Get us in your inbox

Raphael Rashid

Raphael Rashid

Contributing journalist, South Korea

Articles (2)

The 49 coolest neighbourhoods in the world

The 49 coolest neighbourhoods in the world

New normal. You’ve probably heard that phrase a lot over the past 18 months. When the pandemic hit last year, humankind entered a new era. And the day-to-day lives of city-dwellers – so used to the social aspect of urban living – changed with it. But now, many of us have gone some way to throwing off those shackles. Border restrictions are loosening. Bars, restaurants, even clubs are reopening. And while the pandemic still rages on, we’re all tentatively reaching out to something that kind of resembles a better normal. So, what’s that, exactly? To find out, you’ve got to look at what’s going on around you, out on the street, down the park, in your backyard. Throughout 2020 and 2021, our cities have thrived. Against impossible odds, communities banded together, hung out, made stuff. They displayed all the same energy and resilience and grassroots ingenuity that allowed them to spring up in the first place. They survived. And now we come to our annual ranking of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods. This year, we couldn’t help but switch up our priorities. Food, drink, nightlife, culture – important. Community spirit, resilience, sustainability – just as important, especially if we are to come out of this pandemic with things we can be proud of and tell the rest of the world about. Just like we’ve done for the past three years, we took the results of our annual Time Out Index survey (which this year polled 27,000 city-dwellers) to our local editors and contributors. They then vet

Los barrios más cool del mundo de 2021

Los barrios más cool del mundo de 2021

Nueva normalidad. Probablemente hayas escuchado mucho esa frase durante los últimos 18 meses. Cuando la pandemia golpeó el año pasado, la humanidad entró en una nueva era. Y la vida cotidiana de los habitantes de la ciudad, tan acostumbrados al aspecto social de la vida urbana, cambió con ella. Pero ahora, muchos de nosotros hemos logrado deshacernos de esos grilletes. Las restricciones fronterizas se están aflojando. Se reabren bares, restaurantes e incluso clubes. Y mientras la pandemia aún continúa, todos estamos tratando de llegar tentativamente a algo que se asemeja a una mejor normalidad. Entonces, ¿qué es eso exactamente? Para averiguarlo, debes mirar lo que sucede a tu alrededor, en la calle, en el parque, en tu patio trasero. A lo largo de 2020 y 2021, nuestras ciudades han prosperado. Contra todo pronóstico, las comunidades se unieron, pasaron el rato, hicieron cosas. Mostraron la misma energía, resistencia e ingenio de base que les permitió surgir en primer lugar. Ellos sobrevivieron. Y ahora llegamos a nuestra clasificación anual de los vecindarios más geniales del mundo. Este año, no pudimos evitar cambiar nuestras prioridades. Comida, bebida, vida nocturna, cultura: importante. Espíritu de comunidad, resiliencia, sostenibilidad; igual de importante, especialmente si vamos a salir de esta pandemia con cosas de las que podemos estar orgullosos y contarle al resto del mundo. Al igual que lo hemos hecho durante los últimos tres años, llevamos los resultados de nue

News (1)

How Seoul’s LGBTQ+ district came back from the brink

How Seoul’s LGBTQ+ district came back from the brink

The traditional arts and crafts on Insa-dong, the coffee shops of Ikseon-dong, the street vendors selling everything from skewers to rice cakes everywhere you look: walk around Jongno 3-ga (pronounced jong-no-sam-ga) and you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a pretty traditional, albeit slightly eccentric, little corner of Seoul. But take a closer look and you’ll find that the neighbourhood – which we just named the third coolest in the world – is home to some 100 or so bars catering to Seoul’s LGBTQ+ community. These institutions are very much hidden in plain sight, and there really is something for everyone, even the city’s gay seniors. Despite South Korea’s dynamic and tech-savvy image, its attitudes towards queer people cannot be said to be progressive. In this socially conservative country, LGBTQ+ people here are still made to feel invisible. This became all the more apparent in May 2020, when a Covid outbreak hit the club scene in Seoul’s more famous, but smaller gay district in Itaewon. That led to widespread homophobia that seemed to spread even faster than the virus. What started as an ‘exclusive’ in a conservative Christian publication turned into a frenzy of sensationalist articles and abusive online comments linking sexual identity to reckless behaviour. Photograph: Raphael Rashid Authorities desperately tried to contact-trace those who attended the clubs. But getting tested and providing personal details would have also meant effectively outing yourself and f