White Bamboo Airbnb in Dongdaemun Seoul South Korea

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Cham's first Airbnb experience.

When my family and I decided to experience white christmas in South Korea for 10 days, we thought that it would be more convenient to rent at an Airbnb.

What is an Airbnb?
It is a website to list, find and rent lodging. A vacation rental from local hosts in more than 190 countries which can either be a home, condominium, apartment or hostel. Perfect for travelers who want cheaper accommodation compared to hotels and it also has amenities that standard hotels cannot provide (you'll find out later on as you read this blog)

The good thing about Airbnb is that there are handful of options to choose from. Options not only include the type of accommodation, location, space and the number of guests to stay but also the specific amenities that you are looking for. 

White Bamboo in Dongdaemun by Kwangpil | P3,254 ++ per night
As I've been browsing for an ideal place to stay in Seoul, a minimalist loft caught my attention.  It's in Dongdeamun area, a few walks to two subways lines (line 1 and 2 - Sinseoldong Subway) and good for up to 5 guests (we were four) plus cooking and laundry are available so when my family approved of this listing, I booked it immediately.

Kwangpil the host
Airbnb hosts have different styles of communication and as per Kwangpil we never got to see him although a week before our actual stay he emailed me information about his unit, directions of his place, loft guidelines and restaurant recommendations.  

Going to White Bamboo Dongdaemun Vertville from Incheon International Airport
The most convenient and fastest way is via Airport Bus 6002 that stops at exit 5 and 12 of the airport which cost 10,000 won (P400) per person and the duration is 1 hour to 1 hour 30 mins depending on the traffic. Alight Sinseoldong bus stop and walk for 5 minutes going to the building. The building has three main elevators, take the 1 and 3 as 2 doesn't stop on the floor where the loft is located.

Dongdaemun Vertville Building

Entrance near subway line 2 exit 7

Door Coded Lock - FAILED
To open the door there is a passcode that you need to input, this particular door code changes per guests, Kwangpil emailed me the code days before so when we finally arrived at the door steps we typed in the given door code but it was so unfortunate that it wasn't working! We tried it many times just to make sure that we typed the right one, but we had no luck, I even messaged him to ask for the right one but there was no response :( . It became a bit of a hassle for us as we felt helpless. After a few tries I tried to jumble the numbers given to us and to my luck it opened on my first try! (btw he messaged me the right code when we finally settled in, good thing he was so apologetic about the mishap)

Building hallway

It was such a relief entering the loft. The minimalist zen type of room was refreshing, I love the interiors.  

Hello, loft!

First Floor
Btw no shoes allowed inside, there is a certain area at the front door where you have to remove your shoes and store it at the shoe rack. Slippers were not provided too so it's either you have your socks on or walk barefooted. 

The big closet, TV, dining table with chairs and stairs

1 Queen size bed at the first floor
3 Single beds at the second floor
1 Dining table with four chairs
1 traditional Korean dining table with 5 pillows
Washing Machine
Huge closet
LCD TV with 200+ international channels

Morning view

The queen sized bed on the first floor was where my parents stayed. It is beside the traditional dining table where the microwave was also located

Queen sized bed, traditional dining table and microwave

Kuya and I slept at the second floor where the three single beds were located.

three single beds

The kitchen has the basic cooking needs we needed:
Spacious refrigerator
Dining utensils
Kitchen paper
Pots and Pans
Electric Kettle
Dish washing liquid
Gas stove
Washing Machine with detergent and fabric softener
*No rice cooker, they only have a pot where you can cook your rice manually
*No ingredients provided

Kitchen and washing machine

Refrigerator, cups, plates, utensils

A shower
Toilet with no bidet
Toilet paper
Tiny towels
Shampoo, conditioner
Liquid soap
*The hair dryer isn't working

The shower has no door

 Tiny towel

Other Amenities
Heater (the heating system is connected to the water heater)
Fast Wifi connection (really fast!)
Vacuum Cleaner
Full body mirror
Wet Clothes Rack 
*** Important that you bring an adapter with you. They have different plug type from ours (they have 2 round ones and ours are vertical flat blades). We had to buy an adapter at Daiso in Myeongdong area.

What you can do at an Airbnb that you will not/can't in a standard hotel?

Cooking can save you a lot of money. One of the main reasons why we opted to rent at an Airbnb was because we wanted to cook so that we could save. During our stay my Mama cooked breakfast/brunch so we didn't have to eat outside for breakfast or lunch. Basic ingredients can be bought at the convenience store, first floor of the same building.

Mama preparing breakfast
Breakfast for four-  Korean rice, sunny side up, bacon, stir fried veggies and left over from yesterday's lunch
The very affordable bento boxes we bought at the convenience store - 3,000 -3,500 won (P120-P140)
and Choco drink - 2,000 (P80)

We were also saving for baggage allowance so we didn't bring many clothes especially inner wear. Another reason why we chose to stay at an Airbnb was because it has a laundry option (without additional fees). However, there were no instructions as to how to use it. Thank you for Korean friends (hello Krimmy couple) and social media we were able to use this. Btw dryer is not provided but there is a spinner, we hung it at the wet clothes rack provided fortunately drying them up was not a problem.

Washing machine, detergent and fabric softner

One of the guidelines in Kwangpil's loft was to maintain its cleanliness, it was my mom's initiative to clean the flooring whenever she felt it was dusty.


Throw the trash
In Korea they have a strict and complicated garbage system as compared to the Philippines where we have no discipline at all. So by maintaining the cleanliness of the place, one of Kwangpil's guidelines was to throw the trash in its proper place, there are certain garbage bags for particular garbage, however he failed to provide us the standard garbage bag. When I informed him about it he just instructed us that we can store all the garbages at the storage room near the door. 

Nearby Establishments
The building itself has many establishments

Convenience Store
We bought most of our ingredients here like cooking oil, salt pepper, coffee, eggs, rice, meat, veggies, chocolate drink & noodles. They also have ready-to-eat bento boxes that are really cheap! They're open 24 hours so it was very 'convenient'. 

24 hour Convenience Store
Our first grocery

Local Korean Restaurant
This was where we usually eat. It was a bit hard talking to them as they didn't understand English but we survived and their dishes actually tasted good! Try their chicken dishes especially the fried ones. YUM!

Traditional Korean Restaurant

Our Christmas Eve dinner - Korean Fried Chicken, Seafood Udon Soup and Sausage

Korean-Japanese Fusion Restaurant
We don't know it's real name because it was written in Hangul but the quirky interior of this restaurant caught our attention while walking from subway Exit 4 to our loft. If you are to stay at this loft and would want to take a break from all the traditional Korean dishes I recommend you to try it here. Plus the dishes are quite affordable and they have an english menu :)

Cooking is always FUN

My dish recommendations are the pan-fried seafood udon 6,000 won (P260) and Home-made beef sirloin cutlet 6,000 won (P240)

Pork and Kimchi Stew (5,500 won), Home-made beef sirloin cutlet (6,000 won)
Pan-fried seafood udon (6,500 won), Pork cutlet with sweet potato and mozzarella cheese (7,000)
Aside from these, there are more establishments nearby such as a spa at basement 2, a cafe & yakitori (japanese barbecue) at the ground floor. Restaurants are ample around the area of the building (Kwangpil has restaurant recommendations that you might want to try)

Getting Around
Another plus point of this loft is its close proximity to Subway Lines 1 & 2. Subway line 1 exit 4 is a 4-5 minute walk from the building while Subway line 2 exit 7 is less than a minute walk. Subway lines 1 and 2 are connected so if you can't stand the cold during winter, it's better if you take subway line 2 then walk from there going to line 1. But if you have big and heavy luggage and you will be going to Seoul Station Line 1. I recommend you to walk to exit 7 instead as you will encounter many staircases (trust me, we tried it and it was so exhausting!)

The encircled station is Sinseoldong Station
Subway Line 2 Exit 7 is right beside the building

Subway Line 1 Exit 4 
Sinseoldong Subway

We had a memorable and comfortable stay at Kwangpil's White Bamboo loft. Despite the difficulties with the door code lock, broken hairdryer and incompatible plug our experience here was superb. Excellent location, ample restaurants and establishments, spacious loft and good heating system. Thanks Kwangpil. Thanks Airbnb!

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Check out our Winter Wonderland adventure on youtube


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