Where to stay in Seoul – A local’s perspective
Seoul is the largest and most significant city in South Korea—it not only serves as the capital of the country but it is also the home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Hallyu Wave, as well as some of the most incredible and innovative architectural structures. Seoul consists of 25 distinct districts and is surrounded by mountains, in addition to being located along the famous Han River.
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5 best neighborhoods to stay in Seoul
With 25 districts, Seoul has more than enough captivating sights, interesting and charming places to see and experience. The following 5 neighborhoods were chosen based on how interesting they are, what’s there to see, as well as how affordable they are.
Best neighborhoods in Seoul
|Itaewon||This neighborhood is best known as a tourist zone with lots of foreigners and expats.|
|Hongdae||Hongdae is well-known for its nightlife and shopping thanks to its vicinity to universities and the fact that a lot of young people live there or nearby.|
|Buam-dong||A quiet and peaceful residential area, Buam-dong has a plethora of museums and art galleries to offer to all artistic souls.|
|Insadong||Insadong is an area best known for its tea shops and souvenir shops.|
|Samcheong-dong||Samcheong-dong is a neighborhood filled with traditional Korean houses and interesting shops and cafes.|
Transportation in Seoul
Seoul has one of the most efficient and convenient public transportation systems in the world. The cheapest and easiest methods of transportation are by bus and subway. Once you have arrived in Seoul, it is best to buy a Tmoney card that enables you to use the bus or subway. You can buy the card at the card vending machines at all major subway stations in Seoul, as well as convenience stores. The card is about 2500 won, which is around 2.20 US dollars. Also, when you purchase the card you will have to put some money on it.
For additional information check out this website.
Where to stay in Seoul for the first time — Itaewon
Itaewon is famous for being an international district, full of foreigners and expats, so if you are visiting Seoul for the first time and you are worried that you might feel isolated, this is the perfect spot to visit. A bustling, vibrant, and lively neighborhood, you are guaranteed to have a good time.
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Things to see and do in Itaewon
As one of the most popular places for international tourists, Itaewon offers a plethora of options when it comes to food, sightseeing, and culture. There won’t be a single dull moment if you decide to visit.
Here are some of our suggestions:
- Have lunch at the Maple Tree House
- Party at Venue
- Shop at the Itaewon Antique Shopping Street
Maple Tree House
Maple Tree House is one of the most famous restaurants in South Korea, you can find it in various neighborhoods in Seoul, Itaewon being one of those neighborhoods. This restaurant serves barbeque prepared with different types of meat along with tasty side dishes, wine, and traditional Korean drinks.
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A nightclub in Itaewon that doesn’t charge an entrance fee — so if you want to have a fun time out and save a little bit of money, head to the club Venue. At this club, you will be able to listen to everything from R&B to House & Disco.
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Itaewon Antique Shopping Street
Itaewon Antique Shopping Street came to be during the 60s when American soldiers began selling their furniture before they returned to the States. Today it’s one of the most popular streets in Seoul, where you can find a lot of beautiful and antique items.
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Where to stay in Itaewon
Looking for accommodation is one of the most important things when traveling, here are some suggestions:
Affordable: Banana Backpackers Hostel
Mid-range: this bright and pleasantly decorated house is close to public transportation.
Luxury: Four Seasons Hotel Seoul – Just steps from Gwanghwamun Plaza, Four Seasons Hotel Seoul boasts commanding city views and features 5 in-house dining, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, and traditional Korean saunas.
Where to stay in Seoul for nightlife
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Fortunately, when it comes to clubs, bars, and nightlife in general, Seoul has something to offer to everybody looking for a good time. Hongdae is one of the most popular districts when it comes to nightlife.
Things to see and do in Hongdae
Here are some suggestions for nightclubs and bars in Hongdae:
- GoGos 2
- Club MWG
One of the most popular clubs in Hongdae, known for playing mainly hip-hop.
Image source: nb2_club
Another popular club among young people that plays live music, as well as trendy music.
Image source: blueyuris
One of the oldest clubs in Seoul which frequently hosts indie bands and popular DJs.
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Where to stay in Hongdae
Apartments in Seoul, in general, are quite small, it’s rare to be able to find something big. The average nightly price for a place in Hongdae is about $63. Here are some of our suggestions:
Affordable: Time Travelers Party Hostel in Hongdae – Simple dorms & private rooms in a relaxed property featuring a lounge, a comic library & a bar.
Mid-range: this apartment is located close to shops and markets, as well as the subway.
Luxury: RYSE, Autograph Collection
Where to stay in Seoul — bohemian edition
If you wish to experience Seoul through its art, history, and culture — Buam-dong is one of the best neighborhoods to do exactly that. It’s not as lively or bustling as Hongdae but it is great for experiencing the culture. This is a more residential area, filled with a lot of cozy and charming cafes, restaurants, galleries, and museums.
Things to see and do in Buam-dong
Here are some of our recommendations for places to visit and things to do in Buam-dong:
- Visit Seoul Museum
- Visit Whanki Museum
- Visit Yoon Dong Ju Literature Museum
A great way to spend the day is to visit Seoul Museum where you can see contemporary and modern art and classical art by Korean artists as well as foreign artists.
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A private art museum, dedicated to the abstract painter Whanki Kim. It also has a cafe and an art shop. An ideal place to visit for those who enjoy abstract paintings and art.
Image source: desfemmesfrancaises
Yoon Dong Ju Literature Museum
A museum dedicated to Yoon Dong Ju and his work. Today he is a beloved figure in Korea and Korean literature, however, that was not the case during the time he was alive, mainly because he was not known by many back then. This is a perfect place to enjoy and learn a little bit about Korean literature.
Image source: yoon_dongju_
Where to stay in Buam-dong
Accommodation in this area can be slightly more on the pricier side, however, it is possible to find some affordable accommodation.
Here are some of our picks:
Affordable: Hostel Korea 11th-Chang Deok Gung – Contemporary hostel offering both private & shared rooms, plus free breakfast, a cafe & a roof deck.
Mid-range: a house with a pleasant and minimalistic design in a quiet area.
Luxury: Chiwoonjung Hanok Hotel – Elegant hotel with warm quarters in a traditional Korean building, plus a dining room & a courtyard.