Where to Stay in Seoul: A Neighborhood Guide

Deciding where to stay in Seoul can be a tough decision if you don’t know the city very well. 

There’s no doubt that South Korea is a beautiful country with numerous treasure troves in its fold. You could easily pack a 5-day itinerary in Seoul with things to do and have plenty left over for a return visit.

This massive urban city is home to plenty of amazing attractions and to explore them, you need at least a week, if not more.

So when it comes to choosing a place to stay in Seoul, it can be pretty overwhelming.

The city has all sorts of accommodation options sprawled over different neighborhoods. There are high-end hotels, traditional homestays, hostels, and guest houses.

However, you’ll still need to know the most suitable neighborhoods to stay for you that rightly fits into your budget and also allows you to be close to all of the sights you want to explore. 

In this post, I have included information about some of the top areas of Seoul that are perfect to find a place to stay.

Please note, each of these areas has accommodation of different budget categories. Hence, finding the best hotel in Seoul totally depends on your budget. 

Read: How Living in Korea Changed my Life For the Better

Where to Stay in Seoul: The Best Neighborhoods and Hotels in Seoul

when wondering where to stay in seoul, look for unique hotels in traditional neighborhods like these old Korean buildings

1. Insadong

Insadong is one of the most popular Korean neighborhoods in Seoul.

Located in the heart of the city, Insadong offers a range of options when it comes to finding accommodation.

This neighborhood area is dotted with both traditional as well as modern shops beautifully tucked into quiet lanes. 

But, what makes you come here and book a stay in this region is the fact that here you can find art galleries, shops selling handcrafted souvenirs, and secret tea houses. It’s without a doubt, the best place to come for traditional souvenirs. 

If you like to be in the glitz and glamour of Seoul, then Insadong is the right place for you to book accommodation.

It’s a popular tourist area with little to no nightlife, so you can guarantee you’ll have a nice quiet night’s sleep.

Yet, there are many more interesting things to do in Insadong. From museums and nature to pilgrimage and the famous Korean BBQ, everything can be savored here in the Insadong region.

Now if all these are enough to have a reason to book a stay in Insadong, then go for it!

Where to stay in Insadong: 

myeongdong is a busy neighborhood in Seoul with lots of lights and busy streets

2. Myeongdong

On searching for top things to do in Seoul, you will find Myeongdong somewhere top on the list.

It is also considered as Seoul’s hyper-commercial heart.

Hence, you can expect to find plenty of opportunities for shopping and eating here in the Myeongdong region.

Staying in the Myeongdong region is an experience in itself.

Wondering why?

Well because it is a popular shopping area in Seoul. There are cosmetic shops, departmental stores, fashion boutiques, and yes there are a lot of restaurants to choose from for food connoisseurs.

But, what attracts the tourists the most here are the wide options of Korean food. The street food scene in Myeongdong is quite large with a street dotted with food stalls.

Since Myeongdong is quite a busy area in Seoul, it keeps tourists busy with its range of activities. The area is more like Hongdae, except it does not have a much popular nightlife scene. The skincare scene is also quite huge in Myeongdong. 

Where to stay in Myeongdong:

the busy streets of Seoul Korea with lots of building lights

3. Hongdae

Another popular area to find a stay in Seoul is Hongdae.

Hongdae in Seoul is probably the chilliest neighborhood in the city.

Here, you can expect to find relatively cheaper accommodation options in the city. There are a lot of good eateries in Hongdae that make it an ideal option to enjoy a stay for people who are visiting Seoul mainly to explore the Korean food culture.

It is known for its youthful ambiance and is home to the famous Hongik University.

Not just this, there are also art galleries, animal-themed cafes, and street art. Besides, this renowned district in Seoul is also home to some of the best cafes, fashion boutiques, bars, and restaurants.

Not just this, nightlife in Hongdae is yet another experience to relish here in the neighborhood area in Seoul. 

Where to stay in Hongdae:

where to stay in Seoul should have plenty of great food and shopping options like these

4. Itaewon

If you are a cultural buff, then Itaewon has a lot to offer you and you will want to book your stay here on your Seoul trip.

Without a doubt, Itaewon is one of the most culturally rich and diverse areas in Seoul.

Itaewon in Seoul is known as the home to some lively bars, high-end restaurants, and pubs. At these places, you can expect to satiate your desire to have Mexican, Indian, Irish, or Italian food.

Itaewon nightlife is one of the experiences that tourists love here the most. Along with that, some of the most popular markets in Seoul, mainly food markets are located here in Itaewon.

A major chunk of accommodation options in Itaewon is budget-friendly. If you are looking for high-quality or mid-range luxury hotels, then Itaewon is the place for you. 

Where to Stay in Itaewon:

the best neighborhoods in seoul and where to stay in seoul korea to have these views of seoul tower

5. Gangnam

Who doesn’t know about Gangnam – one of the most famous districts in Seoul? 

Well, it’s the very famous destination featured in the even more famous international hit – Gangnam Style by Psy.

It is often recognized as the richest pocket of Seoul. The area is dotted with some of the most astonishing skyscrapers of Seoul.

Now, if Insadong doesn’t have your choice of accommodation, then surely Gangnam has.

The Gangnam area in Seoul has high-end shopping, fine dining restaurants, great craft beer bars, and clubs.

The famous COEX Mall is also located in the Gangnam region of Seoul.

If you have a big enough budget, then Gangnam district is indeed the best place to find accommodation in Seoul.

Along with shopping and clubbing, there is plenty of more things to do in Gangnam. You can also visit the exhibition space of Samsung D’light, Samneung Park, Seoul Olympic Park, Lotte World, K-Pop Road, Banpo Han River Park, and Jamsil Baseball Stadium.

But, what lures tourists the most here is the vibrant nightlife.

The area has plenty of classy and posh clubs, bars, and restaurants in Seoul that ensure to entertain tourists all throughout the night. The very-popular Club Octagon is also located in the neighborhood area. 

Where to stay in Gangnam:

seoul after dark with a view of seoul tower

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Seoul

These are some of the best neighborhood areas in Seoul where you can find the various accommodation options. These are the neighborhoods in Seoul where you want to base yourself.

The city is very spread out, but the Seoul metro network is very well connected and very easy to use. If you love food, you’ll love staying in Myeongdeong, but it’s noisier than some of the other neighborhoods, and those lights are definitely sensory overload.

For the high-end living, be sure to stay in Gangnam. If you want to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Korea, then Insadong is where you should be.

If you’re a picky eater and want to be around some international food options, Itaewon is the best option for you. It’s home to an American military base, so has a decent amount of foreigners and the foods they love.

Want to enjoy all of the k-pop, hipster vibes, delicious fried chicken, and young nightlife while in Seoul, then Hongdae is the neighborhood for you.

Read: Teaching English in South Korea

busy streets in different neighborhoods in korea

About the Author

Jimmy is an American Millennial who left a career in the military to become a travel inspirer & storyteller. Starting the life of non-stop traveling since September 2017. Sharing his journey along the way of life that he has always dreamt of – traveling and being able to work wherever he loves most (as long as there is Wi-Fi and coffee).

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