Ok so Korea is a little bit famous for its cafe culture. As in, there are a slight f*ck tonne of cafes here, catering from board games to Hello Kitty, to comics to cats and dogs (stay tuned for me going slightly bonkers over corgi puppies). And now there is a meerkat cafe.
A cafe where you can sit and watch and play with the meerkats.
Saturdays are, at the moment, my ‘venture into Seoul’ days. And this time I went with the co-teacher B to show her around Hongdae. She was super hyped to go and see the meerkat cafe, and I wanted to (absolutely, no questions asked had to) get some new running shoes. Perfect plan.
We actually happened upon a sign for the meerkat cafe completely by chance; I was taking B on a tour of some of the backstreets around Cocoon and up to the MixxMix store, when she spotted a poster for the meerkats with a little map. The locations is near the street with the artist market towards Hongik Uni, at the top of the park. There’s a puppy cafe in the next building, but the meerkat cafe is really well signposted.
The meerkat cafe is on the 3rd floor, you can see it from outside, it’s got beautifully huge windows, lots of natural light making it great for photos. As with all the other animal cafes, once you’re inside you have to swap your shoes for indoor slippers (these guys have beautifully trendy crocs) so that you don’t damage your own footwear, or bring in any dirt that could potentially harm the animals.
In this cafe, there are around 15 meerkats, a genet, an arctic fox, a raccoon, and a little white cat-like creature that I honestly couldn’t tell what it was. The raccoon, cats, and fox roam around freely, whilst the meerkats are in two central enclosures. They have lots of room to run around and lots of toys to play with, and you can actually go and play with the meerkats in the enclosure for stints of 10 minutes.
As with other pet cafes in Seoul, the premise is that you don’t pay for the amount of time your there, you basically switch shoes, grab a table (or are directed, depends on how they run), and buy a drink. The drinks are usually way more expensive than other cafes, but you’re generally paying for the pleasure of sitting with animals you normally wouldn’t. You don’t pay for the amount of time you’re there, so I can take the markup of my favourite green tea drinks for playing with meerkats.
I grabbed a green tea latte, B chose a lemon ‘aide’ and although they were 10000W a pop, it was some of the best 10000W I’ve ever spent. I’m always one for experiences over sitting at home, and having 5 meerkats fall asleep on you is definitely an experience I don’t mind having. It was genuinely one of the best days I’ve had so far, and I’m definitely going to be going back.
(Though, be careful of the genet, it can get quite frisky and it has claws.)
If you fancy a visit, you can find the meerkat cafe at: 364-3, Seogyo, Mapo-gu, Seoul. It’s called Meerkatfriends, follow the signs! I’d suggest wearing clothes that you don’t mind being burrowed at, and probably jeans or shorts of skirts or anything that can move really freely (unless you like picking meerkats out of your pockets).
If you’re in Seoul, I definitely recommend going. It’s probably one of the most therapeutic cafes in Seoul.