Cover Korean singer IU has reportedly splashed out for a penthouse flat in the Cheongdam-dong neighbourhood within the Gangnam district (Image: IU/@dlwlrma)

Where do the affluent in South Korea reside? From the trendy Cheongdam-dong neighbourhood to the prestigious Seongbuk-dong area, these are some of the most covetable addresses in Seoul; you might just become neighbours with your favourite Korean celebrities in these districts!

In South Korea, owning a property—especially in a highly sought-after area in Seoul, the country’s bustling capital—is an indication of your material success in life. The South Korean metropolis is made up of 25 districts, which have a suffix of -gu; each district is further subdivided into neighbourhoods, which often have a suffix of -dong as an indication. 

While each district and neighbourhood boasts its individual charm and history, some are more highly regarded than others. These prestigious neighbourhoods are where the rich—including popular Korean celebrities—flock to. If you’re seeking to make an investment in the country’s most exclusive areas, or simply desiring to find out where you can perhaps spot your favourite stars, we’ve rounded up some of the most prosperous neighbourhoods to know.

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1. Cheongdam-dong in Gangnam district

Nicknamed the Beverly Hills of South Korea, Seoul’s Gangnam district gained even more recognition after Korean singer Psy’s international hit Gangnam Style was released in 2012. The Cheongdam-dong neighbourhood is a particularly affluent area that’s home to a number of celebrities and tycoons.

Boasting some of the most expensive real estate in the country, the upscale neighbourhood also features a stretch of luxury fashion boutiques, high-end restaurants and bars, as well as galleries and beauty salons. Celebrities such as K-pop soloist and actress IU reportedly spent US$11.7 million for a penthouse flat in the neighbourhood.

Cheongdam-dong is also home to the headquarters of multiple K-pop management companies, including SM Entertainment and Cube Entertainment.

2. Apgujeong-dong in Gangnam district

Located right next to the Cheongdam-dong neighbourhood, the Apgujeong-dong area is equally notable. One of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in South Korea, the area is known for its upmarket residences; it's also peppered with luxury departmental stores such as the flagship Galleria Department Store, as well as prestigious educational institutes where many Korean celebrities are alumni.  

3. Hannam-dong in Yongsan district

Across the river from the Gangnam district lies the Yongsan district, which features one of the most well-known neighbourhoods of Seoul: Hannam-dong. With its prime location in the heart of Seoul and its scenic views of the famous Han River, many of South Korea’s rich and famous often flock to this elite neighbourhood.

The area has steadily grown in popularity since the 2010s, and now features a bevy of museums as well as trendy bars and restaurants. The Hannam-dong neighbourhood is host to a trio of the city’s most famous and notable apartment buildings: the UN Village, where celebrities such as Blackpink’s Jennie and actress Song Hye-kyo reside in; Nine One Hannam, where Big Bang’s G-Dragon purchased a US$7.3 million luxury penthouse apartment; as well as Hannam the Hill, home to stars like BTS and EXO and known as the most expensive apartment building in South Korea.

4. Seongbuk-dong in Seongbuk district

Rich with history, the Seongbuk-dong neighbourhood is nestled in the foothills of the mountains overlooking the city. Serene and peaceful, the area retains relics from the past, including hanoks—traditional Korean houses. 

Once the home to royals during the Joseon dynasty, the neighbourhood has retained its prestigious air. The homes of many politicians and leaders of Korea's conglomerates as well as ambassadorial residences are located in the area.

Seongbuk-dong is also one of the principle shooting locations for Oscar-winning film Parasite—the Parks’ lavish abode in the movie was set within the neighbourhood. 

5. Banpo-dong in Seocho district

Located in the Seocho district in the greater Gangnam area, Banpo-dong is otherwise known as the ‘city of apartments’ for its cluster of luxury villas and residential buildings. High-rise apartments such as the Banpo-Riche complex or the Banpo-Xi building are situated within the neighbourhood.

Banpo-dong is also where Korea’s famous French town, Seorae Village, is located. The affluent French enclave is currently home to roughly 40 per cent of the French community in South Korea. 

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