Saturday, June 22, 2013


We put up at hostels. I think it’s cheaper than hotels.

They are functional, warm and very, very clean.

Both hostels we stayed in were teeming with Singaporeans. It may be testament to the Singaporean penchant for travelling, the national ability to sniff out a good thing, or the tendency to follow the tried-and-tested.

In case anyone is interested in where we stayed:


Studio 41 is tucked away in a very quiet fairly affluent residential neighbourhood, 15 minutes walk from the Hongik University train station, staffed with a group of warm, enthusiastic English-speaking Koreans in their 20s.


Price: About S$160 per night for a tiny room with a bunk bed and a queen-sized bed, with bathroom, computer, TV, washing machine, fridge, sink, cooking hob, water dispenser (I know, it’s amazing how they packed it all in. Hello, studio apartment!)


Like many of the shops in the Hongdae neighbourhood, it is cutesy, with a family of three cats nesting at its entrance.

Our favourite cutesy spot was the kitchen.


The hostel sits on a jewel of a site, at the southern end of Jeju in Seogwipo where many of the attractions are, overlooking the sea and a mountain.



Price: About S$200 per night for our room which was huge and had three bunk beds (six mattresses) and a huge bathroom with two showers.


Tae Gong Gak is an online darling, the Number 1 on Trip Advisor.


House master Sylvia owns and runs the place and she is picky about who she takes in (no rabble-rousing alcohol-swigging backpackers, for one).

TGG is spare and functional to a fault, nothing is extraneous or ‘pretty’ apart from the hundreds of hand-drawn A4-sized testimonials which adorn her walls floor-to-ceiling, and is squeaky clean. The floors literally squeak. I once saw Sylvia scurry out of her counter to wipe an invisible speck on the floor with a tissue.

We knew zilch about Jeju and it was TGG’s patient, detailed and effusive assistance which fleshed out our bare bones itinerary. We could see why they were Number 1.

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