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Review: Accommodations in Seoul, South Korea

There are a number of places you can stay at: hotels, guesthouses, apartments or even home stay. If you are on a budget, I would suggest staying at a guesthouse or rent a room in someone's apartment or home stay. Home stay is a rather new initiative by Korean Tourism Organization; you get to experience the Korean culture and lifestyle by living with a Korean family. This is highly recommended if you want to fully experience the culture; unfortunately I didn't managed to book one during my travel dates so I shall try this the next time I visit.

As mentioned in my earlier post on budget travel to Seoul, I stayed at two different locations & places (guesthouse & apartment) in order to make full use of my time in Seoul to do a comparison and review. Throughout the trip, I was planning on the posts to update on my blog to help new travelers. There is just so much to write so if you have any questions or you wish to know more about a certain post, feel free to email me or leave a comment below! :)

For those who didn't know, I stayed in Seoul for 14 days, a rather long trip to many but I wanted to do things at my own pace so I only planned to visit one part of South Korea. Hopefully in future, I have the time and money to visit the other parts too.
The first place I stayed at was Duri Guest House, conveniently located minutes away from Gyeongbokgung subway station. Side track a little, one thing that I didn't expect, because no one ever mentions it, is the amount of stairs you have to climb in Korea! No wonder the ladies in Korea have beautiful long legs, must be the result of all those climbing exercise. I guess I am too used to using escalators in Singapore.

Not all of the subway stations in Seoul have escalators so be prepared to do alot of exercise in addition to all the walking you have to do at various attractions. Which leads me to my next point, the subway exit 2 at Gyeongbokgung station did not have escalators so we had to lug our luggage all the way up. It was fine on the first day because no shopping was done but on the day of departure, it was a disaster, thankfully a kind Korean guy helped my mum to carry the luggage down the long flight of stairs if not we will be struggling there for at least an hour with those heavy luggage.

Back to the review, the guesthouse was easy to locate and there were tons of restaurants and a convenient store in that area, so no worries about not having food to eat. We were there an hour early before check-in time and Mrs Yim was kind enough to keep our luggage at her place so that we could enjoy lunch elsewhere before checking in at a later timing.
Upon checking in, Mrs Yim showed us around the small guesthouse which consists of 9 single/twin-sharing rooms. Refrigerator, microwave and water dispenser are shared among all. Other than that, there will be a bathroom with water heater in each room so no need to share! :)
If you watched Korean dramas, you would have noticed that most of them slept on the floor and both of us wanted to have such an experience. Duri Guest House offers this at a price much lower than most guesthouses, approximately $55(45,000won) per night for twin-sharing. Plus, the room comes with toiletries, towels, free wifi and cable TV, where can you find such a great deal!

Mrs Yim also offers to wash your clothes at no extra charge but I would not recommend it as she accidentally bleached one of my mum's shirts and no apology was offered. Other than that and low ceilings, the stay was pleasant and I do recommend you to try this place. Do be careful of the low ceilings though, can't stand up straight if you're taller than 175cm!
Nine nights later, I moved to the second location that I found on Airbnb which was even cheaper at only $40 per night for twin-sharing. Without a doubt, the location was less accessible, about 15 minutes walk from Jeungsan subway station. This station is further from center of Seoul but closer to the airport, so I guess it isn't that bad. The place was like a mini apartment in the basement with kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. It was so much more spacious and we could do our own cooking if required.
Jenny, who was our host, was friendly and provided us with all the information we needed. No cleaning, towels, toiletries were provided though. The place seemed clean and tidy but there were quite a lot of flies and mosquitoes that we had to buy mosquito coil from Daiso to prevent more from getting into the place.
Both mum and me were pleased with the place but on our last day, there was a strange bug with multiple legs and it creeped us out even till today. We still have no idea how long it has been living there with us and what that insect is. Anyone who knows, please leave a comment in the box below!

At the end of the day, both hosts are equally friendly and offers to help with laundry, ordering of delivery, etc. If I had the chance to visit Seoul again, I would definitely choose Duri Guest House. It is more convenient to access different parts of Seoul and the rooms are cleaned on a daily basis. That's all for this post, will update with more posts about Seoul soon ;)


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