THE BEST LOCATION IN THE BEST DESTINATIONS

WHERE TO STAY IN SEOUL FOR TOURISTS

Best areas to stay in Seoul

What are the best locations to stay in Seoul?

Seoul is by far the biggest city in South Korea and is one of the largest on the planet.  Even though it is of the largest of its kind, it is very easy to get around using the amazing public transport. Seoul is full of Korean culture and is home to many major attractions - a blend and mixture of ancient traditions and modern ones. One of the ideal factors about Seoul, and indeed the whole country, is how friendly the people are. They will always try to help you.

 

The best areas to stay in Seoul, are the districts of Jongno-gu and Jung-gu, as these are both very popular historic attractions with palaces, shrines and government buildings. There are antique streets, numerous traditional Korean houses, theatres, cinemas, shopping centres, colourful markets and many art galleries.

 

These two districts also have an array of traditional and really authentic Korean restaurants as well as ones offering American and European cuisines. Bars, pubs and clubs can be seen everywhere you go and these areas also have the highest concentration of accommodation.

BEST LOCATED HOTELS IN SEOUL
Hotel   Avg price
Hotel Manu Seoul
1-1 Namsan-dong 2-ga
49€ - 58$
The Grand Hotel Myeongdong
38, Myeongdong 8ga-gil
51€ - 61$
METRO HOTEL MYEONGDONG
14, Myeongdong 9ga-Gil
67€ - 80$
Hotel   Avg price
Hotel PJ
71, Mareunnae-ro
59€ - 70$
Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun
71 Sambong-ro
64€ - 76$
Hotel   Avg price
THE PLAZA
119 Sogong-ro
158€ - 188$
The Westin Chosun Seoul
87 Sogong-dong
186€ - 221$
JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul
279, Cheonggyecheon-ro
202€ - 240$

 

If you are interested in where to stay in Seoul, you may also be interested in where to stay in Busanwhere to stay in Tokyo, where to stay in Kyoto and where to stay in Osaka.

Jongno-gu and Jung-gu, the best areas to stay in Seoul

Jongno-gu

(Tourists, restaurants, shopping, culture, sightseeing, family)

 

Jongno GuIt’s hard to know where to begin in this area, though the Grand Palaces are a really good start. The palaces are located in this district and were originally from the Joseon Dynasty, however the Japanese and Chinese have both burnt them down numerous times. The grandest is the Gyeongbok-gung and this was the first palace, which has been beautifully restored to its original glory. The other palaces include Changdeok-gung, Changgyeong-gung and Gyeonghui-gung and all of them were used as seats of power and temporary homes for the King from the 13th century through to the 19th century.

 

The Seoul History Museum is also here. Although was burnt down on more than one occasion by the Japanese, it was reopened in 1985 and managed to save a considerable number of artifacts from the palaces as well as the city generally. The Jongmyo Shrine is one of the most famous shrines in the city - and possibly the country- which commemorates past royal family members. Near to the shrine stands one of the most important Buddhism temples in the country -  Jogyesa Temple. Another fascinating place to visit is Bukchon Hanok Village, which is perches on a hilltop and is where many relatives of the royal family and important officials lived for thousands of years.

 

This area has the traditional ‘Hanok’ Korean houses and several art galleries and you will see many people taking photos of these. For shopping, head to Insa-dong, which is a picturesque shopping street with various antique, souvenir, clothing and food shops plus cafés. Even though it is popular with tourists and locals, the place never seems to get too busy/ There are also many authentic Korean shops and art galleries with work by Korean artists as well as regional and international artists.

 

At night have a look at the Sejong Center, which is one of the largest multi-purpose theatres and has different plays and other productions all week long. There are numerous restaurants to pick from with many being suitable for vegetarians as Korean food is mainly plant-based. There is a good selection of luxury hotels and traditional ‘love motels’. The majority have outstanding views of the palaces and area.

 

 

Hotels in Jongno-gu

 

 

 

Jung-gu

(Traditional, palace, market, one night, first time)

 

Jung GuJung-gu is another district that has plenty of historic attractions, which include the Deoksu-gung, which is another palace with amazing architecture, that has influenced by both Korean and Western design. The old historic gates of Namdaemun and Dongdaemun are very impressive and many people come to see them at night when they are lit up - which is a memorable sight.

 

Other reasons to visit the gates are the markets and shopping centres, which are very close by. Namdaemun is one of the largest traditional Korean markets in the country. This market sells traditional children’s toys as well as electronics and paintings. Dongdaemun is more modern and busier and focuses on fashion. The biggest shop is Migliore, which has 24 floors of clothing. Another popular tourist area to shop is Myeongdong, with all the streets teeming with department stores and centres that are again, focused on fashion and has famous Korean names and popular international brands including Adidas, GAP and Gucci.

 

At night there are various cinemas and theatres in the area and there is the N Seoul Tower. By day and night this tower has the best panoramic views of the city. The tower is situated on top of Namsam Mountain and can pretty be seen from almost anywhere in the city. There is also a restaurant at the very top of the tower. It is extremely romantic and has a good selection of Korean and European cuisine. However, Jung-gu also has a good selection of top quality hotels and restaurants.

 

 

Hotels in Jung-gu

Other neighbourhoods to stay in Seoul

 

Mapo-gu

(Nightlife, shopping, cafés, restaurants, leisure, couples)

 

Mapo GuIf you want an area where you can take a stroll through quiet streets and amall parks during the day and experience the vibrant night live that Seoul is so famous for, after dark, Mapo-gu is the district that has both to offer you,  The area around Hongik University located near Hongdae and Hapjeong stations, is known for its great shopping. You can find Korean skincare products, makeup and the most up-to-the-minute 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 furry companions such as cats, dogs or racoons- all these options are possible, accompanied by 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 also famous for its vibrant night-life. The streets are often filled with people looking for a place to dance, enjoy good food, drinks or enjoy the various street performances.

 

Another hot spot in Mapo-gu, is the restaurant-filled Yeonnam-dong and the Food Street in Yonggang-dong. Both are 'must sees' 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 leisurely picnic during the sunny summer evenings, you should head to “Yeontral Park”. This is the central park located in the heart of Yeonnam-dong.

 

 

Hotels in Mapo-gu

 

 

 

Yongsan gu

(Heritage, museums, food, international, relaxation)

 

“The dragon hill” or more commonly known as Yongsan district is where history meets the  present day. If you are interested in Korean culture, Yongsan is the area for you. Here, you find one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Seoul - Haebangchon. This area is located close to Namsan tower, a world famous landmark, situated in an attractive park. Both are 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 the War Memorial Museum, where important cultural and historical artifacts are displayed, with plenty of interesting information.

 

If you don’t mind walking uphill, strolling through this neighbourhood on your way to the tower, is a great way to enjoy this quiet and pleasant area. There are plenty of lovely cafes and restaurants to enjoy along the way too.

 

In the unlikely event that you get tired of Korean food, Itaewon is the place for authentic food from both Europe and the Middle East. There are also a selection of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. This area is very cosmopolitan and  most staff at stores, cafés and restaurants speak fluent English.

 

A great place to stay and relax after sightseeing in Seoul, is the Dragon Hill Spa and Resort. This is a Korean style bathhouse, or jjimjilbang as it is called in Korean. It is an experience that everyone visiting should try at least once. There you can find everything you could ever need: a variety of saunas, heated sleeping rooms, game-rooms, swimming pools, food court and much more.

 

 

Hotels in Yongsan-gu

 

 

 

Gangnam-gu

(Shopping, luxury, food, nightlife)

 

Gangnam GuKnown as one of the richest areas in Seoul, Gangnam is home to many luxury 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 of Garousgil and Apguejong are also worth visiting. In these areas you can also find really good restaurants and cafes and while they are on the pricier side, they an authentic taste of Seoul. If somehow these places are not quite right, head to the COEX Shopping mall. This place has it all! Shopping, a 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 club, Gangnam is also the place to be!

 

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 a celebrity or even a pop group while you are there. All those swept along on the Korean wave should head here to perhaps see their favorite artist or maybe just see the building where they spend hours rehearsing.

 

 

Hotels in Gangnam-gu

 

 

 

Seodaemun

(River park, boat tour, bars, restaurants)

 

SeodaemunThis district is found in the north-west of the city and is located by the lovely Han River, which flows right through the city. There are tour companies that offer boat trips up and down the river. This is particularly popular at night as you can see all the lights of Seoul. The Seodaemun Prison is quite a haunting place that is well known for its history. It was used by the Japanese to torture and execute Korean political prisoners. It is now a museum but everything in it is original and therefore very moving to see.

 

As well as the prison, the area is very famous for its drinking areas and the best places are Hongdae and Sinchon. 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 this area, but guesthouses and hostels, rather than hotels.

 

 

Hotels in Seodaemun

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