Songtan (송탄, 松炭, pine.charcoal) is a neighborhood in northern Pyeongtaek. It is home to Osan Air Base, which it grew up around after the base was built in Osan (which many mistakenly believe it to be in). It was an official city from July 1, 1981 to May 10, 1995, when it merged with Pyeongtaek after the two cities had grown right into each other. The current population is over 300,000.
VFW Post 10216 is located in Songtan.
There are quite a few hotels in the area around the base, including the Phoenix Hotel and Songtan Tourist Hotel.
Restaurants and Bars
The Sinjang Shopping Mall and its several numbered side streets has a number of popular places to eat and drink. Cheers, Bobos in Paradise, and Blue Opera Bar are among the most popular bars. For restaurants near the base you can find Chinese (Chinez2go), Filipino, Thai (Sawatdee and Chang Pwuck), Indian and Pakistani (Chakraa and Alsaba), Mexican, Vietnamese, Turkish, and American (Puffin and The Kitchen). Bulldog is an English-style pub operated by an Englishman.
The nightlife in Songtan is generally known for being similar to Itaewon but rowdier and seedier, though actually safer as well. Several of the bars and clubs are juicy bars, there are some strip clubs, and one legendarily belligerent prostitute. Most of the patrons in bars will be US soldiers, so some level of English is understood in most any bar or restaurant.
As the average Korean, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants are in abundance throughout Korea and are easy for foreigners to find, the following restaurants reflect a sampling of restaurants considered to be either popular or are western-friendly choices and other ethnic foods.
Stocking up at a black market
in the backstreets of Songtan.
The street leading to the gate of the Air Base, called Sinjang Shopping Mall, is filled with merchants who cater to the local soldiers. They sell replica sports jerseys, jewelry, pirated DVDs and videogames (this is a pretty good place to buy a modded X-Box or Playstation 2), and there are many tailors as well. Near the end of the street is a relatively well-stocked sex shop. If you need to get some cash, there's a Nong Hyup branch on the main street.
Also, the area has some black market vendors that sell American food and products that were bought on base. If you walk away from the main gate of the base, you'll see a long stretch of stores, bars, and restaurants that cater to US military. About halfway down, turn right and walk in the backstreets and you'll find some hidden vendors. Also, if you are walking away from the main gate and follow the road going right, turn left at the next street and follow until the street starts to incline into an overpass. Underneath the overpass and on the left side are a few import vendors.
Songtan is connected to the Seoul subway system on Line 1, served by Songtan Station. The distance to Seoul Station is 64.3 km and the cost is 1,500 won one-way. There is also the Songtan Bus Terminal.