Cheongnyangni 588, also know by the Korean way of reading the numbers or “oh pal pal”, is a well known and rather obvious red light district in Seoul. 588 is accessed by going through exit 5 of Cheongnyangni Station, making a slight left and crossing over a side street.
Cheongnyangni 588 takes up a rather large area and contains numerous display windows that look a lot like the famous De Wallen redlight district in Amsterdam. Women sit dressed in nighties or bikinis in red lighting behind clear sliding glass doors while men stroll through the streets. There are usually only one or two women in each booth.
Most of the women at 588 are attractive but average by Korean standards. More than a few show signs of wear. Others show signs of obvious plastic surgery. A few women look absolutely stunning and there are also a handful of big girls around.
The women who work at Cheongnyangni 588 call out or wave to the guys they would like to take on as customers. For the most part this does not include foreigners. Women working at oh pal pal will usually just ignore foreigners.
A few women working 588 will accept foreign customers. A group of older overweight women working on the edge of the district go out of their way to signal to foreigners that they are open for business. Some of the better looking women may also accept a foreign customer from time to time if no one else is around to see it.
Once customers enter a room they quickly discuss prices and head through a door to a small room in back with a bed where services are provided. There are no set prices but 80,000 Won seems to be an average price for a short session of full service for those who are accepted. Condoms are usually used but some women will do some things or even everything without them especially with repeat customers who request that.
Curtains are pulled in front of the glass windows when women are busy. Sessions normally last fifteen minutes or less and customers are politely but swiftly shown the exit after completing. There are exceptions.
Cheongnyangni 588 is open throughout the day and night. During the early morning and daylight hours there are only a few women around. At night many more women show up though there are always some rooms that stay empty.
The streets are wide and open, regularly patrolled by police and fairly well lit for a redlight area. Problems are rare but there are reports of occasional fights sometimes even including foreigners.
A few elderly women work a corner of the district. They call passing foreigners in with broken English promises of sexy girls. Guys who follow these old bags through the alley and into a building with the idea that they are mamasans quickly find out that it is the grandmothers themselves offering services.
Here’s a map of Cheongnyangni 588.
Update: as reported here in September 2017, the 588 redlight district has been all but destroyed.