June 14, 2012

Alternative Expo Lodgings: BnBHero

Last month, I read a few articles about the world expo that is currently being held in the southern city of Yeosu. While many said that the expo looked promising as a means of tourism as well as a cool place to check out, others were more skeptical. They argued that the event would end up being a clusterfu- er, overcrowded- due to the fact that Yeosu is actually quite small and unprepared for a large influx of people. They went on to state that one of the biggest problems would be the lack of lodgings to accommodate overnight guests. Some of these predictions have proved to be true. Yes, there aren't many hotels in the immediate area of the event. There are, however, many alternative lodgings which undoubtedly rival your average hotel or minbak.

What could possibly be better than hotel toiletries and in-house rice cookers, you ask? Culture. Homemade food. Real-life Korean families. The stuff homestays are made of. And the newly popular website BnBHero has made such a cultural experience not only possible but super easy and budget friendly.

After entering the location you are traveling to on their site, you can browse available rooms, hanoks, or even camper cars based on your preferences. Select your travel dates, create an account, and pay via PayPal or with a Korean credit card and you'll receive an approval e-mail within 24 hours.

My personal experience using BnBHero was fantastic. After a long day checking out the different attractions of the expo, I was tired and ready to rest my feet. My friend and I arrived at our homestay quite easily and were immediately greeted by our adorable hosts with welcoming smiles. I was quite impressed with the apartment. It was impeccably clean, neatly decorated with traditional Korean pottery pieces, and fully equipped with modern amenities (hello, waterfall shower!). After being shown our room and the shared bathroom facilities, we began unpacking our things and preparing for a shower. It was only a matter of minutes before our homestay eomeoni (mother) brought us a tray of freshly sliced seasonal fruits and homemade shikhye (traditional rice drink). It was the perfect end to a fun day.



The living room of our homestay was cozy and clean.



Our room slept two comfortably with lots of sleeping space on the floor as well as the daybed.



Fresh fruits and homemade shikhye- the perfect evening snack.

We were slow to wake up the following day but as soon as we did, we felt just as welcome as we had the night before. We were told family stories and of the whereabouts of the couple's children. We were also treated to a yummy breakfast of kimbap, eggs, and tomato juice as we admired the view of the city of Yeosu from the family's living room. The mother knew I was feeling a bit sick so she had prepared a cup of messhil tea for me, as well. We hadn't known each other long, but I could feel her warmth and motherly love... something that definitely doesn't come with a room at the Hilton. They sent us off with small gifts, maps of the area, and well wishes. My friend and I agreed that this would not be the last time we would be using BnBHero.



Abeoji (father) was such a kind, hospitable host!

So, potential expo-goers, don't fret. There are plenty of unique lodgings and opportunities to enhance your expo experience. It just takes a little research and a willingness to try something new. Happy homestaying!

4 comments:

  1. What a lovely experience! Steve and I tried a hanok homestay in Seoul one time and it was great. I'd love to try another homestay elsewhere in the country. Thanks for the info! :)

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  2. Welcome, Jo!! BnBHero seems to be growing quite quickly. I'm sure they'll have homestays throughout the entire country very soon!

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  3. Thanks for this very nice report. I am going to Yeosu. Would be kind enough to give me the e mail of this family ?

    Best regards

    Jean Paul Curtay jeanpaulcurtayatgmail.com

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  4. Thank you for reading, Jean Paul. After our email correspondence, I hope you had a great trip!

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