If you have not travelled to South Korea yet, you’re seriously missing out on their attractions! From shopping districts in Seoul to getting the most trendy outfits to irresistible Korean treats in food markets and restaurants, South Korea has something for every traveller. In fact, there's no better overseas destination than this amazing country for a fun-filled getaway.
However, there is always that one thing that everyone does no matter if they are in Incheon or Busan. You guessed it – café-hopping. With cute and unique cafés tucked in almost every corner of the streets, you can easily find your cup of coffee with instagrammable interior design, intricate latte art and food that’s too pretty to eat!
In recent years, more and more cafés have been popping up in South Korea. With so many unique cafés to choose from, we are definitely spoiled for choice! In this piece, we have chosen some of the most instagrammable cafés in cities like Seoul, Jeju and Busan that you should visit while on holiday. We guarantee they will definitely spice up your Instagram feed!
1. Greem Café, Seoul
Upon entering this café in Seoul, you will find yourself transported into an alternate cartoon world. Greem Café is known for its drawing-like, optically illusive interior design inspired by the popular Korean web cartoon, W: Two Worlds. In this café, everything you see is two dimensional. Other than the food of course. In the café itself, there are many unique photo spots for you to take that perfect #OOTD. There is even a vanity table where you can touch up your makeup! Do note that you must purchase food and drinks to be allowed to take photographs there.
Their menu items include interesting drinks such as their Greem Flower Shake, which is topped off with a flower on top of it, and their unique cups of coffee like their orange café latte. Make sure to also try their sweet desserts like the Honey Milk Roll and White Oreo Cheesecake! This café has gained so much attention that it expanded into the southwestern Asia, with one outlet located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. They also have plans to continue expanding their franchise to other parts of the world!
Address: 161-10, Seongmisan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul 03980, South Korea
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday – 12:00pm to 9:00pm, closed on Monday and Tuesday
2. Waveon Coffee, Busan
If you are visiting Busan, you must definitely visit WAVEON Coffee. Designed by famous architect Heesoo Kwak, this café sits in a unique and stunning building built on a cliff. Individuals can enjoy breath-taking views of the Gijang seashore next to it anywhere they are in the café. WAVEON Café offers both indoor and outdoor seating and includes a rooftop patio. On every level, there is also a different type of seating arrangement for you to try. On the first level, you can sit on bean bags under shady umbrellas while you take in the seaside view and ocean breeze. Prefer a higher point of view? You can also enjoy a panoramic view of the sea on the second floor, as the indoor seating area is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. Want a change in setting to enjoy your coffee and pastries? Head up to the third and fourth floors and you’ll find outdoor terraces with many seating areas. There's nothing quite like sitting by the ocean at the top floor of the café and feeling the breeze blowing through your hair while listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.
Let’s not forget about the food that this Korean café has to offer. Order from a menu with a wide variety of French-style desserts and specialty coffees. When you’re there, make sure to try their Choco Banana Roll, Mont Blanc, and Panna Cotta. But remember – before digging in, be sure to snap some pictures with the Gijang shore in the background!
Address: 286 Haemaji-ro, Gijang-gun, Busan, South Korea
Opening hours: Daily – 11:00am to 12:00am
3. Cheong Su Dang, Seoul
At first glance, Cheong Su Dang may not look like much. But step further inside to not be fooled by the exterior design of this café in Seoul. It is actually one of the most popular ones in the city. On the outside, it looks and feels like a hanok-style house in a bamboo forest with stepping stones. Wooden lanterns on both sides of the pathway that lead you into the café also make for a nice touch. Some even say that the backdrop is an attraction itself!
Both the café's interior and exterior are equally mesmerising. Though it looks traditional on the outside, it is anything but on the inside. Once you are inside the café, the interior boasts a mix of traditional and modern elements. Designed as a modern-garden theme dessert café, its desserts mimic different plants like trees, shrubs and more!
Its Hanok-style concept is also reflected in its seating – you can choose to sit on the floor while enjoying your sweet treats, just like in the homes of the South Korean locals. Make sure to take in the tranquil environment while you’re there.
If you are lucky, you might be able to catch a seat at the main table where beautiful plant displays form the centrepiece!
Address: 31-9 Donhwamun-ro 11na-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opening hours: Daily – 11:30am to 10:00pm
4. Mooni Café, Seoul
Jump into the Barbie World when you enter this dollhouse café in Seoul. The look and feel of the environment just give off “Barbie” vibes. So if you love all things pink and cute, this is a café you should not miss when you travel to Korea! In addition to an al fresco dining area right at the front of the café, it also has multiple seating areas with different themes on the inside. From retro-looking spaces to modern-looking ones, take your pick and get snapping!
Of course, this café also serves nothing short of eye-catching pastries and drinks, such as cronuts (the baby of a croissant and a donut) and milkshakes that look diabetically sweet. Besides the usual drinks, this café also sells wine by the bottle. So, if that is up your alley, why not grab a bottle while you are there? Another plus point for this café is that it is dog-friendly! If you are lucky, you might be able to catch some furry friends there while having a good snack.
Address: 16 Apgujeong-ro 56-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: Daily – 10:00am to 10:00pm
5. Nudake Haus Dosan, Seoul
If you are one for quirky and weird things, this café is right up your alley. Nudake is an artisanal dessert brand under Gentle Monster. That’s right, the brand that one of the most influential K-Pop idols, Jennie from Blackpink, collaborated with to produce her own eyewear collection. With its dark and wooden furniture, the café gives off a hipster yet sophisticated feel the moment you step inside.
Nudake Haus Dosan produces quirky and unique pastries, making sure to align these treats to the conceptual aesthetics of its parent company. Some examples of the desserts you can get there are called “Peak,” “Pinecone” and “Apple Mountain”. Can you imagine eating a dessert in the shape of a cauliflower or a dog? In another flagship store in Seongsu, the cafe offers desserts that are shaped like burgers! Some even say they taste like real burgers, but the only way to find out is to travel to South Korea and visit this cool café yourself to have a taste.
Address: Apgujeong-Ro 46-Gil 50, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Opening Hours: Daily – 11:00am to 9:00pm
6. Café GongBech, Jeju Island
Not just a café but also a cultural space to sightsee in South Korea, Café Gongbech is located at Jeju Island along the coastline that houses many other instagrammable cafés with vast views of the sea. For K-pop and BTS fans, you might have heard of this café - it was formally run by Min Geum Jae, the brother of a fellow BTS member, Suga. This is one café that you definitely should not miss!
The minimalistic and artistic look at the entrance will be sure to pique your interest to explore the café within. The space was reconstructed from an old concrete building and has been transformed into a modern space that combines the old with the new.
Upon entering, it feels like you have just entered an art exhibition hall. Covered with glass all around, this café allows natural sunlight to shine through – perfect for that Instagram shot you are planning for. The best part? The great natural lighting within the café is paired with an unobstructed view of the seaside.
Food wise, Café Gongbech has lots to offer. They have a wide variety of pastries to choose from – bombolones (Italian filled doughnuts), carrot cakes, muffins and many more. Remember to take as many pictures as you can at this exquisite venue and soak in the Jeju atmosphere.
Address: 83 Dongbok-ro, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
Opening hours: Daily – 10:00am to 7:00pm
Travel to South Korea for the best cafés in Seoul and more
After close to three years of COVID-19 restrictions, we are finally able to resume travel and explore the world once again. When visiting and sightseeing in South Korea, café hopping is a must-do! Whether you are travelling alone or with a friend, make sure to bring your cameras and snap some beautiful pictures for memory's sake.
Do check in regularly with the official Korean Travel Safety website on the latest COVID-19 guidelines for travellers.
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Best time to travel
The best time to visit Seoul is during the spring or fall. These seasons offer milder temperatures and lower humidity levels than summer, making them ideal for exploring the city's many attractions.
If you're hoping to avoid the crowds, you may want to avoid visiting during peak tourist season (March to May and September to November). Keep in mind that accommodation prices will also be higher during these times. If you're willing to brave the cold, winter can also be a nice time to visit Seoul. The cityscape takes on a different feel under the blanket of snow, and you'll find that many of the tourist attractions are less crowded than usual.
The official currency of Korea is the Korean Won (KR₩).
The city of Seoul has an extensive transportation system. The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is one of the largest and most efficient in the world, with over 20 lines crisscrossing the city. There are also numerous bus routes and an efficient taxi system.
With direct flights from Changi Airport to Seoul operated by Asiana, Korean Air, Scoot and Singapore Airlines, you will be able to travel from Singapore to Seoul in less than seven hours. From Seoul, there are various modes of transport to Jeju Island and Busan to connect you to some of these popular destinations. Search for airfares and book your tickets here.