Monday, April 17, 2017

Walk Thoughts #34: a quick supplement to the previous post

Several of the places that I've chosen to stay at—mainly because there's nothing else in the area, including campgrounds—bill themselves as "pensions." As an experienced Europe traveler, I think of a pension in a European way: it's a small, modest accommodation in a building that is run basically like a hotel or B&B. European pensions are no-frill places to flop down and get some rest. But what I'm now seeing, as I click the Naver Map links to look more closely at these Korean lodgings, is that the Korean notion of a pension is grandiose. These places look absolutely gorgeous, which means they've got to be expensive as hell. I'm currently scheduled to stay in five pensions; if each one runs $200 a night or more, I'll be hemorrhaging over $1000 during this walk. I'd much rather camp if it's going to be like that.

I'm going to call these various pensions and see what's up with their nightly rates, and whether they'll even accept a single traveler: most of the pensions I've looked at have vaulted, spacious interiors, and they seem prepped to accommodate entire families—in some cases, up to eight in a room. Do these places even have single rooms? I'm going to find out.

If it turns out that pensions are a no-go for whatever reason, then I'll just play it by ear and camp where I find a decent patch of earth.


Charles said...

I doubt very much those pensions are going to be that expensive. Possibly more expensive than you like, but they shouldn't be anywhere near $200 a night. If they are, I will be quite surprised.

(Although, if they are the only accommodations around, perhaps they will try to ream you....)

Kevin Kim said...

If the pensions are around $50-60 a night, I'll bite the bullet and stay in them. But if they're more like a Doubletree Inn, around $90-$120 a night, I'm going to hesitate. And $200 (by which I really mean W200,000) is a definite deal-breaker.

In any case, I'll call these places tomorrow during office hours and find out (1) whether they have facilities for a single traveler, and (2) how much accommodations cost. The nice thing about bringing camping equipment is that I have options.

John Mac said...

Surely there must be love motels around. Even country folk cheat on their spouses now and again...

Kevin Kim said...


A lot of the people I'm talking with are having a hard time believing that South Korea has population-sparse areas, but it's true: once you leave the big cities, the country is wide open. Not exactly empty, of course, but civilization is definitely thin on the ground. If you watch some of those biking videos (type "four rivers biking korea" into a YouTube search window), you'll see what I mean.

At every stopping point, I've been looking and looking for any sort of lodging, but toward the end of this 23-day walk, there are spots where there's simply nothing there. And at the end of a walking day, I'm going to be too tired to think about walking an extra hour or two just to reach an inn or hotel... so camping it is!