During my time living in Namwon, one of the more adventurous trips I took was visiting Enrogel Teapot Café, which was quite literally in the middle of nowhere. I was reminded of just how remote it was on a more recent trip with friends, and I thought I’d do a little update for you guys!
Back in the day, one of my favorite blogs to read for places to visit in the Korean countryside was Seoul State of Mind. Despite the name, he actually lived in Gwangju originally, which meant many of the places he visited weren’t too far from me. I remember first seeing images of this turquoise teapot and thinking I had to figure out how to get there.
On my first visit in fall of 2015, I managed to convince Maggie and her friend to join me one afternoon; none of us quite expecting it to be the expensive journey it wound up being. We took a bus from Namwon to Gwangju, and then managed to get a taxi out to Enrogel by showing him the address. Even from Gwangju, the taxi ride was a little over 30 minutes, which meant we got there just in time to get some evening shots before it got too dark. Oh, and we paid about $80 altogether for the ride there and back. Oops.
Now, in my original post, I said that while I thought the cafe was one of the most unique places I’d visited in Korea, I didn’t think it quite worth the hassle of public transport or, you know, paying $80 in taxis. It’s literally near nothing and, as anyone knows, the countryside in late fall/early winter isn’t exactly the most scenic area around. The leaves have fallen, everything looks pretty dead, and it’s cold but not cold enough for snow.
Which is why when I was in Jeolla again for the cherry blossom season, I thought it’d be perfect timing to head back. After all, the cafe was surrounded by cherry blossom trees, so at least we’d get both nature and a quirky spot to visit. Stacey was keen, and we got two of her friends to join us for an early April drive out of Suncheon.
Unfortunately, I’d forgotten just how different Jeollabuk and Jeollanam’s weather can be despite being neighboring provinces. While Suncheon was warm and the cherry blossoms were getting ready to peak, Jeollabuk was still quite cold and the trees very much bare. Turns out Jangseong county in early April looks pretty similar to what it does in late November!
Still, it was a fun trip, and it was nice visiting the cafe again. Since it’s somewhat between Naejangsan and Damyang, I jotted it down for a potential spot on a fall Korean tour ;) And until that tour comes to be, here’s your guide to visiting if you want to visit yourself!
Enrogel Teapot Café
As you might guess, even now there’s not much online about Enrogel, and even less in English. I did read this article by 10 Magazine back in the day, but for some reason it doesn’t really come up on Google anymore.
Anyway, Enrogel was created by Lim Dong Hee, an artist who specializes in steel sculpting. You’ll notice this immediately as the surrounding yard for the cafe is filled with quirky sculptures and pieces.
The teapot cafe is his magnum opus, and he built it remotely because he wanted it to be so large. He’s been working on it since 2003, and it’s been open since 2006. As of my last visit, it’s still a work in progress as the cafe exterior hasn’t been fully tiled.
Inside the Cafe
While the teapot exterior is more whimsical, the interior is more… steampunk fantastical? Is that a thing? Everything inside it more of an art piece but instead of it being feminine or girly, it’s funky and quirky. Just take a look:
Pretty cool, huh? Like someone raided a junkyard for the most unique pieces and created this eclectic interior and then decided it ought to be a cafe!
Drinks & Food at Enrogel
Like with most cafes in Korea, Enrogel doesn’t have a food menu. Also if I remember correctly all the menus are only in Hangul, but they have all the typical lattes, coffees, and smoothies! Personally, I got a nice hot chocolate:
And the nice thing is the seating situation is cozy:
I’d come here with something to do. On our second trip, we added in stopping off at a temple on our way back to Suncheon, but if I was coming out here alone I’d bring my laptop or a book to read and relax for a bit.
How to Get to the Teapot Cafe
- Korean Name: 에느로겔
- Address: 전남 장성군 북하면 단풍로 1122 (우)57208
- Phone: 061-392-9300
Obviously, your best bet is to have a car and to drive. I’m warning you, the last leg is going to feel like you’re driving nowhere because of how isolated the cafe is.
Like I said on our first trip, we went to Gwangju and then got a taxi from there. On our way back, the cafe owner called a taxi for us, but you can also try using KakaoTaxi to call one. Trust me, they’re not going to drive by if you just try to wait.
If you don’t want to take a taxi and have a ton of time, then you’ll want to do the following:
- From the Gwangju U Square Bus Terminal, take a bus to Jangseong Bus Terminal (장성사거리버스여객터미널). This’ll be about 40 minutes.
- Exit the terminal and find the bus stop called: 서거리버스터미널 (Seogeori Bus Terminal). It should be right there.
- Get Bus 45 to a stop called 회룡마을 (Hoeryong Village). It’ll be 10 stops.
- If you’re facing the road, turn left and walk up to the T intersection and make a left. You should see a bus stop for 북하면사무소 (Bukhamyeon Office). Take Buses 36, 37, or 39 a bus stop called 풍기 (Punggi).
- Cross the road. Facing away from the road, you’ll want to go right and walk about 6 minutes until you see the teapot cafe.
I told you, it’s quite the mission! I’m not sure how frequent the local buses are either, but if it’s anything like Namwon’s countryside local buses, they are far and few in between.
And there you have it! All you need to know about visiting the quirky Enrogel Teapot Cafe out in the middle of nowhere! Have you been somewhere so unique? Let me know!
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Original: November 2015; Updated: April 2020
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