|▲ Out front of the Backpacker’s Home in Seogwipo City. Photo by June Kim
Aside from the endless luxury (and pricey) resorts and hotels sprinkled across Jeju stands Backpacker’s Home, a new hostel located in downtown Seogwipo City that embraces the life of the traveler.
The owner, Jack Jung, a long time traveler, wanted to create a place where his fellow backpackers could stay, interact with one another, and share travel stories.
“I’ve visited 25 countries and I traveled all of them by backpacking,” he told The Jeju Weekly. “After I traveled that way, I got to know people from all over the world, and I met them all by staying at hostels. I really enjoyed that aspect of the hostel lifestyle and wanted to take that with me.”
Many of the places he’s visited and lived have made their way into the walls, floors, and interior of Backpacker’s Home. The hostel is filled with dark wood tables, chairs and hardwood floors from Brazil, a bamboo garden that takes up the right side of the entrance, sun scrubbed white walls that are inspired by the Mediterranean, and clay shingled rooftops that are reminiscent of Spain.
Backpacker’s Home truly is a little escape, and situated in the perfect location for those looking to see the best nature spots on Jeju. It is a short 2-3 minute scooter ride to Cheonjiyeon and Jeongbang waterfalls, 2 minutes to the harbor, 7-10 minutes to Oedolgae, 10 minutes to Donnaeko, and 15-20 minutes to Jungmun Beach.
With the price being a reasonable 22,000 won per person, it’s surprising to learn that many complimentary services are provided for each guest. Free services include WiFi, use of laundry machines, toiletries (shampoo, soap, towels, tissues), lockers, luggage storage, and an American-style breakfast. It is definitely the best place to get value for money.
Rooms currently are four-person occupancy with two bunk beds. If you plan on staying there, be sure to try and stay on the second floor, which opens up to a roof deck with sun beds, tables, and chairs that provide a relaxing place to tan, read, meet your neighbors, or enjoy your complimentary breakfast.
However Jack has a bigger vision for the hostel. It currently has a connecting café and bar, which has already become a popular spot for those residing in the Seogwipo area. However, the entire basement is undergoing renovation to become a lounge and bar, complete with a pool table, sofas and chairs, shuffle-board, darts, travel books, and musical instruments. These are expected to be complete by June.
Backpacker’s Home, although a newcomer in the hospitality scene in Jeju, is a uniquely designed and inspired space that welcomes every type of traveler with its endless complimentary services, warm and friendly staff, and beautiful interior detail. Jung considers his place to be more than just a roof over one’s head.
“This isn’t a place I want people just to sleep, I want people to exchange cultures and share their experiences with other guests as well as the staff,” he said.
Address: 315-2, Seogwi-dong, Seogwipo City
Q & A: Jack Jung, owner of Backpacker’s Home
What made you first want to own a hostel?
I’ve visited 25 countries and I traveled all of them by backpacking. After I traveled that way, I got to know people from all over the world, and I met them all by staying at hostels. I really enjoyed those aspects of the hostel lifestyle and wanted to take that with me.
I noticed that Jeju Island didn’t really have that sense of closeness in hotels and hostels in the area, and I wanted to create a place for backpackers and travelers to meet in a friendly environment. When I traveled, there were times that were difficult and uncomfortable. I want people who aren’t from Jeju to feel at ease here at Backpacker’s Home.
Being from Seoul, why did you decide to own a hostel in Jeju over any other place in Korea?
In May 1985, I visited Jeju for the first time. I went to Hallasan and camped there for two months. I had my base camp there and traveled all around Jeju for those two months. Every day, I would walk from my camp all the way down to the ocean, and walked back up. I fell in love with Jeju at the time. So, from then on I came to Jeju once a month because I loved it so much. My entire life I wanted to live down here.
You’re very well traveled, having lived in multiple countries. Where is one of your favorite vacation spots?
In West Papua New Guinea there is a region in the mountains called Wamena. The culture there is very pure, the people there wear no clothes, have no salt, and the strangest thing is that they breastfeed baby pigs. They don’t have money there, and only barter. I loved visiting there because it was the purest form of travel I’ve ever experienced. It was so different from anything I’d ever seen, and it was an experience I’ll never forget.
What is the most important thing that you want guests to experience at Backpacker’s Home?
I want guests to feel comfortable and at home. This isn’t a place I want people just to sleep, I want people to exchange cultures and share their experiences with other guests as well as the staff.
Do you have any future plans for Backpacker’s Home?
I’m planning on building a huge common room out of our basement. In the basement there will be an area for people to play music, a game space with a pool table, shuffle-board, darts, etc., and many sofas and chairs for people to lounge.
We’re also planning on expanding by building 30 more rooms. We want this to be the place in Seogwipo where people will always have a place to stay. We want to be the place where people come to sleep, or just come to hang out.