Ah Seoul, we come for your history, amazing eats and nightlife. But stay for your toilet museum and sex island #sorrynotsorry.
In between chowing down Korean BBQ and hiking up Namsan mountain, we’ve sourced the weirdest, yet wonderful, attractions Seoul has to offer just for you and the poor sod you convince to tag along.
1. Themed cafes
Just when you thought the Australian café market was competitive, along comes the mom-and-pop (and cat) joints of South Korea to blow your corner caf’ out of the water.
You see, aside from its erroneous ‘e’, Seoul is perhaps best known for welcoming animal-themed cafés with open arms. While the cat cafés are undeniably worth a visit, perhaps the most unique is Blind Alley thanks to its mini menagerie of raccoons. Guests can interact (nicely) with the critters for 6000₩ and a beverage, which is more than we can say for any other racoons we’ve come across.
Those looking for a more ‘mainstream’ café should hit Bau House AKA our idea of heaven. While it isn’t really a full-service café (there’s no food and only bottled drinks), doggos make the trip more than worth it. All pups are well-trained, well cared for and super keen on cuddles.
Finally, if you prefer your café sans animal, we’re pleased to announce that princess cafés exist as a glorious alternative. The aptly named Princess Diary sits in the Ehwa district of Seoul and offers punters a chance to wear a ball gown or traditional Korean garb for an arvo of make-believe.
2. Love Museum
If you feel like a foray through Seoul’s Love Museum (and we don’t mean hand-holding love), then prepare yourself for the most NSFW museum going ‘round. There’s everything your pubescent self could have dreamed of, from giant boobies and ‘Whack a Dick’ to a banana with its pants down and all of the eye-widening promiscuity in between.
The Love Museum also boasts an impressive list of negative Trip Advisor reviews from a gaggle of souls who didn’t do their research. A moment of silence for their sensibilities.
3. Trick Eye Museum
Located in the same building as the Love Museum, the Trick Eye Museum (SFW) sees visitors live out their dreams of being the world famous piece of art they feel, nay know, they are on the inside.
Tickets cost around $21 - $25 for adults but becoming part of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Edvard Munch’s The Scream? Priceless. Especially if you nail that ‘smize’ you’ve been practising.
4. Jeju Loveland
Thought the Love Museum was a bit much? That was only a warm-up compared to Jeju Loveland. Located on Jeju Island, Loveland is packed with more than 140 statues and exhibitions, the only catch? They’re hella kinky.
The size of two soccer fields, the park was created by art grads from Seoul’s Hongik University as a sort of icebreaker for honeymooners but in all honesty, the park defies these humble roots. Where else can you see a woman riding a giant schlong like it’s her destiny? Where else can you see a butterfly tramp stamp bigger than your head? Where else can you feel the awkwardness dripping from your pores as you realise you’ve witnessed deeply personal stuff around strangers?
5. Yongma Land
Yongma Land was once a thriving, family-run theme park back in the 1980s but sadly, didn’t stand a chance come 2011. Rather than let the run-down figurines of Sailor Moon give in to overwhelming entropy, owners opened her up for a small fee (around $5AUD). The results? Let’s just say former emos and current Instagram fanatics would be drooling over that backdrop. Big wigs have also filmed a number of K-Pop music videos at Yongma thanks to decrepit attractions like dodgem cars, the octopus ride and roller coaster.
P.S. Is this what happened to Sydney’s Wonderland? If so, we have some feelings.
6. Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital
Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital has been abandoned for a few decades and TBH it just gets creepier and creepier. Rumoured to be one of the most haunted places in South Korea, the Gonjiam hospital’s façade alone is enough to give us nightmares. If you brave the heebie-jeebies, inside lay filthy mattresses, dark passageways and medical debris.
There are rumours the owner was insane and kept patients prisoner with unexplained deaths causing the owner to flee to America in 1996. But… there are also rumours Gonjiam was forced to close due to the economic downturn, unsanitary conditions and problems with the sewage disposal system. We’ll let you make up your own mind.
We should also note that the hospital is technically closed to the public (locals also do not take kindly to tourists visiting) but around a thousand people break in every year. Do with that information as you will, just know we officially do not condone nor support trespassing.
7. Mr Toilet House
Technically, Mr Toilet House is about an hour outside of Seoul (in Suwon) but trust us when we say, if your expectations are right—and pro-poop—you’ll enjoy yourself.
Haewoojae or "a house to relive one’s concerns," is a free attraction which opened to the public back in 2010. Named after it’s owner’s Sim Jaedeok’s nickname (we have questions too), Mr Toilet House was created to commemorate the World Toilet Association and promote sanitation within the town. The house sits in the Restroom Cultural Park should you want to make a full or half flush day of it.
And yes, restrooms are available on site.
8. Haesindang Park AKA Penis Park
If you’re counting along at home yes, this is the third location dedicated to genitalia and what we do with them. We’re not looking for these we swear.
The name kind of says it all with this one, you’ll see park benches adorned with peens, penis totems, a giant, black, penis-shaped canon and plain ol’ dongs simply floating around willy nilly (yes, pun intended). Essentially, if it’s longer than it is wide, it’s been phallicised.
While it may seem strange, there is, in fact, a ‘reason’ for this one—and we’re using that term lightly. The park speaks to the legend of a young maid who died at sea. Not long after, the fish dried up and the seamen (we’re on a roll!) thought it was ‘cause she needed an offering of wang.
P.S. technically yes, we cheated and Haesindang is a day trip outside of Seoul. Totes worth it.
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Image credit: Bundo Kim