Monday, July 5, 2021

8 Quirky and Out-of-this-World Cafes in South Korea to Visit after this Pandemic

If there’s one thing South Korea has in abundance, it’s cafes. Instagrammable cafes, cafes with stunning views, with unique themes and spectacular coffee and desserts, cat cafes - you name it, Korea probably has it.

From hidden entrances in Mapo-gu to sitting around in a wedding dress over dessert in Jeju Island, here are 8 quirky and out-of-this-World cafes in South Korea to include in your itinerary.

1. Jean Frigo – an underground cafe hidden behind a fridge
Chances are you will probably walk by Jean Frigo unless you know what you’re looking for. At first glance, the entrance to this hidden cafe in Dongdaemun looks like a storage space for fresh produce. Think fruits and vegetables. That’s until you walk in and find the right fridge door to open that will lean you down the rabbit hole.

Source: Jean Frigo

Find yourself in an aesthetically stunning two-floored cafe with themed rooms on each level. In one corner, there is a futuristic dining space with comfortable sunken seats and rainbow lights that are all the rage on Tik Tok now. In a separate corner is a quiet corner, suitable for couples or solo visitors to chill at.

The menu from coffee to main dishes to cocktails are nothing, screams creative speakeasy and everything is made fresh upon ordering. The dishes also change occasionally so every visit offers something new.

Address: Toegye-ro 62-gil, Gwanghuidong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

2. A Space Filled with You - Send a letter to your future self from this cafe
There is no better way to send yourself a souvenir of your trip to Korea than a letter to yourself, sealed with wax and all. This is a unique concept and service offered by A Space Filled With You cafe in Yongsan Dong, Seoul. A Space Filled With You also has a rooftop seating space with an amazing view of N Seoul Tower.

Source: A Space Filled With You

Upon entering the cafe, the first thing you will see is a wall of envelopes from floor to ceiling. You can opt to send out a letter with a drink by ordering the Letter set. Take your time in penning down your thoughts and wishes to paper. Once you’re done, you can head downstairs to have your envelope sealed in hot wax for a small fee of 1,000 won (approximately RM3.70).

After that, just place your letter in a slot on the wall with the date that you want the cafe to send out the letter on. You can have it sent out up to one year from your visit date! It’s an additional 1,000 won for them to forward your letter to a foreign address. Imagine getting a letter from your past self to remind you of your awesome holiday in Korea!

Address: 19-12, Yongsan-dong 2(i)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

3. Dreamy Camera Cafe - Photographer’s Dream Cafe in the Countryside

The Korean countryside is full of hidden gems of cafes as well and one such a gem is Dreamy Camera Cafe. It’s a bit off the beaten path, about an hour from Seoul in the picturesque town of Yangpyeong but it’s definitely worth the trip.

Source: Dreamy Camera Cafe

The Dreamy Camera CafĂ© is a beautiful eatery that is built to look exactly like a 1950s Rolleiflex Mini camera as the owners love vintage cameras. It’s a family-run establishment that integrates passion for photography, coffee, and peace from city-life. The cafe is built right beside the owners’ home which gives it even more of that local, family feel.

Source: Dreamy Camera Cafe

As the cafe is located on a small hill, visitors can enjoy picturesque views of the area from the cafe. And inside the cafe, there are collections of vintage cameras and books about photography. This is a great space to visit for photographers and cafe hunters all year round.

Where: 341-13, Jung-won-ri, Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

4. Zapangi Cafe - A Pink World behind a Pink Vending Machine
A bright pink vending machine is not exactly something that will go unnoticed by anyone. Even if you're not looking for the cafe behind it, you will definitely want a photo with this iconic pink vending machine for the gram. Zapangi (meaning “vending machine” in Korean) is a secret cafe that lies in the Mapo district and a must visit for Instagrammers.

Source: Zapangi

The cafe’s tagline is “bottles and tins” and this is reflected in its menu – cold beverages are served in milk style glass bottles, cakes are served in tins. Rest assured that everything here is worthy of a photo and worth every dime paid. Your senses and camera are in for a treat with whipped cream toppings in rainbow colours to lift your spirits.

 Source: Zapangi

The adorable confectionaries sold are visually appealing. Where else can you find cupcakes designed to look like a mermaid is diving inside? The flavours range from a rich, decadent chocolate cake to slightly more subtle-sweet fruit cakes. There are also seasonal flavours so check their social media to see what’s new.

Address: 400-2 Mangwon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

5. 943 Kings Cross Harry Potter Cafe - Apparate from Hongdae to Hogwarts
Transport yourself from the streets of Hongdae into the halls of Hogwarts at this Harry Potter themed cafe. Due to the popularity of the cafe, staff will only allow people in batch by batch so be prepared to wait a while for your turn.

Source: Korea Tourism Organisation

But magic is always worth waiting for as once you’re inside, you will find that the experience is just as magical with attention-to-detail decorations all over the cafe. A popular spot was of course, the cart through the wall outside of the cafe but it has since been changed into a spot for broom parking - still a good photo op. But once inside, you will be greeted by a wall of wand boxes - a familiar sight from Ollivander’s shop.

Source: Korea Tourism Organisation

Look even more closely and you will see that the chandeliers, the chess sets and even books are related to Harry Potter. There are four floors to pick from for seating, all of which give out completely different vibes and themes. It’s almost easy to pick yourself sitting with your favourite Harry Potter characters.

Address: 417 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

6. Coffee Nap Roasters – A hill of bricks within a glasshouse cafe
Coffee Nap Roasters is as beautiful to sit in as it is unique. Located in a hidden corner of Mapo District, its main attraction, aside from its unique coffee drinks, is actually a hill of 7,000 rusty-red bricks set within the cafe. The chill ambiance of the cafe is further accentuated by the fact that you can sit down or even lie down at any spot.

Source: Coffee Nap Roasters

Apart from the red brick hill, people often flock to the cafe for their unusual coffee drinks such as the cream.B and Blangco, a favourite for those looking for a midday pick-me-up in caffeine and sugar. It features a shot of espresso, a thick layer of sweet milk foam, cookie crumbles, and a scoop of chocolate chip ice-cream.

Source: Coffee Nap Roasters

Their bacon cookie is also a crowd favourite with its smokey and savoury undertones.

Address: 453-32 Yeonnam-ro, Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

7. PEACH GRAY – Therapeutic art jamming over coffee
If you’re looking for some therapeutic time by yourself or for an activity to do with friends, then Peach Gray is the place for you. There are numerous outlets around Seoul with one being near Lotte World Tower. At Peach Gray, patrons get a set of watercolour paints, papers and a brush with their orders.

Source: Peach Gray

Unleash your inner Piccasso over a cuppa coffee as you wait for their miniature fluffy pancakes which take about 20 minutes to prepare. Feel free to ask for more paper at any time in the event you run out.

Source: Peach Gray

Beginner painters are always welcomed, even though the walls on these cafes say otherwise (because this place is plastered with gorgeous drawings from other customers) but if you ever need some help or inspiration, there are guidebooks around the store to help you!

Address: 14-1 Songpa-gu, Garak-ro 21-gil

8. SHARON & EDEN CAFE – Sit pretty in a wedding dress at this cafe
Remember that episode of FRIENDS where Rachel, Monica and Phoebe were just sitting around in their living room in their wedding dresses? Now you can do the same at Sharon & Eden cafe on Jeju Island.

Source: Sharon & Eden

Previously known as Letters to Cereal Cafe, this spot has turned itself into a Self Wedding cafe, the dream location for girls to hang out, have tea and desserts - while in the wedding dress of their dreams. The interior of the cafe is classy with amazing views of its surroundings to match. Every corner is worthy of a photoshoot.

Sharon & Eden offers cakes and waffles on their menu but chances are you will be too preoccupied with snapping pictures of yourself in a wedding dress. It cost only 5,000won (approximately RM18.50)for a dress rental.

Address: 210 Seohaean-ro, Jeju City

Some say that experiencing the local lifestyle can be done through a cup of coffee, to see and walk the walk that the locals do. With so many cafes around Korea, there are plenty of chances to fully immerse yourself in their daily life and do as Koreans do. Now you have no reason to not put one of these cafes on your next adventure to South Korea. So while you’re planning your cafe-hopping agenda across the country, why not leave the travel arrangements to the pros?

Source: @Bundo Kim on Unsplash

Sedunia Travel is one of Malaysia’s oldest travel agencies with travel experiences to many countries including South Korea. They offer guided tours and free and easy packages depending on your travel styles. Heck, if you want to mix and match your trips to cover different cities of Korea, they can work out the arrangements for you from flights to accommodations to attraction tours.

Source: @ros on Unsplash

All you need to do is imagine what your dream holiday to Korea will be like after this pandemic and Sedunia Travel can make it happen. Check out their travel deals to Korea on their website. Of course, if you want to find more activities and places to visit, you can always check out the Korea Tourism Organization website and each respective provinces’ sites for recommendations and ideas.

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