Episode 6 - Foreign Nightlife
Throughout our travels, Matt and I have discovered that each country and city has its own personal and unique nightlife. We have done our best to discover and experience the nightlife in every place we've gone the most we could. We felt that nightlife is such a huge part of traveling and we should cover it one at least one of our podcasts!
When we were in Koh Samui, we went to a popular bar with several other people from the TEFL program that ended up scamming us one evening. The bar had a lively band, which sang oldie English songs, which was lovely to hear! Afterwards, we headed to a heavily crowded alleyway that had a plethora of clubs and bars. While we were in the bar, Matt and I got separated from each other and the group! Without cell phones, too, of course. So, we lost each other for about an hour, then miraculously found each other! It was one glorious reunion (we discussed this more in detail in our podcast where we interviewed each other).
Another night, we went out with another couple from our program to a beach bar. There was great techno music playing, there was an outdoor pool, a man throwing and juggling fire, buckets of alcohol, giant beanbag chairs, an iguana, and a monkey! We were able to see fishing boats on the horizon as well, which was a nice touch.
For Valentine's Day, us and a few other teachers from our school decided to celebrate the weekend by going to Bangkok for a night. Matt and I got tacos, which we usually get every Valentine's Day, and they were a huge disappointment! Gross and expensive. Not a good combo.
Alcohol is generally very cheap in Southeast Asia and Thailand, even Bangkok, is no exception! We were able to go out with our friends that evening and not break the bank on alcohol, which is always great! We went to an outdoor bar, which was really busy, cheap, and relaxing! We then went to a bigger club and danced the night away. We got in for free because it was Valentine's Day. Hooray, us!
Nightlife rating: awesome and hope to go again soon!
Sejong City is a new and upcoming city in Korea. It's attempting to become the "New Seoul." It's primary goal is to relocate people there from Seoul to lower the population. Even though it only has a population of roughly 300,000 people, it's growing rapidly and building up fast. The nightlife there isn't crazy just yet, but in our small area, there were a good number of bars, restaurants, and other things, such as a bowling alley, plenty of noraebong (karaoke), and various other things. We made the most of it for sure!
One of our favorite bars in that area was a sports bar where they had virtual darts and beer pong! It was a great place to go with our friends to unwind from our jobs. It even had a large refrigerator with a variety of beers from all over the world. Like most bars we went to in Korea, you are able to go to the refrigerator and grab whatever beers you want! No bartender needed...unless you wanted something other than bottled beer, of course.
Nightlife is wonderful overall in South Korea. Bars and clubs are open really late and some don't even close! The alcohol is also cheap. Not cheap like Southeast Asia, but definitely not breaking-the-bank-expensive like Manhattan!
Matt and I went to Seoul with a friend from our job for a weekend. We went to Hongdae, a popular area there, especially for college students. We started our "night out" at midnight. We headed to a barbecue place and simultaneously ate meat and drank beer and soju. Afterwards, we stopped at a convenience store, picked up some beer, and wandered around a crowded park to casually drink our beer and watch some college-aged Korean rap.
After the park, we went to Thursday Party, a popular foreigner bar throughout Korea. As we did once before, we had a blast at this bar playing beer pong, talking to locals and foreigners alike, even though it was extremely packed! We met a couple of random folks there and ended up spending the rest of the night with them!
We headed to a club next until 8:00 a.m.! And this club (no idea about the name or anything about it, to be honest) was packed from when we arrived until we left. It was fantastic!
Nightlife rating: The. Best. So. Far! We seriously cannot wait to return!
Ho Chi Minh City
The nightlife was quite a huge disappointment here. Past 10:00 at night, there's nowhere to go at night! There's Bui Vien, the backpacker street, but it's grimy and the constant beggars can put a damper on your evening. There's also not very many clubs in general, either. There are bars, but not very many that are open very late. The alcohol is super cheap, which was a huge plus, though!
Our favorite night out on Bui Vien was when we met up with a large group of Couchsurfers. We all met at a bar, drank cheap Vietnamese beer and talked for a couple of hours. Eventually, people dispersed and we ended up spending the rest of the night with four other foreigners, two fellow Americans and two guys from France, and we had such a blast with them until the wee hours of the morning!
Nightlife rating: Meh. Not very good, but at least they have cheap beer!
Like Korea, the bars and clubs in Japan are open really late, which is always a huge plus! Dotonbori, Namba is one of our favorite places for nightlife in Osaka. It's a touristy area, but for all the right reasons. There are thousands of bars, clubs, restaurants, and various other places.
One of our friends from America came to visit us, so the three of us headed to Dotonbori for an evening. We ate some barbecue (we tend to eat that a lot because it's clearly the best), then headed to a convenience store for some beer to drink while we walked to a video game bar called Space Station. This bar was such an awesome place for us three video game fans to hang out! They had all the video game consoles and games. Literally ALL. We spent most of the night playing Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart on N64 and we are not ashamed! We even played with a couple of other people. There were tons and tons of other games, but we decided to stick to what we knew while drinking beer and various other drinks!
Afterwards, we headed to a popular club called G3. It's supposed to be an awesome techno club, but we didn't get in because Matt was wearing sandals! We ended up wandering around the streets, drinking alcohol that we had once again purchased from a convenience store. While waltzing around, three twenty-something Japanese people came stumbling out of a bar next to us, started talking with us, and walked around with us!
They stopped us at this bar/restaurant (two doors down from Space Station ironically!) for some drinks and burgers. We ended up spending a couple of hours there with these random folks and a couple from Canada that showed up at some point and joined us! The Japanese kids kept ordering shots of tequila and rum and burgers. It was quite the evening! At the end, as it always does, the bill came-- a whopping $130! When we took our wallets out, the Japanese girl instantly told us to put it away and paid for the whole thing herself. How kind is that!? Faith was once again restored in humanity.
Matt, our friend, and I headed to Tokyo! One night, we went to a foreigner bar for a Couchsurfing event. After several minutes, we ended up talking to a Japanese girl. We all hung out outside of a convenience store (how do we always end up there?) and she suggested for us to go to a club called Womb in the Shibuya area. So, the three of us (our new friend unfortunately didn't want to go to a club that night, so she didn't join us) went to Womb.
When we got to Womb, I complimented the bouncer on his lovely tie and he enjoyed my compliment so much, he gave us all discounts on the entrance fee! Instead of $30 for the boys, they only had to pay $10! Being a female, I got in for free. Ha! See? Being kind pays off!
This club has two (maybe three?) different floors, each for a different music type. There was a hip-hop floor (like radio crap) and a techno floor. Since we're all techno fans, we headed there. The DJ there was amazing. He was playing the techno music we liked the most. There were dancers on stage as well, handing out giant glow sticks. It was a seriously wonderful time!
Then, an American DJ came on and, just like in America, he disappointed everyone. I mean, he really sucked. So, we ended up leaving the club and wandering around the area.
Nightlife rating: awesome! More expensive for sure, but definitely fun!
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Matt and I spent a few days in Montreal, and we really loved it there. We went to a bar called Sir Winston Churchill Pub to watch a playoff hockey game. We ordered some drinks and a platter of cheese and it was scrumptious! We felt ultra fancy that evening. We left the bar at the end of the game and wandering around the area a bit.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to experience much more nightlife there than that, but we will one day!
Nightlife rating: alright. We wish we were able to see and do more, but it was a bit pricey from what we did see and do. We definitely do want to go back though because it was such a beautiful city!
Overall nightlife ranking:
#1- Seoul, South Korea-- Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
#3- Japan (mainly because of the pricing)
#4- Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Wine of choice for this podcast: Sibilia - Vino Rosso (Italy)