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As prostitution is illegal in South Korea, the sex industry in Seoul is as creative as other Asian and Western capitals when it comes to creating legitimate shop fronts for illicit activities. Brothels in Seoul that masquerade as massage parlours are as common as in places like Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. In this guide, we take a look at erotic massage in Seoul or anma and let you know what to expect. Also known as anma, navigating the world of massage in South Korea is a lot like any other country.
There are places where massage is advertised but is either a body treatment spa or sports masseur. In this instance, a single pole is likely to be a rub and tug only with two poles potentially offering full service. Two poles outside and you can expect a good service. Image via Flickr. Alternatively, if you are having trouble finding a suitable place then ask the locals for a tukitang which is a rub and tug massage. Such places generally have signs in English on their doors stating that non-Koreans are not welcome.
Hooker Hill is a good place to start but you can read our full guide to the red-light areas of South Korea here. As with anywhere, it really depends on where you go and what kind of service you are hoping for. There are some budget places as well as some top-end parlours with the best-looking girls working for them.
When you visit a massage parlour that provides full service you will be charged a rate for your room which usually includes some liquid refreshment and possibly some fruit or nibbles. Once you are shown to a room, the available ladies will be paraded in for you to select from, much like a traditional brothel line-up. If you go to the right areas around Seoul you can find a massage parlour on most street corners though in some areas foreigners are more welcome than most.
The city of Seoul changes shape after dark and you can find plenty of adult entertainment. The best spots to go are in Itaewon where you can get a pretty standard service but are usually made welcome as a foreigner.