Although I have yet to experience a jimjilbang, the ultimate place for relaxation, I did enjoy some great downtime at Yang Yang Cat Cafe in Busan, South Korea. I haven't always been the biggest fan of cats, but I was lured in by the promise of a hot beverage, as the weather was a little rainy that day. Little did I know, I would be staying in the cafe long after the weather cleared.
Bright chairs amongst wooden tables and cat playgrounds, and some sleepy cats.
Yang Yang Cat Cafe has a very bright and welcoming interior, and since we visited a bit late, we were the only humans (apart from one employee) there! There were plenty of cats to pet, but first we left our shoes in the doorway and replaced them with slippers (I think this was to prevent us from stepping on any tails). Then, we were offered hand sanitizer and we tiptoed around some sleeping cats to the register to order drinks.
The center of Yang Yang: tables, booths, and photos of the resident cats on the wall.
Drinks were 7,000 (around $6) each and we could choose anything from tea to coffee to smoothies. I got a green tea smoothie that was great and cat hair free, although there were cats lounging about by the espresso machine.
This cat was wide awake and so fluffy!
While we waited for our drinks we tried to find the best cats to pet. We were informed that cats like being pet on their head or their ears or chin, but they are not into the full body pat-down. So, with these instructions in mind we made some cat friends!
A sleeping cat provides the perfect photo opportunity!
Although a lot of the cats were asleep, most woke up when we ventured closer to them, and a lot of them still wanted to play. The pet cafe provides cat toys free of charge, and you can entice the cats with them if you want to see some impressive jumping/catching skills.
This cat was begging for a tummy rub.
After we got our drinks, we settled down at a table and let the cats come to us. As more customers wandered in, more cats woke up or found other safe places to sleep.
The relaxed atmosphere of Yang Yang affected both the cats and the human guests. It's so easy to fall asleep with a kitten in your lap! Although hanging out with a bunch of cats seems like an unusual activity, it was actually very fun, and a perfect escape from the rain. So many cute cats, so little time!
The last sleepy cat, goodbye!
To get to Yang Yang Cat Cafe, take the subway Line 1 to Nampo-dong, go out Exit 7 and walk left to PIFF Square. Walk straight through the square and make a left at McDonald's. In 200m you will see a sign for Yang Yang on your left! Take the stairs or the elevator up to the 4th floor. Slip off your shoes and slip into some slippers and get ready to pet some cats!
After graduating from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Ariel Rosen looked back on the semester she spent traveling around Europe and decided she must explore Asia. Her teaching job with ChungDahm April in Busan allows her to experience South Korea firsthand and with the bright enthusiasm of all the children she teaches. She is overjoyed to share a class with them and finds herself learning more from them and the beach city around her everyday.
Read Ariel’s blog here: http://arieldrosen.wordpress.com/