A Decade Late for Coffee Prince’s Sanmotoonge Cafe

I can’t remember a time when I got so engrossed with a Korean drama. While everyone talks about K-dramas that invaded the world (hmmm… a little bit of exag here!), I have nothing to contribute. I can’t even say the actors’ names without checking the net. And I can’t put a face and a name together. Not even the names of the actors and actresses in the movie “The Taste of Money” where my eldest son had a small part. Oh well, at least I can associate the name Lee Min Ho’s with the right face. But I don’t think he is the hottest right now. K-drama fans have moved on to the actor in “Descendants of the Sun”.

So when some friends and I went to explore the Baeksasil Valley at the Boam-dong area, we found a gem of a place called Sanmotoongi (산모퉁이). Turned out, this cafe was used as one of the location for the 2007 Korean drama “Coffee Prince”. Thus, the signage at the entrance:

I thought it was used as a cafe in the “Coffee Prince”. Curiosity got the better of me and I watched episodes of this Korean drama. The bike was a big presence in the drama and this quaint location wasn’t a coffee shop. It was used as a house of one of the actors.

Sanmotoongi Cafe was used as a house in “The Coffee Prince”

And there’s the added charm of the yellow car.

The charming yellow car with the Bukhansan backdrop

Aside from its facade, you won’t miss Sanmotoongi because of this charming yellow car. And on a clear day (it was a little bit foggy when we were there), I could easily imagine the majestic backdrop that is Bukhansan and the Seoul City Wall that serves as one of the trails going up to its peak. How lucky could the owner get if this is a house instead of a cafe. One will be spoiled with the beauty of nature around. And how!

There was no way we could miss this window and its Autumn leaves:

Let’s try Romeo & Juliet

I played Juliet, why not! The window was just too romantic to let pass.

This staircase leads to more coffee tables (used as a spacious lawn in the drama):

girlfriends can’t resist

Again, I am amazed at how these location places are being turned into touristy spots. I just love the way Koreans maximize a place’s potential. Sanmotoongi maintains its connection with the (almost) decade-old drama. In my case, I had to watch the drama because of this newly-discovered cafe. Whichever case it is, Korea wins!

Sharing a few interesting things at the cafe:

post box
lamp post?



Each of us got coffee and to our surprise, we paid for a very expensive cup. Americano costs 7,000-won. Others had their lattes and cappuccinos. I didn’t check the exact price but they are definitely a thousand or two more expensive than mine. Oh well, we enjoyed the view and the ambiance so think along that line when you visit the cafe. Just take lots of photos and it’s gonna be worth more than what you paid for your coffee.

I’m not so good with directions, especially when I was an eager follower that day of our Baeksasil adventure (Sanmotoongi was more of a side trip) but here’s one I copied from the internet:

Address : 97-5 Buam-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Location : Seoul-si > All Area
[Subway] Line 3 at Gyeongbokgung station, exit 3.

Take bus # 7022, 7212 or 1020 and get off at Buam-dong Jumin Center.

If this doesn’t help, the internet is full of resources.

If you have already visited, how was your visit and what’s your favourite corner there?

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24 thoughts on “A Decade Late for Coffee Prince’s Sanmotoonge Cafe

    1. Hahaha! Yap, he was in this movie called “A Taste of Money” which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. He had a small role but it was a great confidence-booster experience for him.

  1. Such a cute cafe! I just love the exterior and it looks like a place to have a nice and relaxing time. I actually have not seen a K-drama from beginning to end yet…. I don’t have cable and typically stream American shows to watch lol

  2. Oh wow, this is indeed a gem. Every filming location of a Korean Drama or movie is a gem, people even go to Korea just to visit the locations, and Korea is taking advantage of the people’s interest. For me, even if this was not used as one of the locations of Coffee Prince, I still like it and will still visit this someday if I have time and a chance because I like where it is located, I like the ambiance and of course, the window. hahaha… I don’t mind paying extra price for the drinks.

  3. This is so cool! Sadly the photos didn’t load for me no matter how many times I reloaded. How interesting though because I’ve read quite a few posts about this place but I never knew that the coffee shop was filmed as the actor’s house, not just as a coffee shop. What a lovely post, thanks for sharing! Learned something new again 🙂

  4. Isn’t it interesting how we stumble into things that lead to albums, movies or in your case, K-dramas? I also haven’t caught the bug to get into dramas but had I found the charming coffee shop, I suspect I also would have grown curious to check it out!

  5. The place looks adorable! Isn’t it interesting how we stumble into things that lead to albums, movies or in your case, K-dramas? I also haven’t caught the bug to get into dramas but had I found the charming coffee shop, I suspect I also would have grown curious to check it out!

  6. I’ve never watched a Korean Drama before. It’s really exciting to see a place in real life after seeing it on TV or in a movie. That’s how I felt when I visited San Francisco and NYC.

  7. What a darling little cafe you found! I am a sucker for quaint coffee shops and the exterior would have captivated me as well. I probably would have ignored anything it had said about it being related to a K-Drama (I too don’t know much despite having lived in Korea for few years) although it takes away bit of the charm of it being a “hidden gem.” I’m also surprised this is found in Seoul considering that gorgeous backdrop.

    1. Oh the Bukhansan backdrop is really gorgeous. Sanmotoonge has the best spot up there. Incidentally, I read that Sanmotoonge means “in a corner of a mountain”.

  8. I must say I’m a bit of a follower of anythign touristy haha! The coffee shop looks so cute and quaint! I dont stay in Seoul but when we do go up there we always look for something exciting to do! This place sounds lovely!

  9. I love Buamdong! There’s good hiking on the fortress wall and AMAZING fried chicken in that area too! We love the views at Sanmotoongi, glad you visited! Better late than never! Also, it’s so awesome that your oldest son was in a movie!

    1. We’re looking at hiking the Seoul City Wall soonest. And yes, the fried chicken was what my friends kept talking about when we went back there this Wednesday.

  10. Very cool post! I haven’t actually watched any Korean dramas (oh the shame!) but love how big of a hit they are here. I also think it’s really cool that they filming locations become touristy spots, I find it very charming! Great photos and clear directions – thanks for sharing 🙂

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