South Korea’s capital might be known for its glitzy clubs, high-fashion malls and expensive restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel there on a budget. There are a wealth of affordable hostels all over Seoul, particularly in the party areas of Hongdae and Itaewon, providing travellers with comfortable and often stylish options for a night’s sleep. From trick-eye rooms to K-pop capsules, there’s something for everyone – here’s our guide to the city’s best.
Plan A Hostel
Plan A Hostel | Courtesy of Plan A Hostel/Hotels.com
Plan A Hostel offers homely, friendly accommodation less than a five-minute walk from Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul. It’s right next to the subway station entrance, and is well placed for travelling to most areas in the city. As well as female-only dormitory beds, it has private and family rooms that can accommodate up to six people. All beds are extra-long, and there is a kitchen available for guest use with free tea, coffee, milk and cereal.
G Guesthouse is located in Itaewon, a lively party district popular with foreigners. Its rooftop terrace has barbecue facilities, seating and excellent views out over the area and nearby Namsan Tower. It’s a large hostel, with plenty of opportunities for socialising: there’s a communal space including a shared kitchen, and the hostel runs frequent icebreaker events (such as Thursday movie nights). Breakfast is complimentary, and includes toast, eggs and cereal.
If you’re looking for Gangnam style on a bargain budget, Kimchee Gangnam Guesthouse is the place to go. Located in the heart of the ritzy district made world-famous by Psy, it’s a well-maintained, six-storey hostel with plenty of space for socialising. Beds are comfortable, staff are friendly, and there’s lots of room to cook in the shared kitchen. Breakfast is complimentary, and served in the hostel’s funky cafeteria.
KpopStay is located in the trendy district of Hongdae, just three minutes’ walk from Hongik University. The hostel’s capsule beds are sturdily built, comfortable, and can be curtained off for privacy. There’s an outdoor seating area, and the hostel is well located for shopping, partying and sightseeing. The décor is fun and modern, and more sophisticated than you might expect from the name. It has a complimentary continental breakfast.
This quirky little hostel takes inspiration from Hongdae’s well-loved Trick Eye Museum (approximately a ten-minute walk away) to create a fun space full of interesting art. Friendly staff encourage guests to socialise, and even give out Korean traditional foods that are usually served during holidays like Chuseok or Seollal. Trick Art Hostel is close to the Hongik University subway station (seven minutes’ walk), but far enough away from Hongdae’s noisiest clubs to ensure fairly peaceful sleep. It has a nice rooftop terrace and complimentary breakfast. There’s also a laundry machine that guests can use free of charge.
Zaza Backpackers Hostel is right by Namsan Park and within walking distance of Myeongdong shopping district. It doesn’t offer dormitory-style accommodation, but has a number of room options that can accommodate up to four people. Each room comes with a small kitchenette and washing machine. The continental breakfast is simple, but includes peanut butter as well as jam (a rarity in Korean hostels). Bathrooms are equipped with hair dryers.
Zzzip Guesthouse might not be flashy, but it more than makes up for it with its welcoming atmosphere and caring staff. It’s known for having a family-like atmosphere, and there are plenty of opportunities to socialise with other guests. The owners are on hand to help each guest get the most out of their time in Seoul, and are happy to suggest places to see and things to do. The hostel is located in a quiet area of Hongdae, four minutes’ walk to the nearest subway station and fifteen minutes from Hongik University station. Breakfast is included.
And… relax. Not just another Hongdae hostel, Time Travelers Relax is an oasis of calm in the middle of Seoul’s party district. It’s crammed full of books, plants and quirky art made by the owner himself. The atmosphere is relaxing and revitalising, with lots of natural light and stylish, Scandi-chic décor. Its sister hostel (Time Travelers Party) is close by and has frequent social events and a lively bar, where guests from Relax are welcome.