I love to watch movies, but sometimes I feel lame staying in at night to watch them. I go to the cinema often, but it seems like more often than not, I leave disappointed with the price I have to pay to watch the sub-par movies being released today. If only there was a place that was similar to the cinema-viewing experience, but had a much larger selection of movies and cost much less. Fortunately, I have discoverd DVD rooms (known as DVD bangs) while teaching in Korea, which combine the best of cinemas and video rental stores into one location.
DVD bangs offer a different option for a night of entertainment instead of the normal cinema, restaurant, bar, or club. It is the perfect option for a date, or if you are looking for a low-key evening with a couple of friends. And the best part about them, is you never have to walk far to find one....there seems to be one on every block.
When you walk into a DVD bang, it will be like stepping into a DVD rental store; all the titles will be on display and you have the option to browse through the DVD cases. I have never been disappointed with the selection. They have tons of Western and Korean movies. I have found this is one of the best places to catch classic Korean movies as they often have copies with English subtitles. Once you pick the title, you are lead back to your personal viewing room.
The quality of the room depends on the location, with some rooms ranging from the ornate and plush to the basic and dull. Here is what you are guaranteed though....a nice, big screen and a comfortable seating option. Some of the nicer rooms have an awesome surround system, a massive smart TV, and super comfortable chairs and couches.
You are also guaranteed some sort of food or drink service. The quality of this depends on the location as well. My favorite place in Jeju actually serves good food and alcohol. It is like combining a good restaurant with a movie theater.
Going to a DVD bang is also an opportunity to take part in a unique part of Korean culture. DVD bangs originated with the lack of space (and privacy) found in most Korean apartments. When an entire Korean family lives in a small apartment, there can be limited room for a TV rooom or a place to watch a movie in privacy. Hence, DVD bangs became a place to get away to a private room. The rooms still have a reputation as a place for couples to go when they want privacy (similar to a love motel). While you can still find 'seedy' DVD bangs, I can find some really nice, upscale ones on Jeju that seem to be more in business of showing movies.
I highly recommend going to a DVD bang while you are in Korea for a chance to do something that you cannot do in the United States or Canada. I would like to hear about your DVD bang experience....leave me a comment!