[UPDATE: As of 2016, there more sites using English, and you do get more hits while googling for long term accommodations]
I love Korea, don’t get me wrong. But the truth is, Korea is still not that english-friendly. Though most popular tourist attractions have a lot of english signboards around and Seoul especially, is very foreigner-friendly, the rest of Korea is not that easy to navigate around. And if you happen to have zero knowledge of Korean, you can kiss goodbye to finding proper accommodations online.
I am serious. I just tried googling ‘ Cheap accommodations in Korea for students’ and all that came up was hotels and service apartments. Not exactly the cheap accommodations I was thinking of. Thank goodness for Lonely Planet which at least provide a forum for people seeking for accommodation ideas.
Of course, getting to stay in the university dormitories, would be the best, most comfortable and convenient choice. But what if something happens and you miss out on the dorms?
So here’s a small guide to introducing the types of accommodations in Seoul.
Note that the types listed here are for LONG-TERM stay. There are plenty of information online for short-term stays like a week or so (i.e. Guesthouses, Youth Hostels, Backpack Hostels)
P.S: Photos shown are only for illustration. Accommodations differ by pricing and hence, the photo are no accurate description. You should always view your accommodation before deciding to stay in it long-term
1. Catered for the professionals – Officetel
Basically like a combination of an office and a hotel. If you can looking for comfort more than anything and don’t mind stretching the dollar a lot more, Officetel might be the right place you are looking for. Is big, comfy and information about it can be found easily online as many expats choose this form of accommodation. It can also be easily found in affluent areas like Gang-nam or even near the airports.
Of course, the price differs widely depending on if you are residing in the country-side or the city.
However, be prepared to pay more than W700,000 per month.
Useful website for officetel: Rate My Hagwon
2. The comfy choice for students – One Room (원롬)
Just like how the name suggests, it basically is ‘one room’. Largely similar to the officetel and in fact, a search on google, will indicate that both refer to the same thing. However, one-rooms around universities are a popular choice for not only international but also local students. Therefore, monthly rent tends to be much cheaper than an officetel which is especially catered for professionals or a.k.a people with monthly income and spending ability.
Like the officetel, though less spacious, one room also packs in all the facilities (bathroom, kitchen…) into the room itself