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A Guide to Hack into Korean Nightlife

3 Nov Korean Bar
Korean Bar

The name of this bar is actually Cheong Chun ShiNae

There was this bar that my friends and I used to frequent when I lived in Mokdong.  It became legendary because every time we came there we would meet hilarious, friendly locals that we would share drinks and laughs with.

We came to this bar because we could get good, cheap food.  Lots of beer and soju and more often than not, after a few jugs of beer and two bottles of soju, someone would raise a glass to “chunbae” another table and before long our tables would merge and there would be a lot of broken English and broken Korean.

The decor and food is enough that if you go with a group of your friends and don’t meet any locals, you will have a fun time.  This bar was fun because the ceilings were covered in newspaper style, black and white comic strips.  The walls are decorated with old Korean vinyl record cases.  There were half dozen television screens perpetually playing some weird k-pop music show.  Also, they served “pop-rocks” candy with the soju.  We always assumed that this was the soju chaser.  On top of all of this, they had the best cheesy ddeok-bokki I have had in Korea.  Their pajeon is also notable.

We always called this place the “K-Bar.”  That was not the actual name of the bar, but we called it that because it was our favourite Korean Style bar.  There were a lot of Western style clubs and pubs.  There are also a lot of Chicken Hofs selling fried chicken, beer and soju.  This one was unique in that it had escaped teh Western influence but was not too foreign to us that we felt uncomfortable (In fact, we took Korean friends here and they were shocked that we enjoyed coming here).

We met some hilarious characters here, like the older man whose knowledge of English, I can only guess, encompasses only the lyrics of “We are the world” the 1985 charity song.  There were the young girls that taught me how to “one-shot” makgeolli (a Korean rice wine) and I helped them practice their English.  There was also the pineapple salesman who was selling pineapples to pay for college.

This place was a hilarious introduction to the drinking culture of Korea.  I think that there are many places around Korea that you can create your own “k-bar” in.  I have learned the secret trick to breaking the ice with strangers; it’s as easy as raising a glass and sharing a smile.

I don’t spend a lot of late nights out drinking anymore.  Late nights make wasted morning.  Every once in a while it is a fun laugh though, and Korea is a hilarious place in the wee hours of the morning.  You can get your people watching in and experience a part of Korean culture that is just non existence during the day light hours.

If you are in Mokdong and you want to go to this particular bar, go to Mokdong Station (Line 5) exit 1.  Walk straight for a few minutes and it will be on your left hand side.  Look out for the sign in this post.  When it is warm, there are tables set up outside.  

For Google Map click here

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A Daytrip to Chuncheon from Seoul

2 Oct
Cheongpyeongsa is a beautiful temple.  It was the weekend after Buddha's Birthday so there were lots of beautiful lanterns.

Cheongpyeongsa is a beautiful temple. It was the weekend after Buddha’s Birthday so there were lots of beautiful lanterns.

Chuncheon is a day trip that you can easily take from Seoul.  There is a ITX train that 76 minutes from Yongsan to Chuncheon.  You can take the regular subway there, which is cheaper, but then you don’t get the comfy ITX chairs.

There are so many things to do here.  I hope to go back to do the things that I didn’t get to do on my last visit.  My day looked like this:  I took a train through the countryside, saw Soyang Dam, took a ferry near said dam in order to hike to Cheonpyeong Temple (Cheongpyeongsa), and visited the famous Dakgalbi Street, the birthplace of dakgalbi (one of my favourite Korean foods).

There are so many things to choose from.  What we did not do but I have heard are really fun:

  • Ziplining to Nami Island

  • Exploring Namiseom Island

  • Railbiking

  • Explore Jungdo Island

If you are in South Korea and you are looking for something different to do, this is guaranteed to a worthwhile trip.

This is the view from the edge of a 15 minute Ferry that you take across Soyang Lake to Cheonpyeongsa.  I love riding ferries.  As much as I love trains.

This is the view from the edge of a 15 minute Ferry that you take across Soyang Lake to Cheonpyeongsa. I love riding ferries. As much as I love trains.

Soyang Lanke

I love that you can see how high the lake can get.

wishes to Cheongpyeongsa

After leaving the ferry, we walked passed this wall of rocks. The little stacks of rocks represent wishes that people have made.

The temple was really beautiful. There were a lot of hikers there paying respects for Buddha's Birthday.

The temple was really beautiful. There were a lot of hikers there paying respects for Buddha’s Birthday.

I am not sure what this was about but I got my coin in when I tossed it.  I was The Price is Right excited.  It lasted only about three seconds before I composed myself and remembered that I was at a temple.  The people who were next to me were excited for me too.

I am not sure what this was about but I got my coin in when I tossed it. I was The Price is Right excited. It lasted only about three seconds before I composed myself and remembered that I was at a temple. The people who were next to me were excited for me too.

Reflecting pool

This was a reflecting pool on the way to Cheongpyeongsa.

It was impossible to get a picture of the princess without people on her.  I waited for a long time, she was a great photo op.  There is a story about this princess.

It was impossible to get a picture of the princess without people on her. I waited for a long time, she was a great photo op. There is a story about this princess.

This is the story of the princess and the snake statue.  It's a fascinating story.

This is the story of the princess and the snake statue. It’s a fascinating story.

The temple was really beautiful. There were a lot of hikers there paying respects for Buddha's Birthday.

The temple was really beautiful. There were a lot of hikers there paying respects for Buddha’s Birthday.

This was the view from Soyang Dam.  I was amazed at how high up it was.

This was the view from Soyang Dam. I was amazed at how high up it was.

Dakgalbi

Dakgalbi is one of my favorite Korean foods. That is saying a lot because I am a huge fan of Korean food. It is really simple, cabbage, rice cakes, sweet potato, chicken and a red spicy sauce. This is where it was invented. Many of the restaurants had long lines of people waiting to get inside. If you are in Korea, get dakgalbi, it will not disappoint.