A Complete Guide for Where to Stay in Seoul

Where to Stay in Seoul

Planning a visit to Seoul anytime soon? If so, it can be overwhelming to figure out which part of this mega city to stay. Whether you are coming for work or pleasure, Seoul’s transportation will help you get to wherever you need to go. Only have a short amount of time in the city and want to be walking distance to the most attractions? Or do you want to stay somewhere close to great shopping or would you rather stick strictly to business and stay near where you’ll work? Regardless of your needs this complete guide for where to stay in Seoul will help you out!

Also be sure to check out 99 Fantastic Things to do in Seoul.

Where to Stay in Seoul

Hongdae

Hongdae

The Scene

Hongdae is a great place to stay in Seoul thanks to it’s younger scene. This area in Mapo-gu is surrounded by university students thanks to it being home to Hongik University. This area never sleeps and is known for it’s late night partying and food at all hours. This area is chocked full of restaurants, cafes, and plenty of shopping.

Who it’s for

Hongdae is great for backpackers and a traveler who is looking for a party scene.

Nearby Attractions

Hongdae is full of shopping, fun museums like the Trick Eye Museum and the x rated, “love museum.” You’re also walking distance to the Han River where you can picnic or enjoy outdoor activities. The nearest mall is Mecenatpolis Mall and is only one subway stop away at Hapjeong Station. Check out our post on the Best Things to do in Hongdae to find out more.

Seoul Subway

Hongik University Station, line 2

Recommended Hotel

Amanti Hotel Seoul has a great location just minutes away from Hongik University subway station with clean and modern rooms for under $100 per night.


Sinchon

Sinchon

The Scene

Sinchon is another great place to stay in Seoul if you are a party goer. Located just a subway stop away from Hongdae, Sinchon is also a small area that contains a university giving it a younger crowd and lively scene. Again, the nightlife in this area is also big and there are plenty of entertainment options. If you’re on a tighter budget you’ll find the prices to be lower here than in Hongdae.

Who it’s for

Younger travelers, party-goers, and backpackers

Nearby Attractions

Located next to Hongdae you are sharing the same attractions as hotels in this area. There’s also a great, newly renovated CGV movie theater here.

Seoul Subway

Sinchon Station, line 2

Recommended Hotel

Ever8 Serviced Residence is a high-rise building offering great city views from its garden terrace, centrally located in the University hub of Seoul, and around $70 per night.


Edae

Campus d'Ewha

The Scene

Edae is home to Ewha Women’s University and is located next to Sinchon and Hongdae. This is another energetic spot in Seoul full of younger, university age students but with less nightlife. If you’re looking to go clubbing you’ll have to hit up Hongdae nearby. Edae is the perfect spot if you love shopping, specifically women’s apparel and accessories. The streets are lined full of shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Who it’s for

Backpackers, solo female travelers

Nearby Attractions

You’re close to both Hongdae and Sinchon giving you access to all the same attractions. Ewha Women’s University is located here and has a beautiful campus to explore. If you’ve always dreamt of being a princess then you can visit the Princess Diary Cafe where anyone can dress up in a girly dress while sipping on a latte.

Seoul Subway

Ewha Women’s University Station, line 2

Recommended Hotel

24 Guesthouse Edae is more like a hostel accommodation that offers dormitory rooms, some shared and some with small kitchenettes with a convenient location next to the subway station for around $40 per night.


Where to Stay in Seoul

Bukchon

Bobo and Chichi

The Scene

Bukchon Hanok Village is the perfect place to stay in Seoul if you love history and want to see what traditional Korean homes look like. Set in the heart of Seoul, this hanok village is still occupied by residents and is a must see while visiting Seoul. Walk through the winding roads and you’ll discover it’s a quiet residential area. Visitors are asked to keep the noise down to not disturb the locals. You can’t beat the view here, once you’re on the hill you can look down at the entire village and see Namsan Tower across the city pierce the sky.

Who it’s for

Travelers who are interested in local traditions and customs and want to feel immersed in the culture.

Nearby Attractions

Bukchon Hanok Village is an attraction of its own, but if you’re staying here you will be very happy with its location as it’s situated a short walking distance between both Seoul’s main palace, Gyeongbokgung, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Changdeokgung Palace. You’re also next to Samcheong-dong, a cute neighborhood great for shopping, eating, and tons of cafes and Insadong, a tourist hotspot and mecca for cute shops, souvenirs, food, and museums.

Seoul Subway

Anguk Station, line 3

Recommended Hotel

Haemil Hanok Guesthouse is the perfect spot if you’re wanting to experience a traditional Korean style home. Hanok homes are especially cozy in the winter months when you get to sleep in the traditional Korean-style ondol floor bed on the heated floors. For those not used to floor beds, these are surprisingly comfortable.


Insadong

Ssamziegil Insadong

The Scene

Insadong is a great, centrally located hot spot to stay in Seoul. This main street is full of traditional shops, boutiques, accessory stores, tea houses, and cafes. This is the perfect place to shop for souvenirs and you’ll find the streets packed with tourists every day, especially on the weekends. As you walk down the crowded street you’ll see an occasional street entertainer and plenty of food and snack vendors. Walk through the alleyways to find more tea houses and restaurants tucked away in the nooks and crannies of Insadong.

Who it’s for

A traveler looking for a central location, someone who is short on time in Seoul as it’s walking distance to most tourist attractions, business travelers.

Nearby Attractions

Insadong is located to many of Seoul’s top attractions like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Jogyesa Buddhist Temple, and Gwanghwamun Square. Insadong is also an attraction itself with its famed shopping center Ssamziegil and dozens of other boutiques and museums.

Seoul Subway

Anguk Station, line 3 -or- Jonggak Station, line 1

Recommended Hotel

Hotel Aventree  is located in the heart of Insadong just steps away from the main shopping street. The rooms are modern, clean, and are around $60 per night.


Gwanghwamun

The Scene

Admiral Yi Statue Gwanghwamun is the heart of Seoul and one of the most recognized areas of the city. This is where you’ll find many government buildings like the main palace, the presidential house, and different nation’s embassies. Events are always taking place in Gwanghwamun Square where the iconic King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sun Shin statues are. This is also the area of protests, so be aware of any current political issues as this is not a place you want to be during one of Seoul’s organized protests filling up with millions of people.

Who it’s for

Business travelers, travelers who have a short period of time in the city and want to see the most within walking distance

Nearby Attractions

Gwanghwamun dead ends into Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main palace of Seoul.  You’re also steps away from Cheonggyecheon stream a popular walking spot and a great area to sit and rest while soaking your toes in the stream. You’re also located a few blocks away from Insadong and just a few minutes walk to Bukchon Hanok Village and Samcheongdong.

Seoul Subway

Gwanghwamun Station, line 5 – or – Jonggak Station line 1 – or – Gyeongbokgung Station, line 3

Recommended Hotel

Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun is the perfect place to stay in Seoul if you want to be centrally located next to the city’s most iconic spots. The rooms are clean and rooms overlook Gwanghwamun Square for under $100 per night.


Ikseon dong

Ikseon Dong Hanok Village from Ibis

The Scene

A more quiet, central location in the heart of Seoul that’s an up and coming trendy neighborhood. This area is where old meets the new, there are high rises and clusters of traditional Korean homes in this area that are far less crowded than nearby Bukchon hanok village. Tucked away are tiny cafes and restaurants.

Who it’s for

Business, travelers looking to be centrally located but a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of Gwanghwamun and Insadong.

Nearby Attractions

Ikseon dong is home to Seoul’s hidden hanok island, a cluster of traditional Korean homes that look like their own island from one of the nearby highrises. You’re also located extremely close to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine. Namsangol Hanok Village is also near and on the other end of Namsangol is the iconic Namsan Tower.

Being in Jongno-gu you’re also very close to Gwanghwamun, Gyeongbokgung, Bukchon, and Insadong.

Seoul Subway

Jogno 3 (sam) ga Station, lines 1 & 3

Recommended Hotel

Ibis Ambassador Seoul is one of the best places to stay in Seoul thanks to it’s location and gorgeous views from the rooftop terrace. Overlook Gyeongbokgung Palace, Namsan Tower, and Ikseondong from the rooftop. The rooms are clean, modern, and around $80 per night.


Where to Stay in Seoul

Myeongdong

Myeongdong Shopping Crowds

The Scene

The shopping capital of Seoul and one of the most popular places to stay in Seoul for visitors. The crowded streets of Myeongdong are a shopaholic’s dream. Streets lined with store after store from small boutiques to large department stores. There’s also street food galore here as well as restaurant options. Expect large crowds all the time, especially on the weekends and evenings.

Who it’s for

Shopping tourists, business, anyone who wants to be located near the heart of Seoul

Nearby Attractions

Myeongdong is it’s own attraction and tourists flock here for unbeatable shopping deals. Other than the shopping and eating scene Myeongdong is near Namdaemun Gate and Deoksugung Palace. You’re also at the most popular entry way for Namsan Tower, the iconic needle-shaped tower in Seoul where people go for epic views of the city, food, and walking. You can also catch one of the most popular live theater performances Nanta, a nonverbal comedy making it a hit among international guests.

Seoul Subway

Myeongdong Station, line 4 -or- Eujilro (1)il ga, line 2

Recommended Hotel

Savoy Hotel is the perfect place in Myeongdong to stay thanks to its central location in the heart of this shopping area. The hotel has a convenience store connected to it making it easy to get anything you may need from snacks to drinks. The rooms are modern and clean and around $100 per night.


Dongdaemun

Dongdaemun Deisgn Plaza Seoul

The Scene

Another shopper’s paradise and a hot spot to stay in Seoul. Dongdaemun is full of traditional shopping markets, department stores, and shopping centers. The streets are busy and lined with shopping, street food, and tucked away are restaurants. This area boasts itself as the fashion center of Seoul and hosts the annual Seoul Fashion Week at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), a modern design center designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid. This area is full of energy and really comes to life in the evenings when DDP is illuminated and gives you the sensation that you are on another planet.

Who it’s for

Serious shoppers, business, general travelers

Nearby Attractions

Dongdaemun is a shopping mecca and DDP is an attraction all of it’s own offering different art exhibits, shopping, eating, and just walking through and admiring the architectural details is an activity many enjoy doing in Seoul. Dongdaemun Gate is another highlight as well as Ihwa Mural Village and Naksan Park.

Seoul Subway

Dongdaemun Design Plaza: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, lines 2, 4, & 5

Dongdaemun Shopping Markets: Dongdaemun Station, lines 1 & 4

Recommended Hotel

KY-Heritage Hotel has contemporary, clean rooms and offers breathtaking views overlooking Dongdaemun Design Plaza. The view alone is worth staying here for around $100 per night.


Where to Stay in Seoul

Itaewon

namsan tower

The Scene

Itaewon is Seoul’s most diverse neighborhood being a hotspot for foreigners and expats. You can find international cuisine and shopping in this area as well as a bustling nightlife. There are trendy and hip restaurants in the area making it a great spot to check out if you’re a foodie. You’ll notice the US servicemen here as this is also where one of the US military bases is located in Korea.

Who it’s for

general travelers

Nearby Attractions

Itaewon is close to Namsan Tower and several museums. Some of the museums include the D Museum, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, War Memorial of Korea, and the National Museum of Korea.

Seoul Subway

Itaewon Station, line 6 -or- Noksapyeong Station, line 6

Recommended Hotel

Hamilton Hotel has comfortable rooms and a great location right outside of Itaewon subway stop. The highlight would be the rooftop pool to enjoy in the summer months. Rooms here range around the $70 price point.


Where to Stay in Seoul

Yeouido

Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival

The Scene

Yeouido is an island located in the Han River and offers a beautiful park, a great place for people to enjoy riverside activities like picnics, bicycle rentals, and flying kites to name a few. This area is also the most popular spot to see cherry blossoms in the spring and where Seoul’s banking district thrives making it one of the more pricey neighborhoods to stay in.

Who it’s for

Business travelers, good family travel location, luxury

Nearby Attractions

Yeouido Park offers great views and bicycle rentals for outdoor enthusiasts, people love gathering by the Han River in this area and playing in the water fountain, there are Han River Cruises with meals that take you through Seoul’s scenic river. Nearby is Building 63, once Seoul’s tallest building until the construction of the new Jamsil Tower. Inside Building 63 there is shopping, aquarium, movie theater, and impressive observation deck offering epic views of the city. Yeouido is also home to the underground IFC Shopping Mall.

Seoul Subway

Yeouido Station, lines 5 & 9 -or- Yeouinaru Station, line 5

Recommended Hotel

Conrad is a 5-star hotel with the prime location in Yeouido. You can expect the finest quality rooms and enjoy shopping in the IFC Shopping Mall located in the underground levels of this building.


Mullae

MullaeDong_20150204_08

The Scene

A quiet neighborhood that is said to be an up and coming spot in Seoul that’s just not quite there yet. This area is mostly industrial but if you walk through the streets you’ll find a small amount of street art tucked away and hidden like easter eggs to be found. Nearby malls make this area great for shopping and give options for eating. Since it’s not centrally located you can find some deals on places to stay, but with a small subway, commute to get to touristy attractions.

Who it’s for

budget travelers, anyone who wants a more quiet place in the city

Nearby Attractions

Mullae has it’s own street art to find, but what most people really come to this area for would be the massive Times Square Mall. This mall is impressive in size and fairly new. The CGV Starium movie theater is also here home to the world’s largest 35mm screen. You’re also a hop and skip away from D-Cube City, another shopping mega-complex, and mall.

Seoul Subway

Mullae Station, line 2

Recommended Hotel

Maru Hotel is a great affordable hotel at around $60 a night.


Where to Stay in Seoul

Gangnam

Gangnam

The Scene

Notoriously known worldwide thanks to PSY’s international hit, “Gangnam Style,” this business district is where the wealthy live. In the heart of Gangnam, you can expect high rise buildings with advertisements on giant LCD screens on the sides of buildings, think of Times Square in NYC. There’s tons of shopping, incredible restaurant choices, and known for it’s posh and insane nightlife. It’s often during the morning you’ll see people just then leaving the club after daybreak. This is a great area to stay in Seoul if you fancy the finer things in life and are looking for great nightlife.

This is also an area where people flock to for medical tourism, whether it be plastic surgery or any other procedure. This is where I had my LASEK eye surgery at a state of the art eye clinic.

Who it’s for

party-goers, business, luxury, medical tourism

Nearby Attractions

Gangnam itself will keep you busy with its stores, eateries, and nightclubs. Don’t miss the incredible underground shopping at the Gangnam subway stop. Many of the tourist activities just outside of Seoul’s city center like Everland Resort and the Korean Folk Village have direct bus stops here. You’re also just a few subway stops away from COEX Mall and Convention Center as well as Bonguensa Buddhist Temple with it’s famed standing Buddha. While you’re in this area be sure to check out Seonjeongneung, the ancient burial grounds from the Joseon Dynasty with an epic view of Jamsil Tower.

Seoul Subway

Gangnam Station, lines 2 & Shinbundang Line -or- Yeoksam Station, line 2

Recommended Hotel

Mercure Seoul Ambassador Hotel is the perfect location if you’re looking for nightlife and to be centrally located in Gangnam with a nice, modern room without paying a steep price. The rooms are around the $80 price range and are located right outside Yeoksam Station.


Apgujeong

Remicone

The Scene

Known as the Rodeo Drive of Seoul. This high-end area is full of designer stores and luxury car dealers, as a matter of fact, you’re going to see tons of luxury sports cars driving up and down the streets as you stroll through this area. This is also the cosmetic surgery capital of Seoul and you may even spot a K-pop star if you know your local celebrities. Expect to be paying premium prices to enjoy designer cafes, upscale restaurants, and swanky pubs.

Who it’s for

Luxury travelers, serious shoppers, medical tourism

Nearby Attractions

Apgujeong is full of luxury shopping, but if you don’t have a millionaire’s wallet you can still enjoy the shopping around Sinsa Station where there are more affordable stores. You can also visit Garosugil which is a cute, tree-lined street full of shops, fancy dessert shops, and more eateries. Another attractive neighborhood would be Seorae Village, Seoul’s french quarter, where you will find bakeries, restaurants, small shops, and a cute park that has friendly rabbits that hop around. You’re also not too far from Banpo Bridge where there’s a park and every night there is a rainbow water show that comes from the bridge.

Seoul Subway

Apgujeong Station, line 3 -or- Sinsa Station, line 3

Recommended Hotel

La Casa Hotel Seoul is an incredible 4-star hotel with comfortable, modern rooms. Check out the hotel bar on the top floor where you will get to see beautiful views of the city. This hotel costs around $120 per night making it one of the best bang for your buck in this ritzy neighborhood.


COEX

COEX Bonguensa Temple Seoul

The Scene

One of the more pricey areas to stay in Seoul and located directly next to COEX Mall and Convention and Exhibition Center. The mall is massive and you could easily spend an entire day shopping. Due to its price and location I only recommend staying here if you are in Seoul for business at COEX.

Who it’s for

Business, luxury

Nearby Attractions

COEX Mall which has it’s own aquarium inside and tons of shops will eat up a lot of your time in this area. Don’t miss Bonguensa Temple just across the street, one of two major Buddhist temples located within the city of Seoul. You’re also not far from Seonjeongneung, the ancient burial grounds from the Joseon Dynasty with an epic view of Jamsil Tower. Not much further over towards Jamsil is Lotte World, a huge indoor/outdoor amusement park.

Seoul Subway

Samseong Station, line 2 -or- Bonguensa Station, line 9

Recommended Hotel

Oakwood Premier Coex Center is a 5-star resort located directly at COEX center. You can expect your room to be large, comfortable, and have its own kitchenette. Rooms range just under $200 making it the most inexpensive 5-star resort in the area.


Where to Stay in Seoul

Jamsil

Lotte Tower from namsan tower

The Scene

Great for anyone who loves amusement parks all year long. Lotte World Amusement Park has both indoor and outdoor rides, a majority of the rollercoasters are indoor making it perfect to visit even during the cold winter months. There’s also a giant indoor ice rink and a shopping mall at Lotte World. Walk around Lake Park that surrounds Lotte World in the spring to witness gorgeous cherry blossoms. The newest addition to Seoul’s skyline is also here, Jamsil Tower. This huge building towers so much more than any other building in Seoul it clearly sticks out even miles away. Inside Jamsil Tower is Seoul’s newest shopping mall offering a great selection of stores and restaurants.

Who it’s for

families, general travel, shoppers

Nearby Attractions

Lotte World is right under your nose and the perfect place to take kids. Seokchon Lake Park is perfect for walking or a picnic with a beautiful view. Jamsil Tower offers and incredible shopping mall and lots of restaurant choices. You’re not too far from the ancient burial grounds from the Joseon Dynasty at Seonjeongneung. If you have time check out Olympic Park where the 1988 Summer Olympic games were held.

Seoul Subway

Jamsil Station, lines 2 & 8

Recommended Hotel

Hotel Lake is the perfect spot in Jamsil with a gorgeous view of Seokchon Park and Lake. Rooms are under $100 giving you more money to spend on shopping and Lotte World!


There you have it! These are the top areas of where you should stay in Seoul. We hope this helps you decide where to spend your time in Seoul.

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. By purchasing a hotel through the links on Bobo & Chichi you will help us keep the site up and running at no extra cost to you.


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Where to Stay in Seoul

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