Earlier this year I discovered PandaBed.com, a new website to find accommodation in Asia. Pandabed is not about Hotels, it's more about staying in local apartments, bed & breakfast accommodations, villas, and private residences. I like to have unique stays from time to time, rather staying with locals than in a hotel.
I was about to plan a trip to South Korea and PandaBed offered some unique places to stay, such as sleeping in a traditional Hanok Village in Seoul! Until that day I haven't heard of Hanok villages, but the pictures looked intriguing... I was eager to learn more about it.
Staying in a Hanok village is a uniquely cultural experience. Rooms are simple and spartan, which is not always a bad thing. Think it like that way: Nowadays most people clutter their homes with too many things and possessions. Traditional Korean homes are about simplicity and comfort, every part and every shape of a hanok is intentional. Rooms are made with natural materials like stones, pieces of wood and windows made of paper.
PandaBed confirmed my stay in a traditional Korean-style guesthouse called Yoos Family Guesthouse. It was all easy peasy, after my arrival in Seoul, I took a direct bus (airport bus) to Anguk Station which was pretty much in the center of the city. After an hour on the bus and 10 minutes walk I reached the guesthouse and was welcomed by the Yoo family. A lovely couple that spoke perfectly English.
The woman introduced herself as Deborah and showed me around. The first impression was great, the house was decorated with Korean antiques, each room of the hanok had this beautiful sliding doors made from paper (waterproof through oil). Typically, I was suppose to leave my shoes outside. Deborah provided some shoes for the bathroom.
I arrived early at 07 AM and was completely tired from the overnight flight. It was no problem at all to get an early check in, I really needed a rest.
The room was spartan: A shelf, wardrobe, a thin but soft mattress and a couple pillows. No chairs or tables. Koreans love to sit on the floor. For me, as a Westerner this was something completely new. I have barely slept on the floor in my life and wasn't sure if it would be something I could like. Well, I was asleep in no time. It was surprisingly relaxing to lay on the hard but warm floor. Traditional Korean style houses come with heated wooden flooring which was wonderful.
My room was small, cute and cozy. But most important: it was warm. Though it was a sunny day, it was freezing cold in Seoul. Outside. Inside the room is was like in a warm cocoon. Here some more photos from my approx. 5 square meter room.
The bathroom was shared but no problem at all, because it was right next door. Everthing was super clean, the hot shower had a great water pressure. The only problem was the cold temperature outside. Believe me, once you lay on the warm floor in your room, you don't want to go outside anymore to get to the bathroom....
Yoo's guesthouse offers a simple breakfast: Toast, jam, juice, tea, milk, cereals and instant noodle soup. The breakfast was complimentary, so I really didn't mind. It was a light snack in the morning, enough to leave my belly satisfied and start the day...
But I actually wondered what's a real traditional Korean breakfast?
The kitchen was bigger than my room and also had this cozy atmosphere. During breakfast time guests were sitting on the ground and eating on the low table. The walls of the kitchen were cluttered with messages from their guests, goodbye notes and praises about the great time they had while staying at Yoos Family Guesthouse... Most people loved the traditional experience of staying in a hanok.
If you want to experience more of the Korean culture, Yoo's guesthouse offers a list of many interesting activities such as wearing a hanbok, a traditional Korean outfit. Another popular activity is the traditional tea ceremony or learn how to make Kimchi...
Speaking of myself, I just decided to get lost in the city and discover the unknown.
The location of Yoo's guesthouse is absolutely perfect to explore the city and nearby attractions. Right across the main road is the famous Chandeokgung Palace. Within 10 minutes walk you can reach Insadong or Jonggak where loads of inexpensive street food can be found.
Staying in a Hanok village was definitely a unique experience. I enjoyed staying in a traditional Korean home, made of wood and windows made of paper. It was such a beautiful environment like I haven't seen before. Loved the heated floor. Even with almost no furnishings in the room I felt surprisingly comfortable... I just realized that I don't need massive space or a big couch to feel comfortable.
The Yoo family did their best to make me feel as homey as possible, Deborah and her husband Vincent were outstanding hosts! I highly recommend to anyone to stay in a traditional Hanok village. If you're planning a trip to Seoul, don't miss out on this unique experience!
If you want to book Yoo's Family Guesthouse, check here room rates and availability.
Thank you for reading.
My stay was made possibly by PandaBed.com. PandaBed aims to be the go-to site for travellers heading to Asia and looking to stay in trustworthy homes, apartments, villas and BnB. What sets it apart from the competition is their focus on matching like-minded host & guest via culture filters - religion age and nationality. The PandaBed team understands Asians prefer living in close knitted communities, therefore being culturally attuned is important so that travellers can be matched to trusthworthy and like-mind host. It also as a separate category professionally managed homes for travellers who prefer highly quality and reliability homes.
My stay at Yoo's Family Guesthouse 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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