Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sanmotoonge: Coffee with a view

If you're looking for a cafe with a view in Seoul, there's probably no better place than Sanmotoonge (산모퉁이) on Bugak mountain. Famous for being a filming location for the Korean drama series "Coffee Prince", this cafe is usually quite busy on weekends, despite being located on a quiet mountain path about 700 metres uphill from the nearest bus stop.


The incredible view can be enjoyed from two different terrace levels at the cafe.


Sanmotoonge is one of many great cafes in the artsy, hilly neighborhood of Buam-dong (부암동), northern Seoul, an area that sits between Inwangsan and Bugaksan and is just north of the better-known neighborhood of Samcheong-dong.

It's a little tricky to get to, but once you're in the neighborhood you can spend a whole afternoon wandering around and discovering all the little hidden places. Even if you don't make it to Sanmotoonge, there are other cafes on the mountain that may also offer a nice view.


Little pathways around Buam-dong will lead you to cafes, galleries and beautiful sights

Drinks at Sanmotoonge are a little pricier than average cafes in Seoul, with a cup of tea or coffee setting you back 7 to 8 thousand Won, but it's really worth it. Inside the cafe it's a bit cramped, and bizarrely cluttered with kitsch ornaments and teddy bears, but to sit indoors at Sanmotoonge would be a waste of the spectacular view awaiting you outside. Go through to the outdoor terrace at the back, and try to pick a good spot to look out over the mountain scenery and villages.

I'm not sure what they were going for with the indoor decor ...

 To get to Sanmotoonge from central Seoul, come out of exit 3 of Gyeongbok Palace station (경복궁역), and from there take bus 1020, 7022 or 7212 to Buam-dong community center (부암동주민센터). It's about a 10 minute ride. Get off the bus and walk back in the direction you came from just a few meters and take the first left. Keep to the left and you should start to see signs pointing you in the direction of 산모퉁이. Stay on that path and follow it up the mountain. It's easy to take a wrong turn by mistake, so check a map first or you could end up lost on the mountain!

If you see these little fellows, you're in the right place!

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