If you guys don’t already know, I live in the Sindang area of Seoul, which I find to be quite diverse. Although I feel like I never see that many housing areas nearby, I always see a lot of people get off at the same train station. Maybe it’s because of what I’ve seen in my limited experience, but I believe that most Koreans live in an apartment. Because of how the architecture is, it is more space efficient to build apartments and are much more affordable. Anyways, my apartment is located between two schools/academic facilities so if I look out the window during certain parts of the day, it’s likely to see students running in the field or leaving school. It’s a peaceful neighborhood, I’d say.
The building I live in is actually attached to a 7-Eleven, which makes it really convenient to pick up some snacks or a quick dinner. A little further down is the Entrance 11 Sindang Station for Line 2 and Line 6. Line 2 pretty much gets you anywhere, so I’m super grateful that I was able to live close to a train station. I think that it’s handy to have all these exits as the transit system labels their location pretty well and reduces the traffic by a fair amount. Next to the station is a decent sized mall, but I haven’t gotten the chance to explore it yet.
Walking down even further, there is another convenience store, a pharmacy, a burger king, starbucks, and an olive young. It helps to have some familiar names in a foriegn country and make me feel a little more at home. I’m also guilty of making some late night runs to burger king because of how close by and convenient they are with their hours. A lot of food places in Korea close by 9-10 pm, so having a few places open 24 hours helps when I find myself staying up late.
Anyways, I find this arrangement to be super convenient. Although it’s not exactly on my block, it is close enough of a walk that it isn’t a hassle. Despite living in a building with a 7-11, I like having the option of another convenience store in case something I was craving is gone. A fast food place is always nice to have nearby, even though it isn’t the healthiest thing, but it does make for a quick hot meal at an affordable price. Starbucks is a decent place for studying if my wifi goes down, and having a pharmacy nearby is a god-send. I remember the few weeks of being sick in Korea, and they have been helpful in my time of need. So, yeah, a great handful to live close to! The only downside is that I need to walk a little further for an actual meal, not fast food or baked goods.
Now for the interesting part of this neighborhood… if you walk further down on the other side, you’ll start to see more lower-scale shops. By this, I mean you’ll find small food stands set up selling street foods, such as fish cake, kimbap, egg bread, and and red bean pancakes. Nearby, there are streets upon streets of humble shops with clothing and other knick-knacks. If you cross the bridge to the other side of the street, you’ll find similar shops. Interestingly, there were a fair amount of worn-out and vacant store-fronts on the other side of the street.
Overall, I find Sindang to be such a mixed neighborhood. If I recall correctly, it is known for their ddeobokki, which is stir-fried rice cake, a popular street food here in Korea. Lots of the food carts lined up near the schools could be found selling these. There’s so much variety in the sense that if you cross a certain point, you’ll step into a low scale area, while the other side is more metropolitan. Maybe a 10 minute walk away is a large tourist area, Dongdaemun Plaza, where there are tons of malls and luxury shopping. There’s definitely something for everyone.