Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Korea's Love Motels

This is where the magic happens
Over one year ago, my coworkers and I got cheap tickets on AirAsia to Seoul. Since we were traveling on a budget, we sought out the most affordable (cheapest) housing we could find.  Enter the love motels.

Yes, they're exactly what you think they're for. Think back to the Korean movie My Sassy Girl and you may recall the love motel near the beginning of the story. While they may sound sleazy and some may even look sleazy and probably ARE sleazy, most are actually very clean, usually in convenient parts of town, and very very cheap.  During our first night in Korea we arrived in Seoul very late at night and caught the last bus into town.  We got off at Cheongnyangni and almost everything was closed except for a fast food joint and plenty of love motels. The first one looked like it came right out of a Korean movie. We were already freezing from the sub-zero temperatures and expecting to get ripped off since we looked like clueless, desperate tourists, but then the guy told us a room would be about 20,000 won for the night (under US$20). Plus, each room had what has to be the greatest winter inventions ever: a bed that had a built-in heater. So as soon as you jump in the bed it's already toasty warm!  The floors are heated too.  Frakkin' Genius.

So if the idea of sleeping in a room that has probably been used over and over for quick sex doesn't bother you (if it does, you need to get over it because seriously, in any hotel who knows what went on in that room you're staying in??), stay at a love motel in Korea for a truly unique and entertaining experience.
Yay for love motels!
For those of you who insist on a family friendly environment, try Jimjilbangs. Jimjilbangs are another great option for budget travelers if you don't mind sleeping in a public room full of [friendly] strangers.  You get to use the bathhouse, wear matching uniforms, store your stuff in a locker, get a massage, fall asleep while watching TV, usually there's a gym and a restaurant, and best of all it only costs about 5,000 to 10,000 won (5-9 USD).  Everyone should try it at least once, and you'll most likely enjoy it so much you'll visit the Jimjilbang more often.

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