Finding love in Korean Love Motels (A Guide to Love Motels in Korea)

korean love motels gunsan
Finding Love in a Korean Love Motel


Home is where I lay my headis a true saying for me, but “I just want somewhere to lay my head for the night” are words you’ll seldom hear off my lips. Milking a romantic and dreamy experience out of a budget accommodation is almost always the challenge for the budget backpacker. However, “cheap” doesn’t need to mean crappy and “adventure” doesn’t have to entail bugs.  One of my favorite travel experiences are my accommodations, so I’m not looking for just a pillow; ideally, I’d like a theme park! Enter Korean Love Motels

Motels are usually my least favorite dwellings, but ever since I saw My Sassy Girl (a Korean romantic comedy film), I admit, it piqued my curiosity. As  guessed, Asian love motels are  primarily geared for couples wanting private loving away from the stern eyes of their parents … maybe even wives! Words like “illicit”, “seedy” and “red light” always conjure my interest; and with sex being a tightly closeted subject in Korea, I’ve wondered what some of those closets might look like. I traveled from Gunsan/Seonyudo Islands to Jeonju with travel buddies (Chance and Margaret), who were perfect accomplices to help satiate this curiosity.


Tour of Korean Love Motels

After docking in our cities, we were off to see the bizarre, the gross, film-noir on-the-cheap; while also hoping to find a bit of clean decency for ourselves. Hand it to artists- when you put ’em together, you’re always going to lean a bit off-line; you’ll geek out on the bizarre, the sketchy, the kitschy and garish. If it had a cheesy name or a tacky facade, we were sure to attempt a room viewing to check it out. We covered about 9 motels in the span of 2 cities. What we found, however, was surprisingly C.U.B. (chic, unique, boutique); at times, downright luxurious! It certainly put  sexy back into Korean sex and made me think that perhaps, sleaze was not the main selling point to these motels. Perhaps, romance did exist?…

Hallway of a Gunsan Korean Love Motel

9 Korean Love Motel Tips for Travelers


1. Where do you find Korean  love motels?

Korean love motels can often be found around the bus terminals. This is an easy location for motel companies as many travelers and couples come off the bus or train looking for somewhere to bed. Is your guidebook not listing love motel accommodations?  Just look up and follow the high beacon of neon building lights (and cheesy signs)… it’s like a homing device for newly arrived travelers.

korean love motels
Neon lights can be a telling sign of a Korean Love Motel


2.  How much do Korean love motels cost?

You can rent a room by the hour or at 40,000W/night. What do you get? A room with a queen-sized mattress bed or a Yo (bedding on the floor) but keep reading… you’ll find it comes with more! Extra beds aren’t an obvious client choice, but are occasionally accommodated for an additional 5-10,000W.

Front Desk & Love Motel Prices, inside the korean love motel, what are korean love motels
Front Desk & Love Motel Prices   Korean love motel prices, cost of renting a korean love motel


3.  Can you see your room before you book it?

Bang chom polsu issoyo?” (Meaning: I see room?) (phonetically: bhang chohm pohl-su ee-so-yo)

What I originally uttered in waygookian (aka foreigner) however, was completely guttural– Bahng pohseyo? Still, miming it brought me close to the same thing and Koreans only give you a rough time when you’re attempting to pronounce their language correctly. In Korea, it’s okay to ask to see a room before you book it and believe me, you’ll be glad you did!  Either an office manager will accompany you to the room or give you a key to go up and have a peek yourself.

asking to see a room first, inside a korean love motel room

room in a korean love motel, inside a korean love motel room, finding love in a korean love motel

SAM 3647


4. How Koreans get in the mood for love

Flowery wallpaper do it for you? A princess theme? How about mirrors on your ceiling or red, plush leather backboards and mood lighting? Jacuzzi or massage table?

Can you find love in love motel? Maybe. If you’re Korean, you’ll learn to carry a little humor with you when you’re in the mood for sex. Some motels are flavored with mis-matched themes and  fun dabs of kitsch. The cheesiest are always the fun to stumble upon!

Read 10 shocking Korean quirks you didn’t know about

korean house slippers

SAM 3620

SAM 3665.

5.  Peek-a-boo bathroom windows

Not all rooms or motels have this unique feature, but it’s not uncommon. The bath is occasionally separated from the living/bedroom space by a giant glass window (some of it frosted). One of our hotels didn’t have a door so we had the honor code system of “we won’t look” privacy.

fogged windows
(Above) fogged bathroom window above; you can peek into from the room ; (below) fogged bathroom windows are hardly private even if they look a little classy.fogged mirrors in korean love motel


6. All-in-one luxury and convenience

Some love motels in Korea leave nothing unturned. Widescreen HDTV, computers, a hot/cold water dispenser and a refrigerator with beverages to boot! Best of all, unlike western hotels, you don’t get charged for everything you use!

SAM 3534

7. Korean love motels provide toiletries (and a little more!)

Some love motels in Korea had everything  we needed and then some! They came fully stocked with enough Kleenex, towels and jumbo-sized wash products to take several baths! Some even came with individually wrapped toothbrush sets.

toiletries in a korean love motel

8.  Getting you sexed up and hooked up

What finally differentiates a love motel from an ordinary pad is the probable fact that it helps you get sex-ified, for that special moment.  Fragrant feminine lotions, facial masks, bubble bath… hey, some even kick in lube and condoms!

the smell of sex, sex accessories in your korean love motel, what's included in your motel room, sex in korea


9.  Korean love motels value privacy (and anonymity)

What’s a love motel in Korea without covert methods of escape and anonymity?  Some motels aid you in your privacy.

key drop motel, cheating privacy in korea,
You can drop your keys in the elevator as you’re leaving


love motel privacy, types of korean love motels, love motel rooms in korea,
(Photo: Right) Order your room without even speaking to the front desk. (Photo: Left) Photos of what your pad looks like. Place your credit card in the slot and your apartment key dispenses.


Would you stay at a Korean love motels ? 

Related Posts

Best Asian Love Motels in Jeonju to Gunsan (Digs & Dives )
Love Motel in Korea- Suncheon & Korean Pornography
Naked in a Korean Bathhouse
A Guide to Korean Love Motels



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  • No wonder the rooms in the pictures look so awful. Now in the year 2019, you can rest yourself in much better rooms. Of course, lower the charge, lesser you should expect, and costs differ greatly by region. If you’re a foreigner planning to stay for a night in Korea, I recommend you reserve a franchise motel. Their prices are reasonable in most cases and facilities are decent.

  • […] old. In fact, you may think you’re walking into a shady neighborhood jjimjilbang dive or a love motel. But step inside  Siloam and explore its five floors of therapeutic health, bathhouse […]

  • such a classy place, i spent around 35 $ for one room, i recommend it.

  • Siddharth Bargate
    February 3, 2011 3:27 pm

    | Get a Girlfriend |

    If you’re done playing the field and looking to settle down with one special girl, then you’re ready to get a girlfriend. You may meet the right girl in the least likely of places – like school or work – or you may have to seek her out in new places – perhaps by joining a new club or trying out new activities. Following the steps below may help you get a girlfriend.

    | Difficulty:
    Moderately Easy |

    | Things You’ll Need |:
    c.Pencils Or Pens
    Breath Fresheners
    e.Pads Of Paper
    f.Greeting Cards

    | Instructions |

    [1].Know what type of girl you’re looking for. Make a list of traits that appeal to you, such as intelligence, looks, ambition, sense of humor, or respect for other people’s feelings.

    [2].Resolve old hurts and disappointments. Make sure you’re ready for a new relationship by setting aside any grievances about old girlfriends.


    Attract the type of girl you’re looking for by emphasizing your best features and downplaying undesirable traits. Make the most of what you have, both physically and mentally.

    [4].Learn how to make a girl feel good about herself by taking an interest in her life and her aspirations.


    Consider any unattached girls at your school or work. Do any of them match the qualities that you want in a girlfriend?

    [6].Get involved in activities that you enjoy to give yourself the chance to meet new girls. Expand your horizons and your circle of friends.

    [7].If you have your eye on a certain girl, let mutual friends know about your interest in her. Ask someone you trust to discreetly tell her about your interest.


    If you don’t have the nerve to directly approach a girl who has caught your eye, consider being her secret admirer for a while. Send her sweet, anonymous messages or notes (with a few subtle clues about your identity) to let her know about your interest in her.

    | Tips & Warnings |

    Love can surface in unexpected places and at unexpected times. Keep your eyes open for the right girl for you.

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  • Why on earth did you think the Korea Times had any credibility to begin with? They blew that with their rotten coverage of native speaker English teachers, their shockingly bad “English” “translations,” their fixation on stories out of the west of sex and scandal, and their frequent unattributed articles.

    Still, I guess you’ll get a nice boost in traffic today!

    As I said in the comment on my post, I guess they just googled love motels in English and found your site. But really, nearly every blogger has done at least one entry on them: usually about all the sex toys, but also noting the great value and cool quirkiness, all for what’d cost $100 – $200 per night in the US.

    • @Brian: Thanks B & thanks for your recent post: F1 Accomodation in the News. Like I said, the irony they’d post my quote not long within the same day of reading your post No Morons, a Love Motel is not a Brothel.

      You’re right, reading that article felt like reading chunks from different sources and my quote came in from out of the blue. Why they didn’t pull a quote from an F1 attendee, I dunno. Somehow I actually did think The Korea Times might have been like the LA Times or NY Times (cities where I’ve lived), but I guess the only thing similar is the “Times” part. I guess I’m still learning those things…

  • So this blog post as of 10-23-2010 22:06 has been quoted in

    The Korea Times : “Italian newspaper: ‘Love motels’ taint Korea’ image as host to F1”

    “The “ubiquity” of love motels in South Korea are often cited in web blogs of foreign travelers to the nation. For example, Christine Ka’aloa, who runs a blog, “Grrrl Traveler,” said: Love motels are primarily geared for couples wanting private loving away from the stern eyes of their parents … maybe even wives!

    They took that ONE line of my entire article (which actually “praises” the Love Motel) and stretched it into a defamatory remark. Really, The Korea Times?! Great journalism guys, your newspaper just fell in my eyes as having any substantial credibility. Seems like some journalists are falling asleep at the wheel of real reporting. My tiny blog is a blog, not a newspaper! Where do they get these reporters?!

    Find the article here:

  • […] Finding love in the Korean Love Motel (Pt I) […]

  • […] Finding love in a Korean Love Motel […]

  • Laura Cancun
    June 28, 2010 5:30 pm

    Awesome!!! In Mexico, I’ve always been wary of motels.

    Some of my friends have used them for some private time with their significant other, and they sound pretty luxurious from what I hear! One even has a private pool in certain rooms.

    I love the peekaboo mirror! I kinda want one haha

    • @Laura Cancun: It’s kind of hard not to be skeptical of motels. most of the time, they’re pretty stereotypical, not always well kept and you feel like sometimes you need to be a trucker in order to appreciate them.. But wow– private pools in a Mexican motel room? I’d be curious to see what kind of “cheese” there is in Mexico ones…
      @Johanna:Thanks Jo– always glad I can entertain! ha ha…

  • What a funny, witty, entertaining read! Keep it coming chris!

Comments are closed.