Monday, February 7, 2011

What to check when checking in

One of the greatest things about travelling in Korea is the abundant supply of affordable accommodation. If you don't understand Korean then it is best to not book in advance.

Often online accommodation that is in English is overpriced. What you pay online is still cheap but you can get similar accommodation for a better price if you scout out places while on foot.

There are numerous types of accommodation available, these include
  • Hotels: Often the most upmarket and expensive option, these are available at hot tourist spots like Nami Island. They are also the most luxurious.
  • Pensions: Almost on the same level as a hotel but with more of a Korean, as opposed to western vibe. In a pension you will more than likely have a flat screen TV, bath (a huge commodity in Korea) and internet facilities.
  • Love Motel: These are the most accessible type of accommodation. This is what Oliver and I most often are looking at paying between 30,000W - 60,000W. There is a shower, a TV and occasionally communal internet services.
  • Minbak: This is about as cultural as you can get. You pay minimal amounts to stay with a Korean family in their home. Although affordable many expats complain about the curfew and movement restrictions with this option.
  • Hostel: Very cheap and if you are not someone who is deeply attached to privacy this option could be best for you. If you are travelling in large groups you could take up a whole dorm if your lucky.
  • Jimjilbang: Again, extremely cheap. You stay at one of Korea's bathhouses. You sleep on the floor and use a wooden block as your pillow. You can get away with paying as little as 7,000W. What a bargain! Again, not for those that are deeply in love with privacy.

As a couple, Oliver and I found the love motels to be our best option...not because of love making per se but because it proved to be the most flexible and most affordable when two people were sharing the room.

We needed the room for very little other than sleeping and storing our stuff in.

However, our extensive travel in Korea has taught has that some important questions need to be asked before taking the offer.

If you can't speak Korean prepare yourself for a lot of hand gestures and confused faces.

 Firstly, before agreeing to prices ask to see the room. Sometimes you will be amazed and more often than not you will see a clean room that is perfect for a short stay.

 Once you know you are happy with the state of the room ask if they have a don’t want to be caught out in the cold.

If you have a bigger party, 3 or 4 people, ask if you can put everyone in the same room. Some places will agree to have more people in one room for the same price. In that case, they just give you a floor mat. But it works out to be a very cheap option.

If you are happy with everything take it! But don't be afraid to shop around. In any given place there is generally the accommodation district with tons of motels piled next to another. Competition is fierce so if you are not happy with the proposed price shop around. Oliver and I found a great little place in Seoul for only 30,000W where as many other places ask for more than 50,000W. There are always bargains to be found!!!

Oh, and always remember to ask for a business card so that if you need to get back using a taxi all you do is show the man behind the wheel your card!

  Post by Claudia


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