It’s been a while since I’ve had any adventures, so naturally it’s been a while since I blogged about my life. But recently, something has changed – I started one of the biggest adventures of my life: moving to South Korea! I’m here to teach English and to stay as involved as possible with an issue that is very close to my heart, the North Korea human rights crisis. And guess what? I started having adventures again, I wanted to write again… and here we are.
Anyway, you really came here to see pictures of cute dogs, so let’s get down to it.
I’m a huge dog lover – I have three beautiful doggies back at home and I miss having them around so much. I’d heard that there were dog cafes floating around here in Korea, so after visiting a cat cafe last weekend and absolutely loving it, I did a bit of googling and headed off to my first dog cafe experience!
My babies at home.
Bau House is really close to Hapjeong Station (detailed directions below) so it was nice and easy to find. As someone who gets lost pretty easily, that’s a huge plus in my book!
There are two sections to the cafe – the smaller section nearer the door is full of teeny tiny dogs, while the main room has much bigger dogs.
The dogs really liked this particular table for some reason!
Although everything looked clean, I was a little surprised by the lack of obvious hygiene – at the cat cafe I’d visited previously, there was tons of hand sanitizer, specific closed-off areas containing the cats’ litter trays, no outside shoes allowed, and even rollers for getting the cat hair off your clothes when you go back outside. By contrast, there was none of that at the dog cafe and there was (as I had expected) a pretty strong smell, even for someone with three dogs! You do soon get used to it though, and although there were a couple of accidents here and there, they were soon cleared up.
The process is pretty simple – wait at the first gate to be seated, then go up to the till and order your drink, which also doubles as your entrance fee. Unfortunately for me, things weren’t quite that simple, as I had a bit of drama through being waved on by two women in the kitchen, only to stand around awkwardly at the second gate for a while, wondering what to do as there was no-one obvious to pay and no menus on the tables. When I approached staff, they straight up ignored me, whether I spoke English or (attempted…) Korean, and even shoved past me and shouted to each other over my head. Shrugging, I gave up and pushed through to the main room – only to be reprimanded and sent back to the front door to wait by one of the staff who had ignored me! Lots of customers were waiting around in awkward places, clearly uncertain as to what to do because the staff were so utterly unhelpful and never actually manning the points where customers would be paying/waiting.
I ended up paying 6000 won for a coke and 3500 for some dog treats (not hugely necessary, but definitely helpful for making friends!). Other options included coffee, tea, fruit juices and shakes (up to about 8000 won), as well as a couple of food options such as noodles. Much as I love dogs, I thought it was best to avoid the food! No-one else seemed to be eating either.
This is probably why.
To be fair to Bau House, once I had actually been acknowledged and served, it was a great experience. They even instantly replaced any drinks that the dogs sampled, free of charge, without customers even asking. I loved having the dogs around me and they were all exceptionally well behaved. There was only one ball to play with but none of them seemed particularly bothered by it – they were mostly concerned with jumping up on the seats to cuddle, getting treats, sleeping on the floor or stealing milkshakes!
The dogs showing off.
I never felt unsafe or unsure with any of the dogs, and that wasn’t just down to my familiarity with dogs in general – there were quite a few people there who obviously didn’t know how to handle dogs at ALL and had little to no respect for them (picking them up, dragging them around, waking them up while they were sleeping, trying to grab treats back out of their mouths, yanking their tails, petting too roughly etc), which was rather frustrating to see, but it’s a credit to the dogs’ temperaments and training that not once did a dog snap back.
This dog has given up.
Come out of exit 3 at Hapjeong Station, line 2/green line. Immediately double back on yourself so you’re walking with the station behind you. Take the first left, a relatively small side street – Bau House is a couple of buildings down on the right hand side.
I’d definitely go back to Bau House, although it would be for the dogs and definitely not for the overall experience – the staff were a pretty big letdown, although that was made up for by being surrounded by dogs all afternoon! And realistically, if they’re treating the dogs right then that’s the main thing – I was worried about finding depressed, sick or poorly cared for pooches, but it was clear they were all happy and well looked after.
I took a book just in case but didn’t end up touching it – dog cafes are definitely not as relaxing as cat cafes, where I’m pretty sure you could just sit and read with a cat curled up on your lap all afternoon. There was always something to see and always (understandably!) a little bit of chaos. The customers were louder and pretty competitive over dog-hogging, and there was some intense K-Pop music blaring too. I think dog cafes are a must if you’re a little homesick for your pets or even if you’re just a dog person, but if you’re looking for some quality cuddle time or a more traditional cafe environment, I’d definitely go for a cat cafe instead.
Although my first impression wasn’t necessarily the best one, I actually ended up having a really good time and I’d definitely go back. I’m also really interested in trying out other dog cafes in Seoul to see how the experience might differ. Have you ever been to a dog cafe? What was it like?