We list the best hotels and accommodations in Seoul as recommended by travel experts from CNN, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, Fodor’s, New York Times and more. All hotel recommendations have been referenced with customer reviews and we only listed places with at least a 4 out of 5-star customer review rating.
“The 185-room Park Hyatt Seoul occupies a 24 -story glass-and-steel building in the central Gangnam district. Floor-to-ceiling windows, warm wood finishes and granite baths outfit its spacious, modern rooms.”
Featured in New York Times’ 36 Hours in Seoul.
“Owned by the ultra-friendly couple – Shrek and Fiona – this hostel stands above others for its attention to thought and detail. Set in a renovated industrial-chic apartment building, its private rooms and dorms are clean, spacious and have quality thick mattresses.”
“Also relatively new, the 30-room Amass Hotel boasts an open-air rooftop bar with glowing LED seating and views of Changdeokgung Palace across the street. The rooms have a spare, black-and-white theme, and in the basement is a gallery showing local artists’ works.”
Featured in New York Times’ 36 Hours in Seoul.
“Opened in late 2014, the 319-room GLAD Hotel may be in the Yeouido financial center, but this is no staid business hotel. Built by designer Suyong Joh’s Seoul-based firm, the hotel has a textural brick façade reminiscent of a traditional Korean home, park-like benches in the halls and quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt above the beds.”
Featured in New York Times’ 36 Hours in Seoul.
“With its unbeatable location, understated luxury aesthetic, art collection, spa complex, and knockout breakfast, this is a cultured alternative to the area’s business hotels, and a great place to indulge for vacationers.”
Featured in CN Traveler’s 2018 Hot List
New York Times, CNN, Lonely Planet, Telegraph
New York Times, CNN
New York Times
New York Times
The capital of South Korea is a perfect example of a place where traditionalism meets modernity. From modern technologically aided structures and pop culture, to Buddhist temple and palaces, it provides visitors with a wholesome experience.
It is one of the high-end neighbourhoods of Seoul, with designer store-fronts, fine dining options, and nightclubs hosting world-renowned DJs. The underground mall - COEX mall is a haven for shoppers.
Myeongdong is a bustling area packed with shoppers, which cater to those seeking everything starting from luxury brands to locally grown brands selling cosmetics and other materials. Casual eateries providing local fare as well as Japanese and Thai options satiate the hungry shoppers. Music and theatre shows are held at the Nanta Theatre.
It has a very western vibe which is evident in the internationally influenced dining options and the pulsating nightlife to cool gay bars. The options range from local Korean style barbeque restaurants to chic bistros and roadside stall stalls selling delicious kebabs. Antique furniture to indie stores, you will find everything here. Top hotels are found here catering to expats.
The area is filled with young hipsters from the nearby university. Thus the food scene is extremely laid back with a number of theme cafes. There are a plethora of options for clubs and casual dining options.
Luxury brand store-fronts dot this area, and you might often spot a celeb of K-pop culture. The food options are varied and are upscale with various options of cuisines from around the world available. Boutique hotels and star resorts are situated in this area.
Also check out our guide about the best areas to stay in Seoul.
If you're looking for a cheap hotel in Seoul, then book Tong Tong Petit Hotel. It's an excellent budget hotel offering great value for money. It's in a good location, it's been recommended by travel experts and the hotel has excellent customer reviews. Also check out our list of the best cheap hotels in Seoul.
Not a fan of big chain hotels? No problem. If you want to stay in a boutique hotel in Seoul, then you should book Glad Hotel. The hotel has been rated highly by previous guests for its boutique style. It has also been recommended by influential travel journalists.
Also check out our list of the best boutique hotels in Seoul, it's a manually curated list of the most unique and romantic hotels in the city.
If money isn't a problem and you're looking for a luxury hotel in Seoul, then go for Hotel Park Hyatt Seoul. The hotel offers excellent service, it's in a top location, it has been rated very highly by previous guests and renowned travel critics have recommended it. Also check out our list of the best luxury hotels in Seoul, it's a manually curated list of the most exclusive 5-star hotels in the city.
For a 3-star hotel you have to pay around $90 per night and for a 4-star hotel you would be looking at $120 per night. If you're after a luxury 5-star Seoul hotel then you can expect to pay around $280 per night.
Half-Day Korean DMZ Tour from Seoul. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) lies on the border between North and South Korea, and visiting outside of a guided tour is not allowed. On this tour, explore the DMZ with your guide and gain insight into Korean War history. Price: $45.
Everland 1-Day Fast Entry E-Ticket. Visit the largest and the most exciting theme park in Korea, Everland. With this e-ticket, you can explore all 5 zones of Everland: Global Fair, Zoo-Topia, European Adventure, Magic Land and American Adventure. Price: $39.
Full-Day Essential Seoul Tour. Visit Jogye Temple, The Blue House, Gyeongbok Palace, Insadong, Bugak Skyway, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Myeongdong. Your tour is limited to just 15 people for a personalized experience. Price: $97
More things to do in Seoul
Before setting off on your South Korea vacation, you might want to brush up on some key details about the country’s capital city. After all, it will be your primary destination once you arrive in Seoul! The city is home to nearly 25% of South Koreans and is considered the most important economic hub in the nation. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Seoul as a traveler. From its history and culture to hotels, restaurants, attractions, and nightlife – this insider’s guide will help you get acquainted with the city before your trip.
A Brief History of Seoul
You can trace Seoul’s history back to the 14th century, when it was an insignificant village by the Han River. However, it wasn’t until the 1880s that the city grew into a major metropolis. Why did this happen? The Japanese took control of the town in the 1890s and built a new capital there called Keijo (or Gyeongseong). During the Korean War, 80% of Seoul was destroyed by American bombs, leading to its reconstruction in the 1950s and ‘60s. The city experienced another boom in the 1990s, when it hosted the “Seoul Olympics” and became the global centre of culture and entertainment. Today, Seoul is one of the most modern cities in Asia, but still maintains its unique culture, customs, and traditions.
Climate in Seoul
Seoul is in the humid subtropical climate zone, making it one of the warmest cities in Asia. The average temperature in January is 3°C/37°F, and August’s average is 28°C/82°F. That’s quite a difference, isn’t it? You’ll definitely need to pack for all four seasons if you’re visiting in the winter and summer months! While temperatures are usually mild and sunny, you may experience sudden rainstorms and strong winds from October to March. During the winter, you may see some snow in Seoul. However, the city isn’t known for its snowfall, and you shouldn’t expect too much. The city’s highest recorded snowfall was in 1932, with only 1 centimeter.
Where to Stay in Seoul
There are many great places to stay in Seoul, including luxury resorts, hostels, and hotels. No matter where you decide to stay, you should keep in mind that Seoul is a very modern city. As such, most hotels offer modern amenities like high-speed internet, air conditioning, and fitness facilities. You can find hotels in all price ranges in Seoul, so there’s something for everybody. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, though, consider staying in one of the following neighborhoods:
Buk-gu: Buk-gu is a centrally located neighborhood in Seoul, making it an ideal place to stay. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars in the area, so you’ll never be bored. The city centre is also easily accessible via subway or bus.
Dong-gu: This neighborhood is located near the Incheon Airport, making it a great choice if you’re looking to save money. There are also lots of cheap motels in the area, making it a popular tourist destination for those visiting Seoul.
Eun-gu: Eun-gu is a charming, traditional neighborhood that’s popular with couples. You’ll find lots of traditional Korean restaurants, temples, and art galleries in the area. You can also take a ferry to visit the famous Han River Ferry Cruise.
We recommend you read our guide about where to stay in Seoul. It provides an excellent overview of the most popular areas, highlighting the main attractions and hotel recommendations for each area.
What to See in Seoul
As the tourism capital of South Korea, Seoul is full of historical landmarks and cultural attractions. If you’re only visiting for a few days, you’ll probably have to prioritize what to see and what not to miss.
Gyeongbokgung Palace: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular attractions in Seoul. The palace was built in 1395 and served as the nation’s capital until the construction of the Gwanghwamun Plaza. Today, the complex houses a museum, garden, and souvenir shop.
The National Folk Museum of Korea: This museum is located inside the National Folk Park, and it’s the best place to go if you want to learn more about Korean culture. You can visit the museum to learn about various aspects of Korean life, such as farming, clothing, and household traditions.
Yonghe-sa Temple: This Buddhist temple was built in 1645 and is the most popular tourist attraction in Seoul. You can visit the temple to see the world’s largest wooden seated Buddha statue, as well as many other historical and cultural artifacts.
Yongdungpo-si: This is one of the largest commercial districts in Seoul. If you’re visiting Seoul and you’re a big fan of shopping, you should definitely check out Yongdungpo-si.
Food in Seoul
If you love trying new and exotic foods, you’ll adore Seoul. The city’s cuisine is influenced by various cultures, including Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. You can find just about any type of food in Seoul, including Italian, French, Mexican, and Indian.
If you want to experience authentic Seoul cuisine, you should try bibimbap, jjajangmyeon, Korean barbecue, and gimbap. You can find these dishes in almost all restaurants in the city.
If you want to try something different, you can visit the Samcheong-dong “Food Street” to sample some of Seoul’s most popular dishes.
Activities in Seoul
If you love exploring new places, Seoul has plenty of exciting activities for you to do. You can visit tourist attractions like the Gyeongbokgung Palace and National Folk Museum, or you can visit some of the city’s natural wonders, like the Han River or Wolmi-do Island.
You can also visit the COEX Mall, one of the largest shopping malls in Asia. If you’re in Seoul during the summer months, you can also visit the famous Coex Aquarium, which is Asia’s largest aquarium.
Seoul is a must-see destination for travelers visiting South Korea. Whether you want to visit the city’s cultural landmarks, shop at the largest mall in Asia, or try authentic Korean cuisine, you’ll find something for everyone in Seoul.
Overall, Seoul is a fascinating city to visit, and you’ll never run out of things to do or see. If you’re planning a trip to South Korea, make sure you add Seoul to your travel itinerary.