You might probably ask, what the hell am I doing in a motel!
When I got into a forum and asked about affordable accommodation in Seoul, a few helpful Koreans suggested that I look for a ‘motel’ instead of ‘hotel’. I grimaced at this suggestion because we all know what motel usually means in Malaysia. They assured me that the motels are clean, safe and even decent with half the price of staying at a hotel. In fact a lot of Koreans stay at these motels when they’re having domestic holidays.
Of all the booking websites I sifted through, Innostel is the one that provides the best offer. While my initial budget for accommodation was set at RM250, it slowly descended to RM150 and finally downed to RM120 which is Kara Motel. With my credit card’s rate, I actually paid only RM110 per night, even cheaper than most guesthouses. CS was very happy with this budget.
To be honest, I can’t hide my disappointment when we got into our room 702. It was small, aged and we were rendered without a wardrobe and safety box. The window serves as an escape outlet in case of emergency more than for scenery. The PC (it’s not unusual for hotels to provide computer in Korea) is antique.
On my second day, I started to appreciate this small little room that I started to see it as comfortable. The floor has heating system to keep our feet warm, the bed sheet is clean and we were well entertained by the big LCD TV in our room. Maybe because we made the room really messy, the housekeeping only helped us to empty the bins and changed the towels for 6 days we were there but that didn’t bother us much.
Bathroom is clean and the only complain I have is that the shower only gives me hot or freezing cold water, nothing between that. Toiletries are provided but in big bottles, so you’re actually sharing them with the previous tenants and the previous, previous before that.
Location wise, Kara Motel is superb. Its side door is just right in front of exit 3 of Jongno-3-ga subway station that interconnects line 1. 3 and 5. This area is called Nakwon-dong. Just around the corner is the tourism spot Insadong area. Unhyegong, Changdeokgung, Jogyesa and Bukchon Hanok Village are within walking distance. With that, Gyeongbokgung and Gwanghwamun are also reachable if you donned on a pair of good walking shoes. If you’re planning to go Nami Island, you can even take shuttle bus from this area to Nami Island jetty. What more can I ask for?
Almost 80% of Nakwon-dong made out of food outlets but still, there’s a lot of street food lining the roadsides. The only problem you’ll face here is you never have enough stomach space to stuff them all. It’s just too bad we always left our hotel early morning and only returned when we’re too dead beat to enjoy the area. I foresee my return to Kara Motel.
Endnote : Although a motel, I didn’t see any prostitutes or patrons of such thing during our stay, only tourists like us.