Recently we’ve been travelling a lot through Korea and we’ve had the opportunity to look at the variety of accommodations available.
Today I will be discussing my own experiences and preferences. I know that a lot of people like to go to jimjibangs for 2 main reasons… Number one, its very Korean, and if you’re looking for a truly Korean experience then go for it. Secondly, its very cheap, for around 15,000 Korean Won you can use their sauna’s hot tubs and even sleep there. This is obviously a very cheap choice if you’re looking for somewhere to spend the night.
Last year on New Years Eve, we decided to go to Seoul for the day. We planned to do some shopping in Myong-dong and then go for a late lunch at Braai republic in Itaewon, We would then go back to the bus terminal and go home. BUT… we sort of forgot that is was New Years Eve and that people like to travel on holidays like these in Korea. Therefore the earliest that we could go home was 10 am the next morning. So now we had to find a place to stay for the night. We’re not really that familiar with Seoul or Gangnam for that matter. The closest hotel was inside the Gangnam Express terminal complex. This hotel is JW Marriots. So a small outing cost us much more than we expected. There’s not much I can say about Marriott that you don’t know already. It is a 5 star hotel with a gym and dining area. You can have dinner for 95,000 Korean won per person and breakfast for around 45,000. Everything was clean and we had a lovely view of the city. Although the room was kind of small for a Hotel room we had a bath and big screen TV, which is pretty much standard for hotels. This room cost us 358,000 Korean won for the night.
About a month ago we had to go to the South African embassy in Seoul. this meant that we had to sleep over in Seoul on a Sunday night to be able to go to the embassy and catch a 2 hour bus ride in order to be at work at 1 o’clock on Monday. We didn’t want to spend too much money because this was not a pleasure trip but rather ‘business’. We booked into a place that said Hotel. It even had breakfast included. When we got there it wasn’t really a Hotel, it was more like a hostel with separate rooms. It occupied the 16th floor of one of the buildings next to a Hotel. Not really what we expected I might add. The room was quite small which was OK but my biggest problem was that the walls were dirty, the toilet didn’t work and the pillow cases and sheets had dirty brown spots… and this wasn’t part of the décor I can assure you. This to me meant that they didn’t replace the sheets. The price for this hotel was 65,000 Korean won
Then a few weeks ago we went to Busan to see what it looks like there, unfortunately we had to change our travel plans and go a few weeks earlier than expected which means that most of the nice hotels and motels were already fully booked. We had to opt for a Love Motel. My biggest problem here was the location, and the fact that we had to witness another couple doing their business in the building across from us. Otherwise the price was low, we received clean towels and robes everyday. There was a huge bathtub which, if you live in Korea, you know that this is not to be taken for granted. Everything was clean and we had a very nice time there. This love motel cost us around 100,000 Korean won/ night.
Although the Love Motels aren’t really my scene we’ve booked into another one this coming weekend when we are visiting my brother in Busan.
Additionally to these 2 experiences I have learned that booking early is key and that there are very nice options if you book in advance. Places like Busan and Seoul have a lot of hotels. there is also the airbnb option. With this option you can stay in a fully furnished apartment with a kitchen for your holiday or weekend. The prices are really reasonable and you can look at what the apartments have to offer by doing the virtual tour. These apartments range anything from 50,000- 300,000 Korean won