Seoul is one of the most advanced cities in the world, yet it keeps South Korean tradition alive. In Seoul, you’ll be able to find charming art galleries, Buddhist temples, and traditional teahouses among modern architecture and high-rises.

It’s a massive city with a population of 10 million, so deciding where to stay can prove overwhelming. There are a number of diverse neighborhoods, each offering their own unique features and atmosphere.

In this guide, we’ve listed the best places to stay in Seoul for any travel style and budget. Whether you’re a history buff, love culture or are just curious, there’s somewhere for everyone.

So, let’s get started!

Best Accommodation in Seoul

Looking for a specific place to stay in Seoul? These are our highest recommendations for accommodation in Seoul.

Best Airbnb in Seoul: Modern Apartment Near Gangnam Station

Modern Apartment Near Gangnam Station

This stylish Airbnb in Seoul is suitable for three guests, and is the perfect base for exploring the area. The flat boasts stunning views over the city, and has a kitchen area and laundry facilities. It’s located right next to the Gangnam and bus station, and there are plenty of cafes and shops close by.

Best Hostel in Seoul: Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel

Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel

With free breakfast and an awesome rooftop terrace, this is one of the coolest hostels in Seoul. All rooms come with a fridge, TV, safe and private bathroom, and there’s a public kitchen and BBQ for guest use. The centre of Myeongdong is a short walk away, and you’ll be right next to the subway for easy access to the rest of Seoul.

Best Hotel in Seoul: L7 Hongdae

L7 Hongdae

With city views, free wifi and ensuite bathrooms, you can’t go wrong with this hotel in Seoul. Located in the Hongdae area, there are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby, and the subway is a short walk away so you can easily travel further afield. Onsite, you’ll find a swimming pool and fitness centre.

Seoul Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN SEOUL
Gangnam, Seoul
FIRST TIME IN SEOUL

Gangnam

Gangnam translates as ‘south of the river’ and is a district that has blown up in recent years. It was originally an area dedicated to sleepy rice fields – but you’d never believe it when visiting today!

ON A BUDGET
Hongdae Neighborhood
ON A BUDGET

Hongdae

If you want a budget night’s accommodation in Seoul, head to Hongdae where the young population hang out. In this part of town, expect the unexpected.

NIGHTLIFE
Itaewon, Seoul
NIGHTLIFE

Itaewon

Itaewon is an area catered to foreigners. This may not sound highly cultural but it’s actually a fascinating place to explore. Its long history began before the Second World War when Japanese colonialists were pushed out by American soldiers who lived and partied in the area.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Myeongdong Neighborhood
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Myeongdong

Myeongdong is a cocktail of sights, tastes, experiences and noise… so much noise! It’s one of Seoul’s busiest districts and subsequently, it’s home to almost anything you could dream up.

FOR FAMILIES
Insadong, Seoul
FOR FAMILIES

Insadong

Known as the cultural heart of Seoul, you’ll want to explore Insadong whether you base yourself in the area or not. The vibe is a little different to the hectic neighborhoods of Myeongdong and Gangnam so it’s popular with families who want to escape the hustle and bustle (relatively – it’s still Seoul) and experience the culture.

Seoul is bursting with vibrant neighborhoods and districts. Most people will have heard of Gangnam by now – this world-famous area shot to fame thanks to that dreaded but catchy tune. It lies at the heart of Seoul and really is something to sing about, boasting eateries and some of the best things to see in the city.

If you’re traveling on a budget, then Hongdae is the ideal place to stay in Seoul. It’s full of street art and popular with younger travelers, thanks to its booming nightlife scene.

Itaewon is a fascinating place to visit. It was originally one of the few places in the city you could buy Western items, which subsequently attracted a crowd of young, hip expats. Nowadays, it’s a hub for food and famous for its nightlife.

If you’re a lover of fashion and all-things hipster, check out Myeongdong. It’s without a doubt one of Asia’s hippest places to hit the shops, and is our pick for the coolest place to stay for anyone backpacking Seoul.

Insadong is ideal for history lovers and families. Here, you can get to grips with Seoul’s rich history and find temples, shrines and palaces in abundance. It’s also the best place to pick up traditional Korean handicrafts – so make sure you visit with an empty suitcase!

Seoul is packed with quirky neighborhoods, history and entertainment. When you’re looking for where to stay in Seoul, you’ll be overrun with options. Let’s get into more detail with our top picks…

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Seoul’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay In

With the population in Seoul pushing 10 million, it’s a sprawling city that will require a little more than your legs to explore fully. Luckily, there’s an efficient subway system and a network of affordable and reliable taxis so you can get around easily.

1. Gangnam – Where to Stay in Seoul for First-Time Visitors

Gangnam - Where to Stay in Seoul for First Time Visitors
Oh no… they didn’t…

Gangnam translates as ‘south of the river’ and is a district that has blown up in recent years. It was originally an area dedicated to sleepy rice fields – but you’d never believe it when visiting today!

Money was injected into the area by the 1988 Olympics and it became a playground for those with expensive tastes. Nowadays it’s plateaued and most visitors traveling South Korea can afford to make the best of the impressive neighborhood.

Best Airbnb in Gangnam: Modern Apartment Near Gangnam Station

Modern Apartment Near Gangnam Station

This stylish Airbnb is suitable for three guests, and is the perfect base for exploring the area. The flat boasts stunning views over the city, and has a kitchen area and laundry facilities. It’s located right next to the Gangnam and bus station, and there are plenty of cafes and shops close by.

Best Hostel in Gangnam: Kimchee Gangnam Guesthouse

Kimchee Gangnam Guesthouse

Cosy and colourful, Kimchee Gangnam Guesthouse is one of the coolest hostels in Seoul! Located in the heart of Gangnam, Kimchee is within walking distance to tons of hip restaurants and bars, so you’ll never need to leave this electric neighborhood.

It’s one of the best places to stay in Seoul for meeting other travelers and coming to grips with the city.

Best Hotel in Gangnam: Hotel NewV

Hotel NewV

Right around the corner from the subway plus to make traversing the city a breeze. Combine that with some nearby convenice store and cheap food places plus cosy beds and you’re looking at one happy camper! Uhh… hoteller.

Things to do in Gangnam:

Things to do in Gangnam
source: anek.soowannaphoom (Shutterstock)
  • Check out the K-pop scene and pick up a few CDs at Evan Records.
  • Shop for the latest fashion and boutique items (or just window shop) at Galleria department store.
  • Eat bibimbap at Tokkijung or a famous Korean barbeque meal at Yang Good.
  • Iron out your best backpack outfit and rub shoulders with the Gangnam residents at Eden nightclub.
  • Dance to Gangnam Style at the tribute dance platform outside Exit 5 of the subway station. Don’t be shy!

2. Hongdae Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Seoul on a Budget

Hongdae Neighborhood
Everything gets a bit more manageable in the student town. | source: Travel man (Shutterstock)

If you want budget accommodation in Seoul, Hongdae is the place to come. It’s where to stay for those more-digestible student prices, combined with the rowdier and eclectic nightlife.

In this part of town, expect the unexpected. Hongdae’s trendy reputation developed when Hongik University opened up in the 1990s. It’s a prestigious art school, and the surrounding area strongly reflects this. It’s artsy and is full of clubs and bars.

Best Airbnb in Hongdae: Cozy Studio for 4

Cozy Studio for 4

This Airbnb is ideal for travelers looking for more private accommodation, and provides all amenities needed for a comfortable stay. It’s modern, clean and stylishly decorated to provide a contemporary home-like feel. The flat is a short walk from the metro station, bars and restaurants.

Best Hostel in Hongdae: Hongdae Guesthouse

Hongdae Guesthouse

You won’t find a better base than this friendly backpackers in Seoul. With a mix of traditional Korean rooms and funky, modern spaces, you’ll get a real feel for the culture.

The friendly owner Mary, will welcome you to her abode and provide you with everything you need – including computer access in every room (perfect for researching your sightseeing stops).

Best Hotel in Hongdae: L7 Hongdae

L7 Hongdae

This hotel boasts giant open spaces and a swimming pool! Despite the peaceful feeling, you’ll actually be just moments from the main shopping street of bustling Hongdae.

All rooms come with a TV, fridge and kettle, providing a comfortable base in the heart of the action.

Things to do in Hongdae:

Things to do in Hongdae
Trick Eye Museum, Seoul | source: Jirka Matousek (Flickr)
  • Meet street performers at Sculpture Park.
  • Treat yourself to coffee or lunch at one of the many boutique cafes in the area.
  • Pick up real one-off fashion pieces designed by art students from the University.
  • Catch a performance of Kung Festival, a popular musical that plays daily at B-Boy Theater. Some say these dance artists are the most talented in the world!
  • Ditch your run-of-the-mill cat cafe and turn up the hipster notch at Thanks Nature Cafe, a dedicated sheep restaurant (and yep, they’re in the cafe not on the menu!)
  • Experience the awesome Trick Eye Museum, an arty establishment which brings exhibits to life for a fascinating sensory overload.
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3. Itaewon – Where to Stay in Seoul for Nightlife

Where to stay in Seoul for expat vibes - Itaewon
Itaewon has a more Western feel to it

Catered to foreigners, Itaewon is one of the best areas to stay in Seoul for travelers. This may not sound highly cultural, but it’s actually a fascinating place to explore.

Its long history began before the Second World War when Japanese colonialists were pushed out by American soldiers who lived and partied in the area. So, it’s really been the top choice of where to stay in Seoul for a long time!

Best Airbnb in Itaewon: Stylish 2 Bedroom Flat

Stylish 2 Bedroom Flat

This trendy flat sleeps two guests, and includes a full kitchen, laundry facilities and internet access. The apartment is within walking distance from the best nightlife in the area, so you’ll never run short of things to do no matter how long you stay.

Best Hostel in Itaewon: G Guesthouse

G Guesthouse

Not only does G Guesthouse offer an optimum location in Itaewon, it also has easy transport links to Gangnam, Myeongdong and Hongdae.

The guesthouse offers has a free breakfast, complimentary WiFi, and barbeque facilities. Additionally, there’s a rooftop where you can catch views over the city.

Best Hotel in Itaewon: Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel

Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel

Breaking the chain of corporate hotels, this unique spot brings a little colour to the already vibrant neighborhood of Itaewon. Rooms come with wifi, TVs and drink making facilities, and there’s a gym and restaurant onsite.

Things to do in Itaewon:

Itaewon is the coolest place to stay for nightlife!
  • Visit Leeum Samsung Museum Of Art, one of the most highly-acclaimed galleries in the country for both traditional and modern art.
  • Visit Seoul Central Mosque, the city’s only mosque and a marker of the diversity within Seoul.
  • Try local delicacies including bubble tea which is doled out in numerous locations in the neighborhood.
  • Head to the area behind the Hamilton Hotel to experience the city’s booming nightlife. Here you’ll find all number of dance clubs and late-night hangouts.
  • Admire the N Seoul Tower at night and attach a love lock dedicated to a friend or partner (or your love of solo travel!)
  • Hit the shops for hip streetwear or tailored suits which are both made locally in Itaewon.

4. Myeongdong – Coolest Place to Stay in Seoul

Myeongdong Neighborhood
There’s so much to see and do in Myeongdong!

Myeongdong is a cocktail of sights, tastes, and experiences! It’s one of Seoul’s busiest districts and subsequently, it’s home to almost anything you could dream up.

Music blasts from every store, food tents sell well-priced Korean goods, and skyscrapers tower above you. A day wandering the area may be exhausting but it’s an awesome place to experience the real Seoul and meet the locals who will undoubtedly want to chat.

Even if you don’t stay here, a trip to Myeongdong should feature on everyone’s Seoul itinerary.

Best Airbnb in Myeongdong: Jongno Nana’house for 3

Jongno Nana'house for 3

This Airbnb in Myeongdong is clean, stylish, and full of all amenities needed for a comfortable stay. There’s a full kitchen area, laundry facilities, and free wifi throughout the property. It’s in a safe and central area, surrounded by some of the best bars and restaurants in Seoul.

Best Hostel in Myeongdong: Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel

Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel

Recently opened and well reviewed, Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel is gorgeously designed and has stunning rooftop views to match! This top-notch hostel in Seoul offers free breakfast and is a convenient 5 minute walk from the Myeongdong metro station.

Best Hotel in Myeongdong: GLAD Hotel Mapo

GLAD Hotel Mapo

As well as a comfortable double room, GLAD offers a tasty morning breakfast and access to all your usual amenities. There’s free wifi, a bar and a fitness center on site.

The hotel is close to the metro and within walking distance to numerous attractions, cafes and bars.

Things to Do in Myeongdong:

Myeongdong - the best area in Seoul for shopping
So… much… shopping!
  • Try the street food in Myongdong – highlights include potato chip sticks and spicy hotpots.
  • Experience the wonderful world of tea at Osulloc Tea House, the largest purveyor of speciality and green tea in the city.
  • Hit the shops and departments stores – Lotte and Noon Square are excellent places to start.
  • Indulge at Cafe Coin, one of the oldest cafes in the city famed for its shaved ice and matcha ice cream desserts.
  • Take a class at Cookin’ Nanta, where you’ll learn to prepare traditional South Korean dishes while the chefs put on a show. That includes singing, dancing, and slapstick humour. It’s really one of a kind!

5. Insadong – Where to Stay in Seoul for Families

Insadong - Where to stay in Seoul for more traditional sights
Cultural vibes in a traditional feeling.

Known as the cultural heart of Seoul, you’ll want to explore Insadong whether you base yourself in the area or not. This district is all about traditional wooden tea houses, ancient temples, little art galleries, and cosy corner cafes.

The vibe is a little different to the hectic neighborhoods of Myeongdong and Gangnam, so it’s popular a location for families who want to escape the hustle and bustle.

Best Airbnb in Insadong: Banana House

Banana House

This colorful and welcoming flat in Seoul sleeps four guests, and includes a kitchen and laundry facilities. It’s in a central location and provides easy access to both Insadong and Myeongdong. The apartment is also a short walk from the subway, so you can easily get to the best places to see in Seoul.

Best Hostel in Insadong: Insa Hostel

Insa Hostel

The location is paramount at this backpacker hostel. You’ll be just a moment’s walk from the main shopping street meaning you won’t need to carry your souvenirs around all day!

Guests rave about the friendly feel and there’s even a roof terrace for socialising. Deluxe family rooms are available for those travelling with kids.

Best Hotel in Insadong: Grid Inn

Grid Inn

This hostel is a cool, airy base that makes a refreshing contrast to the ancient streets of the district. Coffee lovers will be thrilled to find a speciality roastery on the ground floor, while history fans will relish the chance to visit the spectacular nearby temples.

Grid Inn is favored for its comfy beds, and also comes with free wifi and aircon.

Things to do in Insadong:

Insadong TTD
source: Terrence Adonis Gordon Jr (Shutterstock)
  • Visit the many temples including Cheondogyo Central Temple and Jogyesa, a traditional Buddhist monument.
  • Explore the art galleries of which there are over 100; you’ll find pottery, paintings, sculpture, and more.
  • Sample the desserts – local favourites include hotteok (which is filled with cinnamon and brown sugar) and ice-cream corn cookie sandwiches.
  • Do your souvenir shopping and take home pottery that can date up to several thousand years old (be prepared to pay the big bucks for these, though).

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Seoul

Seoul is a vibrant part of South Korea that should feature on every traveler’s bucket list. Whether you’re into culture, nightlife, art or anything else – Seoul is the place to go.

If you’re still not sure where to stay in Seoul, you can’t go wrong with Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel. It’s a welcoming place where you can get stunning views of the city.

If you’re after something more upmarket, the L7 Hondae provides comfort and class for a reasonable price, or Hanok 24 Guesthouse, a great pick for hotels in Seoul. There are some awesome Airbnbs in Seoul for those visiting for longer.

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Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

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