All Aboard! Exploring Korea's tea culture in Insadong

In Insadong, tucked away behind the colourful market shops and street vendors selling fried doughnuts filled with red bean and cinnamon, there is the entrance to one of Seoul’s coziest tea houses.

Open the door to escape the winter chill, and you find yourself inside a 1940’s locomotive train, complete with railway tracks, plush red velvet train car seats and tray tables. There is even a luggage rack, strewn with suitcases reminiscent of a bygone era. The centre of the tea house is like a fancy dining car, with draped silks and large wooden tables and benches. Our seats were two of several that lined the periphery of the Tea Train; cozy, quiet nooks perfect for an afternoon escape from the bitter Korean winter.

Our tea arrived in large ceramic cups, full to the brim with a steaming, aromatic blend of cinnamon topped with thin slices of almond.

To find it, take Line 3 to Anguk and walk out exit 6. From here it’s about a 1 minute walk to Insadong’s main shopping street. This tea house is on the right, towards the end. Keep an eye out; you won’t want to miss this train! ^^