My husband and I spent two nights at Kimchee Seoul Station last February. We were there for a short sightseeing before leaving to Pyeongchang for his conference. Visiting South Korea was totally a sudden decision for me as I was planning to go somewhere else in Japan that weekend. And of course, since I don’t want the visit to be without sightseeing at all, I dragged my husband to stop by at Seoul first before setting off to the conference site. So agaain, I just browsed booking.com and searched for cheap hostel nearby Seoul station. I was actually browsing for some possible apartment to rent from airbnb.com as well, but few days to departure giving me not much choice *sigh* (padahal nemu apartemen yang bagus-bagus dengan harga terjangkau tapi pada full-booked semua, huuu).
I managed to find one recommended -and of course affordable- guesthouse with a private room. Since I don’t think my husband was ever gonna agree to stay at dormitory room in a hostel. I decided to book Kimchee Guesthouse Seoul Station considering that it’s quite close from one of the subway station -as they mentioned in the website, and because the reivew in booking.com looks quite nice. With no time of re-browsing and rechecking, I booked one double room with the price of around 8,000 JPY, for two nights! And the price is not per person guys, it’s per room! *saat seperti inilah jepun makin berasa super mahal!*
We arrived at the Guesthouse around 2:30 pm and could only leave our luggage because the check-in time is 3:00 pm. After going around a bit to find some snacks (there is a convenience store quite close to the hostel) we came back one hour later and got into the room. When we entered the room that afternoon, I was a bit shocked when I saw that there were no bed sheet at all on the mattress!! I even re-checked their website to make sure that the pictures of bed condition is the same with the one in my room, which turned out to be the same; without bed sheet, nor pillow case! I don’t know if it’s because I’m just too much used to all the good facility in Japan these few years, but the hostel I’ve stayed in Japan usually always provide a pillow case along with two white sheets; one for the bed, and one to cover the quilt (or “kakebuton” け布団). To be honest, I felt a bit uncomfortable about this no-bed-sheet situation. But hey, I paid for like half the price it will cost in Japan! Two days won’t be that bad, right?! *I hope* But then again I had to face another problem with the heating system in the room.
The thing is, I didn’t know that Korean has this floor-heating system called Ondol, which I don’t fit well. I don’t know if it’s just the hostel’s heating system problem or all Ondol system is like this, but I woke up feeling weak and my back itched so bad the whole two days of my stay there. And since it’s a central heating system (I assume), I couldn’t do anything about it. Not even changing the temperature or something.
Well, I did not take any pictures of the hostel, because everything were almost exactly as given in the photo gallery on the website. Except that it just feels smaller (well of course the photographs was designed to make the room look spacious enough :D). But still, maybe it worth the amount of money I paid, maybe. The kitchen they mention in the website is actually only a small part of the lounge in front of the reception (oh, and the reception is only one small desk with a computer in the corner between the stairs and the wall of the first floor). So at this “kitchen corner” there was a microwave, a hot water pot (or coffee pot I don’t remember exactly), a toaster, and some free tea or coffee with sugar and creamer. I guess you cannot cook anything since there were no cooking stove or rice cooker provided. Oh, I forgot to mention that there was a dog at the house next to the hostel, and sometimes he/she barks quite loud at night! Happened on both the two nights of my stay there *ya nasip ya nasiiip* So, DO consider this if you’re the type of person who cannot get to sleep with some noise around.
Overall, in my opinion the hostel was fair enough because with quite a low price you can get a double room with a private bathroom. But few uncomfortable things happened on my visit were not giving me good impression about the hostel, so I cannot say that I will recommend this guesthouse, sorry. Good thing there was a convenience store quite close to the hostel, and the hostel is for sure quite close to the station (not the Seoul station though). I guess I have to put more budget on accommodation so I can stay at better place next time I come to visit South Korea. If I’ll ever visit South Korea again in the future 😀