Review: Tae Gong Gak Inn and Guesthouse

I wondered if the TripAdvisor reviews for the Tae Gong Gak Inn and Guesthouse were too good to be true.  Everywhere I looked, I only found raving fans of the service and value at TGG.

Make no mistake; Jeju Island is an expensive destination.  We tried to find accommodation within walking distance of the Lotte Hotel (where Doc Sci’s conference was held), but I couldn’t touch a place for less than $200 per night for a standard hotel room.

I stumbled upon TGG while searching for hostels (fyi: most of them are in Jeju City or in the middle of nowhere).  It was located in Seogwipo with decent rates.

I emailed the owner, Sylvia, to find out what she had available during our visit and what the policies regarding children were.  Right then and there, the great service found at TGG began.  Sylvia answered all of my questions and even offered to provide a Korean-style floor mattress for T-Rex, free of charge.

My one beef is that TGG could not provide a travel cot (pack & play) for Screech.  I now know that many Koreans co-sleep, and so travel cots aren’t in high demand.  Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, Jeju is the Korean honeymoon island so children aren’t usually in the picture.

Sylvia confirmed our reservation without charging a deposit and made sure to mention important details such as credit cards are subject to a 10% surcharge, US dollars are accepted, and breakfast is included in the rate.

We followed Sylvia’s instructions on how to reach the TGG from Jeju Airport (about 80 mins by bus) and had no trouble finding the inn.  Sylvia and Peter immediately greeted us, took our picture, and asked how they could help.

Our room wasn’t ready yet (it was barely 9:30am), so Sylvia called a taxi for us to take us to Mt. Halla.  When we arrived back at the ranch later that day, our bags were waiting in our room.

Peter personally showed us around the property and how to use the floor heater and air conditioner.  He also gave us some complimentary bottled water and delivered extra towels for the boys.

Only two rooms were available during the time of our reservation, 205 and 207.  We chose 207 because it was a bit bigger and had a small kitchenette (rate: 105,000W per night, including breakfast – about $94).

View from TGG Room 207. It's possible to see Seogwipo Harbor from this room, but only from the balcony, not from the window.

Room 207 is located directly over the breakfast room, but we never had any problems with noise.  Our room included one double Western-style bed, one Korean floor mattress, a flat-screen TV with a few English channels (mostly news) and tons of Korean channels, a low floor table and two floor chairs for in-room dining, a hair dryer, and two racks for clothing, bags, etc.

Watching Thomas the Train in Korean.

Just fyi… Western-style mattresses in Korea are quite hard, but so are German mattresses.  If you’re used to your American pillow-top, you’ll find the Korean version  akin to sleeping on a slab of granite.

My boys thought the best thing about this room was jumping on the Western bed and the Korean floor bed (the pile of bedding underneath Doc Sci).

The bathroom was clean, but I wasn’t crazy about the Korean-style shower.  It’s basically a normal stand-up shower (no tub), but without a curtain.  A 24-inch piece of glass is supposed to cut it.  Right…

Two boys + shower head - functional curtain = very wet, messy bathroom

The kitchenette is small, but functional.  You’ll find a few dishes, pots, silverware (mostly chopsticks and spoons), and a rice cooker.  Yep.  Standard.

Small kitchenette in Room 207.

Internet is free, but it’s wired in the rooms.  We only brought our iPad, so we had to go to the breakfast room or lobby to use the wireless.  Two computers are available for guest use in the breakfast room.

One night, I miscalculated how much Korean won we had left and since banks were closed, we were forced to find food for the four of us for under 12,000 W (about $10.70).  Sylvia showed us where to find a grocery store, and we fried up some dumplings on on our one-burner stove.  Guten Appetit!

When asking for directions at TGG, Sylvia and Peter always showed us in digital pictures on a computer in the lobby.  They have taken photographs along the routes to many restaurants and attractions so that you can easily find your way without having to read street signs or bring a map.  Genius.

The included breakfast is a Western, continental breakfast.  Items I noticed were toast, bagels, butter, jam, peanut butter (a Costco-sized jar of Skippy chunky!), two kinds of cereal, milk, juice, yogurt, coffee, tea, bananas, oranges, apples, and two kinds of instant ramen.  Okay, so they’ve gotta throw one Asian breakfast option in there, right?

Well, as it turns out, the reviews weren’t too good to be true.  They were spot-on.  And it shows.  The walls of the TGG are slowly being overtaken by thank you notes written by guests from all over the world.  I asked T-Rex if he wanted to make one; he said no.  Next time, I won’t ask!

Our stay at TGG was one of the best in recent memory.  Great service, affordable rates, kind hosts.  Thank you, Sylvia and Peter!

5 thoughts on “Review: Tae Gong Gak Inn and Guesthouse

  1. Pingback: Seoul: Food « Thrifty Travel Mama

  2. Hi! I think I followed your blog when I wanted to go Korea back in May, and totally forgotten about this entry on TGG inn.

    I stayed in TGG inn too when I was visiting Jeju, and I would say I felt the way you did! It was the best hotel/hostel stay I have had so far. Sylvia was really friendly and helpful! Definitely would stay there again if I have the chance to visit Jeju again.

    And I kind of regret not hiking Hallasan! It definitely looks beautiful from your photos!

    -Anastasya

    • Hi Anastasya! I am so glad the review of the Tae Gong Gak Inn as well as the other Korea posts were helpful. Sylvia and Peter were great hosts, and Peter wanted to speak German with my kids which was fun for them. Next time hike Hallasan if the weather cooperates – it’s an unforgettable experience!

  3. Pingback: Tips for Planning a Travel Itinerary with Kids | Thrifty Travel Mama

  4. Pingback: Jeju Island with Kids | Thrifty Travel Mama

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