Memos from Asia

5 Most Enchanting Themed Cafes in South Korea

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Bomnal Cafe, Tangerine Juice, in Jeju Island (Photo Credit: Lana Min)

South Korea is often known to foreigners as the “Hallyu” (Korean Wave) capital, globally famous for K-Pop, movies, and Korean dramas. However, once visiting South Korea, people will soon find out that the bustling nightlife, food, and unique themed cafes are the main highlights of their trip.

In the capital of Seoul, there are hundreds of cafes down every street, corner, alleyway, stream, underground, you name it. Among the most fascinating list of themed cafes, here are 5 of the most enchanting cafes in South Korea that will absolutely blow your mind.

1. Café Yeonnam-Dong (2D café)

This black-and-white 2-Dimensional café in the Yeonnam-Dong district of Seoul may be the most artistic of cafes you have yet to see. The entire café looks like a painting out of a sketchbook, with a black-and-white aesthetic applied to the walls, tables, chairs, and even the coffee cups. The geometrical lines and shapes of the décor throughout the café gives you an illusion that you are in a 2-D environment. Make sure to also check out the patio on the roof for a continued sketch experience.

(Photo Credit: Lana Min)
(Photo Credit: Lana Min)

How to get there:

The café has gained fame on social media to be the most Instagrammable cafes in Seoul. The Café is also called 223-14 after its street address, and it is a bit hard to find from the subway station.

To get to the café, you need to get off Hong-ik University Station, then walk diagonally North East from exit 6. The road will be near a small stream next to a lot of apartments. Walk about 20 minutes, then make a left on Seongmisan-ro and you will meet the café on the left, across from the Ryan café.

What to order:

If you want the ultimate 2-D experience, make sure to order the Choco Choco Latte for 5,000 Won ($4.22). This drink is served in a 2-D mug with hot chocolate on the inside and a hard chocolate shell on the outside.

The shell is made by pouring melted chocolate on the top, and the edges resemble a cloud shape from the oozing chocolate that dries up. The result is an adorable cartoon-like image to make all your Instagram dreams come true.

2. Aquarium Café

The Aquarium Café Aquaqu in Hongdae, Seoul is one of the most unique experiences when visiting Seoul. There are many animal cafes in Seoul, but The Aquarium Cafe is highly distinctive because you are surrounded by a variety of fish and sharks. Each table is set up next to a large fish tank, so that you can enjoy a savory cup of coffee while mesmerized by the swimming animals.

Even though there are many aquariums throughout South Korea, an aquarium café is rare to find. The facility is very well maintained and cleaned regularly for the customers to enjoy. Located in the middle of Hongdae square near the booths and street buskers, Aquaqu Café is a very relaxing way to rest your feet after a long day of walking through the busy streets of Seoul.

Jellyfish at the Aquarium Café (Photo Credit: Lana Min)

How to get there:

Ride the subway to Hongik University and exit number 9. Make a right on the second street after entering the alley, and there will be a tall building on the left side of the booths and street buskers.

There is often a large gathering near the buskers where people watch them perform K-pop songs and dances. The building will have a large sign that says Aquaqu café, and it is on the third floor.

What to order:

Their coffees are very tasty, as they have a variety of lattes and fish-shaped desserts to choose from. The most popular dessert people order is the cake and gelato double, which includes a scoop of gelato with pretzels on it, shaped like a fish or a turtle.

3. Gdragon Café Monsant and Bomnal Café in Jeju Island

If you are a K-pop fan, you may have heard of G-dragon from the South Korean K-pop group, Big Bang. He owns a café called Monsant in the Aewol district of Jeju Island. Not many people stay in Aewol because it is far from the airport and downtown, but it is a hidden treasure filled with beautiful scenery and lovely cafes.

Known as a huge South Korean fashion icon and art collector, G-dragon’s café Monsant is reflective of his artistic brand. The cubed café is built out of volcanic stone and reflective glass, so tourists often go there to take selfies while enjoying the surrounding ocean.

When entering the café, the gray marble walls mixed with Jeju Island’s historically famous volcanic stone creates an enchanting and chic vibe.

The café was recently recognized in the media for displaying a $500,000 Baccarat chandelier which a customer broke and had to compensate for the damages.

(Photo Credit: Lana Min)
(Photo Credit: Lana Min)
(Photo Credit: Lana Min)

How to get there:

The best way to see the café and to sightsee the Aewol district is to stay in a hotel nearby while visiting. There are no subways in Jeju Island, so the best way is to get there by taxi. Aewol’s hotels and AirBnbs are cheaper than the ones near downtown, and the walk down the ocean is a picturesque view one should never miss out on.

What to order:

There are many coffees and desserts to choose from at Café Monsant. The lattes are delicious, and the cakes are scrumptious. The Hallabong cake is a popular option that will get your mouth watering for more.

The Hallabong is a symbolic fruit of Jeju Island, which is bigger than a tangerine but smaller than an orange. The lattes are also served in an expressionistic cup with different designs on them every time you visit.

If you are going to stroll around outside the café, there is another café right next to Monsant called Bomnal Café. They are known to have the most amazing Jeju tangerine juice. The juice contains a lot of succulent pulp that almost looks like gold flakes.

Bomnal Cafe, Tangerine Juice, in Jeju Island (Photo Credit: Lana Min)

4. C. Through Café

The C. Through Café is not famous for its themed café atmosphere, but solely for its amazing latte art. The latte artist Lee Gang Bin paints a brilliant portrait on each latte, ranging from Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” to Edward Munch’s “Scream.” He carefully crafts each drink with the smallest details, accurately resembling the original artworks by famous painters.

His Instagram has gained wide social media attention and fans throughout the world, and even has a large following of 273,000 people. He updates his Instagram with all his enchanting creations, including full length videos of how he makes each latte.

How to get there:

Ride the subway to Noksapyeong station, take the #2 exit, then walk to the Lee Tae Won post office. Make a right on Noksapyeong-daero 42 road, then make a right on Noksapyeong dae ro 40 road. You will meet the C. Through café on your right.

What to order:

Everything! Every latte is so beautifully decorated and crafted with Lee’s brilliant artistic skill, that you should try all the lattes if you can. However, The Starry Night Latte seems to be the most popular or the Totoro. I am sure you would love to try all of them!

5. Zapangi Café

Finally, this enchanting café is extraordinary and something you would see out of a Sherlock Holmes movie. Zapangi means vending machine in Korean, and this is what you will see when you find the café. Standing tall on a concrete wall, an entirely pink vending machine will be waiting for you, with some pink drinks and donuts on the display case.

However, this vending machine is not a normal vending machine, because it is an entrance to the café. This secret trap door leads to the secret café beyond the wall. A lot of people all over the world come to the café for the photos and mysterious experience. Many K-pop celebrities have visited this café as well.

How to get there:

To get to the Zapangi café, take the subway to Mangwon Station and exit 2. Walk straight on World cup road 13 and you will meet it on the left. It is a bit hard to find because it is on a corner, but the pink vending machine will be hard to miss!

What to order:

There are many cute desserts at Zapangi café. The popular ones would be the mermaid swirls in a tin can. There are a variety of flavors in the tin can, such as potato, cherry, and strawberry. There are also different types of ice cream and donuts.


  • Comments ( 5 )
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  1. Awesome! I love this

  2. G dragon cafe was awesome! Great blog!!!

  3. very well written! Thank you!

  4. Awesome blog I would love to visit these places

  5. Very insightful post. I want to go to the 3d cafe! I think they made new 3d cafes in Russia and Japan too

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