|Arriving at our temporary home in Hongdae|
|After midnight shopping at Dongdaemun!|
It's my 3rd time to visit Seoul in 2 years. I admit, it's a little too much, but I just love this place too much that I can't stop visiting. The first time was around April 2013. Compare to this time I went, I realized there are a lot more Chinese tourists. I think it has something to do with the popular Korea drama "The Man from the Stars" that aired earlier this year. Seeing so many Hongers / Mainlanders in Seoul, I can't help but wonder if the local Korean find us annoying and hate our guts. With so many tourists shopping crazily (especially the Chinese, we are crazy when it comes to shopping), the prices probably went up. The streets are over crowded and the quality of service probably dropped. This is so much like Hong Kong after Mainlanders started coming to Hong Kong freely to buy everything in sight. So, I wonder if the Koreans hate Chinese....any Koreans out there to answer my question?
I have been spending way too much money lately. So, I had to cut down on my travel cost. Instead of staying at a hotel or even a hostel, I decided to find a temporary home on www.airbnb.com. I booked late and most of the places were unavailable. Fortunately, I found this place with a great bargain located in Hongdae (a really lively area full of bars, clubs and shopping), hosted by Kathy and Jun. Here is the place: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3917218
When I book it, it was around $50USD a night. It's not a 5 star hotel, but given the price, the place is great. It was actually my first time using airbnb. I am surprised at how efficient and easy to use it is. Our host answered our questions very quickly and was very helpful through out our stay in Seoul. She even lend us a portable wifi so we can stay connected even when we are out. This is great as I am the type that always get lost. Staying connected, I can just google map myself back on track.
About the flat/room I booked, it's basically the same as their advertisement. It's cozy, big enough for 2 or 3 people. It has everything you need. One down thing about this place is, (don't accuse me of being picky or a princess), the room wasn't very clean. I had to wipe down the table, mirrors and floor and my towel would turn a dark grey/black. Lots of dust and it obviously was not cleaned since the last user. The sheets on the bed were not washed. There were lots of hair from whoever last slept on it. I spent an hour cleaning the room after I arrived. Another unexpected thing about the room is that during my stay, the building's drainage/sewage system had some problems. So, the drainage from the washroom and kitchen had this absolutely disgusting shitty smell coming out of it. I had to keep the doors shut at all time. Air freshener wouldn't do much help either. I would open the door and literally puke. I minimized our time in the washroom. It was so bad that we would rather go to the public washroom in the train station than go to the one in our own room.
The room has electronic door lock, so you won't have to worry about losing your keys. the building has an elevator so you don't have to worry about dragging your luggage up and down the stairs. However, the apartment/flat is located up a pretty steep hill. Our host picked us up in his black Chevrolet, so that was a breeze, but on the day when we leave Korea, it was a deadly trip down the steep hill with our luggage tumbling out of control.
The hill may not look so steep in the picture, but it's more like a 60 degree hill in real life.
Those are all the negatives about the place. I do need to point out the positive things about this place though as I do think this place is great if you are travelling on a budget. First of all, the place is located very close to Hongik University Station. It's about 5 minutes walk away. So, it's super close to all the clubs, bars and shopping area in Hongdae. There are always things to eat and buy when you walk down. You won't get bored in this area. Our host was very nice and attentive and helped us out whether it's about the apartment or not. They have super high speed internet and provide us with a portable wifi as well. They were also very kind to let us check out late in the afternoon.
OK. Enough about the accommodation.
After we settle down, cleaned the place, we decided to grab something to eat in Hongdae. It was already about 11pm and nothing was closed. There were bands playing on the street and shops were still open. We decided to head this bar to grab some food, which was a bad idea because the food was too expensive compared to other restaurants, but we didn't know as it was just around the same price as food in Hong Kong. Turns out that food in Korea are much cheaper in price, but quality is better.
After dinner, it's time for our after midnight shopping at Dongdaemun! It was very late, we have no Korean won. Luckily, the currency exchange stalls in Dongdaemun stays open just like the rest of the shops there. We went to Miglore. Nothing much there for us to buy. The things there weren't that cheap in price, and the stuff looked quite boring. We then went to Maxstyle, which is smaller but with more things that we liked. By the time we decided to leave, it was around 3 or 4am. We were dead tired and took a taxi for 25,000 won back to Hongdae. Is that too expensive?
Kathy's and Jun's studio listed on airbnb at point V
Miglore at point W
Maxstyle at point X
Here is a short video of part of our trip in day 1 and 2.