Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hostel Review: Zaza Backpackers Seoul

Seoul has a lot of cheap accommodation options in the Myeongdong area. Our first choice was already booked six months before our trip date so we had to scout for other options. The forums were very helpful in listing other budget friendly options.

Zaza Backpackers is located in Myeongdong area which is an ideal location for a few days of stay in South Korea. The hostel requires no downpayment. Reservation is taken three months before the date of your stay. You have to confirm your reservation three times via email.  
Our home for the next 5 days

We requested a pick-up service from the airport which cost us ₩75,000 or ₩ 15,000 each coz there were 5 of us. There are cheaper options going to the hostel but we chose the most convenient way. It was a one-hour drive from the airport to the hostel. We arrived at around 7am in the hostel and left our baggage in the hallway - check-in time was still at 2pm. Zaza has no common bathrooms and no room was available. So we made use of the bathroom in the Myeongdong subway. If they had unoccupied rooms, they’d allow guests to use the bathroom.

Our baggage in the hallway

Since there were 5 of us, we got two rooms. Shared a double room with a friend for ₩65,000 a night. The room was pretty spacious – it even has bunk beds (with no bedsheet and pillows though).

Extra bunk beds which served as our cabinet

The bathroom was quite spacious and clean. The hot water was not hot all the time – and it was mildly hot when it was. I miss the tabo and timba (dipper and pail) combo. I think the bathroom walls were a tad flimsy acoustic wise.

Zaza had digital locks on the doors (wasn’t able to take a picture). You would encode a four-digit number and it will be your number during your stay – like how an ATM pin works. No need to worry about lost keys. This is also an advantage if everyone goes their own way and they don't need to wait for someone who has key to go in the room.

They have a lounge where there are two computers you can use – to check your email or Facebook – at no extra charge. We stayed in the second floor and wifi did not exactly reach the room so I had to hang out at the lounge. Zaza offers free instant coffee, tea and hot water to its tenants. You can also get fresh towels here. It is open from 8am to 12midnight. If you are planning to use their oven toaster or hot water for breakfast, you’ll have to wait until it opens at 8am.

Pictures of other travelers

They had free maps. This map is drawn on their wall.

You have to take out the trash yourself. Not a biggie. Just be mindful that you’ll have to segregate your trash – so don’t be too brash in throwing out the leftover burger or soda with everything else in the trash can coz you’ll have to separate them from everything else later. 

Location wise, Zaza is situated across the shopping district of Myeongdong - around 10 or 15 minutes worth of walking time. Ministop is just a stone throw away from the hostel. There's also an ATM is GS25 - a Korean convenience store. Lots of restos around the place. You won't go hungry.

Restos around the hostel

We checked out at 10am during our last day and just left our baggage while we explored Seoul and did some last minute shopping. Availed of the taxi ride going back to the airport - again, convenience won. Our luggage were full anyway.

The staff was also very helpful and accommodating in answering all our questions. They spoke good English and they were very patient in answering repeating questions. Overall, Zaza Backpackers is a highly recommended affordable place to stay in Seoul.

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