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Pinpointing Five Locations in Seoul from the Music Video, 'Gangnam Style'

Where: Seoul, Korea
August 29, 2012 at 9:48 AM | by | ()

Doubtless by now you've seen the music video taking the internet by storm: Psy's "Gangnam Style." As we write this, the YouTube version (posted above) is edging near its 70 millionth view, a staggering number considering it's only been online since July and sits pretty solid atop the YouTube Top 100.

For the uninitiated, Psy is a South Korean pop star though he's also been called a rapper. In this song and video, he pokes fun at the style of Seoul's Gangnam-gu, a flashy district with high rents, high expectations and a focus on the high-status lifestyle. Psy traipses about the city, asserting that he is Gangnam-style and wants a girl similarly so, but there's always a twist; scratching the gilded surface reveals the generic reality.

For all Psy's trendy costumes and big dance moves, the locations happen to steal the show and, though we've been to Seoul in the past, "Gangnam Style" had us yearning for a return visit. Will it impact tourism? There's a very good possibility, but first you've got to know where to go to film yourself mimicking the horse riding dance moves.

Five real-life locations from Psy's music video, "Gangnam Style":

· Horse Riding Club
The first scenes of the video focus on Psy in a very tony spot: horse stables. The location is revisited later on, with Psy and his dancers in the show arena (with ponies and their riders in the background). This place is called Royal Saddle Riding Club and it's situated outside of Seoul, in a northern suburb. Want an exact location? You got it: 대한민국 경기도 고양시 일산동구 견달산로 402 (402 Gyeondalsan-ro, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do).

· A Jjimjilbang spa/sauna
Though we don't know exactly which one Psy frequents, the scenes of him swimming and enjoying a steam take place within the spa/sauna complex known as a jjimjilbang. Naturally the idea of the video is to present Psy as a baller since he spends his leisure time here, but in reality he's at a jjimjilbang frequented less by the rich and more by low-life gangsters. Plus, Psy can't even swim. Jjimjilbangs are an essential health and social aspect of typical South Korean life, and you can even visit some in Korean neighborhoods around the US.

· The Carousel
Poor Psy. He's spent all that time practicing his riding moves at the Royal Saddle school, but the only actual riding he gets to do is on this carousel. The pink and gold, gilded-out ride sits within Children's Grand Park in Seoul's Gwangjin area, outside Gangnam.

· Han River Swan Boat Rental
Psy goes yachting...kinda. The Han River cuts through the heart of Seoul, and offers up a few places to get out and rent a swan boat. It's likely that this location is near Seoul's tallest building (named "63 building"), but on the Han near the Mapo and Wonhyo Bridges. Swan boat rentals start at 30 minutes, but beware that no motorboats are on the menu.

· Incheon Subway Station
This also isn't within Seoul, though the city of Incheon isn't all that far away. In fact, it's where Seoul's massive international airport is located. The very clean subway stop—where Psy meets his dream girl and subsequently dances—is the "International Business District" stop in the 1 subway line.

*Though we've been to Seoul (and to Gangnam) ourselves, major thanks go to our friend Soo Ah, who has both lived and worked in Gangnam enough to aid us in pinpointing all these locations, as un-Gangnam as they actually are.

[Images: stills from Psy's YouTube video]

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