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One of the ways Korea surprised me was that it’s home to an amazing cafe culture. Koreans love their coffee, and you’ll find excellent independent coffee shops — all of them wired with lots of plugs and excellent wifi — throughout the country.
And that’s not all — Seoul is home to several dog and cat cafes where you can sip your coffee while playing with furry critters for hours. I experienced this first-hand at the Bau House, a dog cafe in the Hongdae neighborhood of Seoul.
My new friend Sally of A Breath of Foreign Air, a dog lover and English teacher who has been living in rural Korea for more than a year, invited me to this fun place.
Once inside, we were surrounded by dogs: a schnauzer, a golden retriever, a few Cavalier King Charleses, a beagle, a giant wolf-like dog, and lots more that I couldn’t identify, all of them perfectly groomed and extremely well behaved. The staff is very conscientious and you can tell that they’re well cared for.
You can also bring your own dog if they fit a list of qualifications. Sally cuddled this tiny bichon until she realized that she was playing with someone else’s pet!
The dog and cat cafes in Seoul are generally free to visit, but they charge higher than average fees for beverages. You can spend a whole afternoon with the dogs for less than $10 — in my mind, that’s a steal!
The dogs were sweet, but they love their treats far more than they love people — dogs will only come to you long enough to lap up a treat, then wander off again.
Except for one. Little Eric.
Eric was an older dog, and it looked like he couldn’t see very well, but he loved us, cuddled us, and stayed with us all afternoon, even when we didn’t have any treats.
I never planned on having a dog but I could do it if it was a sweet little dog like Eric.
I mean, look at how cute he is. How could I say no to that little tail?
I love when people pick out the dogs that look like them — especially the Project Runway episode when the designers had to make dog clothes and each ended up choosing their own canine lookalike by accident!
“Do any of them look like me?” I asked.
“No, none of these ones do…”
Then on the way out, we came across a puffy, big-eyed Pomeranian with a goofy smile. “Now, that’s you,” Sally said definitively. I couldn’t agree more.
If you’ve been traveling for awhile and missing your dog, the Bau House is a great spot to get in some puppy cuddle time. The next time I come to Korea, you can bet I’ll be checking out the cat cafes as well!
Essential Info: The Bau House’s website is inaccessible outside of South Korea — check them out on TripAdvisor or Korean expat resource Eat Your Kimchi. Admission is free, but you must buy a drink, and they’re more expensive than drinks in traditional cafes. We each paid about 7,500 won ($7) for a coffee drink. A bag of dog treats cost us 4,500 won ($4) and lasted us a few hours.