We have already tackled how to process our visa and book the cheapest possible flight, so what’s next? Accommodation.
This might be the most stressful part when it comes to preparing for any trip, and the fact that you’re a foreigner and don’t have any clue on where would be the best place to stay can be quite overwhelming. That’s why we will be premiering our Where To Stay In Korea series wherein we will showcase the various accommodations available in the country that will cater to your needs, personality, and budget.
For our first edition, we will be highlighting Airbnb Rentals. If you’re not familiar with it, it is basically an online marketplace that connects people who want to rent out their homes with people who are looking for accommodations in that area. It is becoming quite popular within the tourists’ community as they are looking for other alternatives aside from hotels.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of things, we first need to know what Airbnb has to offer. When you visit their website, they will filter everything from where you have decided to stay, when will you check-in and check-out, and how many adults and children in your group. From there, they will be recommending thousands of rental homes that might be of your liking.
It’s like real estate, where you’re going to choose your forever home, but in this case, it’s only your crib for a week or so. Most pictures are professionally photographed and you can kind of visualize what it looks like even before you get there.
It will indicate if the property is available as an entire apartment, the entire house, or how many beds are available, etc. Everything already comes with their rate per night that is displayed usually in US dollars, but you can customize it according to the currency you’re using.
The unique feature they have which I think helps with the decision making is the way that the ratings are completely transparent and dependent on the reviews of the previous tenants. You will see all kinds of comments, may it be their best or worst experience. As a beginner, I recommend those with Superhost status, as they are the ones who are tried and tested when it comes to over-the-top hospitality and cleanliness of the place.
As you click on each property that interests you, it will give you a more in-depth description of the place, booking guidelines, and payment details. It shows you the exact location, how many guests can be accommodated, how many beds in a bedroom, how many bathrooms, etc.
There is a template where the host will check the available amenities they offer like wifi, dryer, iron, and many more. This is also where you’ll see the physical review of each guest according to the check-in experience, communication with the host, cleanliness, accuracy of the details mentioned beforehand, location, and value for the place.
When it comes to payment, they usually accept credit or debit cards. You can easily input your payment details before you make a reservation. You may check their other Payment Methods here.
The website is easy to navigate and user-friendly, that’s why it’s gaining followers all over the world. But let’s proceed and discuss the pros and cons of staying in an Airbnb:
♥ KITCHEN AMENITIES: If you’re on a budget, cooking would definitely save you a ton instead of eating out. This is what makes Airbnb stand out from other lodging options because they usually have a kitchen where you can experiment with local cuisines and make them your own version. It is also convenient to have a cup, basic utensils, and even a knife on hand.
♥ FAMILY FRIENDLY: There are instances where a place can only accommodate up to only 2 people, but most properties welcome up to 16+ guests.
One of our dilemmas, whenever we have to book a place, is it’s only limited to two per room, and if you’re with family or friends it’s a hassle to divide the rooms among yourselves rather than having to stay at a private house where you can enjoy fellowship together.
Mostly for Asian families, it’s a must to bring your grandma, your nanny, your uncle, and your pet when you plan vacations. We just love being together and having reunions most of the time, and this kind of feature will definitely lower the cost down as opposed to letting’s say booking 10 hotel rooms situated on different floors.
♥ PET-FRIENDLY: If you’re an animal lover like me, you know that our pets are considered family. There’s a bunch of hotels I have contacted before that literally don’t want to be involved with our babies with four paws. When I found out that Airbnb has this feature, it automatically won my heart. Some hosts actually welcome your furry friends, because most of the time they also have pets residing in the property (which I don’t mind at all).
♥ PERSONAL TOUCH FROM HOSTS: This is where real hospitality kicks in and what sets Airbnb apart from well-known establishments, in my opinion. When I travel, I like to soak myself in the country’s culture and one way to do that is actually having a local friend.
Since this type of setup is more personalized than hotels, the owners are much involved in making sure that their guests are pampered. Some of them even offer to tour you around, host your last dinner for your stay, and leave local snacks before you leave. They can also be reached immediately if you have any concerns.
× INFORMATION ACCURACY: As much as I’m hands down to Airbnb, there’s still no guarantee that what you see in the pictures is what you get. As I’ve told you, most of them hired professional photographers to make the property more appealing.
In that case, the photo might be distorted to look bigger than what it usually is, or they can alter the surroundings to look brighter. There are just a lot of individual hosts and you just have to depend on the reviews if they’re honest with the information they’re disclosing to you.
× FEES AND REQUIRED MINIMUM OF STAYS: This is something that might turn off possible guests as some listings do require a minimum number of stays before you book with them. For those that are planning for a week’s stay, it might not be a big of a deal, but if you’re just planning on staying for a night before you hop on to the next itinerary then that might be a problem.
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× LACK OF PRIVACY: This one is debatable depending on the type of property. There are some that just offer you a room to rent, which means you have to live with other people within the house. Another scenario would be some accommodations require you to have a curfew just because it’s required to in their subdivision. That’s why it’s important to disclose this with your host to avoid potential misunderstandings.
Top 5 Instagrammable Airbnb Listings: Where To Stay In Korea
Now that we have learned the basics, let’s go on to some Airbnb recommendations. I’ve chosen 5 UNIQUE accommodations to host you on your South Korea trip. There are more listed on their website that I suggest you check out, but these are my personal favorites as they are one-of-a-kind and Instagrammable as well.
Airbnb Listing: 경복궁 한옥- Gyeongbokgung Palace Central Seoul(독채)
Hanok, or Korean traditional house, is one of the places you would want to stay while in Korea. This particular listing is located in Jongno-gu, houses up to 3 guests and has 1 bedroom and bath.
It is walking distance from Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is one of the five palaces in downtown Seoul. Three minutes is all it takes to get to the nearest subway station. It costs approximately $115 per night.
Airbnb Listing: Feel the exotic vibe in hongdae!
Located in Mapo-gu, it offers 2 bedrooms with 3 beds in total for 5 guests. It comes with self-check-in, meaning you don’t have to wait for your host and just have to use the keypad.
The owner knows English as well, so you won’t have a hard time communicating. It is close to shopping streets and famous stores, and only 7 minutes from station exit 9. The place also boasts of very reliable and fast wifi which keeps you connected and updated with your Instagram stories. You can stay here for only $31 per night.
Beach House in Jeonju
Airbnb Listing: 안노이에(annoie)
This beach house can be found at Wansan-gu, Jeonju good for 2 guests. If you want to be one with nature, surrounded by crisp white linen, and exposed wooden beams then this might be your next Instagram shot. It is a newly reinterpreted house with built-in architecture from the 1930s that gives a modern but traditional flair to it. It comes with a stunning $123 per night.
Designer Studio Sokcho
Airbnb Listing: Designer’s private studio : 무어든 스튜디오
This Designer Studio in Sokcho can accommodate 2 guests and has a bedroom with a fantastic sea view. It is only 5 minutes from Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal by taxi. The owner is an interior designer and this is her private studio which is evident with all her souvenirs from past travels. Take note that their check-in time is 3 pm and check out at 11 am. This comes with a tag price of $99 per night.
Airbnb Listing: Hamlet & Olive Hamlet & Olive
This might be your normal house in Chuncheon, but what makes it special are the sceneries surrounding it which makes a good candidate for an Instagram post.
It can house 4 guests in a detached building located on the hillside behind Kim Yu-jeong Literary village. The property is overlooking Samaksan Mountain with a view of the beautiful sunset. Don’t forget to make use of their barbecue grill available on the terrace for an additional 10,000 won for charcoal. Enjoy this place for only $64 a night.
That concludes our Where to Stay in Korea: Airbnb edition. What do you think of it? Have you had any experiences with Airbnb before?
Make sure to follow our Facebook page and HabKorea.net for our next Where to Stay in Korea series. Coming up next is Where to Stay in Korea: Hostels and Guesthouses.