Are you planning a visit to Seoul, South Korea? With its incredible culture, exciting nightlife, and delicious food scene, it’s no wonder that this city is one of the most visited destinations in Asia. But when you are looking for where to stay in Seoul, it can be hard to decide!
To help out everyone who’s planning their Korean getaway, we have put together an overview of the best areas & hotels in Seoul. Continue reading to find out more about our top picks!
Tips for finding places to stay in Seoul
Here are some factors to consider when searching for the best place to stay in Seoul:
When researching accommodation options, location should be your top priority.
Think about what kind of activities you want to do while you’re there, and look for something that is close by or easily accessible via public transportation.
You’ll also want to check out nearby attractions like historical sites and popular neighborhoods.
Naturally, you’ll want to find a place that fits your budget. Look for special promotions and discounts – some Seoul accommodation options offer discounts when booking multiple nights or staying during the week rather than on weekends.
Depending on how long you’re staying, it can be helpful to consider what amenities are offered.
If you plan to spend some time in your room, look for places with entertainment centers, gyms, or pools.
You may also want to look at extended stay accommodations that provide kitchenettes and other facilities to feel like you’re living in the city instead of just visiting.
Before booking anywhere, read reviews from previous guests to get an idea of the quality of their stay.
This can help you get a better idea of what to expect before you arrive.
6 Best areas to stay in Seoul
Seoul is one of the most vibrant cities in Asia, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options regarding where to stay.
To make your decision easier, here are our top 6 picks for the best areas to stay in Seoul!
Insadong is one of the most popular and vibrant destinations in Seoul, South Korea. It’s a great place to experience authentic Korean culture, cuisine, and art all at once!
Insadong is known for its winding alleys filled with traditional Korean shops and restaurants, as well as its galleries, street vendors, and lively atmosphere.
This area has been a center of culture and art since the Joseon Dynasty, and it continues to be an important part of Seoul’s cultural identity today.
Insadong is also home to some of the best-preserved Hanok (traditional Korean houses) in all of South Korea, and you can explore these structures while learning more about Korean history.
The streets are full of antique stores offering everything from furniture to antique jewelry, ceramics, artwork, and calligraphy.
There’re also plenty of cafes and teahouses where you can try a variety of traditional Korean drinks and snacks.
The best things to do in Insadong
- Visit the Bukchon Hanok Village (Home to several traditional Korean homes).
- Take a stroll through Samcheongdong.
- Shop till you drop from traditional markets selling traditional handcrafted goods to modern malls.
- Check out one of Insadong’s many museums.
- Enjoy some traditional tea at Shin Old Tea House.
- Visit Changdeokgung Palace.
- Explore the arts and check out some traditional Korean calligraphy at Sinseon Seowon.
- Visit Jogyesa Buddhist temple.
Myeongdong is a vibrant district in Seoul known for its endless shopping and beauty opportunities.
The area offers many stores that range from high-end boutiques to bargain shops. If you want to pamper yourself, head to K-beauty stores for cosmetics and skincare products at great prices.
Myeongdong is renowned for its street food vendors, where you can find a variety of traditional Korean dishes such as Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and Hotteok (a sweet pancake). You can also find plenty of trendy cafés, restaurants, and bars.
There’s also a vibrant nightlife scene with karaoke bars and late-night clubs that stay open until the early morning.
There’re several landmarks in the area, such as Myeongdong Cathedral – all of which make for great photo opportunities.
The best things to do in Myeongdong
- Shop at many stores of famous international brands like Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo.
- Wander through one of the traditional markets, such as Myeongdong Night Market or Namdaemun Market.
- Take a stroll through Myeongdong and admire its stunning architecture.
- Check out Changdeokgung Palace and Namsangol Hanok village nearby, or stroll through Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
- Visit street food stalls in Myeongdong.
Hongdae is a vibrant district in Seoul known for its unique culture. It’s renowned as the epicenter of South Korea’s indie music and underground art scenes, with plenty of trendy cafes, bars, boutiques, galleries, and live venues.
By nightfall, Hongdae transforms into one of the city’s top nightlife spots. You can find everything from packed clubs playing EDM to cozy bars with live music and soju tents that are open late into the night.
Hongdae is particularly famous for hosting regular cultural events such as the free monthly flea market ‘Park Night Market’ or the ‘World Music Festival’ annually.
There’s no shortage of things to explore here – you can shop at the street stalls, stroll around art galleries and museums, enjoy some great food and drinks, or just soak up the dynamic atmosphere.
For those looking for an exciting night out or a glimpse into Korea’s trendiest district, Hongdae is the place to be! Don’t forget to check out the Hongik University Station while you’re there – its stunning architecture will take your breath away.
The best things to do in Hongdae
- Exploring the bustling streets lined with trendy cafes, restaurants, and shops.
- Head over to Hongik University Street and see the graffiti murals that line its walls.
- Take full advantage of all the incredible food options available in Hongdae, from tasty street food snacks to high-end restaurants.
- Try your hand at a traditional Korean game such as Jegichagi (also known as ‘footbag’) or Tuho (a dart game).
- Catch a performance at one of the many outdoor stages in Hongdae.
Gangnam is a famous Seoul district known for its upscale lifestyle and flashy nightlife. It’s often referred to as the Beverly Hills of South Korea, and it even has its own signature style dubbed “Gangnam Style.”
The area has been popularized by the K-pop song “Gangnam Style” from Psy, and it’s often frequented by both locals and tourists alike.
From chic restaurants and trendy bars to grand shopping centers and luxurious spas, Gangnam offers plenty of ways to enjoy yourself in high-end luxury.
Of course, one can’t forget about the famous K-pop scene either – many well-known Korean pop stars come from the area.
Aside from being a stylish destination with plenty to do, Gangnam is also known for its iconic attractions such as the COEX Mall and Bongeunsa Temple.
The best things to do in Gangnam
- Visit the COEX Mall.
- Explore Apgujeong Rodeo Street.
- Check out the Bongeunsa Temple.
- Visit Dosan Park for affordable eats, or head to Apgujeong-dong for upscale restaurants and cafes.
- Discover the world of technology at Samsung’s flagship store in Gangnam.
Itaewon is most famous for its vibrant nightlife and international cuisine.
The streets are lined with pubs, bars, and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines from all over the world.
From traditional Korean dishes to international flavors like Mexican, Italian, and Indian food, you can find it all in Itaewon.
And if you’re looking for an exciting night out on the town, Itaewon has plenty of clubs and bars to keep you entertained until sunrise.
The Itaewon Global Village Festival is a fantastic way to experience the culture and customs of the world, all in one place. It has been an annual tradition since 2002, bringing people from across the globe to Itaewon for a celebration like no other.
There’re also many historical sites in Itaewon, like the famous War Museum of Korea or the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art.
In addition, you can enjoy great views of Namsan Mountain or stroll along Namsan Botanical Garden.
The best things to do in Itaewon
- Explore Namsan Park near Itaewon for stunning views of the city.
- Experience Itaewon Global Village Festival.
- Visit historical sites in Itaewon such as the War Museum of Korea and the Leeum Samsung Museum.
- Enjoy great views of Namsan Botanical Garden.
- Hang out at Hamilton Hotel Lobby Lounge.
- Explore the local nightlife.
Dongdaemun is a popular tourist destination in Seoul renowned for its vibrant shopping scene.
It’s known for its 24-hour shopping mall, Dongdaemun Market, and its many other markets and stores that offer a variety of goods from clothing to accessories to electronics.
The area around the market is bustling with activities such as food vendors and street performances.
You can take a break in one of the many cafes in Dongdaemun or enjoy traditional Korean street food like Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and Odeng (fishcake soup).
Besides shopping, there’re also numerous historical sites located near Dongdaemun including Jongmyo Shrine, Changgyeong Palace, and Hyehwa Station.
Dongdaemun is also known for hosting some of South Korea’s largest festivals such as the Lantern Festival.
The best things to do in Dongdaemun
- Check out Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)
- Take your time exploring the many marketplaces and boutiques that line the streets.
- Visit one of the local clubs or pubs for an unforgettable night out on the town.
- Visit some of Seoul’s most famous landmarks such as The Great East Gate and Changgyeonggung Palace.
- Try out traditional street foods.
- Go shopping at the Dongdaemun Market.
Best traditional Hanok stay in Seoul
Hanok houses are traditional Korean homes characterized by their curved thatched roofs and natural materials.
Traditional Hanok houses have been around for centuries, but these days they’re becoming increasingly popular among locals and tourists alike.
If you want to experience the unique beauty of Hanok living for yourself, there’re some places across South Korea where you can stay in one.
Hanok Guesthouse Suni
Hanok Guesthouse Suni is a traditional Korean guesthouse in the heart of Seoul.
It offers a unique opportunity to experience true Korean living with its authentic wooden architecture and traditional décor.
The guesthouse provides comfortable and clean rooms, a cozy dining room, and multiple cultural activities throughout the year.
You can also take advantage of their proximity to historical landmarks such as Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village, which are only minutes away from the guest house.
With its warm hospitality, great facilities, and convenient location, Hanok Guesthouse Suni is the perfect place for travelers seeking an immersive cultural experience in one of Asia’s most vibrant cities.
Bonum 1957 Hanok and Boutique
Bonum 1957 Hanok and Boutique offers a pleasant stay in Jeonju, South Korea. The traditional Korean-style guest house has modern amenities and comfortable furnishings.
You can also enjoy plenty of activities such as Mokbang (traditional food tasting), archery lessons, and taekwondo classes – all in the ambiance of a beautiful Hanok village setting!
What I like about Bonum 1957 is its friendly staff who always provide helpful advice and recommendations for sightseeing spots around Jeonju.
With the perfect mix of old-world charm and modern hospitality, Bonum 1957 provides an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after your visit.
Bukchonmaru Hanok Guesthouse
Bukchonmaru Hanok Guesthouse is a traditional Korean guesthouse located in the Bukchon area of Seoul.
The guesthouse has been designed with the traditional architecture and interior decoration of Hanoks, the traditional Korean houses built during the Joseon Dynasty period (1392-1910).
It offers a unique opportunity to experience Korea’s fascinating cultural heritage in an intimate and comfortable setting.
At Bukchonmaru Hanok Guesthouse, you can find all sorts of facilities and services for your stay – from private rooms to delicious local cuisine served at its onsite restaurant. Plus, plenty of activities are available nearby, so you can make the most of your time here.
With its convenient location and friendly staff, Bukchonmaru Hanok Guesthouse is the perfect place to stay if you want to explore Seoul in a truly authentic way.
Where to stay in Seoul on a budget under $100?
Nine Tree Hotel Dongdaemun offers clean and comfortable rooms with essential amenities near key attractions like the Dongdaemun Design Plaza and City Hall.
Toyoko Inn Seoul Dongdaemun II is another excellent option for travelers seeking a budget-friendly hotel in Seoul for around $60 per night and close to public transportation.
Finally, Daeyoung Hotel Myeongdongis another superb budget hotel located near the famous shopping district of Myeongdong.
Where to stay in Seoul with family?
The Four Seasons Hotel Seoul offers luxurious accommodations, delicious dining options, and plenty of fun activities for the whole family, which has two indoor pools – great for cooling off during summer days.
Park Hyatt Seoul is another great option if you’re looking for a luxury stay in the city. The hotel offers excellent amenities like 24-hour room service, a spa, and several restaurants.
Lotte Hotel Seoul is perfect if you’re looking for more affordable accommodation with the large family rooms that come with two double beds and an indoor pool and sauna. Plus, they have several restaurants and cafes on-site, so you can enjoy delicious meals without ever having to leave the confines of the hotel.
Where to stay in Seoul with the best views?
Signiel Seoul is located within Lotte World Tower, the highest building in South Korea. From here, you can enjoy magnificent views from their floor-to-ceiling windows or even higher up at their public observation deck on level 118.
LOTTE City Hotel Myeongdong is another great choice if you want to be close to all the action. With its convenient location in the heart of Myeongdong, you can easily explore the area on foot, and don’t forget to enjoy the breathtaking views from the hotel’s outdoor terrace and rooftop bar.
Is it better to stay in Hongdae or Myeongdong?
If you’re wondering whether it’s better to stay in Hongdae or Myeongdong when visiting Seoul, the answer depends on what type of experience you are looking for.
Hongdae is a lively district popular among young people, with its bustling nightlife, trendy cafes, and cultural events. If you’re looking for a place to party and explore the hip side of Seoul, this is the right area for you.
On the other hand, Myeongdong is known as one of Korea’s top shopping districts. With its variety of stores and restaurants offering delicious local dishes, it’s the perfect destination for those who want to get an authentic taste of Korean culture.
All in all, Seoul is not just a fantastic place to visit but also a great place to stay!
With many excellent areas and hotels in Seoul, you can find the perfect location for your trip.
Whether you want to be near the bustling nightlife and popular attractions or close to nature, there’s something for everyone.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the variety of choices, so if you do your research and pay special attention to what attractions suit your interests best, it should make the process much more manageable.
Remember that Seoul is vast, and each corner truly offers something different, so take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and plan an amazing trip!