Theme Motel in Tongyeong (통영)

Tongyeong (통영) is where you take the ferry to Bijindo. I knew I wanted to stay near the Gangguan harbor (강구안) to visit the Jungang Live Fish Market (중앙활어시장) and to be near the Tongyeong passenger ferry terminal (여객선 터미널) to catch an early morning ferry to Bijindo (비진도).

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Now, I have to admit I have stayed in some not-so-nice hotels and even worse hostels. However, as far as love motels go, they’re the crème de la crème of accommodations in Korea. Deemed “love” motels because of their hourly rate options and the small package of goodies you receive when you check in. The small, often zip-locked, bag typically contains two deposable toothbrushes, a comb, condoms and maybe some type of sample cosmetic. One thing these motels are not is bug-infested or anything scary. They’re usually much cleaner and “nicer” than hostels I have stayed in around the world.

On Friday, September 19, I arrived in Gangguan harbor (강구안) a few hours before Chris’s bus was meant to arrive in Tongyeong Bus Terminal, so it was my job to find accommodation. The tricky thing about love motels is that many of theme do not have any web presence in English making it near impossible to book in advance.

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The neon sign of the Theme Motel caught my eye and I had time to kill, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to check it out first. The building looked exactly like the hundreds of apartment buildings in my town with packing spots below and a nice marble-like entryway. I was greeted by a sweet-tempered older Korean woman. Impressed by the buildings’ cleanliness and her friendliness, I asked how much for a room. At 40,000 won, I was sold. Plus, my bag and tent were getting heavy.

I took the elevator to the sixth floor where I was greeted by funky colored lights and wallpaper with English words collaged full of English errors. As I laughed to myself, I put in the key to open the door. By habit, I removed my shoes and put the key in the alloated slot that allows the lights to turn on.

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I turned to enter the room and was welcomed by this incredibly saucy wallpaper. Now, I knew I had picked the best love motel in Gangguan harbor (강구안) and likely all of Tongyeong.