If you are looking for where to stay in Seoul, here are the best areas, hotels, and guesthouses for a first stay in South Korea.
Which neighborhood should you stay in for your first trip to Seoul?
Seoul is a massive metropolis with more than 10 million inhabitants. The city extends over several hundred kilometers. Nevertheless, the historic center is relatively small compared to its current size. The historic center is located near the city’s most significant royal palaces.
The central districts of Seoul are the most touristic because they are located near the must-see places in the city (find out more in our article: What to do in Seoul). However, as the business center of Seoul is located in the same place, certain parts of the center can be very quiet at night.
You can stay in other areas of Seoul, which are less central but livelier at night. In this case, proximity to the metro will be more critical.
Staying in Downtown Seoul: best places and hotels
Insa-dong and Myeong-dong are among the most touristy areas of Seoul. They are right in downtown Seoul. Here, we find the most beautiful hotels in Seoul, such as the Four Seasons.
Insa-dong: central and touristy
The Insa-dong district is a central district close to the must-see places in Seoul. Insa-dong is nearly the same distance from Seoul’s three palaces, Cheonggyecheon and Namsan Hill, where Seoul Tower is located. However, this area is the most touristy area in Seoul.
Myeong-dong: central and commercial
The Myeong-dong district is between the Gyeongbokgung and Deoksugung palaces and the Seoul Namsan Tower. It is known for its lively pedestrian street, night market, and impressive shopping centers like Lotte Department Store or Shinsegae Department Store. Myeong-dong is one of the best places to stay in Seoul.
Best Hotels for staying in trendy alternative neighborhoods in Seoul
Hongdae, Itaewon, and Gangnam are also among the most famous districts of Seoul. These are bustling and lively areas of Seoul. If we had to label them, Hongdae is a young district, Itaewon is a multicultural district, and Gangnam is a chic district of Seoul.
In these neighborhoods, you will discover the atmosphere and vibe of Seoul. On the other hand, if you are staying in these areas, choose accommodation near the metro. Public transportation in Seoul is clean, convenient, and comfortable.
Hongdae: a lively area to stay in Seoul
If you are looking for a lively and less touristy area, Hongdae is ideal. This district is fascinating day and night. You will find many Korean shops, lovely cafes and restaurants, karaoke, arcade games, bars, and nightclubs.
Itaewon: Seoul’s Cosmopolitan Neighborhood
Itaewon is part of the Yongsan-gu district of Seoul. Initially, it was frequented by American soldiers. Indeed, the American military base is close to Itaewon. Over time, this area has become an expatriate area and is now one of the liveliest areas in Seoul on weekends.
You can stay at H HOSTEL, which is a 5-minute walk from the subway and has very reasonable prices for Seoul. It is an excellent place to stay for a couple or family. If you are traveling solo or alone, you will find unbeatable rates at Cube Itaewon Hostel.
Gangnam: the chic and modern district of Seoul
You certainly know this neighborhood thanks to the Gangnam Style song. Gangnam is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Seoul. It is also known for its vibrant nightlife.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Seoul’s Gangnam district, near the metro, the L7 Gangnam by LOTTE hotel is excellent. The rooms are spacious, and some offer a view of Seoul!
Unusual accommodation in Seoul
You can book a night in a traditional Korean house for a total immersion in the local culture! There are still many traditional houses in the historic center of Seoul, particularly in Bukchon Hanok Village (a former village of the 14th century).
You will stay in an authentic and quiet place close to the center of one of the largest megalopolises in the world! It is a fantastic experience. However, the rooms are sparse. Only a few guest houses offer this, such as Bukchonae.Booking.com
The best areas to stay in Seoul are Insa-dong and Myeong-dong, Hongdae, Itaewon, or Gangnam. Accommodation rates are around $ 100 per night for 4-star hotels and about $ 70 per night for 3-star hotels. In general, bed and breakfasts and hostels offer lower rates. If you will be away from downtown Seoul, look for accommodations close to public transportation.