“Gangnam Style” is the pop-sensation that swept not only the Korean nation, but the entire world. For a time, everyone suffered from the Gangnam Epidemic, but few knew about the actual Gangnam – a district in the capital city of South Korea.
“Gangnam Style” refers to a particular lifestyle that is popular in the Gangnam District of Seoul. Before you go there to experience it firsthand, here are some facts and tips to make sure you travel in true Gangnam Style.
1. Beautiful District of Seoul
“Gangnam” means “South of the River,” in this case the Han River, and the name is used to mark one of the 25 districts of Seoul, South Korea’s capital city.
2. Most Expensive District
Gangnam is the newly rich and most expensive district of Seoul. Both the Greater Gangnam Area and Gangnam itself are widely known for their heavily concentrated wealth and high standard of living, and have been compared to areas like California’s Beverly Hills.
3. National Capital of Education in South Korea
South Korea is known for its extremely high standard of education and intense competition for university entrance, and Gangnam is considered to be the national capital of education, which is one of the decisive factors that makes Gangnam the most attractive destination in South Korea.
4. Greatest YouTube Hit of all Time
Gangnam Style was uploaded on YouTube on July 15, 2012. In just three months it reached 423,691,623 views and has become South Korea’s biggest musical export. It stood at No. 2 on both the US and British charts, and it is the first music video in history to be viewed more than 2 billion times.
5. Why is the “Gangnam Style” Song so Famous?
Gangnam residents form a large part of South Korea’s upper class, but South Koreans consider them self-interested, with no sense of noblesse oblige. In a sly, entertaining way, the singer – PSY – uses the song to push these cultural buttons.
According to PSY, “People who are actually from Gangnam never proclaim that they are—it’s only the posers and wannabes that put on these airs and say that they are “Gangnam Style” — so this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they’re not.”
However, you do not need to learn the Korean language to enjoy the chubby, massively entertaining performer’s crazy horse-riding dance, the song’s addictive chorus or the video’s exquisitely odd series of misadventures.
6. What does Oppa Gangnam style means?
“Oppa” is a Korean expression used by females to refer to an older male friend or older brother. The song talks about “the perfect girlfriend who knows when to be refined and when to get wild.”
7. Now, What’s So Funny about Gangnam Style?
The video depicts Psy relaxing somewhere that looks like a sandy beach, but when the camera zooms out it reveals he is actually at a playground.
The video alternates between the playground, where a boy dances next to him, and a row of horses in stalls, where Psy performs his signature “invisible horse dance.”
Psy and two girls walk through a parking garage, where they are pelted by pieces of newspaper, trash, and snow. At a sauna, he rests his head on a man’s shoulder, while another man covered in tattoos is stretching.
He sings in front of two men playing chess, dances with a woman at a tennis court, and bounces around on a tour bus of seniors.
The scenes alternate quickly until there is an explosion around the chess players. He walks towards the camera, exclaiming “Oppa Gangnam style.” Then, he and some dancers perform at a horse stable. He dances as two women walk backwards, before he is shown dancing at the tennis court, on a carousel, and on the tour bus. He shuffles into an outdoor yoga session. The camera zooms in on a woman’s butt, then shows Psy “yelling” at it.
At a car-park, Psy is approached by a man with a red Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class and a yellow suit, who tries to show off his wealth and status. In a subway cabin, he notices an attractive young woman dancing. At one of the train stops, he approaches the girl in slow motion, and she does the same. They start to embrace. He then tells the girl “Oppa Gangnam Style,” and then they horse dance along with some others at the train stop.
Psy sings to the girl at a night club as people in all sorts of costumes walk behind them. He raps “seriously” in an enclosed space, but when the camera zooms out, he is actually sitting on a toilet with his pants down.
8. Guinness World Record
On September 20, 2012, “Gangnam Style” with 2,141,758 likes was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the most “liked” video in YouTube history.
9. Who is PSY?
PSY is a South Korean singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer and record producer. Psy is a stage name – this musician’s actual name is Park Jae-sang. He is best known for his humorous videos and stage performances.
After the song hit, Chelsea Handler, host of the late night comedy talk show Chelsea Lately, American stand-up comedian and actress, told the audience that she considers Psy to be a “revolutionary musician, dancer and sex symbol,” and compared him to the Latino pop singer Ricky Martin.
10. Best Places to See in Gangnam
Just after the song hit, the Korea Tourism Organization launched a “One day Gangnam tour,” which begins with some “Gangnam styling” at a beauty salon, shopping at the Apgujeong & Cheongdam boutiques, coffee and brunch, followed by the casino and clubbing.
COEX Mall is Asia’s largest underground shopping mall with an area of about 85,000 square meters. Just do not forget where you parked you car!
Gangnam station (강남) is probably the No. 2 club area in Seoul. Also set up in a grid structure, the clubs, bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues decorate this upmarket location. While not as upmarket as Apgujeong, it definitely is busy and lively.
A Buddhist temple with a rich history that used to be on the rural outskirts of old Seoul, this temple is now the biggest, richest, and the most visited temple in Seoul.
Gangnam’s food-related attractions include the Kimchi Museum, which is devoted to the traditional Korean pickled dish, kimchi. This is the place to learn about the history of kimchi, how it’s made and why it’s good for you. There are even kimchi tasting rooms and the chance to buy your own supply in the gift shop.