"Mafia Stuff In Itaewon." Top 5 Page for this destination Itaewon Tip by kdoc13

Itaewon, Seoul: 14 reviews and 19 photos

  If you see this man in Itaewon, run for your life!
by kdoc13

I normally feel pretty safe in Seoul, even in Itaewon. Rarely if ever do I put myself in a position to find trouble, and even less often do I go out looking for it. That's not to say that it doesn't happen though.

Itaewon can be a lot of fun, but there is also a bit of risk if you are all alone. Take for example my Russian Mafia story from my 2001 trip.

I was coming back from having my Bulgogi Pizza at the Pizza Hut in Itaewon and decided to walk some of it off. I figured I would walk down to the Hanvit Bank and catch a taxi home. Instead, I was cornered by some Russian men who (very persuasively) insisted that I join them upstairs at a strip club with real Korean women. I was escorted up a large amount of stairs by four very large men and made to pay a cover charge. Soon, I was in a dark room with two other men who looked scared to death. All three of us were at tables far apart from each other, and a group of russian women were all seated in a corner. Not sure why, but a record was put on, and they took turns going over to a shower curtain where they would change into a bathing suit and then to a small platform where they would gyrate for a few minutes to the music.

Unique Suggestions: To continue the story. This continued for about an hour as bills for beer and a plate of fruit I never ordered appeared. Finally a young Korean woman showed up, shaked herself in a bathing suit and flirted with the Russian guys. I made a dash for the restroom and left when the coast was clear (naturally leaving the bills paid for, so as not to incur the wrath of these guys.)

In short, if you see a bunch of men grouped together and trying to get people to go into a building, give them a wide path. Also, try not to make eye contact and just keep going in the direction you were, without stopping. If this doesn't work, not sure what to tell ya. But I would avoid be persuaded to go into strange buildings with large groups of strange people who apply pressure to you.

Fun Alternatives: For the most part, I found Itaewon to be a safe place to hang out. And if you were there with locals, or groups of people you won't have any trouble. Best alternative is not to go around alone, but if that isn't possible, just keep you eyes open and avoid anything suspicious.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Written May 24, 2004
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse



“Just because you are American doesn't make you better than the locals”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 6 7 2

Have you been to Seoul?

  Share Your Travels