I have been living in Korea for 4 years, yet I have never stepped foot in a nightclub. What can I say? I’m an introvert. While the bustling nightlife of Seoul wasn’t for me at first glance, I’ve actually found dozens of aspects of nightlife for introverts! Here is a list of some of my favorite after-dark activities
Nightlife for Introverts
Standard nightlife in Korea is all about partying. There are countless, clubs and bars. But, the thought of having to be in very close proximity with (drunk) strangers makes me shiver in fear. Not to mention, the queue to get into one club can be very long and get longer as the night goes on. So honestly, I’d rather be in bed, curled up under my blanket.
Fortunately, in Korea, there are many other options to have ‘nightlife’ without having to interact with people. Korea, especially Seoul, has a totally different vibe during the day and at night. There are some places that are more stunning at night, and there are other places that are equally stunning both under the sun and the moonlight.
These are some of my favorite activities at night that don’t really involve people (except the ones I tolerate lol).
Picnic at the Banpo Hangang Park
Chill Nightlife for Introverts: Walk the Islands
A Picnic at Hangang Park sounds so generic since everyone is doing it. But Banpo Hangang Park offers something special at night. The makeshift islands light up in different colors at night, making it so much prettier at night.
After being absent for 2 years due to the pandemic, they have started opening the floating dinner at this park. They also have cruises and yachts for couples or groups, if you want to have a try.
As an introvert, I love walking around the islands as they are donned with pretty decorations that are only visible at night. Some decorations are quite cringey, like the L-O-V-E or other couple-stuffs. But, the lamps and bridge lighting are stunning.
CCTV Selfies: Take Photos of Nightlife for Introverts
Now, this fun stuff you can totally do alone is not known by many people. I had to do a mission to promote it for Seoul Tourism last year, but until now, many people are still pleasantly surprised about this feature: CCTV selfies!
It’s very easy to use since we only need to scan the QR code and it will lead us to a page to get our photo taken. The only downside is that it was quite difficult to log in without Naver or Kakao accounts (tourists may not have them).
We only need to follow the directions, look at the camera (at one of the bridges), get our photos taken, and download the photos on the website. They have video options, and the photos have several angles. There is a bit close-up and wide-angle (too wide you only appear as a dot).
To learn how to take your own nightlife for introverts CCTV selfie, Click Here.
Another of my favorite things to do at Banpo Hangang is to watch the Rainbow Fountain show that obviously can only appear at night. Because it is the main attraction of the park, it can get a little too crowded. So, I suggest walking in the direction of the floating Starbucks and finding a secluded spot to enjoy the rainbow show. If it’s too far for you, walk along the Jamsu Bridge and enjoy the fountain from ‘inside’ the bridge. There are fewer people over there, too.
Dokkaebi Night Market
Lastly, the Dokkaebi Night Market recently opened again! One more thing to do at this park! I used to live in Taipei where night markets are everywhere, so it is definitely something that I must visit!
One of the lesser-known mountains in Seoul is often mistaken as ‘Namsan’ despite being located on a different side of Seoul. It is indeed less famous than Namsan, especially among foreigners, but locals visit this park a lot at night. One of the main reasons is the Hanyang Doseong, or the Seoul Wall.
Hanyang Doseong used to encompass the city as a fortress. But now, only some of it remains. Namsan also has some parts of Hanyang Doseong, but I find that the wall in Naksan Park is prettier at night and more accessible.
There are two ways to reach this park. The first one is a 20-minute hike from Hyehwa Station, while the second one is by a small bus from Changshin Station (Line 6). Thanks to the bus option, this mountain park has become one of my favorite destinations, either to walk around or enjoy the scenery.
Nearby, there is a Hyehwa Mural Village and the Daehak-ro area (which I consider as ‘small Hongdae’). Even if the village is closed at night, Daehak-ro offers theaters and musicals that you can watch without planning! It is a livelier area at night, too
Before COVID-19 hit, there were a lot of manhwa cafes that were open 24 hours. But because of the restrictions, they only opened until 10 pm. Fortunately, the restrictions have been lifted, so they are back in full force! They can be found in many areas, all have to do is search ‘manhwa cafe’ on Kakao or Naver maps. Those maps will even show photos, a price lists, and reviews for the cafe.
Manhwa Cafes are places to read comic books (obviously). But, you can also spend the night reading other things, or working. Most manhwa cafes have a private booth for visitors, complete with some pillows and blankets. It is comfortable, I could take a nap there.
The best thing yet: they always sell food and drinks inside! So even if you spend the whole night there, you do not need to worry about being hungry, or thirsty.
As a student who lives in a university area, I can take advantage of student discounts at one of the manhwa cafes nearby. They usually charge per hour, but for my university’s students, we can get a cheap price for 3 hours, plus an Americano!
You can visit with friends or significant others, but please be mindful of noise while you’re talking. After all, people come there to enjoy their quiet time by reading comic books.