We all love a good deal and when you’re in Seoul it can be hard to find a place to live that doesn’t require key money(Anywhere from $1000 to $10,000 deposit money you pay but get back when you leave your rental).
Also, for the cheap traveller(like moi) it can be very costly to stay in an airbnb or hostel for a month or two.
This is where the humble Goshiwon or Goshitel comes in !
These are tiny box rooms that offer a shared kitchen(Kimchi and rice are often free) or bathroom, usually. Some nicer but a little bit more expensive Goshitel have private showers and toilets inside your small room.
The best part is that there is no key money, no complicated procedure and wifi, electricity, water and all bills are included in your cheap monthly rent.
I found my Goshiwon online with this website, https://goshipages.com/ but a common way to find these student dorms are by walking around the area you want to live in and finding signs for Go-shi-won 고시원 or as it’s sometimes referred to, Go-shi-tel 고시텔.
Reservations aren’t necessary as you just need to have your passport and to pay upfront to start living there immediately. Pretty cool, hey?
I messaged my Goshiwon in English and they said that they weren’t certain whether a room would be available but to come anyway and check. When I arrived off the plane I found my way to the place I had messaged to find a manager who spoke no English, despite their website boasting that they were proficient in English. I was so lucky that a girl just happened to be there who could translate for me.
I quickly saw my tiny, box room, signed the contract(with her help) and that was it ! He showed me around and my basic Korean JUST about got me by. I paid my first month’s rent and a very small deposit that will be returned to me when I leave.
My room only cost 150,000 Korean won per month ! That’s roughly $128 and I am only a 30 minute walk to Hongdae or 3 train stops away. Of course, every Goshiwon is different and has different prices, services, rules etc; so you really don’t know until you get there and experience it for yourself.
Goshiwons are notorious for having paper-mache thin walls and I tell you-I can hear the girl next door snoring. I can hear everyone’s alarm in the morning too. I am a very heavy sleeper so this does not affect me negatively at all. I can sleep through thunder and lighting. That’s not a joke people.
So, if you want to enjoy the fruits and fun of Seoul but save your money, this is an ideal situation for the lone traveller.
You can learn more about Goshiwon culture from Youtube and other various blogs such as the example below,