Heading to Seoul and want to know more about the casual dating scene?
South Korea’s capital city is one of the wealthiest and most vibrant in all of Asia and gives visitors plenty of entertainment opportunities. By day, the city offers cultural attractions and plenty of people watching but, by night, Seoul is a proper party town. From Gangnam and Hongdae to Iteawon and central city there are hundreds of bars and clubs spilling over with single Koreans, horny backpackers and sexy tourists just waiting to be picked up.
In this feature we’ll give you some tips to improve your chances of a hookup in Seoul; from the best clubs and bars to choose, and the best local apps to use.
What Are Girls Like in Seoul?
The city is home to almost 10 million people and attracting more than 12 million visitors every year, it is a lively metropolis.
Over the last decade there’s been a huge boom in the West of Korean culture and though the stereotypes of K-Pop ring true for some women in Seoul, you should hang up what you think you know about Koreans at the door.
Yes, most women here are financially independent (and some are mega-wealthy) and there is a huge focus on image and fashion. As a result, a lot of girls in Seoul spend tons of money on clothes, status symbols and pampering.
And once they are done dressing up and grooming they then spend a lot more time posting the results on social media.
It’s true that Seoul is a tech-savvy city with a generation of millennials who are more worried with their online popularity than forming real-life relationships.
The upside of all this is that a lot of women in Seoul look good, real good, but it does mean that if you are to have any chance of hooking up with one of these high-maintenance ladies then you’ll also need to look pretty fly yourself.
But although plenty of Korean women are obsessed with appearances, there are just as many regular ladies who aren’t. It just depends on which kinds of clubs and bars you hit up.
Koreans are well-educated but many don’t speak excellent English which does mean that you should at least learn some basic Korean. It’s not a huge issue if you are hooking up in foreigner friendly areas of the city like Itaewon but the more off-piste you go in Seoul, the fewer people you’ll be able to converse with.
Most Korean women view Western men with a good deal of suspicion and largely assume that all white foreigners are playboys. It’s a reputation that has spread throughout the region and Korea isn’t immune to stories of American and European men looking to the East for a mail-order bride.
This doesn’t mean to say that they’re going to be wary of you; far from it. There are plenty of Korean women who love the idea of a Western hookup.
Looks wise, Korean women possess an inherent beauty which comes from this part of Asia but the nation has also adopted its own beauty standards.
Known as K-beauty, the ideals perpetuated as female perfection include:
- Slim figure
- Pale and flawless skin
- Large eyes
- V-shaped jaw
- Small face
It’s also not uncommon for urbanized Korean women to have had plastic surgery; particularly those cougars and MILFs looking to extend their ‘use-by date’.
Yet, even younger women aren’t immune to the pursuit of these ideals and blepharoplasty (eye-lid) surgery is actually quite widespread.
Of course, being an international city, Seoul is also full of the usual tourists that you can find in any Asian capital.
You’ll find other Asian, European, American and Australian visitors who might be travelling for business or pleasure as well as some backpackers. The latter are less common than in cities like Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City.
In all, Seoul offers up a diverse range of potential hookups in a colorful and vibrant party city. What more could you ask for?
So, where can you find them?
Day Game in Seoul
We’re not going to lie to you, day game in Seoul is hard; really hard.
The problem is that, culturally, men approaching women in South Korea just isn’t done. And with strangers it’s even more rare.
Don’t get us wrong, South Koreans are friendly enough and if you stop someone for directions the chances are (if they speak English) that they’ll speak with you. But if you try and attempt conversation with a stranger during the day it will probably be met with silence.
There is also a strong culture in South Korea of working hard in order to play hard so most of the locals are busy working during the day. The benefit of this attitude is that the night game is pretty good (see below).
So, daytime hookups with the locals in Seoul are pretty limited to chance encounters at coffee shops, malls and other stores.
Most South Koreans LOVE to shop so if they aren’t working when the sun is out then they’re usually out shopping.
Avenue France in the Suwon/Seongnam district is a pretty good place to head. It’s a Western style mall complete with restaurants, cafes and plenty of luxury stores.
Other malls worth paying a visit in the city include:
- Lotte World Mall, Songpa
- Coex Mall, Gangnam-gu
- D Cube City Mall, Sindorim-dong
- Times Square Mall, Yeongdeungpo-dong
For potential tourist hookups then the Ssamziegel District is a perfect place to head for some game opportunities. This traditional neighborhood in Insadong is a culture complex which attracts visitors like a magnet. With loads of art shops and galleries, it’s a pretty quaint part of the city but you are guaranteed to be able to find plenty of women sightseeing here.
Another good place to head as a foreigner is into Itaewon.
The most internationally diverse district of Seoul, the area is a vibrant part of the city and most South Koreans here will speak English. Certainly, they won’t act surprised if you start talking to them.
Though the area mostly comes alive by night, there are plenty of places you can head during the day where you can find single ladies.
The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Namsan Park and Itaewon Antique Furniture Street all attract a lot of tourists and backpackers.
Night Game in Seoul
By contrast to the slim pickings that are available during the day in Seoul, this city really comes alive when the sun goes down.
For the best chances of hooking up at night there are three areas that you should consider:
Most clubs in Seoul are open from around 10pm and don’t close until 4 or 5 in the morning.
Hooking up in Gangnam
Though mostly known these days as the title of PSY’s global hit Gangnam Style, this area south of the Han River is one of the wealthiest parts of South Korea.
As well as being home to designer shops like Vera Wang, MCM and Cartier, Gangnam has a vibrant entertainment scene.
Upmarket and luxurious, the clubs in this district are expensive and getting inside some can be a mammoth task. If you don’t look the part then you simply don’t get in. Period.
The upside of this kind of elitism is that the calibre of hookups here are off the scale….if you can rise to the challenge.
Serious players only, these clubs can offer some super rich pickings:
Often attracting Korean celebrities, socialites and wealthy young trust-funders, all five clubs are always busy with locals.
Great news for you? Not always. The fact that these clubs are bursting with Koreans just makes it harder for foreigners to get a look in. If you don’t speak Korean and/or struggle to look like you fit in then you’re going to be on an uphill battle.
Which is why the foreigner friendly Itaewon might be easier….
Hooking up in Itaewon
Itaewon is home to plenty of Western style clubs and bars and almost everyone who goes here at night is either an international tourist or a local LOOKING for a foreigner.
The downside of this of course is that plenty of the latter are actually working girls.
Although Seoul doesn’t have a red-light district and prostitution is illegal, there are sex workers on the streets here and some who hit the bars and clubs for business.
It’s often pretty easy to tell which ladies are professional from those that aren’t and if YOU are approached first then that’s your first clue!
Overall though, the whole area is stuffed with good bars and there aren’t any where you can’t find potential hookups. Just read carefully if girls are in the company of other men as guys can get pretty territorial here.
Club-wise, these are the best four in the area to head as there are usually far more single ladies here:
- B One
- Glam Lounge
Hooking up in Hongdae
Hongdae is situated near the Hongik University and is a happy medium hunting ground; less pretentious and elitist than Gangnam and with far fewer international visitors than Itaewon.
Known for its indie music scene, urban culture and student nightlife, the clubs here can be more friendly and laid-back.
This doesn’t mean that you can turn up in sneakers and jeans but you don’t have to be flashing your Rolex and wearing a tux!
In the evening, there are plenty of smaller bars where groups of students and locals will hang out but these tend not to be foreigner friendly. So, inviting as they may seem, it can be a mistake to start chatting up the girls here; a lot of local guys don’t take kindly to it.
Instead, we’d suggest hitting up one of the local nighclubs which are more used to international guests and any locals here won’t be too surprised if you start chatting with them:
- Bar Da
- Cocky Pub
- Crazy Saint
All of these clubs are busy from Thursday to Sunday but can be quite dead during the week.
Best Hookup Apps to Use in Seoul
Unlike in a lot of Asian countries, Koreans use smartphones as much (if not more) than those of us in the Western world.
This means that the uptake on dating and hookup apps in this area is pretty high.
The number one hookup app in use within Seoul is still Tinder.
A lot of the profiles you will find on this platform will be those of tourists, backpackers and expats but locals are also savvy to the swipe right culture.
Other familiar apps which are in use throughout South Korea include:
But there are also some Korean/Asian specific apps which might offer some more local opportunities.
Amanda (launched by Korean tech startup NextMatch) is the most popular dating app used among millennials in South Korea.
Used by more than five million people, you can only get a profile on the app if you pass a screen test by 20 random Amanda users. If you get an overall rating of 3.0 or higher then you’re good to go but anything lower than this means you’ll be blocked.
The app is only available in Korean so is no good for non-native speakers but if you do know Korean then this could be a good choice.
Korean Cupid is part of the Cupid Media network which operates regional dating sites and apps right across the world including AsianDating.
Although it’s set up primarily to offer a traditional dating service for lonely hearts, there are some decent hookup opportunities here.
As a premium app, it might be worth more to those people who are looking for a more regular hookup or someone who is based in Seoul for a while.
MEEFF on the other hand is a social networking app specifically geared at Korean users looking for international friends. The majority of people using it are simply seeking a Westerner to chat with but we’ve seen the app work pretty well for arranging hookups in Seoul.
Finally, there is always the solid fallback option of Adult Friend Finder. This international behemoth of a platform is the world’s number one adult dating site and caters for all kinds of casual encounters, one-night stands and kinky hookups.
A lot of couples use it when travelling to find swinging playmates or just to experiment with a bit of holiday cuckolding. If you haven’t yet tried AFF then now’s your opportunity; having a live profile active when you’re travelling can pretty much guarantee you a hookup in any city in the world.
A note though, it’s also used by plenty of Korean escorts.
Tips for Hooking Up in Seoul
So, those are the best places and apps to use for finding a hookup in Seoul but how can you increase your chances of a successful pick up?
Here we’ve summarized some of the key tricks to improving your chances of not flying solo in Seoul:
Look Smart and Dress Smart
South Korea has a thriving economy and most citizens enjoy a very comfortable degree of wealth. As a result, appearances are pretty important to Koreans. They like to own the latest phones, wear fashionable clothes and spend money on good grooming.
This means that if you are to stand any chance at all of picking up a local, you’ll have to dress to impress.
You don’t have to walk around the city in a three-piece suit but even casual clothes should make you look well-turned out.
Even with leisurewear, Koreans are a brand-conscious bunch so just remember to enhance your status with your clothes as much as possible.
This is particularly important if you are going out in Gangnam!
On the same subject, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; Seoul is a wealthy capital and the locals are pretty materialistic.
As a result, women here tend to have expensive tastes and want their hookups to offer fancy hotels, lavish dates and posh bars and restaurants.
If this isn’t your style and you can’t afford to keep up with this kind of hookup then stick to Itaewon.
Have Your Phone Ready
Wherever you go to try and hookup in Seoul, it’s worth downloading the KakaoTalk app on your smartphone before you go out anywhere in Seoul. Just like WhatsApp and WeChat, this mobile messaging app is the most popular choice for exchanging numbers in South Korea.
Keep Your Distance
As in a lot of Asian countries, public displays of affection in South Korea aren’t typical and women just aren’t used to being touched unless they are in private.
So, even if your chat-up lines are going well, make sure you observe this custom and keep your hands to yourself.
Keep a Clear Head
Nighttime might be party time and having a few beers is fine; however, excessive alcohol consumption is a huge turnoff to the South Koreans and won’t win you any hookups.
And, by this, we don’t just mean ‘be charming’!
Women in South Korea don’t like facial hair; in fact, they’re not keen on any kind of body hair at all.
This means you can seriously increase your chances of picking up the ladies if you shave off that ‘tache and beard.
Brush Up On Your K-Pop
Whilst most Koreans speak a bit of English, language can still be a bit of a barrier. But it can also be the difference in culture which gets in the way of successful hookups.
A good piece of advice that works really well is to bone up on the latest Korean pop music trends and Korean celebrity news. It might seem vacuous to you but Koreans love their K-Pop.
Having a little knowledge in this area can really help break the ice and build up that all important connection.
But just remember that (shock, horror) not ALL Koreans are into K-Pop so the more you can bone up on other cultural affairs the better.
Make The First Move
South Korean are not culturally programmed to be assertive when it comes to dating so the first move HAS to be made by you. Even if you catch the eye of someone who is obviously interested, it will be a cold day in Hell before she approaches you!
Be relaxed, be polite and give her your most charming smile.
Women here like to pretend that they are shy about your advances so don’t give up at the first sign of refusal.
A lot of this is about a public show and playing hard to get is just part and parcel of the dating culture here. However, if you are getting no strong vibes after 15-20 minutes it might be best to abandon your attempt.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.