Looking for some really off the beaten path places to see in South Korea? You will not find this cafe in too many guidebooks or top places to see, as meerkat cafe is definitely one of the most unusual places to visit when in Seoul! When preparing for my trip there, I was researching all things Korean and what to do in South Korea and came across a blog post about meerkat cafe. That very moment it was clear that I must visit this place!
Animal cafes have become increasingly popular all around the world, and cat or dog cafe does not surprise anyone. Seoul has those too, all located in Hongdae area, and there are some more unusual ones too – such as raccoon cafe! If we had not known about this place in advance, we would have missed it entirely, as it is actually located on the third floor and not easy to spot from the street!
Once you are inside, you must take of your shoes and put on slippers. There are several gates there to make sure than animals don’t escape on the street by accident. Apart from meerkats, there are several other animals – Arctic Foxes, genets, Bengal cats and a wallaby.
How Much Does it Cost?
There is no entrance fee, but you must purchase a drink, which costs around 10 thousand won (normally it would be three times less, as this includes money to take care of the animals). Children are not allowed in, you must be at least 15 years old to enter.
We each take a drink (basil seed lemonade tastes wonderfully here!) and start waiting when we can go in. There are to pens for the animals with glass walls, and female and male specimens are kept separately.
Firstly, you have to remove everything from your pockets. If you are found with keys or papers inside the pen, you will have to leave the cafe immediately! Then you take off slippers and disinfect your hands.
They let in around 4 people at once, but since it was closer to end of working hours, there were a few more of us, so each got a bit less chance to interact with the animals. You sit in a circle, they give a blanket to cover up your legs. You are not allowed to pick them up, touch them in any other way unless they come up to you. Most of the time meerkats would pick their favorite person and sit on his or her blanket.
Some would try to dig up something in the pockets, others would climb up and sit on your shoulders! I made the mistake of wearing a dress – always wear shorts and hoodies with pockets! They also like bracelets and watches that move around!
While we were observing the animals, the keeper came in and demonstrated the nature of meerkats – when you just see them playing around, they seem very playful and cute. He pretended to give them food, and immediately all of them jumped up, started hissing and fighting each other, it was like in the movie Critters.
We spent about 15-20 minutes inside, then everyone had to leave. After the time in the pen, we walked around the place to see the other animals roaming freely – we got to feed the wallaby, and see how genet was only being friends with one person – a Russian girl was petting him, while he wouldn’t allow others to even come as close as 5 meters!
19-12 Wausan-ro 21-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul (3rd floor)
마포구 와우산로21길 19-12 (3층)