It might come as a surprise to you to hear that Seoul is indeed the #1 party city in the world.
But first, let me back up a bit. I’ve partied in over 40 countries since 2012. I spent 4 months living in Prague and partying in almost every big city in Europe, including Barcelona, Berlin, Munich, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Vienna, Rome and Budapest. In Asia, I have hit all the main destinations like Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangkok, Saigon, Manila, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. While each of these cities are unique and fun in their own ways, nothing is on the same energy levels as Seoul. Not evern close. I am talking about a city as a whole, as in ‘the most people involved in the scene. This is where Seoul takes the cake as the best.
I have been living and teaching English in Korea since August 2013. Deciding to come here and teach was the best decision of my life. The lifestyle is simple, food is fantastic, people are friendly, I party hard. Really hard. The scene is absolutely insane. On any given weekend, you can find me some giant, Vegas-style Nightclub in Gangnam- the posh nightlife district in Seoul. If I am not dancing all night in a club, then I am most likely at a music festival- which occur nearly every weekend in the summer months.
I would say that on any given Friday or Saturday night, I come back home at 6AM on average. If I am home before the sun rises, then something is strange. And it’s not just me either. Just walk inside any of the major clubs and see that they stay open (and crowded) until 10AM. I am not kidding!
If I haven’t sold you yet, then here are 3 more reasons for why I claim Seoul to have the #1 nightlife in the world!
Nothing Closes until Sunrise
Seriously. In any of the major nightlife areas, nothing closes until the sun is physically rising the next morning. Even during the week!
This is really what sets Seoul apart from other big party cities around the world.
The three major areas for nightlife in Seoul are Gangnam, Hongdae and Itaewon. All bars, clubs, and restaurants located in one of the main 3 nightlife districts stay open all night. Some of the clubs are so crowded at 5-6 in the morning, that I have to push people out of the way to get outside. There are even designated “after hours” clubs that literally bump music until 10AM. I repeat- TEN in the morning! I have stayed out that late a few times, and I’m not the only one that does.
It is common for people to stumble out of a club and into a Korean BBQ restaurant for breakfast. If you don’t want to dine at a restaurant, then just find one of the million street vendors selling cheap Korea street food. Still have energy, then walk into one of the million karaoke rooms with your friends, and get beer and food delivered to you on a platter. There are so many options!
All night partying is the Korean way of life, and it’s the best.
Their Love for Soju
If you aren’t aware what soju is, it’s a Korean rice liquor that is the #1 most consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. Some 62 million cases are sold every year, and it accounts for over 90% of ALL liquor sales in Korea. It sort of tastes like watered down vodka- similar to sake from Japan. The alcohol content is 20%, so it’s no as strong as vodka. However, don’t underestimate it because it creeps up on you! And the best part? One entire bottle of soju is $1 USD.
Drinking liquor, in general, is considered a big social event and a traditional in Korea. And let me assure you that this is no joke. Walk into any Korean BBQ restaurant and see dozens of soju bottles on all the tables, with people taking a shot in between every single bite of their meal. It’s crazy.
I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Koreans love to drink, which directly translates into a lively, energetic and uplifting nightlife scene. As you already know, all of the bars and clubs stay open all night packed with people. It’s common to see drunk person stumbling the streets at any given hour in the night/morning with a bottle of soju in their hand.
Koreans aren’t messing around!
Their love for Dance Music
In the last few years, Electronic Dance Music (or EDM) has taken off in Korea.
No matter where you are- techno music is blasting from some speaker around you. I’m talking about cell phone stores, shoe stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and on the street corners. Lots of K-Pop music (Korean Pop) is turning into dance music. You have seen this happen from Psy’s Gangnam Style music video.
Seoul is a #1 hotspot for all well-known DJs touring Asia. Huge electronic music festivals like Ultra, Global Gathering, World DJ Festival and Sensation are all present in Seoul.
Furthermore, nearly every single weekend, there is a big name DJ playing a show at some club. The clubbing scene in Gangnam (the main nightlife district) in outrageous. There are at least a dozen huge Vegas-style EDM clubs around the area. I have attended almost all of them within the last year, and I frequently see my favorite DJs playing a live show!
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning how Koreans dance to EDM. It’s hysterical and amazing. They all have this similar rhythmic dance move where they get really into the beat, and they bob their heads like a chicken. They move their shoulders up and down in a smooth fashion and pump their fists. It’s nearly impossible to explain, you just need to see it to believe it! But I can promise you that it’s hilarious and they are so much fun to dance with.
Bio: Drew is a recent college graduate who has visited 43 countries since the beginning of 2012. His favorite things about traveling are eating the local foods, meeting awesome people and experiencing the nightlife scene. Drew is currently teaching English in South Korea and he blogs about food, culture and nightlife at the Hungry Partier. Find him on Google+ and Twitter.
Editor’s Note: All pics are provided by Drew.