Cults in Korea

Cults in Korea exist! In this post, I’ll share you my experience about it. I’m writing this as a warning for tourists.

A couple of Koreans might stop you on the street and say that they’re on their way to special Korean cultural event. They’ll ask you to join them so you can do cultural things like eating Korean food and wearing hanbok.

Traditional Wedding at Korean Folk Village

They may also tell you that they offer free Korean lessons. (It’s the MO of a cult in Chungju which many expats encountered.)

Don’t go with them. There are lots of cults in Korea. The target of these cults are foreigners (young women who are new to Korea).  Many expats claimed that they were stopped multiple times by the same people in the past weeks.

The original poster of this warning said that her friend almost ended up with an old Korean guy in this weird traditional wedding type ceremony. As I was reading the comments, some girls said that it also happened to them in Hongik (Hongdae), Sinchon, Myeongdong, Gangnam, Jamsil, Sadang, and Wangsimni. (I’ve read these comments in the group Expat Women in Korea)

I personally experience this in Taerung while I was attending the Rose Festival last year.I was wandering alone when some of these Ajummas offered me water. It was hot that time so I politely accept the cold water. They asked me to sit down and to watch a video about “God the Mother”. It wasted 10 minutes of my life. LOL. In the end, they gave me a free transparent soap with flowers inside. I have a strong faith in God and those stuff won’t shake me.

Anyway, you can check out this discussion in Reddit.


  1. Had a similar experience with the unification church in Hongdae last year! Totally scary when it happened, glad I read this when I did!

    1. Hi Jeana! I’m glad that this article helped you. We really need to be vigilant when traveling.

  2. I experienced something like this too! One time I was walking alone at Hongdae, when I was approached by two young adults. I thought they look like university students. The girl asked questions about my and why I’m in Korea, etc. etc. And she offered to share some information about Korean Thanksgiving Day. I told they I was busy and I had to plan to go somewhere else, but she said, sometimes, people change plans when they decide to do something new. I said No, but she insisted and tried to convince me and told me again she really wanted to show me about their Thanksgiving culture. I politely left them and said I have no time for this.

  3. Thanks for the information,glad I happened to open your blog and read this..I will be travelling with my daughter there hopefully this July.

  4. Thanks ate Karla.. Last December when we were outside gyeongbokgung palace, an old man with a red envelope and an antique necklace approached us, giving us those things, I just waved no and walked away really fast. Thank God we are always covered and protected.

  5. THIS happened to me too! I was approached twice in one day even! I was walking in Hongdae near Hongik Uni when a couple approached me and invited me to their cultural event where they would eat Korean food. I was able to shake them after they followed me. The second time a girl approached me and asked to complete a survey about Americans. NOPE.

  6. THIS happened to me too! I was approached twice in one day even! I was walking in Hongdae near Hongik Uni when a couple approached me and invited me to their cultural event where they would eat Korean food. I was able to shake them after they followed me. The second time a girl approached me and asked to complete a survey about Americans. NOPE.

  7. Buti di talaga ako sumama jan. Last thurday habang naglalakad ako mag isa just infront of Deoksugung palace may bglang nag approach saking lalake at nagpakilala na teacher daw sya ng isang university at may kasama syang isang girl. Nung una kala k tourist din sila tapos sabi korean daw sila. Inaaya ako sa isang thanksgiving daw with free food, cultural experience, wearing of hanbok and picture taking. Explain nya pa madami daw tourist na pumupunta dun at hindi raw yun related sa any religion. He keep insisting na sumama ako sa kanila 10 minutes by subway lng daw ung location . Nag rason na lang ako na hahanapin ako ng mga kasama ko pag sumama ko sa kanila pero pilit pa rin sya ng pilit kaya lumayo na lng ako sknila kasi natakot din ako na baka di na ko makauwi ng pinas pag sumama ko.

  8. It happened to me once. I was asked by a Korean young guy for help to complete a survey, when I asked what the survey was about he said it was for his personal understanding of foreign cultures. Anyways I thought that was only a pick up line cause right after he invited me for coffee, we bought something at Starbucks and then he started saying that he can feel my energy is not aligned and that I have to go with him to a special ceremony to realign my energy. It sounded as a planned rape to me so of course I didn’t go, but he kept insisting until I started walking away and he was following me until I said that I will call the police if he doesn’t leave me alone. Weird!

  9. I’ve been into this situation as well.. a tall guy in early 20’s approached me accompanied by an ajuma both were koreans..they tried to persuade me to come to this so called cultural thing where according to them we’ll be able to watch play showcasing their cultural attire and said food is free..its tempting ???????? my mind says but even though i still refused to follow them but somehow they insist that time i became curious and suddenly made an exucses ..i said im a tourist and Im looking for my friends who went shopping around the area (dongdaemon ) and were getting late this was the last day of our journey here in korea..and we need to get back to the hotel to pack our things..that!! They went away…

  10. I think I experienced this yesterday on our way to Gyeongbokgyung palace coming from Anguk station Exit 1. A guy approached us inviting for a traditional Korean experience. He said that we just need to get a subway going there that would take about 35min including the ceremony (he will let us eat traditional Korean food and the ‘proper’ way of eating and other things). I think he mentioned we will be meeting someone as well since he refer to ‘him’ when he mentioned it.

  11. I’d almost experienced the same, Ate Karla. Once habang gumagala ako mag-isa within Insadong Main Street, there were these Koreans inviting me for some cultural experience like what you’ve mentioned about eating Korean food and sorts, in exchange of a few donation.

    It happened to me twice and good thing, adopting my Pinoy instincts against holdups and other threats, I refused them before its too late.

  12. If im not mistaken the one approached you are member of World Mission Soceity of Church of God because I experience the same thing apparantly they are all over philippines now and in fact the religion started in korea (the place of second coming of Christ as per the their interpretation of bible verses).

    They belived in God the Father but also the Mother because as per “Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them .” If he created mankind in his own image why there are females? because God is a male right then they have a point that there must been an female God with other supporting verses. I finish their lesson until the “3 Beast in Revelation” but I stopped going. Its really interesting because they interpret all the bible verses relating it to the world event, I guest it just a matter if you want to live by the law of the holy bible strictly or not to. But they nice people they help community with their thites.????

    They are so persistent because they believe as per bible that the end is near. They live by the law of the Bible.

  13. I had experienced this as well, I was new in Korea back then.. They knocked on our door and at that time we were expecting a guess so I opened it.. When I realized that they weren’t whom we were expecting, they forced themselves to get in.They came in a group of 4 middle aged woman. They were very diligent and even helped themselves in the kitchen like, as if they own the house, made their own coffee while the others are luring me into reading their own Bible..I thought it was weird, but since I was new, they managed to convinced me to visit their church.. It was my first time to enter their church and I felt extremely weird.. I wanted to leave but things went very fast.. I just found my self being pushed in a room the ladies even helped me undressed and put on a white robe, and was presented to their leader who was also wearing a white robe in another room where they saoked me in a bath tub as they perform their freaky ritual. After that, they made me write my name in some kind of a thick book in front of the altar and their applause of celebration really gave me a goose bumps.. They then proceeded on teaching me the Bible Wich really contradict to what I’ve learned.. Getting away from them was never easy.. I swear I did runaway like a fugitive from them.. They would come banging our door forcing me to open it and attend to their church.. so creepy.. The only thing that stopped them was when I let them in and made clear that I am allowing them to stepped in the house in one condition.. They can come in but I will do the preaching, They should listen to my preaching not me listening to them.. They agreed but as soon as they found out that I am a born again Christian.. They never came back hunting me..

  14. Oh wow, this is just creepy. It’s something I could have fallen for, so thanks for the info.
    It saddens me though that more and more people seem to be distrustful. What’s happening to the world? 🙁

  15. That “God the Mother” thingy is also present here in the Philippines… They even have a church here… Last year two filipinas approached me talking about that…but i gave them excuses that i badly need to go home already… And one of my friends attended their church to check on what they do… She said that koreans brought that religion in here and all i know is that their teachings are not what the bible says and they are all false teaching… But i also know a koreans that are Christians and they are very friendly and kind… Just sharing hehehe… And thanks for the info ate karla… God Bless????

  16. OMG! I thought ako lang naka-experience nito! When I went there last September, a guy and girl approached me while I was wandering around Hongdae. There were inviting me to go to somewhere where I could experience the Korean tradition daw. Buti nalang I told them na I was busy that day, pero since ako lang isa, medyo duda sila. Pinilit ng pinilit nila ako and they even asked for my Kakao ID. Binigay ko nalang para di nila ako kulitin tapos sabi ko punta ako bukas, pero di ko na nireplyan.

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