South Korea has a huge nightlife scene but you might not know it to look. Even Seoul looks a little sterile when you walk around on a winter afternoon. At night some places are totally dead too. A few places hold the key to everything that goes on after dark and sometimes even in the light of day.
Today I’ll tell you about the many red light districts in the city of Seoul. They are mainly for Korean guys but foreigners can visit them too. Depending on the place and time of day a number of the women working the red light districts will dare to take non-Korean customers inside.
Cheonho red light district is located near Cheonho Station which serves lines 5 and 8 on the Seoul Subway. It’s easy to find. You go out of exit 3 and walk straight until you reach the first major intersection. There you turn right. Then you walk two blocks down and make a left. You’re in the redlight district.
The windows open around noon and stay open well into the night. After dark they’re lit up with neon lights. A few women sit inside of each window. There is usually an old mamasan hovering around too. If the women are interested they will show it. When Korean guys walk through they knock on the glass and gesture. When foreigners walk through a lot of them look at their phones, turn away or even shut the blinds.
The places that will accept foreigners will show it. Sometimes they do it discreetly. Sometimes they will ignore a foreigner if there are any Korean guys around but accept the same guy later if he is in the street alone.
The further you travel from the main road the more likely the windows are to accept foreigners. The quality of women doesn’t go down much though. Most of the chicks are pretty good looking. They all try to copy that K-Pop vibe. A lot of them have plastic surgery. Up close they can look a lot worse than they do from afar but there aren’t many real dogs around. They’re probably all in their late 20’s or 30’s.
If a window accepts you they will quickly pull you inside. The mamasan will tell you the price in broken English or Korean if you speak it. It’s about 80,000 Won for 20 minutes normally but the rates can go all over the place. Some mamasans will start at 150,000 Won for foreigners and only go down to 130,000 or so. If guys haggle too much they will be thrown out and other places nearby will be notified not to take in the cheap charlie.
After negotiations things go upstairs into bedrooms that look like the women probably sleep inside. They are clean but filled with things like cute stuffed animals. The action is fast and furious. It’s wham, bam, thank you mam. No showers.
Miarai Texas red light district is located straight out of Gireum Station exit 10. A few feet out of the exit you see alleys covered with big carpet-like curtains. It doesn’t look like something you would want to walk through. But the red light district is on the other side of the curtains.
This red light district really looks fucked up. It’s like something out of an old Hong Kong kung flu flick with people running through crowded back alleys. The district is bisected by foot paths rather than roads and there are no street lights. Plus the walkways are all uneven and there are boxes and things laying around to trip over. You have to pay attention if you don’t want to fall on your ass.
There are no windows in Miari Texas. A bunch of old mamasans just hang out in the walkways and wait for customers. When they see one they invite him into their nearby room. He can look at the available chicks and decide if he wants one. There are usually two or three ladies in each room. They wear prom dresses and sit on the floor.
Some of the mamasans will ignore foreigners but more places seem willing to accept foreigners here than in any other red light district outside of Hooker Hill. Rates are 80,000 to 100,00 Won depending on the shop and the negotiations. Action takes place in tiny rooms upstairs. They are clean with twin sized beds laying on the floor and not much else.
Some of the chicks at Miari are pretty hot. Some are a little chubby. There are more early 20’s women around than over at Cheonho where they are rare. Some women in Miari don’t require condoms which sounds pretty dangerous to me. Apparently, some Koreans think that STD’s an an element of the outside world. There are no showers. The women wipe their customers down with wet naps before doing their thing.
Cheongnyangni 588 red light district is located near Cheongnyangni Station. Koreans call this place “oh pal pal.” That’s how you pronounce the numbers 5-8-8 in Korean.
If you go out of Cheongnyangni station exit 5 and bear to the left you will immediately come to a small street. You cross it and keep walking to run right into the middle of this red light district. The district has three rows of booths.
It opens around noon with some chicks showing up to set up shop but it doesn’t really get going until the sun goes down. The peak of each day is probably around nine or ten at night.
The women hang around in small rooms surrounded by windows. The farther you walk the less attractive they get. Toward the back there is a row of women in their forties and even fifties. Some are overweight. They are all eager for foreigners.
In the rest of the district its a lot less common for foreigners to get the wave. Most non-Asian guys are ignored all together. When they women avert their eyes or turn away all together that means they are not interested. Cheongnyangni is the least foreigner friendly of all the red light districts in Seoul.
At the same time Cheongnyangni is probably the cheapest red light district in the city. Even sessions with the hot chicks go for 80,000 Won when they are available. It all goes down in small rooms in back or up stairs. They are clean but have nothing but beds. Condom use is hit or miss.
There is also a large red light district in Suwon but that’s really another city. I may write about it here in the future. There are some hot chicks there but most of the ladies are in their thirties. Foreigners are accepted at probably half of the windows. The Suwon red light district is not really the kind of place most people would go out of their way to find though.
Suwon is known for its historic castle and its food more than anything else. There’s a good reason for that. Those are the things that set the the place apart from other parts of Seoul and South Korea. Maybe the red light district will become more important in the future though. Especially if red light districts keep disappearing in the main part of Seoul. Only time will tell.