Remember when Kim Kardashian's hotel was robbed at gun-point few years ago? People were saying it was caused by posting too much information on social media. I think I really took this celebrity gossip seriously, especially whenever I am traveling solo!
Now, I only post room tours but without giving out vital details like exact address of where I am staying, and of course careful nadin na hindi mahagip my room number on my IG Story, etc. I also don't use geotags or geo locations when posting real-time. Do you have other precautions whenever you're on a solo trip?
When I posted my Seoul accommodation on my Instagram Story, I received a lot of messages asking about its exact location. I think the price really sparked interest (less than Php 1000 per night!), but I avoided answering inquiries right away and promised that I'll blog everything after the trip.
Finally! Now that I am back home, I can finally share to you my humble "home" in Seoul for winter 2020. I'll share all the details that I can remember, and then judge for yourself if it's a space that you can stay in or not. Here goes!
My Room Criteria for this Trip
When I booked my guesthouse for this trip, my goal was to get a place and neighborhood where I haven't stayed in yet para maiba and madaming bagong masarap idiscover everyday.
I also wanted to book ASAP para mas mura pa.
I also looked for a solo room because for sure with the longer travel duration I will need space and privacy to fix my luggage from time to time--something that I cannot do in a dorm or bunkbed accommodation I've stayed in before.
And lastly, with the longer duration I also hoped to get a cheap room so I'll have more money left for other things like tours and my daily allowance.
Where Did I Stay?
I think this is either my 2nd or 3rd time staying in one, but it's only during this trip that I discovered that they call my accommodation a GOSHIWON.
A goshiwon is a common accommodation in Korea, almost all neighborhoods and cities have one. It was said to be created for students looking for a more affordable room nearer their school, but cannot afford renting an apartment.
Most goshiwon price ranges from around Php 500 to 1000 per night, depending on its inclusions and location.
A goshiwon is a super tiny space, some rooms have its own toilet and shower, but I remember the one in Myeongdong where I stayed in last year, box room lang talaga siya! I had to go out of my room to take a bath or pee in the common restroom even if it's already 12mn. :p
I found my Sinsadong goshiwon while browsing Agoda, it fell under AgodaHomes with the vague name Daisy. So naisip ko na aaah parang Airbnb siguro. Hindi nila nilagay agad the address sa description page, but what attracted me the most was the location and most of all the price. Imagine staying in Gangnam area for only Php 1000 per night?
After paying for my guesthouse through the Agoda app, I finally received a message with all the details including the address and a link that leads to Google Maps. I made sure to label this with "Guesthouse 2020".
Nearest train station is Sinsa of Seoul Subway Line 3. Airport bus stop may seem near on your map app, but what made it super hassle was the walk heading to the hostel is sobrang ma-hills and slopes. Imagine looking for the place while dragging two luggages, AND holding up your phone to navigate.
Took the airport bus to my guesthouse in Sinsadong for 15,000 KRW (Php 633+).
I was so happy when I saw a CU convenience store around 2 blocks away from my building, and a 7Eleven around 3 blocks away--lahat madadaanan from the train station. So even after a long day, I usually buy my iced coffee, C1000 vitamin drink, sandwiches, instant porridge, hardboiled egg, and other snacks before I head up my building. Can't imagine staying in a place with no walking-distance convenience store! 😅
I also spotted several learning centers, music schools, and even agencies near the guesthouse. The Yoojung Sikdang, resto made popular by BTS as the place where they often eat during their rookie years, is just walking distance from my guesthouse. I was able to eat there twice! And of course, Garosugil is just a short walk, almost tawid lang from my area.
Music school that I always pass by from the guesthouse:
Should have eaten daily in Yoojung Sikdang:
As mentioned earlier, I paid roughly around Php 1000 per night for my room, a pretty good deal since usually hotel rooms cost around Php 5000-10,000 in Seoul, while Airbnbs are around Php 2500 to 3000 per night. Technically, this private room is the same price with bunkbed accommodations.
With the service charges, minus Agoda's discount, I ended up paying only Php 19,569.20! Sobrang good price for a private room in Gangnam for 21 nights! Kung naisip ko lang sana na hindi ibook my first night (because I slept nalang pala sa airport), it could have been lesser pa!
Booking Hacks Alert!
1) Make sure to avail Agoda's promo codes, which they usually send on your email after you browse and check the app. Makulit sila sa notifications, and I think automated na yung promo code para mapabook ka nila!
2) Price is relatively cheaper via app compared to their website rates.
3) Lastly, make sure to book via SHOPBACK app! Do not forget this, sayang ang cashback! For this booking, I'll be receiving Php 961.85 ninety days after my trip! So parang Php 18, 606.35 lang talaga yung binayad ko for my room!
Finally, here's the link of the guesthouse I stayed in! >>> http://bit.ly/cheap-accommodation-seoul. Sharing this to you for option, BUT! You have to discern first if staying in a goshiwon or IN THIS goshiwon is good for you. First, let's start with...
What I don't like about this goshiwon
1) No Elevators! Won't recommend this if you're traveling with a huge luggage!
Nagtitigan muna kami ng XL luggage ko before I dragged it up the stairs to my room. Nakamamatay!
You have to leave your shoes on your assigned locker when you reach the fourth floor. I brought my own rubber slippers so I don't have to be barefooted heading up to the 5th floor coz super lamig pag winter even indoors.
2) Not super clean like hotels, and of course no daily cleaners. Alam niyo yung hindi naman ako super OC, but everyday I use my Kurin and Messy Bessy water sprays to disinfect the toilet, my table, door knob, etc.
I also had to throw my garbage regularly para hindi maipon sa room, but enjoy ko naman learning their segregation scheme. But if you're lazy for household stuff while traveling, then baka mahassle ka dito.
Just before the fifth floor you'll find these garbage bins where you can dispose your trash:
3) Thin walls, I can hear my neighbors either singing or burping lol. Also had to tone down while watching Youtube, or wear earphones kahit asa room nako coz nakakahiya din mag ingay.
4) Lots of hills and slopes leading to the building. Everyday was an exercise. Plus I stayed at the 5th floor so super hingal talaga before I reach my room! But on the brighter side, I think I burned a lot of calories during this trip, hehe!
Road leading to the guesthouse:
5) Self Check-in / Check-out. This is okay naman with me, but if you have emergency questions you need to message the guesthouse keeper via Agoda app, and you won't get immediate answers.
6) Building or property name used in Agoda is different, there are no signs on the building saying it's Daisy (yung name nya sa Agoda). Also, it's an old bldg, first 3 floors seem like former study centers. Napanood nyo ba yung When Camellia Blooms? Medyo scary if you think about it haha!
The building where I stayed:
Alam mong dati siyang learning center, may pa motivational quote pa sa entrance ng building. 😂
Actual name of the guesthouse, but it is not on Google Maps or Naver:
7) The building, since it is not an official hotel, is also hard to pin with Google Maps or even Naver. Hindi lang ako ang nahirapan, pati the Korean airport driver that I hired for my last day. Had to specify geolocation, and send building and street photos before he got it.
8) May night na nag amoy paint or thinner the whole place! Natakot ako that I might suffocate sa tiny room ko while sleeping, but no choice naman ako had nowhere to stay! Almost slept with my mask on!
The next day, I received a message in Agoda apologizing to all guests na may repair ata sa 3rd floor na umabot ang amoy sa taas. Anyway, at least that explained the smell. 😖
9) Sometimes, especially at night, super dilim and walang katao-tao sa area and even sa baba ng building. Hindi ko alam san ko nakukuha lakas ng loob ko every time I go up to the 5th floor at night ng mag isa at madaming bitbit, pero iniisip ko nalang madaming CCTV sa Seoul! 😄
What I like about this goshiwon
1) The price! Super swak talaga sa budget, and same price as what I used to pay for staying in a bunkbed before.
2) I like that it is very near Garosugil, and the walk to the train station is sakto lang. Although malayo padin sya compared to the other guesthouses I've tried na before na talagang tapat lang ng building ang public transpo.
3) Check-in was a breeze. You don't even have to meet anyone, the guesthouse keeper just messaged me that he left my key on my table, and gave me the floor and room number. When I reached my room on my first day, hindi naka-lock yung door and true enough the key is just on the table.
4) Door uses key and not passcode, but it has a double lock from the inside so I felt safe during my stay.
5) Although it is small, room has a small window and complete ang smoke alarm and ventilation system.
6) It has its own toilet and shower! I usually stay till late so imagine when I needed to go to the toilet or shower at night and nasa labas pa ang CR, super hassle and scary! :p
7) This goshiwon also has a pantry or common area where all guests can:
- Use the washine machine for free (there's a spin dryer but with a fee)
- Get hot or cold water from the drinking dispenser for FREE (big deal to sa akin coz I often consume 1L bottled water fast, so for this trip I just bought a container in Daiso and refilled it everyday! Super tipid)
Had to leave this bottle on my last day coz it's too bulky huhu:
- It also has a microwave which I used a lot for heating my convenience store breakfast or dinner
- You can also cook here using their pans and stove, and use their bowls, plates, mugs, and utensils--as long as you wash everything after use.
- I also saw that the rice cooker is always filled with white rice, and there's a corner where you can get side dishes (kimchi) for free. So if nag titipid ka you can actually have FREE meals in your room daily!
8) The room, although it's small, has everything I needed to get by.
- A fast internet connection.
- A single bed with pillow and blanket. It also has a heater that kept me warm at night!
Sinasaksak ko lang din to every night before sleeping, and nagwawarm na yung bed ko.
- Room has a tiny closet filled with mismatched but enough hangers to hang all my clothes (and big coats!) so I don't have to open my big luggage everyday.
- I have a desk area with small cabinets and shelves on top, which I used to organize my essentials and mga nashopping 😁.
- It also has a box TV na kahit hindi ko naman ginamit, ang saya na meron parin!
- And of course there's a small refrigerator for my leftover foods, stocks, water, etc.
- Meanwhile, inside the bathroom! The hot shower worked perfectly fine throughout my stay.
May door naman to the tiny toilet room, and never naman nabasa my things even though sa photo it looks like sobrang dikit ng bed sa shower area.
- They also provided a hairdryer, small towels, a roll of toilet paper, and a bottle of body wash and shampoo.
These are not enough during my stay, so I made sure to bring my own big towel (3 quick-dry ones), I also bought a better shampoo in Daiso, more toilet paper, facial tissue, a bar of soap, plus all-else may baon nako like toothbrush, toothpaste, facial wash, cotton buds, etcetera.
So these are all the pros and cons of this goshiwon. Will I stay here again? Most prob I will continue looking for a better one nearer the subway, and sana next time yung may elevator na (or will not require me to go up til 5th floor!). Hopefully makahanap padin ng competitive ang pricing, but generally, I have no regrets naman during my stay here!
In a way, I made this goshiwon my home for 3 weeks. I had a private space and comfortable sleep every night. May naiwanan ako ng big maleta when I went around other cities outside of Seoul. I even decorated my room (haha) with postcards and a wall calendar that I filled up with my day-to-day activities. On my first night back in Manila, naappreciate ko bigla the luxury of space that I have here in my real home.
But even if it's only 394 sqm, even when I had to climb up to the fifth floor everyday to reach my room, and even with the minor booboos, I still feel sad and "homesick" whenever I am reminded of my tiny space in Sinsadong.
Took this shot on my last morning at the guesthouse, before getting up to prepare for the airport:
More photos here:
Missing my neighborhood for this 20-day solo trip, 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐚-𝐝𝐨𝐧𝐠. ♥️ << 𝘚𝘭𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘴 << 1-2: Entrance to my 𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞, I stayed at the 5th floor so everyday’s a workout! 😄 3: Nearest train station 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐚, the gateway to my daily adventures 4: I call this “the longest walk of my day” (from guesthouse to the train station) especially when it’s below zero. 🥶 5-6: 𝐘𝐨𝐨𝐣𝐮𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐢𝐤𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐠 (rookie BTS go-to resto near former BigHit bldg) ~went here 4x coz it’s just walking distance from guesthouse, was able to eat 2x during this trip. Imo (aunt/resto owner) handed me different 𝐓𝐚𝐞𝐡𝐲𝐮𝐧𝐠 cupsleeves on both occasions (after asking me once lang who’s my favorite, in Korean!). 7: Favorite 𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐆𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐮𝐠𝐢𝐥 because it has Artbox (ubos pera! 😂), the solo traveler friendly School Food resto, and a CU! 8: The 𝐂𝐔 I frequent, just a block away from the guesthouse. The cashier was also nice. 👩🏻 9: What I always buy in CU or 7Eleven: C1000, instant Korean “lugaw”, coffee, probiotic, green grapes, and boiled eggs. 10: “OOTD check” in our guesthouse’s hallway. #koreanagon #anagonvacation