Hot enough for you?The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Mr. Pierre, who wrote to us from Seoul:
Q. Mr. Pierre:
I come from France to work in Seoul around this time of the year.
My hotel room is always so warm that I cannot breathe. I thought the hotel did that to sell more drinks from the mini bar.
Finally I asked the hotel manager to lower the temperature, but to my surprise he said that there was no way to do it.
Actually, everywhere I am invited, people keep their rooms too warm, at least by European standards.
I asked other Europeans who have either traveled or lived in Korea about the temperature problem, and they agreed that Koreans do overheat their rooms.
Do Koreans really like heated rooms?
Koreans do prefer warmer indoor temperatures, especially during the colder seasons. When the daily temperature fluctuates a great deal, they tend to feel cold and don warmer clothes.
A spokesperson at Air France says that when flights have a large number of Koreans, flight attendants raise the cabin temperature several degrees so Korean passengers will feel relaxed and comfortable.
Koreans traditionally have a custom of heating their home’s rooms when guests visit as unheated rooms suggest that the host is inhospitable or rude.
In the past, Korean homes had ondol, or floors heated by firewood or coal, when guests paid a visit. Sometimes, the floors were too hot, but this was considered a sign of hospitality. By providing hotel guests with warm rooms, Koreans believe that they are taking better care of their visitors.