Tag Archives: Seoul

Quirky Themed Cafés in Seoul

29 Apr

Seoul is a city that revolves around café culture. In any given neighborhood, you are never more than a few footsteps away from a cute coffee shop serving up lattes, waffles and cakes. With so much competition, however, many cafés have had to come up with unique angles to appeal to café goers. This has resulted in some strangely themed coffee shops popping up around the city. From playing dress-up to petting farm animals, here is a small sampling of what you can expect to experience while you sip on your cup of java.

Doll House Café

If you’re looking to bring your childhood memories of Barbie and Ken to life, then you need not look any further than Ann House. With a slogan that reads, “Coffee and my princess time,” you know this place is going to be girly.

Ann House is a popular destination for couples looking for a cute afternoon date with a little extra privacy. Guests are led to a private booth with frosted panel doors. Inside it is a world of pink that includes flower-patterned wallpaper, lace curtains, plush floral couches, and glass chandeliers. The powder pink menu has an array of sugary food items, which include cakes and milkshakes that you can share as a couple. To add to the infectious mood, all of this is accompanied by the latest K-POP love songs playing overhead.

Address: 14-11 Gwancheol-dong, Jongno-gu

Subway: Jonggak, Exit 4

Cat Café

Cat Cafe in Seoul

Cat Cafe. Photo courtesy of Audrey Bergner.

Cat cafés are by far the most popular type of themed café in Seoul. In neighborhoods like Hongdae, Myeongdong, and Gangnam, you can expect to find several of these establishments strewn along the same road.

Once inside, most cat cafés are the same; you order a drink and in exchange you get to enjoy some playtime with the furry creatures. The cats are free to roam as they like, so don’t be surprised if they leap onto the table while you’re sipping on your green tea latte. The only rule here is that you cannot pick up the cats; they must freely come to you. That being said, most cat cafés sell prepackaged treats like chicken breast and tuna that you can use to lure the cats your way. That’s a guaranteed way to make instant friends with the felines.

Address: 162-14 Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu

Subway: Hongik University, Exit 9

Sheep Café

Seoul sheep cafe

Sheep cafe. Photo credit: Chelsea Hicks via Flickr.

Thanks Nature Café takes animal cafés to a whole new level by introducing farm animals to the mix. Located at basement level in the trendy university area of Hongdae, this café is split into two areas: indoors and outdoors.

Inside, the café is warm and cozy making it the perfect place to spend a rainy day reading or socializing with friends. The light wood furniture is paired with lots of greenery to brighten up the place, and keeping with the theme, there are lamb paintings and life-sized toy sheep.

If you want to be a bit closer to the stars of the café, you’ll want to grab a table in the outdoor patio instead. While the sheep don’t roam freely among the coffee tables, they do have a little pen where you can interact with them and snap a few photos. Feeding time takes place several times throughout the day, so if you stick around long enough you’ll be able to take part in that as well. Just remember that the sheep are away during the summer months as the heat in Seoul can be unbearable for a wooly lamb. The best time to visit is between autumn and spring.

Address: 486 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu

Subway: Hongik University, Exit 9

Wedding Dress Café

Located near Ewha Womans University, Princess Diary is the place to go when you are in the mood to play dress-up. Except this isn’t any kind of dress-up; we are talking about wedding dresses here!

Princess Diary is every little girl’s fantasy, with a massive wardrobe containing flowing and somewhat poufy gowns in varying shades of pure white, ivory, and cream. Whether you have a ring on your finger or not, this is the place to bring your girlfriends, pick out your favorite gown, and have a tea party!

To make things a little wackier, there are pirate hats, pink bunny ears, veils, feathers, and flower bouquets to accessorize and pull the whole look together. Once you are dressed and fitted with the help of one of the assistants, you can spend the next hour photographing yourself in full bridal glory.

Address: Ewhayeodae 2ga-gil, Seodaemun-gu

Subway: Ewha Womans University, Exit 3

Dog Café

Bau House Dog Cafe in Seoul

Bau House Dog Cafe in Seoul. Photo courtesy of Audrey Bergner.

The best-known dog café in Seoul is Bau House. Much like the cat cafés, you order a beverage and are then free to spend a few hours playing with the pups.

The breeds at Bau House range from hyper miniature dogs that can’t sit still on your lap, to gentle behemoths that laze around unaware of the ten hands stroking them. From affectionate Cocker Spaniels to sleepy Golden Retrievers, there is a dog in here for every personality.

All of the dogs at Bau House are very friendly and coexist without as much as a growl or stare. People are also welcome to bring their own dogs to play and interact with the ones who call the café home.

So next time you find yourself in Seoul, why not check out one of these quirky venues?

Address: 394-44 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu

Subway: Hapjeong, Exit 3

Quirky Themed Cafés in Seoul

I Heart My City (in the Spring)

29 Mar

Hanami cherry blossoms outside the Tokyo National Museum. (Photograph by Rob Towell, Flickr)

There’s still a chill in the air here in Washington, D.C., but the days are getting longer, the cherry blossoms are starting to pop, and residents are beginning to shed those cumbersome winter coats. Spring is upon us (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), and we’re embracing it with open arms by highlighting seasonal must-dos from our amazing I Heart My City community.

From ice cream to air shows, palaces to train rides, here are 20 ways to make the most of the next few months in 20 cities around the globe:

Shelly’s Oxford (United Kingdom): Head to nearby Wytham Woods to see the bluebells at their finest.

The Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace. (Photograph by Ncburton, Flickr)

The Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace. (Photograph by Ncburton, Flickr)

Megan Natalie’s Seoul (South Korea): Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace’s gardens to experience a piece of paradise you’d swear couldn’t exist in Seoul (make sure to watch the changing of the guards).

Ewelina’s Krakow (Poland): Take a walk to Krakus Mound at Podgórze; a nice, green hill where you can take a blanket and relax.

Annie Fitzsimmon’s NYC (United States): Celebrate the bounty of post-winter produce and eat anything with ramps on it because they’re only in season for a few weeks! Motorino has a great ramp pizza, and ABC Kitchen never fails with its in-season menu.

Keith Bellow’s Montreal (Canada): Hang around near McGill and Prince Arthur, soaking up the sun and the street life.

Anya’s Istanbul (Turkey): Visit Topkapi Palace. The flowers are in bloom and it’s positively stunning.

Katherine’s Athens (Greece): Take a bus to Cape Sounion, the ancient ruins of Poseidon’s temple. On the short bus ride from Athens, you’ll wind along the coast and enjoy some of my favorite views.

The Boxi-Platz flea market in Berlin. (Photograph by La Citta Vita, Flickr)

Berlin’s Boxhagener Platz flea market is open on Sundays. (Photograph by La Citta Vita, Flickr)

Madeleine’s Annapolis (U.S.): Check out the Blue Angels air show at the United States Naval Academy commencement.

Maja’s Belgrade (Serbia): Go to Zemun in Old Town and have lunch at one of the fish restaurants on the Danube.

Colleen’s Beijing (China): Fly kites by Houhai Lake.

Zain’s Amman (Jordan): Pack a picnic and visit the Hellenistic site known as Iraq Al Amir.

Shannon Switzer’s San Diego (U.S.): Check out the wildflowers in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Yvonne’s Berlin (Germany): Explore Berlin’s many flea markets to find great vintage clothes, furniture, books, and local art.

Sylvia’s Tokyo (Japan): Go for hanami (cherry-blossom-viewing parties) in a park with a big group of Japanese friends, some beer, and some sushi.

Jessica’s Barcelona (Spain): Experience a traditional Catalan calçotada which consists of getting together and eating large quantities of local green onions known as calçots along with romenesco sauce, regional wine, and good company.

Vienna's MuseumsQuartier. (Photograph by Photongatherer, Flickr)

Hang out outside Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier. (Photograph by Photongatherer, Flickr)

Jennifer’s Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates): See Abu Dhabi from the water. Hire a dhow (traditional wooden boat) for a tour, charter a speedboat to take you to one of the 200 islands off the main island, or kayak amongst the mangroves.

Karen’s St. John’s, Newfoundland (Canada): Watch the last ice depart from the Atlantic from atop Signal Hill National Historic Site. Check out the on-site gift shop where local music, books, and culinary delights make excellent gifts.

Isabel Eva’s Madrid (Spain): Take a trip on the Tren de la Fresa to Aranjuez. During the 50-minute ride, you will be served fresh strawberries. Once in Aranjuez, you can take a tour of the Museo del Ferrocarril (the railway museum) and the Palacio Real (the royal palace).

Lea’s Vienna (Austria): Do as the locals do and head to the MuseumsQuartier to hang out on one of the over-sized flexible furniture elements called Enzis.

Nat Geo’s Washington, D.C. (U.S.): Check out the National Arboretum and Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, two of D.C.’s hidden gems.

Wherever you are, what’s your favorite thing about your city in the springtime? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

I Heart My City (in the Spring) Abu Dhabi , annapolis , athens , austria , belgium , Belgrade , California , canada , d.c. , England , France , Ghent , Gouda , Greece , Iceland , Istanbul , japan , krakow , Madrid , maryland , Montreal , netherlands , New York , new york city , oxford , Paris , Poland , Reykjavík , san diego , Seoul , Serbia , South Korea , Spain , St. John’s Newfoundland , tokyo , turkey , United Arab Emirates , United Kingdom , United States , vienna , washington

The Radar: Travel Lately

8 Mar

A tour of Paris isn't complete without the perfect cup of coffee.  (Photograph by Pablo Cuneo, Flickr)

The Radar – the best of the travel blogosphere – is a regular feature on Intelligent Travel every Wednesday.

Here’s this week’s:

  • Colorful and historical San Juan isn’t just a feast for the eyes. Here are five restaurants worth traveling for in Puerto Rico’s capital city. @OrdinaryTravelr
  • In Seoul, a city that thrives on modernity, a trip to the nearby Korean Folk Village proves a welcome, albeit touristy, respite. Experience the traditional side of Korean life in Yongin@Gadling
  • In one word, breathtaking. Yellowstone National Park embodies the glory of the American West and continues to surprise visitors time and time again. @TransAmericas 
  • Touring Paris – the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre to Saint Germain —  can be a whirlwind. You’ll need your caffeine. Luckily, there’s plenty of good coffee in this cafe-obsessed city. @sousstyle 
  • Its name may be more evocative of Nebraska than Nicaragua, but the Corn Islands prove to be a delightful Caribbean retreat. Oh, and don’t miss the coconut bread. @thatbackpacker

The Radar: Travel Lately Caribbean , Corn Islands , gadling , idaho , montana , ngtradar , Nicaragua , Ordinary Travelr , Paris , Puerto Rico , San Juan , Seoul , Sous Style , South Korea , That Backpacker , The Radar , Trans Americas , Wyoming , Yellowstone National Park , Yongin

I Heart My City: Kids Edition

6 Mar

Get a taste of the wild -- and learn about the importance of conservation -- at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. (Photograph by Stephanie Bond, Flickr)

It’s time for another special edition of I Heart My City!

This time we’re serving up recommendations for the world’s best educational experiences for kids (and kids at heart) in 15 cities around the world from the people who know them best: our ever-inspirational I Heart My City community. They also happen to be fun.

Ewelina’s Krakow (Poland): The Stanislaw Lem Garden of Experiences, an open-air education exhibition that allows kids to explore the natural world and the laws of physics.

Kids get a grip on geography at the Te Papa museum. (Photograph by Chris Zielecki, Flickr)

Kids get a grip on geography at the
Te Papa museum. (Photograph by Chris Zielecki, Flickr)

Larisa and Michael’s Philadelphia (United States): Franklin Square Park, a neighborhood park just off Independence Mall, has a playground and carousel, plus a mini-golf course featuring small-scale models of Philly’s historic buildings. It’s a great place to work off some youthful energy after seeing the Liberty Bell.

Katherine’s Athens (Greece): The Hellenic Children’s Museum or the free zoo in the National Gardens.

Charlotte’s Wellington (New Zealand): The city’s elaborate playgrounds, the kids areas at the Te Papa, or bird spotting in Zealandia, the bird sanctuary in Karori.

Natalie’s Toronto (Canada): Riverdale Farm: There are animals, it’s a great spot to picnic, and it’s free! It’s also a great way to see Cabbagetown, filled with historic Victorian homes. 

Christine’s Melbourne (Australia): Take a day trip to see the penguins on Phillip Island.

Kristina’s Santiago de Chile (Chile): The city zoo, located on a slope of the Cerro San Cristobal, which has a seemingly incongruous urban backdrop.

Annie Fitzsimmons’s New York City (United States): The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, which is in a model schoolhouse brought to Central Park in 1877. Shows are staged year round.

Kids learn by doing at the touch pool in Two Oceans Aquarium. (Photograph by Flowcomm, Flickr)

Kids learn by doing at the touch pool in Two Oceans Aquarium. (Photograph by Flowcomm, Flickr)

Yamina’s Brussels (Belgium): The Children’s Museum, where kids are allowed to touch everything, climb walls, listen to stories, and attend workshops.

Lea’s Vienna (Austria): The Haus der Musik museum, an interactive sound museum which provides a new approach to music on a playful and scientific level.

Luci’s Brisbane (Australia): Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It’s also home to dingos, wombats, and platypus.

Jo’s Cape Town (South Africa): Don’t miss the Two Oceans Aquarium, aptly named for the Atlantic and Indian oceans, which converge in the area.

Nat Geo’s Washington, D.C. (United States): The National Air and Space Museum (for the rockets and the gift shop’s freeze-dried astronaut ice cream) and the Newseum, for the First Dogs exhibit, a tribute to presidential fidos.

Yvonne’s Berlin (Germany): The Berlin Zoo (the famous polar bear Knut’s birthplace), where you can see cute baby animals. It’s also the oldest zoo in Germany.

Megan and Natalie’s Seoul (South Korea): Lotte World. Thrills aren’t the only thing to seek at this South Korean theme park. The adjacent Lotte Folk Museum boasts a miniature village that displays life in the Joseon Dynasty on a 1/8th scale.

I Heart My City: Kids Edition Air and Space Museum , athens , Berlin Zoo , brisbane , brussels , Cabbagetown , Cape Town , Cerro San Cristobal , Franklin Square Park , Haus der Musik , Hellenic Children’s Museum , I Heart My City , Independence Mall , Joseon Dynasty , Karori , krakow , Liberty Bell , Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary , Lotte World , Melbourne , National Gardens , National Geographic , new york city , Newseum , philadelphia , Phillip Island , Riverdale Farm , Santiago , Seoul , Smithsonian , Stanislaw Lem Garden of Experiences , Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre , Te Papa , toronto , Two Oceans Aquarium , vienna , Wellington , Zealandia