The Best Places To Stay In Seoul
Seoul is truly the soul of South Korea. In this exciting city you’ll find exotic things to do to suit every interest and hobby, from admiring traditional Korean architecture and art crafts, walking through buzzing streets, enjoying delicious food and indulging in the great shopping. But not sure where to stay if you’re coming to Korea for the first time? To help you out, here’s a list of some of the best Seoul neighbourhoods that will suit your interests, so you can explore the Seoul you want to see!
BY Yulia Kim
Want history and traditional architecture?
If you’re interested in Seoul’s history and exploring an area known for its architecture, the Gwanghwamun neighbourhood, which is considered to be the downtown of Seoul, is the place for you. You’ll find Gyeongbokgung Palace - the main royal palace of the most powerful Korean dynasty, and Gwanghwamun square, with monuments of King Sejon the Greatest and Admiral Yi Sun Sin. As key figures in Korean history, modern generations still honour them with great respect. This area has a magnificent combination of historical and modern architecture, classical palaces and glass skyscrapers, so you’ll get a feel for how Seoul has changed over time through.
For when shopping is never enough?
Legend says that in Namdaemun Market, you can find absolutely everything - starting with traditional Korean souvenirs, to local clothes to home utensils. Soak up the atmosphere and feel the enthusiastic vibes of traders who are selling ginseng alcohol or sweets. Namdaemun Market is located in the Myeongdong area which could easily be called Seoul’s shopping paradise. If you would like to experience all the benefits of Korean skin care or makeup products then Myeongdong main street is at your service, as all of the popular cosmetic flagship stores are located here.
You can find 3-4 shops of one brand on one street, so no worries if some of your must-buy cosmetic items are sold out in the first store because you can find it in the second! Shopping usually takes a lot of energy, right? You can recharge your batteries eating Korean street food like gimbap, spicy tteok-bokki or seafood in the evening or on the go between shops as there’s lots of great local places to eat in this neighbourhood.
Want a food paradise?
While we’re on the subject, allow me to say something about the food in Seoul: it is unique. Even when you thought you’d tried everything, you discover a new dish right around the corner! Seoul just isn’t the easiest place for vegetarians, as the main dishes you will encounter are based either on chicken or pork meat. Fried chicken is everywhere, so much so that Koreans have a word to indicate that they are going to eat fried chicken and drink beer, all in one verb!
And let’s not forget the many side dishes coming free with your meal, from the well known “Kimchi”, to sweet radish, or garlic (each restaurants has its own combination) that will enhance the taste of your food in various ways all along dinner! I will be honest with you, you’ll find delicious food in every area of Seoul, but Insadong is famous for serving meals in the traditional Korean way, Myeongdong is the place where you can try various street foods and in Namdaemun Market you’ll find all Korean street food and something to suit every taste!
If you want to experience Korean night life, then in this case you definitely need to stay in the Hongdae area. This is the favourite place among young people to spend evenings, especially weekends. You’ll find dance clubs, bars, pubs, 24-hours cafe and restaurants and karaoke bars with glass walls. Hongdae offers entertainment activity for any taste of music from techno and rnb to rock and jazz. You only need to have the right people with you to enjoy Seoul’s night life!
Keen on luxury?
Do you remember Psy’s song Oppa Gangnam style? Well, if you want to experience that life, you need to stay in the south part of Seoul in the Gangnam area. The most expensive rate for 1sq.m of space is here, and you’ll find all Korean and international luxury stores, fancy restaurants and bars in this area. You even have high chances of meeting Korean celebrities while walking to Garosu-gil, the mecca of fashionistas. This area also suits visitors with kids as Lotte World, aka Korean Disney Land, and COEX Aquarium are located in Gangnam.