Unique Stays and Affordable Lodging for Backpackers

Unique Stays and Affordable Lodging for Backpackers


South Korea, as the land of vibrant culture, rich history, and bustling cities, attracts travelers from around the globe. From the bustling streets of Seoul to the peaceful landscapes of Jeju Island, Korea offers a plethora of experiences for every type of traveler. For backpackers looking to explore this fascinating country on a budget, there are plenty of unique hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnb options that provide both affordability and unforgettable experiences. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most unique and affordable stays for backpackers in Korea.


Hanok Stays

One of the most unique lodging experiences in Korea is staying in a hanok, a traditional Korean house. These beautifully preserved homes offer travelers a glimpse into Korea's rich architectural heritage. Many hanoks have been converted into guesthouses, providing visitors with an authentic Korean experience. From the intricate wooden architecture to the peaceful inner courtyards, staying in a hanok is a truly unforgettable experience. Places like Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul or Jeonju Hanok Village offer various options for travelers seeking this traditional stay.


Some Unique Hanoks You Can Rent

1. Damyunjae Hanok in Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do

    Damyunjae stands out from the conventional boxed-in hanok designs dominant in the region with its unique open U-shape structure, offering guests a picturesque view of the Nakdonggang River and Hwasan Mountain. This lodging radiates an ambiance similar to a meticulously crafted masterpiece, rather than a simple lodging, owing to the innovative concepts and contemporary appeal infused by its owner. Notably, it served as the location for Queen Elizabeth II's immersive Korean cultural encounter and celebratory 73rd birthday feast back in 1999.


    2. Namwonyechon by Kensington in Namwon, Jeollabuk-do

      This hanok hotel was constructed using time-honored building techniques curated by experts in hanok architecture. While preserving the allure of traditional hanok design, modern facilities have been seamlessly integrated to ensure a comfortable stay for travelers. During summer, guests can unwind on the daecheongmaru (large wooden floor in the center of the hanok), relaxing in the refreshing breeze, while in winter, they can indulge in the cozy warmth of the ondol (heated floor system), generated by an oak fire burning in the agung (fireplace).


      3. Stay Hanryang in Chuncheon

        Abundant in culture and attractions, Chuncheon serves as an ideal escape, conveniently located just 1.5 hours away from Seoul. Adding a modern twist to the traditional Hanok, Stay Hanryang offers visitors seeking an authentic K-stay experience a unique lodging option. While preserving the charm of traditional architecture, this modern hanok provides a contemporary living environment, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and facilities, including an ethanol stove for cooking.


        Temple Stays

        For backpackers seeking tranquility and spiritual enrichment, a temple stay in Korea is an ideal choice. Temple stays allow visitors to experience the life of a Buddhist monk, participating in meditation sessions, tea ceremonies, and Buddhist rituals. It is a unique opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of modern life and immerse oneself in the peaceful surroundings of a Korean temple. Many temples across Korea offer affordable accommodation options for travelers, providing a serene retreat amidst breathtaking natural scenery.


        1. Golgulsa Temple in Gyeongju

          Located on the outskirts of Gyeongju, the historic capital of the ancient Silla Dynasty, Golgulsa Temple boasts the nation's oldest cave temple and a sixth-century carving on Mount Hamwol. A prominent attraction of staying at this temple is the chance to engage in sunmudo, a traditional Korean Buddhist martial art. Sunmudo is similar to yoga, combining meditative elements with martial arts techniques, emphasizing breath control to harmonize body and mind. Temple stay options at Golgulsa vary from condensed one-day programs to extensive 10-day immersions, catering to a range of preferences and schedules.


          2. Guinsa Temple in Sobaeksan National Park

            Nestled in the heart of Sobaeksan National Park, this temple, meaning "protect benevolence" in translation, stands as a sanctuary amidst breathtaking natural brilliance. Guinsa Temple's collection of over 30 splendid structures harmoniously blend into the rocky terrain, seamlessly merging with the lush forests and towering peaks that surround it. Guests seeking a serene retreat in this remote setting can select from a range of options, including day excursions or two-day programs, allowing for an immersive experience in the tranquil beauty of nature.


            3. Jikjisa Temple in Gimcheon

              Established 1,600 years ago during the reign of King Nulji of Silla, Jikjisa Temple stands out for its extensive collection of Buddhist art housed within the on-site Jikji Museum of Buddhist Arts. The name "jikji" conveys the concept of "pointing directly to the mind," reflecting the temple's focus on spiritual and mental renewal, as is customary with most temple stays. Situated in Gimcheon, halfway between Seoul and Busan, Jikjisa Temple is easily accessible via the Seoul-Busan train line. Visitors can choose from temple stay programs lasting two to five days, tailored to cater to individual interests and preferences.


              Unique Airbnb Experiences

              Airbnb has become a popular choice for travelers seeking unique and affordable lodging options around the world, and Korea is no exception. From cozy apartments in the heart of Seoul to traditional hanoks in rural villages, Airbnb offers a wide range of accommodation choices for backpackers. One can find unique experiences such as staying in a traditional Korean house, sleeping in a cozy hanok, or even spending the night in a truly sophisticated modern house . Airbnb also provides opportunities to connect with local hosts who can offer insider tips and recommendations for exploring Korea like a local.


              1. A sleek and sophisticated house that will remind you of the movie Parasite

                Listing name: Luxury guesthouse miscellaneous for one team only

                For those seeking cabins reminiscent of the one featured in Bong Joon-ho's Parasite, we have got you covered. Feast your eyes on this striking resemblance to the Park family's residence, complete with wide windows overlooking the garden and a captivating facade illuminated by flickering lights against the forest backdrop. The similarity is remarkable, to say the least! While technically not a traditional cabin, this Airbnb in South Korea offers all the rustic charm and seclusion one would expect from a retreat in the woods. What sets it apart is its incorporation of modern hotel amenities, striking the perfect balance between rustic ambiance and contemporary comfort.


                2. This rustic fairy-tale treehouse in North Jeolla

                  Listing name: [Mizuno Ci's Treehouse] Ghibli sensibility located in Gimje, your own fairytale hideout

                  You will be captivated by this charming wooden cabin nestled among the trees, reminding of the enchantment of a Ghibli fairytale. Upon entering the refurbished hanok, it becomes evident why so many guests have discovered inner tranquility at this unique hideaway in North Jeolla Province. The sturdy yet whimsical architecture and unusual interiors create a dreamlike treehouse experience that distinguishes itself from traditional cabins in South Korea. One delightful feature of this South Korean Airbnb is its shared space with a charming cafe, ensuring convenient access to excellent brews throughout your stay.


                  3. This colourful hideaway on Jeju Island

                    Listing name: Jeju Bright - Mint House- (One Team - Jeju Private Pension) - Emotional Accommodation in western Jeju

                    Why not add some vibrant hues into your travel plans with this brightly illuminated residence on Jeju Island? Situated in an eco-village in Hangyeong-myeon, this accommodation boasts a fully equipped kitchen, an indoor fireplace, a private swimming pool, and a hot tub for guests's enjoyment. Outside, the lush backyard provides an ideal setting for a campfire, Korean barbecue grilling sessions, and evening stargazing as fireflies grace the surroundings. What is more, this South Korean Airbnb cabin is conveniently located just a 10-minute drive from Geumneung Beach, offering easy access to swimming and breathtaking sunset views over the sea.


                    Guesthouses and Hostels

                    Guesthouses and hostels are popular accommodation choices for backpackers in Korea, offering budget-friendly options with a social atmosphere. These establishments typically provide dormitory-style rooms, making them ideal for solo travelers or those looking to meet fellow adventurers. Many guesthouses and hostels in Korea are located in vibrant neighborhoods, offering easy access to attractions, restaurants, and nightlife. With amenities such as communal kitchens, common areas, and organized tours, guesthouses and hostels provide everything a backpacker needs for a comfortable and memorable stay.



                    For travelers looking to immerse themselves in Korean culture and lifestyle, a homestay is an excellent option. Homestays allow visitors to stay with a local family, experiencing firsthand the traditions, customs, and cuisine of Korea. It is a unique opportunity to forge meaningful connections with locals and gain insights into daily life in Korea. Whether it is learning to cook traditional Korean dishes, participating in family activities, or simply sharing stories over a cup of tea, a homestay offers a truly authentic and enriching experience for backpackers.



                    From traditional hanoks to temple stays, Airbnb experiences to guesthouses, Korea offers a diverse range of unique and affordable lodging options for backpackers. Whether you are seeking cultural immersion, spiritual enrichment, or simply a budget-friendly place to rest your head, there is something for everyone in Korea. By choosing one of these unique stays, backpackers can not only save money but also create lasting memories and forge meaningful connections with the people and culture of Korea. So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Korea!


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                    Author: Tugba

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