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Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Night in Hell...

Okay maybe it wasn't that bad. Here's the story- 

During our vacation a couple of weeks ago, Matt and I went up to Itaewon to stay the night. We had a tour to the DMZ the next day, and wanted to make sure we got to the USO on time and didn't have to rush! 

This was our first overnight trip here in Korea, and we were excited for the the adventure. Because we live really close to Seoul, I didn't see the need to pay a lot of money just to stay somewhere for one night. I looked around some booking sites and decided the cheapest option would be a hostel. I had stayed in a lot of hostels when I was traveling in the U.K., so I was fairly certain that things were going to be okay. 

 I ended up booking the IS@K Guesthouse. The reviews were good and the rooms looked clean- really that was all I was concerned about. 

I booked us two beds in a four sleeper room, and the total for the night was 44,000 won. 

Here are my thoughts on this guesthouse: 

When we checked in the staff was really friendly and the placed looked really clean. Shoes are not allowed inside the hostel, so there is a shoe cubby in the entryway and slippers are provided for you.

There are no locks on the individual room doors, so each bed as a free locker with a key for you to use. This was a bit weird because our door was literally a sliding glass door. It's not that I felt unsafe, it was just strange. Plus, when we were trying to sleep it never got dark dark because the doors let in all the light from the hallway and other rooms. 

The hostel really did have a good vibe {not to sound too hippyish}. But everyone we met was really friendly. 

The hostel is really small- I think it only had about 6 rooms. 

It even had a cool rooftop area where you could sit and enjoy the view, or play pingpong. 

Everything sounds great right? So where does hell come into our stay.... 

Okay- so Matt and I needed to get up around 6:15 am in order to get ready and make it to the USO on time. So, we needed to get to bed early.... We were in bed by 10:00 and were trying to fall asleep by 11:00. 

And that is when our night turned to hell. Our room was right off the main gathering room and we could hear people talking and the t.v. playing for HOURS!!!! I don't think it got quiet until 3:00 am. The whole time I was laying in my bunk bed I was just thinking I'm too old for this Sh@#. When I started to finally drift off, the other two people sharing the room decided to finally come back into the room. Then apparently thought the room was too cold and turned the A.C. and HID the remote! So not only could we not sleep, but we were laying in our beds sweating to death! 

I was really trying not to get upset about everything because it was a hostel, and the common room was where people sat and relaxed, but it was so hard knowing I was getting zero sleep and I had a 9 hour tour the next day! If we didn't have to wake up so freaking early, I think I would have been fine.. and if I could have had the AC on. {I mean I was paying for AC- I want AC!} 

Matt was expecting the noise, but I was completely taken off guard. And that's when I realized that all the hostels that I stayed at in the U.K. where multilevel. So the gathering room and the t.v. and the talking people were all downstairs. When it was time to sleep, you went upstairs to your nice quite room and slept. I have never stayed in a hostel that was so freaking loud! The walls were super thin... we didn't have a real door... and we didn't get a wink of sleep! {Even Matt, who can sleep wherever whenever, didn't sleep at all the whole night!} 

I guess the lesson I learned is we are too old for hostels. When I was younger, sharing a room and bathroom really didn't matter. Now, I want my own room. I want my own bathroom. I want to be able to get dressed in my room- not in the shower while I am still damp have my clothes stick to me. :) And I want peace and quiet as I am going to bed. And I think that's okay- it's all part of the growing up experience. I'm glad we booked one night in a hostel and realized we didn't like it versus booking a week in one and hating our whole trip. 

And maybe if we had a different room at the hostel, I would be sharing a different story. But alas, I didn't and I will not be going back to the IS@K guest house to try again. 

Now, if you are young and can go little to no sleep- this is the place for you. The hostel was clean, the staff was awesome- overall I good place to stay if you are looking for a cheap place to stay in Itaewon. It's really close to the subway, and it's close to all the restaurants. It really is a good hostel. 

But, if you're like me- go stay at a hotel. 

And thus, our night in hell ended. We ended up leaving our room at 5:30 and getting ready. And while our tour to the DMZ was fun, I was definitely feeling a little zombieish as I walked around on the tour. 

Oh well, live and let learn I guess.


  1. I can so understand!! I have always called myself a high maintenance sleeper! There is no way I would have been able to sleep!

    1. Tina- Ever since I got married I have become the lightest sleeper! I used to be able to just crash wherever, but now I need my own sleeping space!

  2. That's too bad! If you ever need some suggestions for Seoul hotels that aren't too expensive, let me know! I've stayed in a few great ones!

    1. Thanks Casey, I could definitely use some good recommendations. We plan on spending a lot of weekends up in Seoul.

  3. I would have been really annoyed, too, but I think there comes a point in everyone's 20s where you have that epiphany: I am too old for hostels :) I remember when I was 20 and a 30 year old friend told me she was too old for hostels. I could not believe it--I mean, they are so cheap and you meet all sorts of new people! But now I totally get it :)

    1. I honestly didn't think I had hit that point yet, but I guess I have. Luckily, hotels around here are pretty well priced so we won't be breaking the bank on our weekend trips to Seoul.

  4. Yeah... I'm too old for hostels too. When we were going to visit Australia, we thought about it. But we're married, and I was pregnant, and it just did not sound fun!

    1. Oh my gosh! I could not imagine staying in a hostel and being pregnant! I'm glad you guys went a different route in Australia!

  5. I've actually never stayed in a hostel--I do know that having a private room and bathroom do tend to be pretty important to me when choosing travel options! I wouldn't say I'd completely rule hostels out...but they don't really sound like my style, either!

    1. Many hostels have the option of a private room and some even include a private bath. You just have to book early and be prepared to pay a bit more. I wanted to book the double room, but it had already been booked. I think everyone should stay in a hostel at least once, but my hostel days are behind me.


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- Alex