The go-to housing for this teacher’s trip seems to be the Dae-A resort. After talking to friends who’ve gone on the trip and a bit of research online it seems to be most likely where future groups will also go. I assume it’s due to space. When you have almost 70 people you need some place where they can all stay and where buses can park. There isn’t a ton of space downtown.
The first thing we did was dropped our bags off in the doorway to the lobby, so keep anything you may be concerned about on your person. Then we came back later that evening to check-in. We were assigned rooms with two to three people per room and then given a pizza to take to our room. You can switch rooms if you want if everyone affected agrees. We were handed our keys and sent on our way. My roommate and i stopped by the tiny convenience store first because we’d been warned our rooms were a bit far away and it’d close by 9 or 10pm. The convenience store had a little bit of toiletries, some snacks and drinks as well as some souvenirs. So we bought some drinks and snacks and headed up to our room.
Our room was in house 105, which was up two sets of recently built escalators up the mountain. There were no down escalators but instead a steep winding path that occasionally we’d have to share with cars. There were more houses further up the mountain so we were lucky it wasn’t that bad. Plus our room was on the first floor. Which was nice, less stairs. But with the heat and even with the escalators it wasn’t the easiest to get to and from. Especially the first night when we were all running on fumes from a day out in the heat, long hours of travel, and lack of sleep.
Our key worked to power the electricity and then we turned on our air conditioning to fight off the heat in our room that hung like a mold scented cloud. Our room came with a tiny fridge that had two cups in it and some local water. We also had towels and bedding and two small bars of soap and toilet paper. The bedding was traditional but thin. There wasn’t much of cushion between us and the floor. Thankfully I was too exhausted to really care.
However the thing I did vastly care about was how dirty everything was. The bed that you see made up in the above picture had hair on it and bugs. My roommate had sensitive skin and was pretty sure the bedding wasn’t clean because it was causing a reaction on her skin and she had to sleep covered in tights and a jacket. The bathroom smelled like mold and the ceiling was covered in it. I didn’t trust setting down my toiletries or leaving them out. Even the shower shoes seemed to be dirty and blackish on the bottom. Because we were out in the mountains and rural there were also plenty of bugs in our room. I spotted at least four centipedes, one that I saw on our last morning crawling through my roommates sprawled out hair. Some friends also complained about mosquitoes in the room that spent the evening gorging on the three of them. (They also didn’t have enough bedding in their room for all three of them)
We did however have a balcony. The view wasn’t great due to all the plants but we could still see the ocean. There were several spots on the way up to our room with a good view, however it was really creepy looking at night with random lights spread out around the island. Whatever they were was always gone by morning. We were all given a wake up alarm every day just before 7am and then from 7am until 8am we could have breakfast. Breakfast was just regular Korean food and nothing breakfast-y. Korea doesn’t really have breakfast specific foods. A lot of my students eat instant ramen for breakfast or something similar to what they’d have for lunch or dinner.
It was two days of buffet style Korean food with subtle changes. (This was day two and day three of our trip) The second day was a lot of noodles and vegetables and a simple soup, the third day included curry and a deceptively spicy soup. I ate rice and tofu both mornings. There wasn’t any coffee only water.
We also ate a dinner in the restaurant, which stayed open late for us one night. It was galbitang, which is a beef bone stew. I like galbitang but this one wasn’t good. They had de-boned it which is fine, but it also didn’t look like there had been bone at all, instead it was just flakes of meat. About seventy percent of which was pure fat and about twenty percent of which was gristle. We also weren’t told that they had stayed open late for us and how much time we’d been given to eat so before I realized it as I was picking around looking for about ten percent of the meat which I hoped wasn’t gristle the staff was taking away bacchan (side dishes) and cleaning up/turning out the lights and kicking us out. I ate most of it but was still hungry. (My town’s galbitang is my favorite so far so I may just be super biased)
There is also a cafe in the lobby. They had coffee, tea, smoothies and a toast set. I bought the toast set the third day after some rice and tofu and it was two pieces of plain toast and jam with an americano which I gave my roommate. On the second day I tried their pumpkin latte which was okay, I got it iced which was a bit more expensive but needed.
Our meeting spot was the lobby both the second and third day with two different bathrooms. The bathrooms next to the restaurant was small and without soap while the one near the convenience store was bigger, nicer and had soap. Which I learned on my second night after my eyes had begun burning from three layers of sunscreen throughout the day that I had sweated through.
The housing was just…disappointing. The trip was free and the housing felt like it reflected that. Talking to friends they said that it hadn’t been that bad when they went so it seems like it’s just going down hill, or it’s the luck of the draw whether the resort will be in good condition or not when you visit. Because it’s not near downtown if you want something or need something you have to buy it ahead of time while you are downtown. It doesn’t help that you can’t get taxi’s late at night either, the staff warned us that after, I think it was 9pm, that taxi’s stop running and you could end up stranded downtown if you went. I don’t think it helped that the staff with us told us when we checked in that we were staying at the best place on the island.