Traditional Hanok Guesthouse in Seoul: Dalzip
On a crisp Saturday morning in January, I was wandering one of my favorite areas in Seoul, Samcheongdong and the Bukchon Hanok Village.
These neighborhoods are home to a large concentration of traditional Korean houses called hanok. That night, I would be spending the night in one, something I have never done in Seoul even after living here for three years.
Dalzip Guesthouse (literally "moon house") is a classic hanok with 5 guest rooms and one large common room and kitchen. With double and triple rooms, this is popular for foreigners and locals alike. Two other families that were at the guesthouse the night I stayed there were actually Korean, looking to see Seoul in a new way.
The owner, Astor Kim, speaks perfect English and showed me to my cozy double room. While a true traditional experience is great, the modern upgrades like wifi and air conditioner for summer were much appreciated.
My double room was a small room good for one person or two people without too much luggage. The space was incredibly cozy to me, and when my boyfriend came to visit later, we had no problem with two people in the room either. The only reason the double room might be cramped for two is if you both have large suitcases.
The room came with a thick comfy cushion for the ground, two pillows, and smaller decorative pillow, and a thick comforter. When the bed is fully set up, it takes up most of the room and is roughly the size of a queen or large double bed.
You are also given two large bathroom towels, two small hand towels, two toothbrushes, two hair brushes, a hair dryer, and, for summer, an electric mosquito repeller.
The shared bathroom was large and clean, and for the four different times I went in and out, I only saw one other person once and this was a night when the guesthouse was fully booked. Basically a private bathroom :)
The common room offered guidebooks, reading books in English and Korean, a table, a fridge, and access to tea, coffee, and water. That night, there were a few other guests mingling in the common room drinking tea, and the low chatter sounded so cozy!
Another great addition to the guesthouse and common room was this friendly fellow.
Very quiet and calm, this little darling was such a fun housemate! He comes over to get a back scratch from you once or twice, but otherwise would rather wander around alone. If you're scared of dogs I would say this little guy was more like a cat!
I never heard him bark once!
Around 8pm, as I sat in my room reading, I heard a knock at the door. Astor was going door to door bringing the guests some hot tea and an assortment of traditional Korean snacks. Yum!
As I was falling asleep, the walls admittedly proved to be thin. You could easily hear the people next to you, but in my case it was about 20 minutes of hearing my neighbors settle down to sleep and that was it. No sounds woke me up in the morning, and I am a very light sleeper.
That is just what you get with a traditional hanok. Unlike hotels, the walls aren't 100% soundproof. But really, it wasn't enough to worry about.
In the morning, I enjoyed Dalzip's homemade breakfast. It was a traditional Korean breakfast of rice, kimchi soup (kimchi, potatoes, and bean sprouts in a spicy broth), and various side dishes.
It was a great way to start the day, and warmed me right up to face the January chill in the air. After that I wandered off to explore Samcheongdong, which was still just waking up.
If you're looking for a one or two night experience staying in a hanok in Seoul, I highly suggest Dalzip. You can't beat the location, price, and puppy! Plus, the owner speaks English perfectly and was incredibly fast at answering emails if you have any question at all.
You can find them on AirBnb, Booking.com, and Hotels.com, along with a few other sites.