On my first trip to Seoul, I booked my accommodation at Zaza Backpackers. I have a friend who is a loyal client of them. She gave positive feedback about them and she always stay here whenever she goes to Seoul. Since I am a solo traveler on a budget, her feedback made me feel at ease even if it was also my first time to stay in a dorm room. However, upon arrival, they referred me to Myeongdong Global Hostel so I was not able to stay with them.
On my second trip to Seoul in November 2015, I traveled with my college friends. I suggested that we stay at Zaza Backpackers Hostel. I am curious as to why they gained my friend’s loyalty and I was confident at the same time that my friends and I will have a pleasant stay here too.
My friend made the reservation thru www.booking.com but I still exchanged emails with Zaza Backpackers before our trip. My friend who arrived several hours earlier than us, was accommodated even if we have not yet made the payment because they received my email informing them that we will be arriving at different hours. They told my friend she can stay in our room so she can rest and that we can pay later once we are all in. They are so nice! ^_^
Update as of March 2018: Zaza Backpackers Hostel relocated to a new place in September 2016 but I have not tried their new facilities yet. However, three of my friends who have also been their loyal clients stayed there late last year on two separate occasions and they said the rooms are now furnished with microwave oven, refrigerator and washing machine! According to my friends’ opinion, up to this point, this hostel remains consistent in providing superb accommodation! I’m excited to be back soon and experience it myself once again! This post is based on my experience in April 2015 and November 2015. I have updated the directions on how to go there from Incheon International Airport. For updated room rates, photos and other information, please refer to www.zazabackpackers.com.
We booked for a triple room for 5 nights and we were charged ₩420, 000 (inclusive of 10% tax). Upon arrival, they let us stay in a family room which is good for 4 persons (two bunk beds) with bathroom/toilet without extra charge.
I was not able to take a picture of our room because we unpacked immediately when we arrived. All of our things were all over the room, so it is not post-worthy. Their bunk beds and bathroom look exactly as what they have posted on their website.
Reception/Lobby/Pantry – We stayed at their main building which has 2 floors. The first floor has the reception, lobby and pantry. The second floor has 2 rooms and that was where we stayed.
The reception is open from 8 a.m. until 12 midnight. They also have computers available next to the reception which are free to use by guests. You can also leave your luggage here if you have other places to go to after you checked out.
The lobby is more like a living room so it feels homey and cozy.
The pantry has one long table. They have hot and cold purified water dispenser, microwave, toaster and refrigerator. You can also leave your food in the refrigerator just mark it properly with your name, room number and your last date of stay. They also provide free light breakfast (toast, jam, butter, coffee and/or tea).
Tour – They can book for all the tour and performance shows and even transportation (DMZ, Nami Island,Ski Resort, Nanta)
Airport Pick-up and Send-off Service – They can can pick you up from airport or send you to the airport with a private van which is good for 5 persons at ₩75,000.
Laundry Service – Laundry service is ₩5,000 for 1 big plastic bag. You can get your clothes the next day.
Mobile Wi-Fi/Wifi Egg Rental – Wi-Fi Egg (₩5000 per day, ₩30000 for deposit). You will need to inform them before your arrival if you want to rent the Wi-Fi Egg so they can check if it is available. During our trip, they were not providing this because they changed their mobile wi-fi provider.
DIRECTIONS (Updated March 2018):
1) Taking the subway is cheaper but the most convenient way to get to Zaza Backpackers from the airport and vice versa especially if you have big luggage is by airport limousine bus 6001 or 6015 for ₩15,000.
2) Get off at Myeongdong Station and look for Exit 3. This is the last station and estimated travel time from Incheon International Airport is about 60 to 70 minutes.
3) Walk towards the left side of Pacific Hotel.
4) Walk straight ahead and you will pass by Twosome Place, Two Two Chicken and until you reach Mini Stop.
5) Their new building is just in front of Mini Stop and you will see their signboard. Please refer to this map which is also from their website.
Service – Their staff responded immediately to my email queries. They write and speak English really well. They accommodated my friend who arrived a few hours earlier than us and told her we can pay later once we are all in. They lent us their adapter plug and umbrella for free. They kept my luggage for a few hours when I checked out so I can still go to other places before my flight for the evening. Check in and out was a breeze.
Room -The room was clean when we arrived. They provided free towels and toilet paper. Rate is reasonable because we booked for triple room but they let us stay in a family room which is good for 4 persons without extra charge. The bed was comfortable and I was able to sleep really well. There are power outlets near the door. It would have been more convenient if there are power outlets beside each bunk bed. The hot/cold shower is connected to the faucet (which I am not used to) but it worked well. However, the toilet has no lock. No locker to store your luggage or other valuables. Wi-Fi connection was unsteady during our stay so I was not able to be online most of the time. Since there were only 2 rooms on the second floor, it was generally quiet.
Facilities – The pantry is tiny but it served its purpose well and they provide free breakfast (toast with jam/butter and coffee/tea). You can use their utensils but you have to wash them after using. You can also use their computer for free. The reception/lobby is open from 8am to 12 midnight and their staff speak English well and are very accommodating. There is no elevator on the main building but that is not a problem since there are only two floors! :-)
Security – There is a security lock at the main door. Since they do not have curfew and they are open for 24 hours, they provide their guests with pass code which they will enter in order to get through the main door. There is no locker in each room and the bathroom/toilet has no lock.
Location – It is very easy to find. My friend admitted that she is not good with directions so I was quite worried that she will get lost, but she was able to find Zaza Backpackers easily and was even able to explore Myeongdong alone. It is about 5-minute walk from Myeongdong subway exit 2 and 3. Very accessible from airport through limousine bus #6015. However, it is located at an elevated place (it is at the foot of Namsan or Nam Mountain) so it is quite steep and you might find it hard to walk especially if you have big heavy luggage. There are a lot of restaurants, street food, convenience store. The neighborhood is generally quiet and peaceful (we usually get back to the hostel before midnight). It is very near Myeongdong Cathedral, Myeongdong shopping area, N Seoul Tower and Namsan Park. Very convenient location to explore Seoul. :-)
Will I stay here again and recommend it to my friends? YES! Overall, I was really satisfied. They provided for our basic needs and I really appreciate that we were able to communicate with them through email. They were very helpful and nice. :-)
For more information about Zaza Backpackers, you may also visit www.zazabackpackers.com