Travelling is a great way to see famous sights and enjoy a complete break from your everyday life, and part of the adventure is getting to experience so many different things, from the food on offer and the currency used, to navigating public transport, and perhaps a different language too!
Then there’s the decision on where to stay.
Here we look at the topic of hotels and other accommodation which is available to visitors to Seoul, South Korea – covering all the key things you need to know before you visit. If you want to learn where the most popular areas to stay in Seoul then head on over to Treksplorer. We stayed in Insadong and also Hongik.
Types of accommodation available
There are various kinds of places to stay, so it’s good to know what each involves before you make a definite choice.
You get floor space in a communal room and access to the (also communal but not mixed gender) hot baths and saunas. These are usually cheap, and may be fun to try for one night, but they can be noisy.
A low-cost traditional Korean hotel, unpopular these days, and not considered very comfortable by foreigners.
Budget bed space with a shared dorm, kitchen and bathroom, though private rooms may be available. Staff usually speak English and are helpful.
Usually a room in a private home, this is half hotel, half hostel. Visitors have a private room and bathroom and access to the kitchen.
Generally operate as a ‘love hotel’ where couples stay for some private time in a culture where the home offers little privacy. They are generally affordable, spacious and well kept.
Exactly as the name suggests but as quality varies so much you should always insist on seeing your room before you pay, if possible.
A good cultural experience, as these are like bed and breakfasts in an old style Korean house. You sleep on the floor on a comfortable ‘yo’ – a traditional Korean floor-bed.
These top-end venues offer everything you could want, from gorgeous rooms to gyms and fabulous breakfasts.
Things you should know before you go
- The western style beds in Korean hotels tend to be quite firm
- In cooler months most rooms are heated by an Ondol (underfloor heating) system, which can get extremely am, so pack slippers
- One pillow per person is standard issue – you may need to ask for extra
- Towels are often very small. It’s worth taking your own just in case, unless you are in a good hotel.
- You don’t need to tip hotel workers as it is not expected. (Although in very Westernized hotels it may be accepted if offered.)
- Traditional style lodgings are most likely to have a ‘no shoes inside’ rule, so look out for rows of slippers provided for visitors to wear.
- Breakfast may well be an option included or available for an extra charge in Western-style hotels, but is not automatically included elsewhere
- Don’t be surprised to find the bathroom is a ‘wet room’ – and look out for the designated ‘toilet slippers’ to wear into that room only