Where to stay in Seoul

South Korea

Whether you’re looking for convenience, affordability, or style, here are my tips for the best Seoul accommodation!

Where to stay in Seoul, South Korea

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

I've got lots of details about the best Seoul accommodation below - but you can also jump straight down to my top tips on where to stay in Seoul:

I know it’s a bit of a cliche to say about a city, but Seoul is one of those places that feels like a collection of villages (or possibly towns) where every neighbourhood has its own feel.

When you’re trying to choose the best area to stay in Seoul, each of the ones I’m going to recommend has great things going for it. The question is which is the best for you.

The South Korean capital is an expansive metropolis and, although it’s very easy to get around by public transport, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived somewhere new when you pop out of the subway.

Every district brings something different to the table. From the traditional Bukchon Hanok Village to the stylish streets of Gangnam, no two neighbourhoods are the same.

The best areas to stay in Seoul

Seoul is regularly praised as an incredibly safe destination, and I agree that there really isn’t a dodgy area to stay in Seoul. That being said, there are several factors to consider when deciding which neighbourhood is right for you, like convenience and budget.

Here are my top suggestions for the best places to stay in Seoul:

  • Myeongdong: Located in the heart of the city, Myeongdong is especially appealing for foodies and shopaholics.
  • Insadong: Ideal for visitors hoping to immerse themselves in culture, Insadong is close to many attractions and is filled with authentic shops and eateries.
  • Seoul Station: Seoul Station is best suited to travellers planning a wider trip around South Korea, as it boasts fantastic transport links.
  • Hongdae: This university neighbourhood is the place to go for vibrant nightlife, quirky shops, and budget-friendly accommodation.
  • Gangnam: Gangnam has lavish hotels, upscale restaurants, and world-class entertainment, making it ideal for travellers with a higher budget.
  • Bukchon Hanok Village: Experience another side of Seoul in this traditional but centrally-located village.

Before I go into more detail about the best areas to stay in Seoul, have a look on the map and you’ll see where they’re all located.

Where to stay in Seoul map

Looking at the map, you’ll see that it’s about three kilometres in a straight line from Seoul Station to Changdeokgung Palace. If you can’t make up your mind on where to stay in Seoul, I would recommend just choosing somewhere along that route.

That’s because the two main areas for visitors to Seoul – Myeongdong and Insadong – are between those two landmarks, and it’s where you’ll find many of the best things to do in Seoul.

But, with all that being said, let’s jump in and have a look at each area in more detail.


First-time visitors often tend to gravitate towards the bustling Myeongdong, and I can totally understand why. Between its super convenient transport links, the abundance of hotels, and its central location, this neighbourhood is a hit with tourists. 

It’s safe to say that these reasons are enough to convince any traveller to stay here, but Myeongdong is also among Seoul’s top shopping districts and is celebrated for its iconic street food offerings.

Myeongdong is, for sure, the best place to stay in Seoul if local food and amazing shopping are what you’re after.

Where to stay in Seoul: Myeongdong

Myeongdong is not known for having wild nightlife, but it has a wealth of stylish bars if you’re looking for something more low-key rather than a lively nightclub.

With so much going for it, Myeongdong is typically one of Seoul’s most crowded neighbourhoods, and you might notice that the hotels here, although often reasonably priced, can book up quickly.


In the heart of the action, OYO Hostel Myeongdong 5 has dorms and private rooms, plus a free breakfast.

  • The Cube Hotel: A blend between a hostel and a capsule hotel, this is a really affordable option if you just want a comfortable bed to crash at night.
  • OYO Hostel Myeongdong 2: With cheap private rooms, there’s not much of a backpacker atmosphere, but the rooms are clean and great value.


Although it’s close to everything, Slow Vibe Myeongdong is quiet and relaxed, feeling more like a house than a hotel.

  • Hithere City Myeongdong: Modern and clean, the hotel is full of colour and has a wonderful welcoming atmosphere.
  • Hotel Lumia Myeongdong: Although it’s a bit more expensive than other budget hotels, I think it’s great value for its modern rooms and convenient location.


There’s a romantic Parisian theme at L’Escape Hotel, offering something a bit different for this centrally-located property with fantastic amenities.


Along with a fantastic location and a colourful design, Le Méridien Seoul Myeongdong also has beautiful views and a lovely pool.


Just north of Myeongdong is its more old-school neighbour, Insadong. Perhaps the best part of Seoul to see where old meets new is Insadong, which has everything from traditional tea houses to mouthwatering cuisine and is still within walking distance of a ton of top attractions.

Suppose you’re venturing beyond walkable spots like the Gyeongbokgung Palace or Bukchon Hanok Village. In that case, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to transport, as several bus and metro lines serve Insadong.

Where to stay in Seoul: Insadong

There are many more traditional restaurants in Insadong compared to many other parts of Seoul, and there’s an eclectic mix of fun museums and boutique shops to enjoy. 

Things tend to wrap up pretty early around Insadong, so it’s a great place for families or those of you who prefer to base in a quieter part of the city. If you’re keen to hit up late-night bars or clubs, you’ll likely find Insadong a little too laidback.


Combining the idea of a capsule hotel with a hostel, Seoul Cube Jongro has excellent value beds with plenty of privacy.

  • Insadong Hostel: The rooftop terrace is a great spot to meet other travellers, plus it’s close to the subway and offers a free breakfast.
  • Hostel Haru: Spacious and bright, the rooms have a welcoming design, and there’s a nice view and a good location.


Right in the middle of the neighbourhood, Top Hotel & Residence has lovely staff and plenty of good amenities for your stay.

  • Hotel Nafore: Located near convenient transport options, it’s also close to the shops and attractions, and has clean comfortable rooms.
  • Grid Inn Hotel: The rooms are relatively basic but they’re great value and really well located to explore Seoul.


There are some really funky features at Moxy Seoul Insadong, which also has a cool bar on site.

  • Le Mong Hotel: There’s an old-school charm to its Parisian atmosphere, along with renovated rooms and a free breakfast.


The stylish design of Amid Hotel embraces Korean traditions – step outside and you’re close to some of the city’s top attractions.

  • Sunbee Hotel Insadong Seoul: The hotel has some lovely artworks on display, and the rooms have really comfortable beds.
  • Orakai Insadong Suites: While there’s nothing too special about the rooms, there is a good range of multi-bedroom suites, so this is a great option for groups.

Seoul Station

Seoul Station doesn’t tend to be as much of a hotspot for tourists as many of the other additions to this list.

That being said, if you’re wondering where to stay in Seoul and you’re planning to explore more of the country, you just might find the location of Seoul Station to be the most practical choice.

I’d be lying if I said that this neighbourhood is as exciting as the previous two options, but there are still plenty of hotels in the area, and you won’t be short on places to grab a bite to eat either.

Where to stay in Seoul: Seoul Station

It’s also quite close to Myeongdong, so you won’t be more than a walk or a short metro ride away from all the hustle and bustle of the city.

Because Seoul Station doesn’t attract as many tourists, you’ll be able to snag hotel rooms for an affordable rate.


Simple and cosy with amenities like a laundry, Seoul Station R Guesthouse is just a couple of minutes from the train.


With a convenient location, Hotel Less Seoul offers large comfortable beds, plus it has a terrace and a garden.

  • K-POP Hotel Seoul Station: Despite the name, this hotel has nothing to do with music – it’s actually just a really basic budget hotel at the station.


Directly connected to the station by underground passage, Four Points by Sheraton is a lovely four-star business-style hotel.

  • Hotel Manu Seoul: Also right near the station, there’s direct access to restaurants and shopping, plus a free breakfast is included.


Although the youthful and trendy Hongdae tends to attract backpackers or younger travellers looking to party, Hongdae is so much more than a nightlife hub.

That’s not to say that the nightclub scene here isn’t buzzing, because it is, but this university neighbourhood is also bursting with delicious and cheap eats, street performers, vintage stores, and art galleries.

It’s also where you’ll find a whole pile of Korean-style photo booths and never-ending collections of karaoke bars.

This hipster hangout is well-connected to a bunch of other districts, and many of Seoul’s top sites are just a metro ride away.


Colourful and cosy, the One Hostel Hongdae has comfortable beds with curtains and a nice rooftop terrace to meet people.

  • Dream House: There’s a warm and friendly ambience, along with a great location and free breakfast.
  • Time Travelers Party Hostel: As the name suggests, this is a lively place where you’ll meet other backpackers – with cheap dorm beds.


You’ll get great value at Hithere Guesthouse, which has been recently renovated and even has a rooftop terrace.

  • Hongdae Style Guesthouse: Really close to transport and shops, the rooms are clean and spacious, plus there’s a free breakfast.
  • Hi Jun Guesthouse: As well as a good location and price, there’s even a K-pop café on the first floor!


Matching its hip neighbourhood, RYSE has funky comfortable rooms with decent views from the upper levels.

  • 9 Brick Hotel: The building’s brick walls give the hotel a homely atmosphere, while the rooms have sleek modern designs.
  • Mercure Ambassador Seoul Hongdae: Right in the centre of the shopping district, you’ll get really comfortable rooms with good views of the district.


With everything you need for a comfortable stay, the Holiday Inn Express Hongdae has a good range of rooms to suit different travellers.

  • L7 Hongdae: As well as bright and colourful rooms, there’s also a lovely pool, all in a convenient location.
  • Amanti Hotel Seoul: With a beautiful city view, there’s also a rooftop garden, an outdoor pool, and friendly staff.


Famous worldwide after the release of a particular 2012 hit song, the iconic neighbourhood of Gangnam is actually one of Seoul’s most upmarket areas.

Perfect for those of you who like the finer things in life, Gangnam is home to luxury brands, chic bars, diverse restaurants, and the gorgeous Starfield Library that’s become somewhat of an Instagram hotspot in recent years.

Although the neighbourhood itself is fantastic, most of Seoul’s must-see landmarks are across the river, so you’ll likely end up spending a lot of your time on the metro if you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing.

As this is quite an exclusive district, hotel rates are on the higher end of the scale.


Although the rooms are relatively basic, YaKorea Hostel Gangnam is really friendly and is a good price for the area.

  • K-Grand Hostel Gangnam1: The rooms are clean and relatively large, it’s in a great location, and there’s a good free breakfast.


Depending on the season, the Ibis Styles Ambassador Gangnam can have great value for these comfortable and stylish rooms.

  • Stay Hotel Gangnam: A quiet hotel in a good location with spacious rooms and comfortable beds.
  • Hotel Star Gangnam: Close to public transport, the rooms are cosy and there are some good amenities included.


There’s an interesting contrast between the artistic common areas and the minimalistic rooms at the fabulous Hotel Anteroom.

  • voco Seoul Gangnam: Stylish rooms with great food onsite, set in a trendy part of the neighbourhood with lots to do nearby.
  • Aloft Seoul Gangnam: A modern hotel with relatively large rooms splashed with colour, offering lovely views.


You almost don’t need to leave the Ananti at Gangnam with huge rooms, two amazing pools, restaurants, and wonderful staff.

  • Four Points by Sheraton Gangnam: With stunning views from the upper levels, this is a stylish hotel with comfortable beds and good dining.
  • Josun Palace: As the name suggests, it feels a bit like being in a palace, with opulent designs and enormous regal rooms.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village is on everyone’s to-do list when they visit Seoul, but it’s becoming increasingly popular as a base for visitors who are eager to deep-dive into Korean culture.

Mostly made up of traditional homes that have been restored, this neighbourhood is incredibly charming and unique and is surrounded by fascinating museums, art galleries, and local eateries.

Where to stay in Seoul: Bukchon Hanok Village

What’s great about its location is that the likes of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung are within walking distance, while many other locations are reachable by bus or metro.

It’s worth noting that Bukchon Hanok Village can get pretty crowded with tourists during the day, though it’s a peaceful and relaxed part of the city by night.


You’ll get a traditional Korean cultural experience at Bukchonae, with lovely hosts in a quiet area.


If you’re travelling in a group, SeoulStory Hanok gives you the space to experience a Korean home but with modern amenities.

  • Hanok Got: Another lovely traditional Korean home with modern amenities that lets you rent the entire house or just rooms, plus serves an organic homemade breakfast.
  • Areumjae: It may look traditional from the outside, but it has a luxury modern interior and includes a hot tub.


It’s not cheap, but I love this two-bedroom penthouse with beautiful modern features and a stunning view across the village.

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