Seoul, South Korea – How to keep your sanity within the concrete jungle

No matter where in Seoul you live, chances are very high that this is what you see when you go up to the roof and take a look at the city. One massive concrete jungle. Seoul has about 10 million citizens. To make it a little easier to imagine how much that is: New York City has about 8 million. Berlin has about 3,5 million. Insane, right? Let’s take a little look at the density of population and then we know exactly why Seoul looks like shown above. Berlin has a population density of about 4 citizens for each km². Now how about Seoul? An insane 17 citizens for each km²! And that is why you find many areas that are packed with concrete walls and high skyscrapers. It would be impossible for that many people to have a home otherwise.

After only a few days of being surrounded by the urban city life I figured that I required the healing powers of nature. Or in other words: I needed my animal fix. Not only did I miss my dog a lot, I also miss seeing fields of cows or sheep. I lived on the countryside all my life and moving to Seoul has been a really big change for me. I figured that many people who move to Seoul are struggling from the same problem and that’s why today I’ll give you my list of the top 4 things you can do to keep your sanity within the concrete jungle.

 

TOP 4 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO KEEP YOUR SANITY WITHIN THE CONCRETE JUNGLE

Number 4 – Cat Cafes

Yeah, I’m not gonna lie but this is only placed on rank 4, because I don’t even like cats. Or actually, saying that I don’t like cats is a bit harsh.. but I really don’t want one at home. So, if you’re a cat lover this should probably be higher on your personal list!

How Cat Cafes work: When you enter you’re usually required to take of your shoes and change into provided slippers. This might not be the case for all places, but it has been so far in every cat cafe I went to. At some places there is no actual entrance fee, but you’re required to buy at least one drink. In those cafes drink prices are usually around 8000 Won, which is about 6,50€. In other cafes, you need to pay an entrance fee of about 10.000 Won, but there’s a free drink included in that already. And then every new drink will be a bit cheaper than that. So no matter what type of cafe you end up going to, you will probably spend about the same amount of money.

After paying you’re all set to go and have a good time. There’s toys that visitors can use to play with the cats, tables that you can sit at and pet a sleeping kitten if you’re lucky and cat trees where you can watch the kittens have a good time.

 

Yeah, this would be me if I was a cat

Yeah, this would be me if I was a cat

Looks like we came for nap time

Looks like we came for nap time

This cat is wearing a bowtie. Yes. A Bowtie.

This cat is wearing a bowtie. Yes. A Bowtie.

I don't even like cats, but how cute is this?

I don’t even like cats, but how cute is this?

 

The reason why I think that those animal cafes are okay is because they’re all animals rescued from the street or kill shelters. If it wasn’t for these cafes, the cats would probably be dead. So not only is it a cute, fun little activity for during the day, but it’s also actually for a good cause.

My favourite cat cafe:

Name: Café Café in Myeongdong

Address: 8-5 Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu

Closest Subway Station: Myeongdong (Line 4)

 

 

Number 3 – Dog Cafes 

Of course, when there’s a cat cafe on the list, there also has to be a dog cafe. And the reason that these cafes are ahead of the cat cafes is not only the fact that I prefer dogs over cats. Well, maybe a bit.

If you end up going to one of the many dog cafes you will understand why I say that these places cure all of your problems. No matter what you do, whether you decide to sit on the floor and cuddle with the little fluffballs or if you decide to buy a pack of snacks and suddenly become the most popular kid in town. You will have one hell of a time.

How dog cafes work: Basically they work just like cat cafes. Except for some reason you don’t have to take of your shoes. Also you will have to disinfect your hands before entering. But apart from that, it’s pretty much the same. You pay for a drink and then get to spend a lovely time with some either big or small balls of fur. The choice is yours.

IT'S SO FLUFFY I'M GONNA DIE

IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE

Well when you got snacks you're suddenly the new popular kid

Well when you got snacks you’re suddenly the new popular kid

Looks like we're playing poker

Looks like we’re playing poker

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Just look at that tiny crooked tail

Just look at that tiny crooked tail.. loved this little fellow

 

Okay I think that’s enough pictures.. I think I already know where I’m going later today!

My favourite dog cafe:

Name: Bau House Puppy Cafe in Hongdae

Address: 서울특별시 마포구 양화로 64 (Mapo-gu, Yanghwa-ro 64)

Closest Subway Station: Hapjeong Station (Line 2, Line 6)

 

Number 2 – Blind Alley Raccoon cafe

Okay friends, this is where it gets SUPER EXCITING!! Cat and Dog Cafes are no news, they have been around for what feels like forever and the hype about it is starting to fade away. The new star of the show seem to be raccoons! These friendly, intelligent and not to forget cute little fellows will make sure to keep you entertained. You can feed them, be lucky and have one climb onto your shoulder or just watch them run and toll around the cafe. Every now and then the owner of the cafe, who is a really nice lady by the way, will make sure to entertain the guests like shown above. Unfortunately I lost all my photos I took in the cafe and the video above is all that remains. :(

How the raccoon cafe works: Consider this to be just a normal cafe. You go in and can order anything you want. Drinks, shakes and this time even FOOD. Make sure to try some 빙수 (bingsu), which is a Korean shaved ice dessert. Even here there’s no entrance fee. All you need to pay for is your food and/or drinks.

About the Cafe:

Name: Blind Alley Cafe

Address: 서울특별시 용산구 청파로47길 76 (Seoul, Yongsan-gu Cheongpa-ro 47-gil 76)

Closest Subway Station: Sukmyeong Women’s University (Line 4)

 

 

Number 1 – Seoul Grand Park (AKA Zoo)

Okay, this place is hands down one of the most relaxing and most beautiful places I’ve seen in Seoul so far. The Seoul Grand Park include hills and hiking trails, the Seoul Grand Park Zoo, a rose garden, the SeoulLand amusement park, and the Seoul Museum of Modern Art. All of those places are beautiful and worth a visit, but for this list I chose the Zoo, because why not.

For a sweet 5000 Won per adult (Which is only about 4€!) you can enter the Zoo and easily spend all day there. Yes, all day. That’s how big it is. By the way, it’s possible to walk from the station to the Zoo, but if you’re lazy or just don’t feel like walking you can also take the Elefant Tram for a cheap 1000 Won, which is a Bus that goes all the way up to the Zoo. If you fancy something more exquisite you can also take the cable car, which has a stop in the middle and also the very top of the Zoo. I recommend you to take it on your way back though, because the view is way better! Also if you make your way home during sunset, the view gets even more incredible and it will be definitely worth the annoying 10.000 Won for all the way down. Here one of the many videos I took to convince you.

 

Okay, let’s get down to business. Animals. No matter what type of animal you’re looking for, I’m pretty sure you will find it here. Dolphins, Bears, Birds, Seals, Lions, Tigers.. the list goes on and on. They have it all. Here some pictures of my personal highlights.

This guy right here will greet you at the entrance

This guy right here will greet you at the entrance

Okay, hands down the best photo of the day

Okay, hands down the best photo of the day

the different compounds look really great

the different compounds look really great

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the zoo also has a pretty big collection of HELL NO replicas

the zoo also has a pretty big collection of HELL NO replicas

pretty sure this turtle's dad was a giraffe

pretty sure this turtle’s dad was a giraffe

this buddy came quite close

this buddy came quite close

cuddle time

cuddle time

in case you feel stressed, here's something to relax you

in case you feel stressed, here’s something to relax you

 

About the Park:

Name: Seoul Grand Park

Address: 경기도 과천시 대공원광장로 102 (막계동) (102, Daegongwongwangjang-ro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do)

Closest Subway Station: Seoul Grand Park Station (duh!) (Line 4)

 

Okay friends, this is it. My top 4 places to visit to keep your sanity inside the concrete forest of Seoul. Now I’m off to go and visit the dog cafe again!

안녕히 계세요~! (Good bye in Korean!) 

Cindy