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Back to Seoul’s Present. A combination of coffee, curios, and cake

March 16, 2009

Since I haven’t written much about Seoul lately, far too busy with my other travel posts, some of you readers are probably pining to know more about the city I currently live in.

Before my trip to Singapore, I took a quick visit to one of Seoul’s older and finer areas – Samcheongdong. Here is where rustic meets hectic. Small narrow lanes and roads are constantly being choked with cars, SUVs, and trendy youth. All vying for a carpark or a seat in an upbeat cafe.

Weekends are probably the worst time to look for tranquility and calm in this area of Seoul. You are swept up with the pace and noise of excited girlfriends, swooning lovers, and frantic families.  Slow down and step aside from the bustle, and you will likely find some cafes purposely secreted away. ‘The Present’ is one such place.

Where vintage and coffee blend, The Present offers up a cosy space to sip coffee; and an unusual place to buy presents.

by Cate

taken by Cate

Curios sourced from France can be found in every space imaginable. It’s a busy place, not with people but with objects. Objects that intrigue the eye all carefully arranged and colourfully displayed. Almost like walking into your grandmother’s home of past years gone.

by Cate

by Cate

The Present is a place of comfort and contrast. Modern fittings sit alongside these vintage curios, keeping them safe from dampness and wear. This cafe won’t greet you with mustiness usually associated with aged goods.

by Cate

by Cate

You won’t find tack here, you will find kitsch chic in the way of chrome coffee pots and ceramic tea pots, rugs, glassware; even candlesticks.

by Cate

by Cate

Keeping it real, the coffee is typically Korean style coffee; looks nice tastes terrible. The Present does serve up a range of cakes and other beverages. It’s a place worth putting down as a local hub, even if just for its ambience.

Details on how to get there

Samcheongdong can be reached by Subway 5 to Gwanghwamun or Jongro; or line 3 to Anguk. It’s a short taxi ride from these stations.

To find The Present walk along the left side of the road (Blue House side) and look up. It’s on the first floor of a small steel looking building next to a carpark. You can’t miss it there is a sculpture of a child on a diving board, hanging out of the building to the side.

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. Bear permalink
    March 16, 2009 12:27 pm

    Charming. Seoul has tons of smallish shops that serve to be cafes or sell ink or almost anything else. Charming.

  2. March 16, 2009 12:36 pm

    Hi Cate,
    I’m catching up on your recent posts after a couple of hectic weeks. Great reading!
    I drink coffee but am not an aficionado like you; what does Korean coffee taste like?

  3. March 16, 2009 9:37 pm

    Hello lady!
    Ahhh! I miss this little place. I believe that you and I had a cuppa here last year. Great photos!


    • March 17, 2009 1:03 pm

      Bear – charming it is and you are right about the small quaint shops. I guess that is what makes Asia very different from the US. There are still small businesses to be found.
      Heather – how are you? Coffee in Korea is very weak unlike the delicious brews of Singapore and Hong Kong. Traditionally Koreans drink green tea and even though they drink coffee it’s usually weak black or sweet white.
      Felicia – well hello yourself! Coming back to Seoul I hear? We will have to do the rounds of cafes upon your return.

  4. ☆☆ Martinha ☆☆ permalink
    March 17, 2009 2:22 pm


    Thanks for visiting my blog and your comments..

    Have a nice week..


  5. Erica Johansson permalink
    March 19, 2009 5:24 pm

    This place looks so cozy. And ‘The Present’ must be the best name of a café ever.

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