I don't mind eating weird foods, confronting wild animals or venturing beyond the frontiers of western civilisation. But I have always drawn the line at karaoke.

Maybe it's because my singing is so bad that my children have been known to throw cold water over the top of the shower to stop my warbling (though they now deny it). Whatever the reason, I have never been to a karaoke bar and I've always sworn that if by some mischance I did find myself in one I would never, ever get up and sing.

So, when our Korean guide Honey took us out into Jeju City one night in search of karaoke, I resisted strongly. "You must try karaoke," she insisted. "It is part of our culture. It is what we do when we go out. If you want to understand Korea you have to try this."

The two Fins, the Russian, the Australian and the Chinese-American were keen, so I reluctantly agreed to follow along provided I didn't have to sing.

Honey led us to an office block in the middle of town and we took a lift to the seventh floor which was labelled "Singing room." There we found, not a karaoke bar, but an entire floor of sound-proofed singing rooms, one of which we hired for two hours.

Drinking in such places is, apparently, illegal. It is also, apparently, expected. Our hostess brought us a black bag full of chilled cans and a tray of large plastic tumblers, but she insisted the cans be poured out immediately so she could take them away, just in case there was a police raid.

Initially no one was very keen to perform. During one of the long gaps, the Chinese-American, who had been here before, said, "Come on, if we were Korean everyone would want the mike, people would be fighting over it, liven up."

Gradually things did liven up - though most of the offerings sounded pretty bad to me - until finally there was only one person who hadn't performed and the pressure came on.

"Why did you come if you don't want to sing?" asked Honey. The Chinese-American poured me another can of beer. One of the Fins selected the Beatles' Yellow Submarine and said, "This must be right for you." And I gave in.

I took the mike, stared at the screen and started, "In the town where I was born ..." It wasn't great but I didn't think it was too awful either. Then the karaoke machine gave my score: 97, the highest of the night so far. Cue applause. I was a star. "You are a very sexy guy," said Honey, obviously overcome by my singing.

Soon afterwards I found myself up again for "With a little help from my friends." Then I joined the Chinese-American for "Hard day's night." I was trying to find "Norwegian wood" when, fortunately, our time ran out.

The next morning I couldn't believe it happened. But the others confirmed it had. So, if you're planning to go to Korea, be warned. They'll try to take you to karaoke. And it's dangerously addictive.