So you want to visit South Korea? A ‘goshiwon’ is just one of the many available accommodation options available (and probably the cheapest!)
This week we’re going to take a more cultural route than a language-based lesson. Above is an example of an average-sized goshiwon. Mainly for students (though open to everyone), they can be found along pretty much everywhere in the cities. Largely ranging from 200,000-450,000 won per month (around £110-250) this is probably your cheapest bet when looking for accommodation in South Korea apart from homestay, though even then you might be expected to pay some rent. The general requirement is that you stay for at least one month. A goshiwon usually consists of a bed, a desk with a chair, a tv and your own toilet/shower. Not more than a few square metres, they are literal box rooms! But they’re perfectly comfortable places to sleep depending on why you are in South Korea. Often these buildings house a few floors of goshiwon’s, mostly filled with students and travelers.
Facilities at the goshiwon will differ depending on how much you pay, and the same goes for how much it will cost you per month depending on what location the goshiwon is in. Rice and kimchi in abundance is included in your monthly fee, though some may offer more food including eggs and ramyun. All are fitted out with kitchens and washing/drying facilities, though I take it you need to remember to clean up after yourself!
The best way to secure yourself a goshiwon is to go knocking on doors. Though it may sound a little scary for some, turning up in a foreign country without any accommodation, the general consensus is that you can always find a bed without too much trouble since there are so many. Trying to book online might actually be worse since most don’t have websites (many owners are of the older generation, less to grips with the internet as younger people) and it can be better to see a room first before you pay, especially if you’re going to be spending a long time there. However, websites like Goshipages have made it possible for non-Korean speakers to search for and contact goshiwons in advance of their travels. In addition, you could always book a few nights in a hotel at the beginning of your stay just to get on your feet!
Have you ever stayed in a goshiwon before? Have you had any experiences with accommodation in South Korea before? Let us know in the comments below!
[Photo source: habang.co.kr]