Going on vacation with a group of friends is great fun especially if you’re able to rent a pension in Korea. Unfortunately, most places are managed by local property owners so a lot of expats and visitors find it hard to secure reservations. Almost all popular pension rental websites are in Korean and places don’t offer assistance in English. This is because many are family run businesses and operated by older Korean couples who don’t interact with foreigners often. Here are a few tips to consider to make booking easier and help find the best pensions in Korea.
1. Extra Stuff and Packages
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a pension is similar to renting a large vacation home. Many include BBQs, swimming pools, outdoor areas for relaxation and other activities to enhance bonding and quality time. Some amenities are considered add-ons and do come with additional cost that should be reserved in advanced. The best examples are for extra bedding for additional guests and renting grill equipment. And some pensions even offer activity packages like water skiing or tubing.
2. Beds and Ondols
To many visiting foreigners traveling within Korea for the first time, they are often surprised how some accommodations don’t come with beds. These kinds of rentals are called “ondol” and are quite common as many Koreans are used to sleeping on the floor. For those with sensitive backs or don’t like sleeping on hard surfaces, it’s important to request for rooms with beds. But you should be aware sometimes even if there are beds, they can be a bit hard so asking for extra bedding in advance can help.
3. Bathrooms and Showers
Since pensions come in many sizes and can have multiple bedrooms, you should choose one that has at least a couple bathrooms if you have many guests. It may not occur to you at first when you’re booking a house for 10 people that it may only have one toilet. It’s important to check this detail before making a reservation. Also, you may want to request a photo of the bathroom because in many older properties, there may not be separated showering areas. It’s not unusual to find shower heads plumbed to the bathroom sinks. For some people they find it quite uncomfortable to wash this way so we recommend opting for more modern pensions.
4. Transportation and Shuttles
Pensions in remote areas sometimes offer shuttle services from nearby transportation hubs or marketplaces. Since it’s not always easy to find taxis or buses that go to secluded mountain or riverside areas this can be very convenient. The nicer places will even take you to pick-up groceries and other essential items for your stay.
5. Reservations and Selection
If you’re just starting your research, of course we recommend contacting Wonderful to help with your booking. We are an English language personal assistant service dedicated to helping expats and visitors in Korea. We can help find the perfect place, book and communicate with pensions on your behalf so you can travel like a local. It’s as easy as sending us a message to get started. While there are a few other sites like Agoda, Booking and even Airbnb that have pensions, their selections are generally very limited. There are thousands of places that never get listed on these sites so don’t settle for less!
Have fun and enjoy your trip! www.gowonderfully.com