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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Bang(ing) in Korea!

One of my favourite things about Korea is the vast amount of different indoor activities there are to sample. From Cat Cafe’s and Karaoke rooms to Screen Golf and places where you can just go to play a board game or two, there really is something for everyone. Firstly lets start by explaining what the word ‘bang’ actually means. You’re going to see a lot of it in the post below so its important not to get mixed up with the English meaning. In Hangul (the Korean alphabet) the word ‘bang’ roughly translates to ‘room’, and in Korea these ‘rooms’ are one of the main attractions. Bangs are everywhere and next to the variety of diverse Cafe’s, they are extremely popular.

So what do I mean by ‘room’? Well, imagine a place where you can do just about anything from watching a DVD with friends, to reading one of your favourite graphic novels in the privacy of your own room, and that's basically what a 'bang' provides. There are even sleeping rooms where you can go to have a quick nap or 6. Amazing right? Right! So if you’re ever in Korea (which you really should be at some point in your life) then be sure to check out some of these awesome places and enjoy a truly unique Korean experience...

Noraebang (노래방) – Karaoke room

 
Ah the famous singing rooms, they are truly a marvel. Bring your own food and drink, grab a microphone and a complementary tambourine and you’re ready to go. Back in the UK we only have Karaoke bars so if you want to sing, then you have to do so in front of the whole establishment, and often people can take it pretty seriously. However in Korea its just you and a few friends, Celine Dion and the power of Soju!! What’s not to love?! Oh and don’t worry about the language barrier as most of them have an English section in the books...featuring CHER!

PCbang (PC방) – Internet cafes

Okay we have Internet Cafes back home, so you know the drill...grab a coffee, surf the web and blast some alien robots into Outer Space! Sorry what?! Korea has a massive gaming culture and this is pretty much what a PC bang is used for. So if you don’t mind the sound of shooting guns and pubescent rowdy teenagers yelling at a 15 inch screen, then you’ll probably have a lovely time.


DVD Bang (DVD방) – DVD room

 
Unfortunately the old DVD bang has a bit of a bad reputation. In Korea many people live with their parents until they get married and so dating becomes a bit of an issue. Therefore many people tend to head to one of these rooms to ‘hang out’ with their significant other...if you know what I mean?! It’s a lot cheaper than a Love Motel and its a pretty standard thing to do over here. However many people (including myself) do actually use these for the actual service they provide, and personally what a great service it is. Choose a film (Titanic in 3D obviously) grab some snacks and chill out with some friends. Like most bangs, it’s a home away from home.

Jjimjilbang (찜질방) – Korean Spas

I personally haven’t been to one of these yet but i’ve heard they are pretty cool. For about 10,000won (around £5) you’ll get access to a host of different hot rooms and spas. You can then go and chill out in another room, watch some TV with friends and have some food before repeating the process all over again for as long as you like. Once you’ve worked up a bit of a sweat why not go and have a little nap in the sleeping rooms provided. Most Jjimjilbangs are open 24 hours and a lot of people choose to stay in one of these (just for the one night) instead of a hotel as it's much much cheaper. 

Gamebang (게임방) – Game room

 
Be it a room or an entire cafe these Board game bangs are just the best thing since slice bread. Opt for the classic Cluedo, Monopoly or even Connect 4, grab a coffee or a few beers and play games to your hearts content. The world really is your oyster in these little places and at only around 500won (25p) for every 15 minutes its really something not to be missed.

Multibang (멀티방) – Multi Room

Multibangs basically do what they say on the tin, which is...EVERYTHING! I’m not even kidding! If you’re not sure if you want to watch a movie, play some computer games (Nintendo Wii or PlayStation), sing a few songs or just watch some TV then this is the place for you. Drinks and snacks are usually included too and at around 20,000won (£10) it’s a winner!

Well there you have it, it's certainly Bang(ing) in Korea!! I hope no one was too disappointed by the suggestive title of this post. If you were then best to stick to the DVD bangs! Enjoy...

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