Thursday, 28 February 2013

Animal Excursions in Seoul: Part 1

Korea, along with Japan, is known for its themed animal cafes in which customers can pay to sit among various pets in a friendly, cafe environment. Last November, for example, I visited a dog cafe with some friends. At the end of my blog post about that visit, I said I would definitely visit a cat cafe during my time here, and a couple of weekends ago, I did just that. But Angela and I also decided we would see some other animal-themed locations that day. We started by going to a Doctor Fish Cafe, then went to a Sheep Cafe, then to the aforementioned Cat Cafe, and we ended by visiting a Bird Cafe (though this last one turned out not to exist, sadly).

The Doctor Fish cafe was located on the main thoroughfare of busy Gangnam.

Another couple was already trying out the fish when we got there.
In case you're not familiar with the concept, Doctor Fish refers to several species of fish that like to eat the dead skin of larger animals. People harvest them and use them to help treat conditions like psoriasis, but anyone who wants their skin to be healthier and cleaner can pay to have the fish nibble on their feet for a while.
Before trying out the fish, we enjoyed some drinks at the cafe.

Angela looking happy to have her feet washed by a member of staff before entering the fish tank.
Look how hungry the fish are for some tasty foot.

These fish were much larger than the more common variety of doctor fish, and they were incredibly ticklish.

After a minute or so you get used to the tickling and can admire the view of Gangnam in front of you.
Angela's turn.

We also tried the smaller doctor fish. These were nowhere near as ticklish as the larger ones!
After we were finished, we headed to the other side of the city to find a sheep cafe in Hongdae.
The sheep cafe is actually called Thanks Nature Cafe, and you can get there by taking the metro to Hongik University station. From Exit 9, head straight and turn left at the first main intersection. Head all the way up the hill towards the university, and keep looking to the left side of the street. Not long after you pass Dos Tacos, you'll see Cafe Cantata. Thanks Nature Cafe is right underneath that.
There are only two sheep in the cafe, and they're kept in a little pen, but the owner does sometimes let them out to wander around the cafe.
I think the sheep wanted some of the man's kimchi.
Luckily for us, the owner was around and he could see we were interested in the sheep, so he let them out for us. Or one of them, at least.

The owner sat on the bench, calling out the sheep's name.

Soon the second sheep came out to play as well.

Click here to continue the adventure at the cat cafe!

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