Review: Cheonho’s Red Light District

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A friend of mine (who will now be referred to as Squash) used to always talk about how he stumbled upon a redlight district near one of our local haunts in Cheonho. Cheonho is a small hubbub of brightly lit restaurants, bars, and cafes off of line 5 (purple line). For those who live on the Eastern side of Seoul, Cheonho has become a favorite place to gather for dinner and a few drinks.

On this particular day, we were all hoping to do something more than the usual korean bbq for dinner and decided to venture out past Rodeo Drive. Squash took us towards a local outside market with butcher shops and vendors selling all sorts of vegetables/dry goods. The further we walked along the market, the more quiet and dark it became. Squash couldn’t really remember where he had drunkenly stumbled upon the prostitutes before, but as luck would have it — BAM! We found ourselves smack in the middle of a series of soft red glowing glass rooms.

So, here I am with two white American males and trying to remain as casual as possible as we stroll by each glass room. We all became a little self conscience on trying to not peer too closely at the women in lingerie, but it was hard not to laugh because we were a bit uncomfortable and well, what a gold mine! Hahaha. Now, I’m sure that some of you have seen something similar to this place somewhere in Europe or even Southeast Asia. This as an all time NEW experience for me and I was ecstatic to bear witness to such a small seedy treasure that has been functioning right under our noses!

There were rooms after rooms of girls behind a wall of glass that are framed with thick curtains. The rooms looked like an inside of a hair salon with a few of those swivel chairs installed in front of big slabs of mirrors. The girls were dressed … well, like a prostitutes. Hahaha. I felt like I was viewing inside triple x glass doll houses. We even saw some Korean guys sitting in the room and chatting with the girls. Some rooms were lit with the curtains were closed. Uhhh….you know what that means. Make that money girl!

All in all, it was a very random and exciting part of our night. We decided to head back to the main area known as Rodeo Drive and figured that sometimes, doing the usual isn’t so bad.

Directions: There are probably several ways to get there, but I only know one way. Get out of Exit 4 and it will pop you out next to the Hyundai Department store. Keep walking straight, past Emart, and you will find yourself coming up to a street called Rodeo Drive (there is a gate at the beginning of the street). Take a left on to Rodeo Drive and walk a couple of blocks till you get to the main road (there will be a pub called CHEERS on your left). Cross the street and follow the road straight ahead, and you will find yourself in the sketchy vege/meat market! Keep walking straight and look for a walkway to the left with a soft red glow. It shouldn’t be more than a couple of steps. Good Luck!!

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