Life in Korea: enjoying a Club Night or all-nighter in Hongdae

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For my more experienced expat readers: Life in Korea posts are geared towards the newer expats here in Korea. If you have any further advice about the subject, comment away!

Define Club Day: an opportunity to enter about 20 of Hongdae’s clubs on the last Friday of every month. Pay 20,000 won for a free drink ticket and a colored bracelet that gets you into any of the clubs listed on the brochure.

For my more experienced expat readers: Life in Korea posts are geared towards the newer expats here in Korea. If you have any further advice about the subject, comment away!

Define Club Day: an opportunity to enter about 20 of Hongdae’s clubs on the last Friday of every month. Pay 20,000 won for a free drink ticket and a colored bracelet that gets you into any of the clubs listed on the brochure.

Although not every English teacher in Seoul calls Hongdae a favorite, there are many reasons why it’s such a popular place among the younger expat crowd. The creative energy, the artsy community, and the bars and clubs all make up legitimate reasons why this area is so popular. If you find yourself invited or heading to Hongdae for the evening, here’s a sample timeline to enjoy the festivities and take back the night.

10pm: Arrive in the Hongdae area (yes, I said arrive – if you’re going to try for the all-night life, arriving late is a requirement). Meet up with friends and get dinner – I personally recommend the Mexican restaurant near the Hongdae Park, although many Korean restaurants will offer some great fare as well. Meander around the campus if you like – occasionally there’s a soccer game or other activity near the front gate worth checking out.

11pm: Walk towards and around the park – just across the street from Hongik University’s front gate proper. Enjoy the sights and sounds that make Hongdae Park such an interesting area. Whether it’s a beatboxing trio huddled around a small amplifier or a full-fledged group with a tap-dancing crew to match its jam band, there’s bound to be something going on. After moving on, observe the various flows of people – closer to the subway station is a great place to see the early shift of people heading home while another shift of party people make their way up the subway steps.

Midnight: Hit up your first club of choice, buying your Club Day bracelet in front of said establishment. Live music is one highlight of Club Day, although clubs will have live music on most weekend evenings. If not partying on a Club Day, prepare to pay a cover at every place you decide to enter and get a different stamp along the way.

1am: Head out for some street munchies. The side street nearest the park has several to choose from, although most places with a large group of people is bound to have at least one place for munchies. Pop in the closest convenience store for some water. If you need some reasons why food and water are important, observe how many Koreans fail to follow common sense drinking rules on your way.

1:30am: Head into club #2, club #3, and walk around to club #4. Collect stamps on wrists or marvel at how many places the Club Day bracelet works at. Observe drunk people dancing, hitting on other people, passing out or making out – all in the same block or club. As you leave a respective establishment, make sure you have all your belongings with you – the last thing you want to do is leave your cell phone or jacket underneath a bar stool.

3am: By now, most people have hit a wall – not necessarily a alcoholic wall, but a wall where your body simply says it’s tired and wishes to retire. Perk it up a little with some water, coffee or a snack – plenty of 24-hour establishments cater to the party crowd. If you’re about to pass out or need to crash, find the nearest DVD bang (movie room) and settle into your own personal movie theater. Whether you actually watch the movie or not, the room is yours for the duration of the movie.

4am: Continue watching your movie, or head out and converse with fellow club-goers / partiers, if anyone around you is in the mood for conversation. Almost everyone’s buzz has worn off, and going back for seconds / fourths / tenths generally sounds less appealing at this point in the evening.

5am: Pick up a bottle of water and head back to the subway station. Wait with dozens of other expats for the gates to rise. Remember that the first subway may arrive early, but it may not leave for awhile. Observe the subway crowd: most early Saturday / Sunday mornings will feature a crowd of bleary-eyed, overdressed people clearly trying to make their way to a bed. Get home. Sleep.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2009



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