Recently I wrote a blog post about my homestay in Tokyo, which was such a great experience! I liked it so much that I planned another trip with my boyfriend to South Korea to experience local hospitality in Seoul. Why a homestay? A homestay is a great alternative to hotels. It reduces travel costs and you'll get to learn more about the culture by staying with a local.
I looked up for possible hosts in Seoul on Homestay.com, a website dedicated finding unique places and interesting people offering a bed and breakfast around the world.
I found Yan and Sup, a pleasant American/Korean couple that lives in a modern high-rise with an impressive view over the city. The images of their apartment looked promising, a spacious and comfortable place, located in Bucheon, pretty much in the middle between Seoul City and the Airport.
I instantly liked their home and requested a stay for two nights. Room rates were €32/night including breakfast for two. A pretty good deal for Seoul. The following day I received a friendly reply:
This is Yan, your homestay host in South Korea. I am here to extend my sincere welcome to you. It is exciting to know that we are gonna meet in the really near future. Please inform me about your arrival time and outline the time you are going to spend at home here and outside. So I will be able to arrange my schedules to accommodate yours if necessary. We are going to have a dinner together as a good chance of introducing some signature Korean dishes to you. Please let me know which day it will be so I can arrange it. So as your arrival time, I can pick you up at the subway station.
Any questions, do tell please. I am more than happy to see you soon.
Welcome and big hugs, Yan
Booked and ready to go.
Yan and Sup were an adorable couple. They came to the train station to pick us up and gave us a warm welcome. Yan was American with Chinese roots and her husband Sup was Korean. Within five minutes of walking we reached their beautiful apartment. The pictures didn't lie, the place was gorgeous: A spacious three-bedroom apartment on the 29th floor with large windows and a panoramic city view.
Let me show you more of Yan and Sup's lovely home:
Our room was bright and spotless, furnished with a leather couch, a comfortable queen size bed and two soft pillows. Some cute teddy bears were sitting on the couch. There was also a big closet where we could hang our stuff. Yan gave us some towels and extra blankets. We had our own private bathroom just next door.
Here's more of the room...
The best was the view! In the morning we were able to see the sunrise. We even made a little time-lapse. On a side note, we had to wake up at 05:30 to record it...
Yan prepared a delicious breakfast for us in the morning, homemade soup with mushrooms and onions, plus kimchi, rice and fresh juice. She told us that it's something typical to eat for breakfast in South Korea, some kind of "man food" and that many women prepare this meal for their husbands in the morning...
The other day, Yan asked me if we would like to have dinner together at a Korean restaurant to try some traditional cuisine from South Korea. There was only one answer, of course we would love to!
In the evening we went to this place called Gangwan Samgyetang ( 강원 토종 삼계탕 ) in Bucheon. Typically in South Korea, we were seated on the floor. The restaurant seemed quite popular, almost all the tables were occupied.
Yan ordered Samgyetang for all of us. Samgyetang means chicken stew, a whole young chicken mixed with ginseng, onions, garlic, chestnuts and dates. The soup is prepared with nutritious herbs and ingredients. Local people believe that Samgyetang will protect you from illness and makes you stronger. The meal was served with sticky rice, kimchi and ginseng wine. To cut it short: a tasty bowl of soup with an interesting flavor: nutty and herbal. I just wish there were more chestnuts. Yummy.
A thing that I really loved about South Korea is that you'll always get unlimited side dishes of kimchi. There is no way to leave a restaurant hungry. Ever. LIKE!!
Our homestay with Yan and Sup was really great! I wish we stayed more than just two nights. We felt very homey in their beautiful apartment, everything was spotless clean and comfortable. Yan and Sup were wonderful hosts, incredibly caring and hospitable. They were very curious about our background and listened patiently to our travel stories, but also telling us more about their life in Seoul. I'm happy we tried some traditional Korean food, it's my new favorite!
On our last day, Yan and Sup drove us to the bus station to catch the Airport shuttle. When we said goodbye, Yan told me we should come back soon and already invited us for another stay! I guess that will happen sooner than later...
PS: If you're interested to stay with Yan and Sup in Seoul, you can check here rates and availability.
My stay was made possibly by Homestay.com, a booking website for travel accommodation.
Homestays allow guests to book a room in a local person’s home for a fee. In all homestays there is a host present during the stay, enhancing the guest’s travel experience through their hospitality and local knowledge.
My stay at Yan and Sup's apartment was complimentary, all opinions are my
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sabrina Iovino is the founder of JustOneWayTicket.com. She's half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe. She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she'll switch now. Phew...much better! Let's restart:
Hi, I'm Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.
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