Explore Gay Seoul.

Gay Seoul.

What's it really like?

Seoul, the buzzing hard-working, heaving drinking capital of South Korea. For an energetic city break, Seoul offers so much, from street markets, palaces, temples to skyscrapers and slick shopping. Seoul is a hub of energy & enterprise with over 20 million people busy at work.

Gay Seoul has two main areas, Itaewon district’s adeptly named ‘Homo Hill’, a foreigner-friendly entertainment district and ‘Jongro-3, an almost exclusive gay Korean party street. Expect the parties to start late and finish even later, most guys head out after 11 pm and many of the clubs don’t start to empty until 5-6 am.

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Seoul's Gay Nightlife

For gay nightlife, Itaewon is the favorite among visitors. Homo Hill refers to the collection of gay bars and clubs which are in the Itaewon district. Itaewon is also the international hub of Seoul home to many ex-pats so it’s hardly surprising that the gay area is also international.

Gay Saunas, Cruising & Massage

Seoul’s sauna and cruise club scene is relatively small and while most are open 24 hours most saunas are busy from early evening until the small hours. Most of the saunas and cruise clubs are located in the two main gay nightlife hubs, Itaewon’s Homo Hill and Jongro-3. Similar to nightlife most of Seoul’s gay saunas don’t get busy until late which is around 2-3 am and when guys start leaving the clubs.

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Seoul's Gay-Friendly Hotels

Many gay travelers who want to party choose to stay in Itaewon, the center of gay Seoul. With the subway closing around midnight and taxis, while reliable available are relatively expensive, this areas offers a great level of convenience. Itaewon is also well connected with easy MRT access, a very central location and many great options for eating both high end and budget food.

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Seoul's Best Tours and Activities

Seoul Morning E-bike Tour

Effortlessly explore Seoul's landmarks on an e-bike. Glide through Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and more, avoiding the crowds with an early morning start.

3 hours
$107 USD
Korean Cooking Class with Full-Course Meal & Local Market Tour in Seoul

Master the art of Korean cuisine in Seoul. Tour a local market, learn to cook traditional dishes, and enjoy a full-course meal you prepare yourself.

3.5 hours
$80 USD
DMZ Tour Korea from Seoul - Red Suspension Bridge

Explore the DMZ without the hassle of shopping stops. Learn about the poignant history of the Korean War and visit key sites like the Third Infiltration Tunnel and the Dora Observatory.

7.5 hours
$45 USD

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Gays and the Law

South Korea in general is a sexually conservative society. While Korea has never had laws against homosexuality, it dose not mean it’s a sign of tolerance or acceptance. Like many countries, attitudes are changing, especially within cities and among young people. Many gay Koreans choose not to reveal their sexual identity to colleagues and to family members. Equally, same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not entitled to the same legal protections available to heterosexuals.

All male citizens of South Korea must complete two years of mandatory military service. Upon joining the military men take a “psychology test” which includes questions regarding sexual preferences. Recruits who are homosexual can be classed as having a “personality disorder” which can result in being institutionalized (a person who becomes a long-term patient or prisoner of the government) or dishonorably discharged. In 2010 the issue has been appealed to Korea’s constitutional court, as of 2016 no final decision has been made by the court.

The one stop shop for getting tested as a visitor or expat in Seoul is the Korea Federation for HIV/AIDS Prevention (KHAP). With an English language website and brochures in many south east Asian languages, there is no need to worry about language difficulties. The test is free, anonymous and rapid but reservation is required, contact info on KHAP’s Website. The clinic is located near to Gireum Station on line 4.

There is also an international clinic in Itaewon, which conducts full anonymous HIV and STI testing. Full services start from 100,000 won ($90 USD). Additionally, most of Seoul’s hospitals can provide testing for HIV & STIs however the process may not be anonymous and local media reports suggest that even some of South Korea’s health professionals are still discriminating against HIV-positive patients.

Itaewon – This is the heart of gay Seoul for most visitors. Itaewon is known as the foreigners’ district of Seoul and is home to the aptly named Homo Hill. The area is next to the large American military base and previously was a red-light district. Itaewon has now become one of the main nightlife, restaurants, and general entertainment zones of Seoul. With many high-quality international restaurants, clubs, and bars all popular with tourists, ex-pats, and Koreans. Many boutiques small shops have popped up, great for unique items made in South Korea.

Jongno 3 – Center of gay Seoul for local Koreans, a relaxed village of small gay bars, located in Seoul’s old town. The area is packed with small back allies of shabby traditional buildings. Hip restaurants sit next to, music shops, backpacker hostels, and ever-popular BBQ restaurants. Locals estimate there are around 70 ever-changing gay bars and businesses in Jongno 3-ga catering to almost exclusively gay Koreans.

Gangnam – Big business, international shopping, and high-end clubbing. Gangnam is a modern and affluent area of Seoul, home to offices from Samsung to the big banks.

Hongdae-ap – If you are a student or backpacker who loves late-night, cheap parties, this is the place for you. Hong-ik University and Ewha University take up most of the neighborhood and what’s not campus is built for students. Packed with cafes, bars, clubs, late-night clubs, and plenty of shopping, this is the young fun, and pretty straight part of town.

Seoul is pretty easy and simple. With an extensive train network of underground and overground trains, frequent and reliable bus network plus a mass of reliable taxis.

Taxis – are available 24 hours a day. In Seoul there are three different classes of taxis indicated by the color. Orange taxis are the cheapest, with silver in the middle and black being the premium. Each color has a different starting rate and is based on the quality of car and the driver’s experience. Taxis display a red light in the front windscreen when they are available for hire. Local tip – Keep a note of your destination in Korean on your phone, which makes the language barrier easy. Screenshot your destination on google maps is a simple trick to ensure a smooth taxi ride. Uber is operating with major limitations in Seoul.

MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) – Seoul has an extensive network of underground trains. Easy for visitors to use and runs until 12 pm (each station has a slightly different closing time). Local tip – If you plan on spending a couple or more days in Seoul get a City Pass Card to save time and money.

Bus – Seoul has a large and frequent bus network. With the use of Google Maps navigating the bus network can be relativity simple. Google maps will load the fastest bus journey to your destination, including bus number and number of stops until your destination. Bus stops are clearly marked around the city.

Airport – Seoul is served by two airports; Incheon Airport, the new larger airport which handles nearly all of the international flights, and; Gimpo Airport, the centrally located airport for domestic flights plus a small number of regional flights from Japan and China. Both airports have English information for passengers arriving and are linked by train to the city as well as a range of express and public buses. Gimpo Airport is easily reached on subway Line 5 (around 50 minutes to downtown). The train ride from Incheon Airport takes 43 mins with the express train and 60 mins for the all-stop train. Both trains finish at Seoul Station around 20 MRT transfer to Itaewon.

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