from tomorrow and would like a little more information on the city before I get there. From the research I have conducted myself, it looks like the perfect place for me, but I would love to hear more about it, so I can share the info with my friends and family.

Thank you,

When moving to a suburb of Seoul, I always think it's smart to take a look at where you might be living in relation to the city, so let's start there.

Here's a google map. (Click here for an interactive road map)

As you can see, it's southeast of Seoul. It's also connected to Gangnam-gu via the Bundang Line. Aside from the newer and constantly-expanding subway line, there are buses that conveniently service the area as well. Expect both to take around 20-30 min to get into Seoul.

Also, the Airport Limousine can be found near Seohyeon and Ori Stations. From there you can get a ride to Incheon Airport for about 12,000 won.

The subway closest to your school appears to be Seohyeon Station.

For Seoul nightlife (restaurants, bars/clubs, shopping) you can get from Seohyeon to Gangnam Station in 40 min; Itaewon in 66 min; Apgujeong in 51 min; and Hongdae in 74 min. If you want to check out transportation all over Korea, then take a look at this Korea Sparkling page or if you want to play with Seoul subway travel times then click here. For a quick list of restaurants, shopping and night spots you can visit Seoul Style.

Of course, you'll be living in Bundang, so let's take a look at what it has to offer. Like Ilsan, it's a well-planned city. Parks, schools, malls, restaurants, golf courses and modern buildings have been woven together to make a clean, safe and attractive city.

I always like to point out parks in the area and Bundang has plenty of small and big ones. Most would say that Bundang Central Park is the nicest and I would probably agree. It's got the basics like most Korean parks: a pond, some sports fields or courts, a place to exercise and some trees. It also has a bungee jumping site. It's a great place to go on a Saturday afternoon with friends. If you're into a biking or walking, try taking a little cruise next to the Tancheon tributary. There are also five water parks along the Tancheon if you're into that. If you're the really adventurous type, you can follow it all the way to Yongin and check out their folk village. If you're into nature or hiking, then take a look at this site to get some ideas. I would seriously recommend several weekend day-hikes. The other parks are smaller, but all of them offer some sort of break from the concrete jungles that envelop the city.

As I mentioned in the post about Ilsan, it's always nice to know where you can get some western food at restaurants, but having a strong base of western flavors and groceries at home is always crucial. Here's a map with the closest Costco from your school. It would take about 25 - 30 min on a bus.

Most of the dining action and a wide variety of drinking establishments can be found around every subway station. Seohyeon and Jeongja stations are good places to start, with the majority of "Western Bars" being at Seohyeon station in the shopping corridors directly outside of Samsung Plaza's two main entrances. You can check out Monkey Beach, Dublin Bar, and Lose Control for starters, but there are plenty more dives in the area. You're also pretty close to a major Korean theme park, Everland, which in located in Yongin.

Overall, you can expect to find a nice, cozy city full of moderately wealthy Koreans and a tight-knit expat community. Like most people, you'll be totally happy in Bundang. I have been to Bundang several times and have never had a bad time. My wife's family lives down there as well and am always up for a quick cruise south. Enjoy!

If you want to see more pictures of Bundang click here and here or for a ton of Bundang-related blogs, click here.

If anybody has any questions, just send me an email at asktheexpat@yahoo.com or leave a comment.


grace olmstead said...

Excellent response from the website regarding the inquired information.
I just got back to America from the area, Seong-Nam City after a month of vacation.
So much change from the last visit in 1993.
Safety is the area that Non-Korean should pay attention in terms of crossing the small street that does not have a traffic light since all cars continue traveling even though pedestrians attempt to cross the street.
Other than that, I greatly enjoyed the area where everything is in a walking distance from my condo, they call it an officetel.
Enjoy your stay at South Korea and appreciate the rich culture from over 5000 years along with modernized landscape and people.

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