Where to stay in Seoul

I’ve been receiving emails from people who’d like to visit South Korea. They usually ask which hotel is the best place for them to stay. Seoul is a big city divided into several districts. We have an efficient transportation system but traveling from one district to another could take time. Staying in a hotel that is far from the places you’d like to visit could be time-consuming. I’d like to recommend three hotels in downtown Seoul that are conveniently located near tourist, shopping areas and the subway!
1. Best Western Dongdaemun Hotel – This hotel is located right outside Exit 6 of Dongdaemun subway station. From the hotel, you’ll get a nice view of Dongdaemun (Western gate). It is also just a few (like 3!) minutes away by foot to Cheonggyecheon (the famous stream featured on Discovery channel) and a mere 700 meters away from the famous night shopping area of Dongdaemun. Subway and bus service in Seoul is only until midnight and taxis are more expensive at night. If you enjoy night shopping, you won’t need to worry about going back to your hotel. The best thing is, we live about 1.5 kilometers from the area 🙂
2. Yim’s House Hotel – Recommended for the budget traveler or for those who see hotels as just a place to rest their tired bodies and take a refreshing shower after a heavy day of touring. I haven’t been to this hotel but its location is great and the reviews on HotelsCombined are all positive. It is really near the palaces and a walking distance to Insadong (a famous tourist shopping area). It is also located near Anguk station, so you can just hop on the subway train if you’d like to explore more of Seoul.
3. Ibis Myeong Dong Hotel Seoul – This is a relatively new hotel. It is located right at the heart of the trendiest shopping area in Seoul. Like the previous two, it is also located near a subway station, Euljiro1-ga on line 2. I always bring my visitors to Myeong Dong for shopping, dining and singing – noraebang! You can walk to Namdaemun (South gate), famous for night shopping too and the perfect place to shop for souvenirs (traditional and Hallyu inspired), cameras, clothes, shoes, stationeries, kitchen utensils and so on.
You can make your hotel reservations or find more hotels in Seoul or other places in Korea through HotelsCombined, where you can search more than 30 sites at once.
If you’ve been to Seoul and you’d like to recommend a hotel, please feel free to do so. It would help others who are planning to come and visit.


  1. sigh It would be so nice to visit Seoul, but with $1500 being the price of admission (adding in cost of visa), it is something you cannot do halfway. Either you prepare and make the most of it, or you wasted a lot of money!
    I hope I can go soon! I want to meet people and see the bboys!
    I wonder why so many people ask you for help or advice. I see the comments on your other posts, and it is amazing! No one asks meeee! I am jealous!

  2. Angela and I stayed for 2 weeks at Banana Backpackers (www.bananabackpackers.com), and I would give this hostel my two thumbs up 🙂
    The hostel is walking distance to many tourist spots such as Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces, and Insadong. It is near Anguk station (take Exit 4 or 5). If one is lucky, one may get a taste of the delicious bread that a kind ajusshi sells in a rolling store (He stays across the Princeton Review Center on school days).
    The hostel staff are so nice too. Dong helped me with laundry, and Sang (the hostel manager) even carried our luggages and waited for the airport bus with us.
    @AzureWolf: You should come soon! It took Angela and me two years to save up, but it is worth the wait. I am definitely coming back for more of Seoul and South Korea.

  3. @AzureWolf >> you won’t need a visa to come here… why not teach English 😉 you’re gonna be a hit here! LOL… i would love to go to NYC again! such an amazing city! i’m saving up for a trip with my husband and son… it’s gonna take me years but i wouldn’t mind the time and expenses since i’d love to go to The Met again…
    @Tesha >> thanks for your input… i hope you can come back here… i really had a great time with you guys… you and angela are super fun to be with!

  4. @Betchay
    I will do the applications this upcoming year for next year and play it by ear. The best English program (Fulbright ETA) has no positions in Seoul, but there is the prestige of putting the name “Fulbright” on a resumé… But I want to have as much fun as possible, so I will apply to others like EPIK and then decide later, hehe.
    It would be quite the honor and pleasure to meet you and your family!

  5. Hi to all,
    Is it possible to go to Banana Bachpackers without reservation? Cause I will go for the first time to Korea and have to find a sleeping facility from the 14th of August.
    Many thanks!

  6. @Mark: It is better to email the webmaster or leave a message in their message board for a reservation 2 to 4 weeks before your scheduled trip. As far as I know, you can confirm or cancel your reservation without any charge.

  7. Hi Tesha,
    You mentioned that you stayed in Bananabackpackers.. We are booked to stay there as well. We are kind of worried if the area has steep streets. Do we have to walk uphill to reach Bananabackpackers? and are there steep streets in that area?
    Thank you very much,

  8. very nice and beautiful info in this site when i read then i am very eager to share with this site

  9. I would recommend staying at one of the homestays at Wimdu (www.wimdu.com).
    They are as cheap as $30/night and the hosts are usually nice old Korean ladies. Hostels are cheap but you will not be comfortable–also you have to share a bathroom with so many other people.

  10. 벳차이씨 안녕하세요
    I have been to seoul twice…stayed in bangrang hostel… Had nice experiences with the staff. … Just a minute away from chungjongno metro station (green line)….
    Now im planning to stay for a longer time… Can you recommend any cheap stay? Like something as 300$ a month? Ill be leaving by end of feb….
    Im into volunteering kasi….kaya kailangan ko ng something supercheap 😉

  11. Hi Betchay!
    Im really glad I came across your blog. 🙂
    We have booked a quick vacation to south korea on the 1st week of july. Im going there together with my parents and it’ll be our first time. We’re looking for a guesthouse since we’re on a budget. Do you know of any decent ones? and also, we’re planning to go straight to jeju island from incheon airport. You think it’s advisable? Thank you so much!
    Hope to hear from you soon!

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