Other neighbourhoods to stay in Seoul
(Nightlife, shopping, café, restaurants, leisure, couples)
If you want an area where you can take a stroll through calm streets and cozy parks during the day and experience the vibrant night live that Seoul is so famous for, Mapo-gu is the district that has it all, both day and night. The area around Hongik University located in Mapo-gu, near Hongdae station and Hapjeong station, is known for great shopping. You can find Korean skincare, makeup and the most up to date fashion pieces. This is also where you find a lot of unique theme-cafes. Perhaps you want to make a DIY phone case or have a snack with fluffy companions such as cats, dogs or racoons, either options accompanied with coffee and other refreshments. If you are looking for something more casual, this area also offers many pretty flower cafes such as Blute café.
The area around Hongik University is equally famous for its vibrant night-life where the streets are filled with people looking for a place to dance, enjoy good food, drinks or watch the various street performances.
nother hot spot in Mapo-gu is the restaurant-filled Yeonnam-dong, as well as the Food Street in Yonggang-dong which are a must see for foodies and connoisseurs alike. The market is the place to try authentic Mapo’s dishes, such as marinated grilled meat and charcoal-grilled ribs. If you want to have a calm picnic during the sunny summer evenings, you should head to “Yeontral Park”, the central park located in the heart of Yeonnam-dong.
(Heritage, museums, food, international, relaxation)
“The dragon hill” or more known as Yongsan district is where history meets present. If you are interested in Korean culture, Yongsan is the area for you. Here, you find one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seoul, Haebangchon. Haebangchon is located close to Namsan tower, a world recognized landmark, and the park surrounding the tower just a step away. Youngsan-gu is filled with museums of Korean history. If you find yourself in Yongsan area on a rainy day or just wish to learn more, you can find The National Museum of Korea and War Memorial Museum, where important cultural and historical artifacts are displayed, and information can be explored.
If you don’t mind walking uphill too much, walking through this neighborhood on your way to the tower is a great way to enjoy this quiet and cozy area, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants on the way.
In the unlikely event that you get tired of Korean food, Itaewon is the place to go to find authentic food from the West and Middle East as well as a variety of vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants. This area that is very international and foreigner friendly as most staff at stores, cafés and restaurants speak fluent English.
A great place to stay and relax after sightseeing Seoul is the Dragon Hill Spa and Resort. This is a Korean style bathhouse, or jjimjilbang as it is called in Korean, and it is an experience that everyone visiting should try at least once. Here you can find everything you could ever need: a variety of saunas, heated sleeping rooms, game-rooms, swimming pools, food court and much more.
(Shopping, luxury, food, nightlife)
Known as one of the richest areas in Seoul, Gangnam is the home to many high-end brand stores such as Chanel and Luis Vuitton, as well as classy department stores and malls. The most famous area to shop-until-you-drop in Gangnam-district is the one around Gangnam station, but the areas Garousgil and Apguejong are just as worth visiting. In these areas you can also find really good restaurants and cafes and while they are on the pricier side, they offer the top-quality restaurants and taste of Seoul. If somehow these places are not enough, head to the COEX Shopping mall. This place has it all: shopping, movie theatre, variety of restaurants and cafes, and even a large aquarium!
If you are looking to enjoy Seoul’s crazy nightlife in an EDM or hip-hop clubs, Gangnam is the place for that.
Gangnam is also where the big Korean entertainment companies such as SM, YG and JYP have their headquarters and studios. If you are lucky, you might get a glimpse of an idol or even a whole idol-group while you are there. All those swept by the Korean wave should head here to perhaps your favorite artist or maybe just see the building they spend hours training.
(River park, boat tour, bars, restaurants)
This district is found in the northwest of the city and is located by the lovely Han River, which flows right through the city. There are a few tour companies that offer boat trips up and down the river, which is a popular thing to do at night as you can see the lights of Seoul in all its might. The Seodaemun Prison is quite a haunting place that is well known for its history, which was used by the Japanese to torture and execute Korean political prisoners. It is set out like a museum but everything is original and therefore can be very moving and sensitive.
As well as the prison, the area is very famous for its drinking areas and the best places are Hongdae and Sinchon, where there are university students everywhere and therefore lots of pubs, bars and clubs that even offer “baggy cocktails”. There is a huge amount of accommodation in the area but not really in terms of hotels but plenty of guesthouses and hostels.