A Wild Tour of Seoul’s Best Pet Cafes

Meet up with some friendly meerkats at a pet cafe in Seoul, Korea
Meet up with some friendly meerkats at a pet cafe in Seoul, Korea | © Toni Massot / Alamy
Mimsie Ladner

Since the first pet cafe opened in Taiwan nearly two decades ago, the craze has spread throughout the world, starting in Asia and then moving as far as Sweden, the UK and USA. But in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, pet cafes are taken to a new level, with many of them offering patrons the opportunity to cuddle up to a variety of exotic animals. Get ready to experience the most quirky animal cafes in Seoul.

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Wanggwan House (왕관하우스)

Cafe, Fast Food
As Seoul’s only parrot cafe, Wanggwan House (which translates as chirp, chirp) is the perfect pet cafe for bird lovers. Among the species in residence, are cockatiels, cockatoos, African grey and a blue and yellow macaw, along with a few finches. Admission is ₩5,000 (£3.25) and for an extra buck, you’ll be provided with some snacks to spoil the birds, which they do enjoy. Furthermore, the owner is a parrot breeder, so if you’re looking to purchase one as a pet, you can get acquainted with it before you buy.

Thanks Nature Cafe (땡스네이쳐카페)

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Fast Food

Courtesy of Thanks Nature Cafe

Thanks Nature Cafe boasts a relaxing atmosphere with plenty of greenery. Artistic portraits of various animals hang on the walls and one species stands out from the rest: sheep. In addition to small figures and stuffed versions of the woolly animals, two well-groomed sheep live on the cafe’s patio outside, where they mingle with patrons enjoying a coffee. The cafe’s menu features beverages made with natural sweeteners and tasty waffles, which the sheep like, too, so don’t eat them too close to the pen.

Bau House (바우하우스)

Cafe, Fast Food

© Mimsie Ladner

With double the population density of New York City, most Seoul urbanites live in high-rise apartments, which usually do not allow pets. And that’s why the classic dog cafe such as the Bau House in Hapjeong was born. This well-known dog cafe is divided into two sections – small dogs and large dogs – where around 20 resident canines interact with visitors. Buy a drink and you’ll be given a directory with the names, ages, and breeds of all the dogs.

Blind Alley (블라인드앨리)

Cafe, Fast Food
When Blind Alley owner, Han Song-hee, rescued the cafe’s resident raccoons, they were pups. Not wanting to leave them alone at home while she worked, Han brought them along to the cafe. A capybara (giant rodent), adopted from a zoo has joined them since. The cafe is divided into two areas: the cafe and the raccoon room, which you can visit after buying a drink or paying an admission fee. You can feed them from the palm of your hand but make sure you follow the rules or you could end up with a nasty bite.

Meerkat Friends (미어캣프랜즈)

Cafe, Fast Food, $

© Toni Massot / Alamy

One of the most unusual animal cafes Seoul has to offer is Meerkat Friends, home to more than a dozen meerkats. Also in residence is a genet (a cross between a lemur and a mongoose), a wallaby, Arctic fox, Snow Bengal cat and a few mischievous raccoons. Unlike many other pet cafes in Seoul, Meerkat Friends does not have a designated animal area and the creatures are allowed to roam about. Because of this, the cafe only serves bottled drinks such as iced coffee and juice. After you’ve purchased your drink, you’re given 10 minutes to play with the animals.

Koopet (쿠펫)

Cafe, Cat and Dog Cafe, Fast Food
For those who prefer scales to fur, Koopet (reptile cafe) in Gangnam is the place to be. Because of the stress the animals had been suffering, this traditional pet cafe was transformed into a store offering adoption services for reptiles, including iguanas, chameleons, snakes and lizards. It is a great place to visit if you’re looking for an addition to the family or want to get up close to the reptiles. Weekend experience programmes allow children to learn more about reptiles. There is a cafe inside the store, but you’re not required to buy anything to have a look around.

Gio Cat (지오캣)

Cafe, Cat and Dog Cafe, Fast Food

© Sandra Eminger / Alamy

Want to play with some of the cutest felines on the peninsula? Then look no further than Gio Cat. Established in March 2006, the Hongdae cat cafe is home to more than 10 breeds such as Russian Blue, Persian, Scottish Fold that freely roam the cafe. The admission of ₩8,000 (£5.20) for adults includes a beverage of your choice and as much kitty cuddle time as you desire (and the cats allow). They are used to human interaction and will usually interact with you in the cats playground.

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