A handful of old-fashioned, unattractive concrete structures are slowly becoming renovated from spooky, empty shells to sleek, new-feeling modern offices. In an effort to bring the past life into the modern workplace, architects are refurbishing old orchards and turning them into chic office spaces. A number of officetel apartments are also getting makeovers to become more trendy. They’re increasingly popular with young singles who have busy work schedules and lack of time for home chores.
A number of Korean-owned commercial properties have been built across China’s northern region, especially around the port of Hungnam. These areas are now experiencing a surge in office construction, primarily in Seoul and Busan. The rapidly growing Hangang area has seen a similar surge in office development. From small, dingy office blocks built next to the sea to high-rise skyscrapers, South Korea’s largest cities are being transformed into mini Seoul, complete with high-rise apartment complexes, shopping malls and other commercial centers.
The influx of western companies like LG and LGD into the Korean markets has sparked a demand for sleek, contemporary office buildings and other structures. And because South Koreans tend to be more conservative about their appearance, most of the new office designs are sleek, contemporary and less cluttered. The Korean culture emphasizes function and aesthetics over form and design, so the demands on Korean office space are immense. Office buildings here are often made to adapt to natural settings. This means that a typical Seoul apartment or condo building has to be built to weather any change in weather patterns and can be fitted with all sorts of cooling and heating systems.
There are some exceptions, however. If one lives in the far northern part of the country (where the climate is milder), then a Seoul fitness center might not require as much concern when it comes to accommodating the clientele. A lot of the office space in these regions are vacant because locals prefer to live closer to the equator. In addition, some officetel in the far south will accommodate golf courses, which will please residents of Gyeongbok-do, another area near the equator.
If you’d rather live somewhere near the equator but would still want to experience a nice touch of civilization and chic, then head over to Gojang-do. Just east of the bus station and the Cross River, Gojang-do is home to some lovely modern hotels, restaurants and boutiques. It is also just east of the Seo’ggae Student Complex in central Seoul. The Seo’ggae Student Complex is a great place to pick up supplies and food from. The direction you want to head towards, once you’ve arrived at Gojang-do is the Seo’ggae Central Shopping Complex, located across the street.
If you’d like to experience a little Seoul culture, head over to Sangju-dong, which is within the Jeju-do district. A few blocks north of the bus stop on the right side of the road, Sang Ju is a small island with only one major department store. The best way to get here is to use a Seoul transportation rail. The directions are clearly labeled and easy to follow, so take your Seoul railway into the area and ask an employee for directions to Sangju-dong.
Not far from the bus stop is Ogeori, a charming seaside resort town with many delicious bars and cafes. Make your way to the harbor, where you’ll find an English Korean restaurant. Otherwise, head to the vicinity of Jiri Park. Here, you’ll discover a long strip of shops and restaurants, ranging from expensive brands to street food. You can go straight to Ogeori Station, or you can walk a few kilometers south from the station to another small seaside resort, Naro, which boasts its own serene and relaxing beach.
While in Ogeori, make sure to visit the Nam-jirapka temple. It’s the last ancient monument in the area and offers a unique insight into how the old world was abandoned and absorbed into the new. The entrance is closed off with red and black strips to prevent vehicles from destroying the entrance. Just make your way out of Nam-jirapka and into the bustling town of Seoul, and you’re on your way to enjoying the Seoul experience.
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