Accommodation Airbnb Journal Korea Review

Korea 2024 | Airbnb at Dongdaemun

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to capture many photos of this Airbnb due to its lack of visual appeal. (I do, however, keep videos during check-in and check-out as evidence in case I needed to use it, which unfortunately I had to.)

This place was hosted on Airbnb

We booked in April 2024 and paid about RM3,662.94 for nine days and eight nights. This makes about RM457.87 a night. There is a cleaning fee of about RM140+, a service fee of about RM525+, and taxes of about RM50.

  • A queen bed that is bouncy enough
  • Two pillows that are flat and hold no support at all
  • A weighing scale
  • A TV and wi-fi
  • A wall clock
  • Air conditioner and water heater system
  • A light blanket
  • A table with two chairs
  • A sink with dish soap
  • Some pots and pans with a fire stove
  • Dishes, bowls, and cups
  • Spoons, forks, and chopsticks
  • Water Boiler, Microwave, and Toaster
  • An empty fridge and freezer with a broken door
  • A washer with some detergent
  • A drying rack
  • An ironing board and an iron
  • Some hangers
  • One wet bathroom with two slippers
  • A hair dryer
  • A floor mat only for the whole unit
  • A vanity table with no lights and located at a dim area
  • A first aid kit with only cotton, a pair of scissors and maybe anticeptic in it.
  • Some travel adapters but only one actually worked
  • Trash bags*
  • Kitchen tools or utensils such as knives and scissors
  • Dryer
  • Additional floor mat
  • Any sorts of toiletries, even hand soap.
  • Umbrella**
  • Sound-proof walls
  • Other items in the first aid kits***
  • Various other items that might be needed but were not provided, making it unjustifiable to purchase them for temporary use during our stay in this unit.

* Please see the Communication section below for more details on the trash bags.
** We had to purchase umbrellas (RM100++) at our own expense, as the one listed in the Airbnb was not available
*** The Airbnb listing indicated a full first aid kit, but it was lacking

Upon entering the room during our check-in, we immediately noticed a significant disparity. Unlike the polished images presented on the Airbnb listing, the room appeared rather dull and lacked the freshness depicted in the photos. The flooring exhibited signs of wear and tear, including noticeable cracks, mold, and damage.

Situated in an older building, whose name I cannot say, it’s evident that the property has seen its fair share of years. I’d estimate it’s been standing for at least a decade or two, but it doesn’t seem to have received the care and maintenance it deserves.

However, what I can provide are details about the surrounding area. Conveniently located downstairs is a bus stop, making transportation easily accessible. Additionally, there’s a GS25 convenience store nearby, along with a Sulbing outlet on one of the floors. Across the street, you’ll find familiar names like Starbucks, a pharmacy, and a Lotte fried chicken shop. Moreover, within proximity, you’ll discover other popular eateries such as BHC Chicken, BBQ Chicken, and Egg Drop.

Nearest bus station and train station exit

Bus: The closest station is Euljiro 6-ga. National Medical Center (을지로6가.국립중앙의료원). 

Train: The closest exit to the Airbnb is Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station Exit 12. It’s important to note that the escalators at this exit have been non-operational for quite some time, indicating a lack of maintenance or repair. However, there is an elevator and escalator available on the left side of the Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station main exit, next to the DDM Market entrance. Although it may be slightly hidden, it is indeed there.

Regrettably, we only became aware of this alternative exit near the end of our trip. The host failed to inform us about Exit 12 or provide guidance on where to access elevators with our luggage. Consequently, we had to navigate up a slope and take a lengthy detour to reach the Airbnb building.

The Pros of this Airbnb Unit

In terms of amenities within the unit itself, there aren’t many standout features beyond the basics.

However, the location is a definite highlight. With a convenient store downstairs, it was easy to grab necessities daily. Plus, being within walking distance of popular restaurants was a major convenience. We also encountered fantastic vendors and tourist assistance nearby. The accessibility to places like Nyu Nyu and APM Place, even late in the day, was a definite plus.

The Cons of this Airbnb Unit

The unit itself appeared smaller and older than depicted in the photos. Additionally, the level of service provided did not meet our expectations, which were already modest considering our awareness of the Airbnb context.

It’s worth noting that we’ve stayed in Airbnb accommodations before and have not encountered any issues that happened in this one.

Communication is the biggest issue

I had to put our full conversation as the way he responded back to my review does not align with our texts.

Point 1: Early Check In

We never insisted on early check-in. When the host offered it, we communicated that we were flexible and would be perfectly fine if it wasn’t available. Our main concern was simply knowing the plan moving forward. If early check-in wasn’t possible, we were content to utilize the convenient luggage storage boxes at the train station and continue with our day.

However, we ended up waiting for several hours before receiving a response from the host, who then informed us that the room was ready. At no point did we insist on it or feel obligated to secure early check-in. However, the host seemed fixated on pointing out this particular effort, which was highlighted in previous reviews.

Point 2: Plastic bags

I firmly believe that hosts should prioritize their guests’ convenience, from essential items to household tools, no matter how small. While hotels typically already provided bin bags within the bins and often offer sanitary or laundry bags for guests, in this case, I would have expected at least an additional general waste bag as we are staying for more than a week’s time. Although the host did provide a food waste plastic bag, it served a different purpose.

Regarding the toilet trash bin, it is designated for used toilet paper, as we were instructed not to flush it. Situated directly in front of the toilet seat, it required changing after 4-6 days of use. However, we were unable to obtain any plastic bags during our trip, as most of our shopping came in paper bags. In my review, I erroneously stated that the host asked us to reuse the bags; rather, they suggested we use the plastic bags for a longer duration during our stay. Nevertheless, this poses a sanitary hazard as the bags can still harbour bacteria. The uncertainty of whether we needed to purchase a specific bin bag for toilet paper waste added to our confusion.

Requesting guests to purchase their own trash bags, albeit at a small cost, strikes me as illogical. I am hesitant to acquire a pack of plastic bags to take home, especially considering the surplus I already possess awaiting use at home.

Point 3: Floor Mat

The condition of their flooring is truly concerning. There are evident water damages, scratches, and a general lack of maintenance. As we take turns to shower, the water dripping all over the floor poses discomfort and safety risks, not to mention further damage to the flooring.

We were misunderstood in the sense where we were told if we had soaked the original floor mat, prompting us to wash and reuse it. Furthermore, they seemed to confuse our request with the folding mattress, adding to the confusion and frustration.

Point 4: Impression of not wanting to recycle waste

At no point did I indicate that I would not recycle the items provided. Recycling is a practice I adhere to at home, so it was disheartening to see the host immediately think that we were not going to recycle.

Point 5: Luggage to be recycled

At the beginning of our trip, upon our arrival at Incheon Airport, one of our pieces of luggage suffered a broken wheel. Despite our attempts to tape it up, it was clear that it wouldn’t withstand the journey. After discussing it with my family, we made the decision to leave the luggage behind and continue our travels without it.

I wanted to ensure that the broken luggage was disposed of responsibly, especially given the host’s emphasis on recycling. Hence, I left it in the room with them to avoid any penalties for improper disposal and to spare them from dealing with the aftermath. When I reached out to inform them about the situation at 9am, we were still in the Dongdaemun area until 2-3 pm on the same day. We communicated this to the host, but they did not request us to retrieve the luggage and instead assured us that they would handle it.

Subsequently, I was taken aback when the host said that I am “indicating that [I] didn’t want to bother carrying it or disposing of it,” which is entirely untrue.

Point 6: Already broken sink

During our check-in, we observed that the sink was already broken, as documented by a video recording. However, we opted not to provide feedback at the time, assuming it may be attributed to the age of the Airbnb unit. Moreover, upon our arrival, we were consistently fatigued, which further limited our energy to address the issue.

Subsequently, when we utilized the sink, it began to leak. Considering our minimal time spent in the bathroom and the compact, humid environment, it seems improbable that we could have caused the damage. Additionally, the chilly weather outside made it impractical to leave the bathroom door open while showering or immediately after as it further discourages us from spending more time in there.

It’s noteworthy that we predominantly spent our time outside of the Airbnb unit. Despite the apparent issue during our stay, the host did not mention it during our check-out or in any subsequent communications.

Point 7: The "Messy Use" Statement

I have video evidence from the moment we checked out, confirming that we ensured at least large majority of the furniture and items was returned to its original place. I had even checked in with them to confirm if the room’s conditions were acceptable, which they did not feedback. The only area that might appear “messy” is where we gathered recyclables. However, it’s worth noting that the guidebook explicitly states that guests are not obligated to bring all trash down. I have photos of the guidebook, including all relevant pages, as evidence. Additionally, I took the initiative to hang the floor mat to dry, further contradicting any claims of negligence.

All other items, including the drying rack, table and chairs, hairdryer, and vanity chair, were returned to their designated spots. Given the limited space in the room, it’s unlikely for things to be displaced.

If the perceived “messiness” refers to an unmade bed, recyclables, and a food waste bag left on the counter (due to uncertainty about where to dispose of it), then I have difficulties guessing the host’s definition of true messiness. Furthermore, considering we paid cleaning fees, the condition of the room upon check-out should have been manageable.

Point 8: The "Reluctance to Read and Impatience" bit

They stated that I am “reluctance to read and impatience,” despite my thorough review of their guidebook, Airbnb posting, and lengthy messages multiple times over. However, their handling of the situations clearly demonstrates their difficulties in handling disagreements or constructive criticism. Communicating with them has been challenging for us.

We tried to maintain composure and responded as politely as possible, despite feeling very startled by their communication style (which should be understandable that we are startled). 

My next trip to South Korea

I have no intention of returning to this unit. I have already found several alternatives that are not only nicer but also offer better value for money. If those options are not available, we are open to trying 4-5 star hotels for the first time in South Korea.




Leave a Reply

No right-clicking here. Sorry!