Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a huge metropolis that is home to more than 10 million citizens and is a global financial hub. There are many unique districts in Seoul and all areas and corners of the city have their own charm and unique atmosphere. Deciding where to stay in Seoul can be quite a daunting task as there are so many options. In this blog post, we will give our suggestion for 3 different areas to stay in that caters to something for everyone. Seoul is truly a unique city that encompasses high-tech modern areas and historical sites.
Hongdae is a very famous area of Seoul located in the Mapo-gu district. The name Hongdae comes from Hongik University which is a University famous for its art departments. The youthful and artistic culture from this university is also what characterizes the area as a whole and helped establish it as a hip area. Hongdae has since developed into a very popular shopping and nightlife district. There are many guest houses which offer a cheaper and different kind of accommodation for tourists. Also, Hongdae is an ideal place to stay if you are looking for good public transportation. The airport train goes directly to Hongdae and there are many transportation options such as buses and the Seoul subway. If you enjoy shopping and a vibrant and exciting nightlife, this is the perfect area to stay in during your visit to Seoul.
Attractions in Hongdae:
Trick Eye Museum. An alternative art experience where visitors can interact with the art and take unique pictures.
Nanta Show. A fun dinner show that features performances with food and kitchen equipment.
Shopping. Hongdae has many small independent fashion and beauty shops that offer the most current trends in Korean fashion and beauty.
Animal cafés. Hongdae has a plethora of animal-themed cafés where you can meet and interact with animals. Cat and dog cafés, meerkat café (the Meerkat Cafe), Sheep Café (Thanks Nature Café), Raccoon café (Maengkun Raccoon Cafe)
Street performances. Hongdae comes alive at night where you can see a variety of street performances including signing, magic, k-pop dances and much more. Just walk around the area and you will definitely come across several performances.
#2 Bukchon Hanok Village / Anguk
Bukchon Hanok Village is a famous sight in Seoul because it is one of the most well-preserved areas where visitors can feel what pre-war Seoul was like. It is located on a hill between the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeok Palace, and the Jongmyo Royal Shrine and is made up of many small intertwined streets full of Korean traditional houses called Hanok. The Anguk area is located close to Bukchon Hanok Village and both of these places are ideal places to stay if you want to experience traditional Korean architecture and culture. Bukchon Hanok Village also offers a unique accommodation experience called Hanok-stay, where you can live in the old traditional Korean houses. The central location also means that many historical attractions are within walking distance of Anguk and Bukchon Hanok Village.
Attractions near Bukchon Hanok Village/Anguk:
Gyeongbokgung Palace. The main palace in Korea where the kings and queens of the Joseon period used to live and hold court. The National Folk Museum of Korea is also located within the palace grounds. Here you can see cultural artifacts and learn more about the life of commoners throughout Korean history.
Gwanghwamun. The Main Gate located outside of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It is a symbol of the Joseon era which was a significant period of Korean history. Leading up to the gate there is a huge square where statues of King Sejong, the creator of the Korean script Hangul and Admiral Yi Sun-Shin, an adored naval officer who won over the Japanese in an epic sea battle during the Japanese Invasion of Korean during the late 1500s, are located.
Changdeokgung Palace. Another main palace of the Joseon Dynasty constructed after the Gyeongbokgung Palace. This palace has a more relaxed atmosphere and beautiful gardens, perfect for taking a quiet stroll away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The MMCA has 4 main locations and one of them is located by the side of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. This museum has a great collection of contemporary Korean art and many interesting special exhibitions. The museum also has a great expansive art shop.
Cheonggyecheon Stream. A small stream that runs through downtown Seoul. For many people, the Cheonggyecheon Stream is a symbol of Korean economic development. Before the Miracle of the Han River, the stream was surrounded by slum-like living areas but during the vast economic development the slums were removed and the stream was covered with a highway. In recent times, the stream was uncovered and restored to create a small quiet oasis in the big city. Take a walk along the stream and stray off by the many amazing areas located alongside the stream such as the Gwangjang Market.
Gangnam, famous for being the most modern and luxurious district in Seoul, has an abundance of hotels for the traveler that wants a comfortable and fuss-free trip to Seoul. This area is full of big roads and huge high-rise buildings, making visitors feel that they are in a top modern metropolis. The area also an endless array of restaurants, cafés, bars and great shopping for visitors. The Gangnam area also has good public transportation, as one of the most central areas in Korea for businesses.
Attractions in Gangnam:
Apgujeong & Garosu-Gil. Two of the main high-fashion area of Seoul. Here you can find all the big fashion brands and big shopping malls. At Garosu-Gil you can also find flagship stores of local Korean fashion designers.
Shopping around Gangnam Station. Gangnam Station on line no 2 is one of the main shopping areas in Seoul. Here you can find many big chain stores as well as local fashion retailers.
Starfield COEX Mall and Aquarium. COEX is a big convention center in Seoul that also houses the Starfield Mall and an Aquarium. You can spend an entire day here enjoying the aquarium, dining, and shopping.
Bongeunsa. If you go to COEX, you should also stop by the Bongeunsa temple located close by. The temple was constructed during the Silla Dynasty as a Buddhist place of worship. The temple itself and the grounds surrounding it are beautiful and definitely worth a visit.
Seoul Olympic Park. An expansive park that encompasses sports stadiums, grassy fields, historical sites and monuments for the 1988 Olympics hosted in Korea. It is a great place to unwind after a busy day of touring the city.