Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse review (자자 백팩커스) (ザザ バックパッカーズ ホステル) (萨萨背包旅馆)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

zaza backpackers review
If you have read my previous post on Air Tickets and accommodation booking for my 7D Korea Free and Easy Trip in Nov/Dec 2012, you probably remember that I chose Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse (자자 백팩커스) (ザザ バックパッカーズ ホステル) over Namsan Guest House (남산게스트하우스) (南山ゲストハウス).

I booked our stay at Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse via Zaza Backpackers website 3 months before our arrival date. Although no downpayment is needed, you will have to confirm your reservation 3 times via email.

1. 30 days before your check-in date
2. 15 days before your check-in date
3. 5 days before your check-in date

This review will solely focus on my experience at Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse. As we reached Incheon International Airport at 0445, we took the first airport limousine bus no. 6015 at 0535 after clearing the customs and getting a drink at Dunkin Donuts. It takes about 1 hour 20 minutes to get to Myeongdong from Incheon Airport.

Although it was the first time that we were in Korea, we didn't have much difficulty locating Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse after alighting at Sejong Hotel. The only thing was that it was so cold that we had to seek shelter at a nearby enclosed ATM to read the map for directions.

Tip: Cross over to the other side of the road via the traffic light instead of the Subway underpass if not you will have to lift your luggage up and down the stairs.   

Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse is on the right before the convenience store, Mini Stop. I missed Dubu Restaurant's sign hence I went to Mini Stop (convenience store) to ask for directions. The guy working in Mini Stop was really nice, he even came out of Mini Stop to point us to Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse even though it was really cold out there. Turns out that we just had to turn right before Mini Stop and Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse is up on the slope. Not to worry though, the slope isn't as bad as it sounds as my mom and my 16 year old cousin can lug their luggages up themselves without help.

Check in

The normal check-in timing at Zaza Backpackers Hostel and Guesthouse is at 2pm but since we reached at 7plus in the morning, we left our luggage with the staff there and set off to our first destination, Gyeongbokgung Palace.

When we came back in the evening, Zaza Backpackers Hostel and Guesthouse staff brought us to our room.

To enter our room, we had to exit the main door that houses Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse office as well as other few rooms and enter from the side door.

zaza backpackers review

I guess they gave us that room because I told them that I am travelling with my 16 year old cousin and my Mom and I was afraid that I have to lug the luggage up the stairs plus I requested for a quiet room. Initially, we were rather skeptical about our room because the fact that we have to brace through about 10 steps from our room's door to the side door and maybe another 10 or 15 steps to the main door to get to the office (lounge) in open air at about 7-9 degrees is no joke.

If you are concerned about safety like I was initially as we had to go through the side door to get to our room as it can get rather quiet at night, there's nothing to worry about actually because there are not just one but a few CCTVs installed near the side door. I believe there's only two rooms that requires to guests to pass by the side door to get to their rooms,  

We were quite thankful that we did not get the rooms next to the office or above the office as you can hear other guests talking in their rooms quite clearly. 


zaza backpackers office interior
Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse office
There are computers in the office which one can use to surf net or just sit down on the sofa to chill.

In case you are wondering why would we need to go to the office (lounge), its to refill our water bottles, make coffee or tea, which we definitely need to every morning to brace the cold weather (there are tea bags and coffee sticks provided by Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse) or to make Skype calls back home. We called Grandpa and Uncle and they were like, "Oh my, that must be expensive!" and we went, "No, not at all. Its free because its Skype call!" The good thing about it is that you can call landlines. But if the other party has got a smartphone and Skype app installed too, you simply call them in the comfort of your  room.

zaza backpackers officezaza backpackers skype phone

The office only opens at 8am. Before that, the office door is closed as Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse staff will be resting inside. Hence, you won't be able to go in to get water, coffee, a new change of towels or use the computers or phone before that.


We made full payment in cash (Korean won) on the first day of arrival at Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse before checking in to our room.

After bringing us to our room, Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse staff passed me the WiFi password and he also gave me Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse's Line username so that I can 'line' them if I need any help without having to walk to the office. I thought that this was pretty thoughtful of them, no?

Without further ado, let's take a look at our room. We booked a 'double room with extra person'.


Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse review
Cable TV with multilingual channels and hair dryer

Our messy table filled up with my Binggrae banana milk (빙그레 바나나 우유), my cousin, Ebony's strawberry milk and our leftovers from Two Two Fried Chicken (the radish is so so so good). Try spotting my thermo flask in the background, a must-have during winter time as hot water is such a lifesaver in the freezing cold weather.

I must say that I'm quite happy with the fact that Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse do provide hairdryer and a table mirror which I can use to apply my skincare and makeup. Best still, its not inside the bathroom which is more convenient as another person can use the bathroom while the other blowdry her hair outside which saves more time and we can head out earlier!

Honestly speaking, with the price that we paid, we weren't expecting so much bed space. I mean, check out what's in there for us.    

Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse review
Bunk bed

Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse review
Single bed

Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse review
Korean floor mattress bed

This can easily house 5 people and there's only like 3 of us. I guess if there's really 5 people in this room, walking space will pose as a problem as for us as I don't think you can possibly bring your luggages up to the second floor (or rather tier) where the Korean floor mattress bed lies. During our stay there, we normally chuck our luggages underneath the bed so that we will have more walking space. 

Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse review
Private (En-suite) toilet and shower room

Toilet and toiletries

One of the reasons why I chose Zaza Backpackers Hostel and Guesthouse for our stay in Korea is partly due to the part that it has an en-suite toilet (the toilet is in the room). The toilet and shower room is really basic. It is good enough for showering and what nots but I advise that you do not bring your change of new clothes in when you shower if not it will get wet. Either get someone to pass it to you or if privacy isn't a big issue (eg. when you're travelling with friends of the same gender or maybe your family without anyone of the opposite gender), it might be better to get dressed outside.

There's no toiletries provided apart from toilet paper and towels which you can get it yourself from Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse office. I have no problems with bringing my own toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush etc but I would have preferred if they did provide a floor mat. It would have been so much more convenient. Thank God that we did bring our own towels so we just used one of our own towels as the floor mat and threw it away on the last day.

I was quite worried about the water heater not working properly as it was Winter when we were there but thank God it didn't give us any problems. Its not that much of a fuss if you shower with cold water, you will be fine if you remain in the room as the heater is on but once you step out of the room, you will feel the chill.

Travel adaptor

Fret not if you did not bring along your travel adaptor or if you need an additional one, just ask the friendly staff at Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse. They will be more than happy to provide you with it.


You will have to segregate your trash before putting it into the bins on the steps of the staircase facing Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse's office.  


Generally, they don't do housekeeping. We stayed there for 7 nights and there was no housekeeping. It didn't quite bother us because we were out most of the time. The only time we were in Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse is to sleep. Mom said that she felt very 'safe' as she didn't have to worry about packing and locking our luggages since no one comes into the room during the day to do housekeeping while we are out.  

Air-conditioning and floor heating

As it was Winter when we were there (24 November to 1 December 2012), we only used the heater. In case you are wondering, its won't be cold when you're in the room. You can wear T-shirt and shorts, its fine. If it gets stuffy, open the windows but make sure you don't open the mosquito screen, I'm sure you won't want to invite them in.


Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse staffs are very friendly and helpful. For those of you whom are afraid that there might be communication problem, fret not. Zaza Backpackers Hostel and Guesthouse staffs speak pretty decent English for Koreans. Just make sure you slow down when you talk because typically, Singaporeans tend to talk too quickly. I have been told by my colleagues from UK that I speak too quickly umpteen of times before.

I was on Skype with another cousin of mine, Si Ling and she was telling me about an optical shop in Myeongdong but we couldn't find the address despite googling it in English hence I asked a staff from Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse for help. I told him the name of the shop in English and he translated it into Korean and it turns out that they renamed the shop's name to something else. No wonder we couldn't find it in English!

The staffs are generally helpful. Don't assume that they don't understand what you're saying just because they don't answer you immediately. Most of the time, I think they are processing their answers - translating from Korean to English as for most Koreans, English is not their first language.

There's another guy whom is always in the office in the day before we head out and at night when we get back to Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse. My cousin, Ebony calls him the iPad guy (Mr iPad) because he's always on his iPad. We secretly suspect that he is the boss because he looks immaculate all the time. He always have his coat on even when he's indoors and his hair is always in place while the rest of the staff are normally in training suits. There was a day when we were refilling our bottles, preparing to head out and this guy (not sure if he's a staff of Zaza but he was on close terms with the iPad guy and the other Korean guy whom was manning the office) whom was panting badly and have just entered the room asked us where were we heading to that day. Boy, he spoke very good English and even had an American slang to it. Let's call him Mr American. I told Mr American that we were planning to go up to Namsan Tower by foot in the evening and the iPad guy was talking to Mr American in Korean which I obviously don't understand fully. Mr American told us that Mr iPad suggested not to go up to Namsan Tower by foot because it will be too cold and he even told us where to take a bus up to Namsan Tower.   

Check out

Typically, the check out time is 10.30am, but we had to leave Zaza Backpackers before 8am as our return flight departs at 1015. Hence, I asked the staff the day before how we should check out and return the key to them. Turns out that its as simple as A-B-C, just leave the key in the room and close the door after you and the door will be locked automatically.

I hope you like this post. Thanks for reading.

You might also like these posts:

How to get to Myeongdong from Incheon Airport
Tosokchon Samgyetang 토속촌 삼계탕 (土俗村参鸡汤) | Must-eat in Korea
Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse review (자자 백팩커스) (ザザ バックパッカーズ ホステル) (萨萨背包旅馆)
Air Tickets and accommodation booking for my 7D Korea Free and Easy Trip in Nov/Dec 2012 (Includes Zaza Backpackers Hostel & Guesthouse pricing and facilities)
Gyeongbokgung 경복궁 (景福宮) | Must-visit in Korea
Petite France 쁘띠프랑스 | French Village in Korea countryside

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