I have written quite a bit before about the TDC Ville which has become one of the most popular postings here on the ROK Drop with over 25,000 people viewing the article leaving behind 310 comments and counting. You can view this article as well as my profile of USFK camps around Dongducheon at the below links:
Well my recent trip to Korea last month gave me the perfect opportunity to walk through the ville once again and take more pictures of the various clubs and shops. Here is a map that shows the path I took as I walked through the ville:
For the past few years the local Korean government has really tried to fix up the ville and have even named it the Bosan-dong Special Tour District in effort to change the image of the ville:
Here is an excerpt from article about why the local government is pouring roughly $5 million dollars into renovating the ville:
Mayor Oh, Sechang of Dongducheon and his city engineers have decided to give the area outside USAG-Casey’s main gate a face lift. They will be changing the looks and adding many new features to the area known as Bosandong village. Many enjoy the entertainment and shopping, which has been a feature of the area since the Korean War ended in 1950. The mayor and his engineers will add popular sports sections and popular shops such as those found in Itaewon in Seoul near USAG-Yongsan.
“Ever since the end of the Korean War, Bosandong flourished with Soldiers who would shop in the area,” said Jeon, Heung-Sik, Dongducheon Mayor’s Office particular operation region division engineer. “In 2004, the 2nd Brigade left USAG-Casey, which reduced the number of U.S. Soldiers in the area and the plan to relocate the Soldiers to USAG-Humphreys will change the customer base for good. Because Bosandong’s customer base has declined, the area has become run down. The mayor and Dongducheon City will renovate the area to attract customers of all kinds, including tourists not only from other parts of Korea, but from overseas as well.” [Army.mil]
You can read more at the link, but it will be interesting to see if Bosan-dong ever does become a mainstream shopping area like Itaewon currently is in Seoul. I actually took one day to go to Camp Casey and stop by the PX and look around before I decided to go and look around and see how much the renovations have changed the ville:
The day I went to Camp Casey the weather was just perfect with sunny blue skies. Here is the view looking under the subway bridge across the street from Camp Casey towards Camp Mobile on the right:
However, the next day when I went to go check out the ville it was raining heavily outside. So I put on my rain jacket and proceeded to go ahead and check out the ville that morning despite the rain. Even with the heavy rain most of the pictures didn’t come out too bad plus the rain gave me the ville all to myself the morning that I did my walk through. Little did I know that the rains would continue to fall for many days until severe flooding damaged the ville and led to this massive US military assisted clean up effort.
Anyway here is the main entrance to the ville on its north side between Camp Casey and Camp Mobile:
The renovations of hanging snowflakes and adding the brick road and instantly noticeable but really Bosan-dong still looks like the ville. A good Korea analogy is putting make up on Songtan Sally. It helps a little bit, but it is still Songtan Sally.
From the start of the ville a variety of clubs can be seen that run adjacent to the subway line:
This subway line wasn’t always here and there used to be a train line that ran through the ville that occasionally a drunk GI would get hit by. Now the overpass that was constructed over 5 years ago has removed this hazard while at the same time providing a quick means of transportation to Seoul for the Soldiers stationed in Dongducheon. As part of the local government’s efforts to clean up the ville they have not only fixed up many of the buildings but installed a number of public parks and facilities. Here is one of the public facilities which is actually a common sight around Korea, which is publicly usable exercise equipment:
Before walking down the main strip of the ville I decided to go ahead and walk up towards the Highway 3 bypass and take some pictures from there. While walking that way I passed a number of mink blanket shops that have been a main stay business in the ville for decades:
I know people who were stationed at Camp Casey in the 1960′s who have told me they still own their mink blanket they bought in the ville. As walked up to the bypass I took this picture of the entrance to Camp Mobile:
For those that don’t know Camp Mobile is where the CIF facility is at where gear is issued to new Soldiers. There is also a small runway there as well where in the past I was able to conduct helicopter insertion missions with the 1-503rd Infantry when they were stationed at Camp Casey.
Here is the major intersection that leads to Camp Casey from the Highway 3 bypass:
I can remember the traffic jams that use to plague this area a few years ago when this bridge was being built. From the intersection I could see the old Camp Nimble water tower:
This camp was closed down in 2005 as part of the USFK transformation plan to consolidate forces on the peninsula in preparation for a massive consolidation of forces on an expanded Camp Humphreys further down south. Camp Nimble I could see was completely leveled leaving on the water tower.
From the intersection I made my way down a side alley to head back to the main area of the ville:
Here is the Miss Oh Shop:
Just past this shop I entered another alley where a few bars were located:
Here is Cheers which was known as being an officer hang out when I was stationed at Camp Casey:
The next club used to be the Peace Club, but is now called Club Peace for whatever reason:
Back in the day the Peace Club was a nice place to hang out because they didn’t have Juicy Girls but eventually they brought in a few Juicy Girls that kind of ruined the atmosphere.
Anyway here is the Phoenix Club:
And here is the D Club:
By the way if anyone has any current information or stories they want to share about the various clubs mentioned in this posting please feel free to leave a comment.
I continued down the side alley heading back towards the main strip of the ville:
Here is the view looking back towards Club Peace:
Here is just another view of the back alley and the Poory Chop Store:
The alley exited near this park that was constructed in recent years as part of the renovation of Bosan-dong:
Not too far from the park is Phrawgh’s Tavern which some readers of this blog might recognize :
Near Phrawgh’s is Mojo’s American Bar:
Here is a picture of yet another newly constructed park that has a statue of some keys for some reason:
Anyone know what the keys are supposed to signify?
Anyway from the park I walked back over to the main entrance of the ville and took this picture of the King Club which is the first club that can be seen when walking into the ville:
Here are few of the stores and clubs further down from King Club such as the Caesar’s Palace Club:
Here is the Golden Gate Club and Bar 37:
Here is Club Ocean:
In the central area of the ville is this stage area where various public events can be held:
At one corner of the park is the Universal Paradise Club:
Here is a picture of the Harley Club and Club JJ:
Here is the Empire Club that used to be where the Black Rose was located:
The Black Rose used to the be the club that primarily only black soldiers used to hang out. The Black Rose is nothing more than a gift shop now. Here is a picture of the Deep Club and one of the many custom tailor shops in the ville:
I still have one of my custom suits I had made 10 years ago in TDC and still wear it from time to time. You can get some high quality suits made in the ville for a very affordable price.
Here is the VIP Club:
Here is a picture of the joint US-Korea “Crime Prevention Center” located in the center of the ville near Bosan Station:
Here is the view looking north up the ville down the path I just walked up:
Here is the view looking south where the ville hits a three way intersection:
Notice that the path to the left takes people to the relatively new Bosan Subway Station. The path on the right takes people to the Love Shop area of the ville:
I ended up taking the center path at the intersection that leads to yet more clubs in the ville:
I walked past first the Dragon Club:
Then the Sky Club:
Here is the Las Vegas Club:
And the Silver Star Club:
Here is the Mustang Club that a few years ago was infamous for fights but I have no idea if that is still the case today:
Here is the Together Club:
Tucked in a back alley is the Pan Korea Club which when I frequented the ville was a Hispanic Club:
Here are yet more clubs, the Player’s Club, Club Queen, and the Bridge Club:
This stretch of the ville is also home to the Rendezvous Club:
I don’t know if this is still the case but this club used to be run by a Korean mafia figure named Mr. Han. I once saw him karate kick a guy in the face before in the bar that was causing trouble. Anyone know if Mr. Han is still running this place?
Here is the Head Club that I always thought was the biggest fire trap in the ville:
Upstairs from the Head Club is the Deja Vu Club. From the Head Club I detoured off on to a side alley that had yet more clubs and shops:
Here is yet another example of a custom tailor shop:
Just down the road is the Blackman Tailor Shop that has been a fixture in the ville for many years:
Down this side alley was yet more clubs such as Club Flex:
And here is the Pop Store Club:
Here is one of the few hotels that service the ville, the Hana Hotel:
Next to the Hana Hotel is the Latin Brothers Club that I don’t remember seeing the last time I was in the ville three years ago:
From Latin Brothers I walked over to the far southern end of Bosan-dong where the ville begins to transition into real Dongducheon. Like on the north end the south end of the ville has had a makeover as well:
Since I head detoured off into the side alley from the main strip I decided to walk a little ways back up the strip to get some pictures of the clubs I hadn’t photographed yet. Here is the Sun Club:
Here is the ACE Restaurant, th BMW Club, and the Focus Club:
Finally here is the Cowboys Club:
After taking a few photos of the clubs at the end of the ville I then turned around to head back out the ville’s southern entrance. The GS 25 store pictured on the left is kind of the defacto beginning of the real Dongducheon:
If I would have continued going straight down the street it would have taken me towards downtown Dongducheon. Instead I took a left and headed towards Highway 3 that runs between the ville and Camp Casey. Here is a picture I took of the alley that runs between the ville and Bosan Station:
This is a picture of the intersection with Highway 3. Right goes deeper into Dongducheon while taking a left goes towards Camp Casey. Here I took a left:
As I walked down the sidewalk this area of the ville is dominated by the massive Bosan Station that looks like a giant space ship landed in the middle of Dongducheon:
If this station is secretly an alien space ship at least they brought the Ono Sports Bar & Grill with them:
Across the street from the station was a few more bars and businesses:
Here is Club W:
I can remember when Marty’s opened it was one of the nicest places to eat in the ville. I don’t know if that is still the case considering all the other restaurants that have opened up as well in Bosan-dong in recent years. For example here is a Brazilian BBQ house called Bossa Nova Grill:
I don’t know if this place is any good but it smelled good when I walked by. As I continued down the sidewalk I saw plenty of other restaurants in this section of the ville as well:
Here is the Zula Bar & Grill which another one of the newyu restaurants in the ville:
The ville is of course also full of plenty of pawn shops, money exchanges, game and DVD shops, etc. that are fixture of just about every ville in Korea:
While walking back to Camp Casey, right across the street from the camp is the highly controversial Julie’s Realty:
Many ROK Drop readers may remember that Julie’s Realty was linked to BAH fraud down in Seoul. I don’t know if they are still trying to pull the old housing fraud trick on servicemembers now, but walking by it appeared they were doing pretty good business:
Here I am looking south standing next to the bus stop across from Camp Casey:
In this area of the ville across the street from Camp Casey many coin and plaque shops can be found since Soldiers can easily visit these places during lunch in order to pick up various items for their units:
One of the unusual aspects of Korea when compared to state side assignments is how many people are always coming and going due to the one year tours that many Soldiers still receive to come to the 2nd Infantry Division. Every time a Soldier leaves their unit it is customary to have what the Army calls a “Hail and Farewell” to welcome new personnel and farewell departing personnel. The departing personnel usually are given a plaque or some other gift for their time with the unit which means shops like the one pictured above due brisk business. The ajushi that work in these shops actually do really good work for a relatively good price.
Something surprising to me looking across the street is how this road that runs adjacent to Camp Casey has been widened:
This used to be a very narrow road that run through a tight cluster of homes. All the buildings on the left side that bordered the base have been knocked down. This little ville used to be a popular place for married Soldiers to find cheap housing for their families if they decided to bring them to Korea.
Here is the view across the street of the ubiquitous KNP buses that are pretty much parked near every major US military installation to provide security just in case any protesters show up to cause problems:
And that completed my walk around the ville. Like I said before there has been much effort to clean the place up, but it is still the ville and always will be until the day US Soldiers leave Dongducheon. If anyone has any stories they would like to share about the clubs pictured here or any other experiences they had in the ville please share with other readers in the comments section.
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