Sunday, May 21, 2017

Walk Thoughts #234: a review of my lodging

I stayed in a lot of yeogwans, motels, pensions, and guest houses. The varieties of lodging available in Korea can be confusing. Luckily, an enterprising Aussie(?) couple has written an article on what they're calling the twelve types of Korean accommodations; go have a look and come back. I found the article generally solid, although I'd quibble with some of the descriptions, especially now that I know what I know.

April 22: Baro Hotel by City Hall in Hanam City.

Not a bad place to spend the night. I don't remember the cost, but I'm sure it was in the W40,000-W50,000 range. Recommended, mainly because it was the only place to allow me to check in right away instead of making me wait until after 10PM.

(Actually, I do remember the cost: W80,000. The regular price was W60,000, but I was obliged to pay the "early check-in" fee of W20,000 for having arrived around 2PM.)

April 23 & 24: River House Motel in Yangpyeong.

It was a relief to reach this motel after one of my hardest days of walking (yes: Day 2 remains one of my hardest days; it's the day I got my huge foot blister, after all). Only W35,000 a night for a room facing away from the beautiful river. (River-view rooms are more expensive.) I stayed for two nights. Recommended, if for no other reason than that it's easy to get back on the trail on the morning you leave: simply walk across the street and find the stairs down to the bike path.

April 25: Yeongneung Baekga Guest House by Yeoju Dam.

The nicest lady in the world runs this place. You'll need to pay W50,000 via wire transfer to her bank account to reserve a room. The lady leaves you alone and lets you rest. She's not pushy at all. I enjoyed my time here, despite the lack of a bed, which is okay by me as long as there are enough blankets to pad the floor. Recommended.

April 26: Jangsu Pension in southern Yeoju City.

Grimy, grungy, but livable at W30,000 for a night. I had a roof, walls, and a floor. The guy running the place turned out to be friendly, although I had trouble understanding him over the phone. When we talked face to face, though, he was fine. The room had a grungy kitchenette; the tap water was fine, and while the bathroom was cramped and not very pretty, it served my needs. Cautiously recommended, but only if you're willing to slum a bit.

April 27: U& Tourism Hotel in Chungju City.

That's not a typo: it's really spelled "U&" and pronounced "yoo-enn," like the United Nations. The cost was about W50,000 for a night. Good facilities. Recommended.

April 28: Baekun Park Yeogwan in southern Chungju City.

This was the first accommodation that actually had a bathtub, which I gladly soaked in to relieve my aching feet. It was ridiculously tacky, as love motels go, but that was part of its quirky, naughty charm. Leaky toilet tank in my room, but when you're tired, that's a forgivable sin, and I had plenty of leaky plumbing along the way. You learn to live with it instead of bellyaching. I doubt this place cost more than W30,000 a night. Recommended, but cautiously. If you're not okay with leaky plumbing and tacky interior design, this isn't the place for you.

April 29: Suanbo Sangnok Hotel in Suanbo-myeon.

Large and expensive at W130,000 a night, but one of the few lodgings with any space. There happened to be a multicultural event going on that day, one involving a lot of American bikers all dressed in leather jackets (the "Morning Calm Festival," or something like that). My room wasn't bad, given how much I paid for it, but it could have been better. Cautiously recommended, mainly because value didn't match price (no desktop computer, and no air conditioning). I can't vouch for how the other hotels and motels in the area are, but I can say that that whole town is a huge tourist trap.

April 30: Saejae Park Inn in Gwaesan-gun, Yeonpoong-myeon.

At W30,000 a night, and with a friendly but initially absent manager, this simple yeogwan wasn't distinguished in any way, but it was a bed and a roof, making it just what the doctor ordered. Recommended.

May 1: San Gwa Gang Pension in Mungyeong City.

I really liked this pension, which reminded me somewhat of the Yeongneung Baekga Guest House from Day 3 of the walk. Very roomy for one person, with a nice interior and facilities, and with a deck out back where a person can relax and watch a nearby watercourse. Alas, there's also a freeway in line of sight, but it's far away, so it isn't noisy.

May 2 & 3: mysterious guest house

After having been booted out of Sangpoong-gyo Hanok Guest House by the frazzled, disorganized owner, I was driven (not by choice!) way south to another guest house/minbak whose name I never learned. I don't recommend either place—not Sangpoong-gyo Hanok Guest House, and not the nameless second place, either. In fact, except for the guest house I stayed at on Day 3, I really don't recommend guest houses unless you're fine with being ordered around by a pushy Hausfrau. I cannot stress enough how terrible my experience at both places was. I'm still sore about how this day went, especially because I was dead tired from my walk that day, and I really didn't need to endure this sort of organizational clusterfuck. W60,000 down the goddamn drain.

May 4: Blue Muin Car Motel not far from the Nakdan Dam Certification Center.

I paid extra to stay here (W60,000 total, I think, for one night) because I had arrived early in the day, but the motel itself was very nicely appointed. The local Chinese food was great, but it may have given me the runs. There are plenty of other yeogwans and motels in the area, including a bikers' yeogwan.

May 5: Libertar Pension close to Gumi Dam Certification Center.

Despite the expense (W120,000 a night, payable via wire transfer), I highly, highly recommend this place for couples and families. It was a gorgeous accommodation that made me burn with envy when I saw the kitchen's immense counter space—something lacking even in many large Korean apartments. A person could prep a huge gourmet meal on that counter space, which is another reason to stay at this pension. The manager was friendly but remote, which was fine with me: the less intrusive, the better. There's a nearby park, the river is just downhill, and it's a wonderful place to just clear your head. If you want the address and contact info for Libertar, email me (my email info is, as always, on my blog's right-hand sidebar). I was very sad to stay here only one night.

May 6 & 7: Lee Motel by Chilgok Dam Certification Center.

Another somewhat tacky motel with sexy sculptures, but decent accommodations. The floor was a bit dusty. I think the price was around W40,000. Recommended.

May 8: Motel Boom (or the Boom Motel) in western Daegu.

W40,000 a night, and the facilities are quite nice for that price. Recommended, but it's a couple miles' walk from the cert center.

May 9: Weonang Park Jang Motel close to Dalseong Dam Certification Center.

The nice yeogwan lady gave me a walker's discount, so I paid only W25,000 for my night here instead of the normal rate of W35,000. The inn is a bit of a walk into town, but not too far. It's cheap and simple, and not the cleanest place, but it'll do when you're tired. Recommended.

May 10: camping downriver from the Hapcheon Changnyeong Dam.

You take what Mother Nature gives you.

May 11: camping again.

May 12 & 13: CF Motel in Namji-eup.

Definitely recommended at W40,000 a night. Very nice lady at the check-in desk; she was quite helpful and informative. Great accommodations, too.

May 14: Mirpia Auto Campground, south of Namji-eup and north of Yangsan City.

This is camping for the timid. I stayed here for free thanks to the kind assistance of one of the office ajeossis, but if you pay full fare, you'll be spending W20,000 a night, which in my opinion is steep for a simple campground. Then again, KOA campsites in the States were charging $15 a night in 2008, which is about W18,000. Cautiously recommended.

May 15 & 16: Bliss Hotel, Yangsan City.

About W45,000 a night, I believe. Very, very nice accommodations. Highly recommended.

May 17: Busaninn Motel, next to Busan Station, Busan.

W30,000 a night. Clean and decent; a good, cheap alternative to the annoying and expensive hotels surrounding Busan Station. Recommended.

No comments: