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Day 58 Last Cafe Hop: Travel Cafe BuLa and Hakrim Dabang

Insadong is one of the many gems in Seoul. Every shop in every corner of the street gives the place its character. Tucked away from the main street is Travel Cafe BuLa, a cosy cafe owned by friendly Mr Cheon. 

I walked up to the counter and Mr. Cheon greeted me with a smile. He passed me a menu and i asked for some recommendations (because i ain't no coffee connoisseur). He then asked me where i came from. Mr Cheon is also a tour guide who has been to many countries and the photographs on the walls of the cafe provide his customers with glimpses of his journeys and the people he has met. Coincidentally, he has travelled to Singapore with his partner and a precious memory became the  inspiration for a delectable concoction. He flipped to a page and pointed to a red bean coffee drink(i forgot the name) and began telling me the story behind the drink that was named after my home country. I am not a fan of red bean but i decided to give this unique coffee a try and requested for lesser red beans. We chatted for awhile and i also practised speaking with my rather atrocious Korean. 

There are many cafes in Seoul. There are many beautifully designed cafes in Korea. The kind of cafes that i enjoy hanging out at are those which make me feel comfortable and sheltered. Perhaps, i still feel vulnerable and lonely as a solo traveller sometimes. To me, a good cafe should be a place of refuge. It should be a place that you visit when you are happy, upset or when you just need time alone to collect your thoughts. It should be a place where you would want to spend an afternoon at reading a book and people-watching. It should feel like a home that is shared with strangers. 

I chose a seat beside the window and i plopped down with a sigh. I took off my shoes and put my legs on the cushion. After my drink came, i took out my notebook and begin recollecting the events that happened on day 57. The coffee was good but i still dislike red beans haha. 

Thank you Mr Cheon, I am glad that i stumbled upon your cafe on my last day. I will definitely go back to try your cheesecake and your other dishes! Till then, take care!


I had one more place that i wanted to visit before i returned to the guesthouse to retrieve Mr BoBo and head off to the airport. That place is Hakrim Dabang, a place that i found on someone's blog. It is a cafe that is well-known for their cheesecake. I hopped onto the subway for what was to be the second last time and alighted at Hyehwa station. 

I placed my order and chose a spot at a table that was large enough for six people because it was beside the window and i didn't need to face anyone. It was weird. This was my last cafe visit. I didn't really know what to think. There are so many things that i wanted to do and so many friends that i wanted to meet. As the cheesecake diminished with every bite that i took, i looked at it and thought of how it resembled the countdown to my last day. Every day, i savoured a bit of Korea, but i only had a small portion to savour given the limited time. I ate the last bit of it, took one last glance out of the window, stood up, placed the plate at the counter and left.

Hakrin Dabang's cheesecake

Cheesecake with blueberry, 5000won.


1) Travel Cafe BuLa

[From Insadong]
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
Go 100m straight, then turn left into Insadong. 

Walk all the way straight till you reach the end of the street. 
Turn right at the corner. and walk straight till you see an Adidas store. 
Go up the stairs to the cafe.

[From Jonggak station]
Get out via exit 11.
Locate the Adidas store which is adjacent to the stairs that lead to the cafe.
(there is an underground shopping area at Jonggak station and the clothes there are pretty reasonably priced!)


2)학림다방 Hakrim Dabang
Walk straight for about 60m from exit 3 of Hyehwa station.
The signboard is brown and the cafe is situated on the second floor of a building.
More pictures of the cafe can be found at Yun Yun's blog!

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"Day 58 Last Cafe Hop: Travel Cafe BuLa and Hakrim Dabang " was Posted On: Friday, September 14, 2012 @3:31 PM | 0 comments

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