The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (2023)

The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (1)

Location, location, location. This post will show you the perfect place to live in South Korea.

It includes the best areas for:

  • new college graduates
  • The family
  • Career Oriented Workaholics
  • and more!

I have lived in six cities and numerous neighborhoods in Korea for more than 10 years.

This is what I learned!

The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (2)

The world is not divided into countries orcities, but neighborhoods and streets.

Korea is a great example of this.

You can find neighborhoods of hidden gems where you least expect it; And with new buildings popping up everywhere, it can be demanding.

On the other hand, you might end up with a bar, gas station, or factory as neighbors. Knowing the country's location and culture will help you avoid these surprises.

Over the years, I have lived in five provinces at different stages of my life. When I came here in 2006, I was a recent graduate looking for adventure and challenge.

He was entering his thirties and looking for a more relaxed lifestyle.

More on why you should live in Korea

This guide will help you narrow down your options and find the right place for you.

Pair of chickens:

What is it like to live in different parts of South Korea?

The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (3)
The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (4)

I first lived in Singil-dong (신길동),Onlyin a semi-basement house next to anoraebangand many seedy bars. I could see people's shoes through my bedroom window as they walked by at all hours of the night.

This was the low point of my Korean experience. It was still fun because I learned the language and experienced new things. He was in his early 20s and much more resilient.

More about moving to Korea

Then I stayed in an empty room in a student's brother's house in Haengshin-dong (행신동) near Ilsan. I slept on the floor for 8 months doing odd jobs to pay the bills. The area had mostly children,fix it upand restaurant chains. I wasn't a fan, the air was very clean back then and on average a bit cooler than in Seoul.

After that, I got a great place in Mapo, near Gongdeok Station, where I taught the owner's children English instead of paying rent. I lived there happily for about 6 years and had a great time. Over time, the air deteriorated and life in a big city became less attractive.

I left to slowly travel the world for 5 years until the COVID-19 pandemic brought me back. I checked out Buam-dong (뢀암동) and Gimpo once during the visa extension, but I didn't like them enough to warrant a stay.

To be honest, I wasn't excited about going back to Korea. I thought my time there was over. I didn't want to live in Seoul because I was tired of the crowds and noise.

But I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. Korea handled the pandemic as well as one could hope for. I was registered, tracked and tested without any problems.

Online grocery shopping has exploded and I have been able to shop for international products from the comfort of my home. Koreans became more aware of work-life balance (μ›ŒλΌλ°Έ) and had many more hobbies than browseand camping

(Video) 3 Best places where to stay in Seoul. Recommended by local Korean | Korea Travel Tips

The Korean coffee market has also been strengthened to be competitive with the whole world. Before I left, there were only a handful of places focused on quality. Now there are little roasters in every town and I can get a decent cup anywhere.

Another interesting change was that the number of people tattooed increased exponentially while I was gone. Retirees used to be the main demographic at health clubs. Fitness culture has become popular and there are many options, including locally made equipment that I use at home.

More about fitness in Korea

One thing about Korea is if you don't like it now, wait a few years. And as I have learned in my travels, there is much more to a country than just its capital city.

I decided to look south in search of a better climate and living conditions. I did my duty14 days of quarantinein Cheongju, the headquarters of CDC Korea. After that, I looked around a few neighborhoods to see if I wanted to stay there. There's a lot to do in Cheongju and a really nice downtown area, but digging deeper is always a good idea.

I took a train to Gyeongsang-do to checkBusanand other areas. I found a quiet neighborhood with a relaxed (for Korea) culture, great cafes, and lots of green space. It is perfect for my living space.

I believe there is a place for everyone in Korea.

What you should know before moving to South Korea

The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (5)

Basically a feudal society. 100 years ago, Korea was going through a rapid and difficult period of modernization. It has evolved a lot, even in the time I've been here. For example, before it was allowed to smoke in any building, but now it is strictly prohibited. There were also crackdowns on drunk driving, noise pollution and domestic violence.

More on how to survive as an expat in Korea

Many people who lived through wars, dictatorships and economic crises are still there. It's good to keep this in mind when interacting with people. I have overcome a fraction of those difficulties and can be rough around the edges.

Urban planning tends to take a back seat to development. After the country was devastated in the Korean War, things had to be quickly rebuilt with no regard for presentation. You can imagine that when resources are limited, aesthetics take a back seat to getting things done.

Also, your quiet neighborhood can become a hot spot overnight. For example, I was a regular at Gyeonglidan-gil from 2010 to 2014, as it was a quiet place for expats to take a break from Korea and enjoy international cuisine. That is, until someone opened a churro shop and appeared on TV (Infinite Challenge - λ¬΄ν•œλ„μ „). After that it got super trendy and crowded on the weekends. Rents skyrocketed, half of the stores started selling churros and they lost their charm.

However, there is a wide variety of districts.The key is to live off the main roads.

I'll cover some newer cities and even one based on the capital of Australia.

The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (6)

What are the best areas to live in South Korea??

The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (7)

It depends on who you're looking for. A recent grad who likes to socialize will prioritize things differently than someone with young children who enjoy their "me time."

Here are some notable areas to help you narrow things down. I'm going to go over the pros and cons of each and what kind of people will like them.

only only)

The capital and largest city with 10 million inhabitants. Seoul is what most people picture when they think of Korea. It is the setting for most of the K-Dramas and you can see celebrities in random places.


  • It has everything, jobs, activities and culture.
  • Unlimited nightlife options
  • The most attractive and best dressed people in one place
  • The right place if you are single and extroverted
  • It is in a period of constant change and development.


  • It can be crowded, noisy and dirty.
  • It will wear you out if you live there too long (5-10 years is the sweet spot)
  • Extremely cold winters and hot summers
  • Becomemore expensiveevery year

notable neighborhoods

Shinchon/Ehwa/Hongdae (Sinchon/Ehwa/Hongdae): Younger college towns that are close to each other. Perfect for twentysomethings who want to have a good time.

Itaewon/Gyeongildan/Haebangchon (Itaewon/Gyeongnidan/Haebangchon): Foreign districts with many international dining options and a small, tight-knit expat community. It could be a nice bubble for people who want something familiar. Most of the buildings are old and dilapidated.

Myeong-dong/Dongdaemun/Namdaemun (Myeong-dong/Dongdaemun/Namdaemun): Shopping is everywhere, but these three areas have the most options. Perfect for shopaholics who don't mind being in a crowd. Probably not the most livable areas, at least not near the malls.

Daeghak-ro (Daehang-ro): The artists' neighborhood with many theaters and galleries. It's not that central, but it's a great place for art lovers in their 20s and 30s.

Jongro (Jongro): an older central part of the city where old people like to hang out. There is a lot of history in each alley. Ikseon-dong (읡선동) is a really cool place with 1920s hanok buildings filled with cafes and restaurants. The area for those who want to experience a more traditional culture and don't mind living in the past.

Yeouido: The business/financial district with the National Assembly Building (Parliament of Korea) and TV studios. There are some great lunch spots for the big businessmen. It is very windy as it is surrounded by the Han River. Perfect for anyone looking to bond with the locals and educate the adults.

Gangnam/Apgujeong/Shinsa (Gangnam/Apgujeong/Sinsa): the rich but populated part of the city. Here you see the most attractive people. Most of the main roads are under construction since I live in Korea. It's a great place to get some well-paying private lessons.

Jamsil (Jamsil): Numerous stadiums, green spaces and amusement parks. You can also find the new Lotte World Tower (also known as the "Eye of Sauron").

It is not very central but still has a lot to do. Jamsil is perfect for those who come with the family. For those traveling with babies or small children, it is useful to have themthe most comfortable travel bedpossible.

  • Recommended areas for 20-30 year olds, singles, and young graduates: Hongdae, Shinchon, Ehwa, Sangsu, and Hapjeong
  • Recommended areas for single or childless couples aged 30-40: Yeonnam-dong, Seongbuk-dong and Buam-dong
  • Recommended for families: Pyeongchang-dong, Hannam-dong, Jamsil and Seorae Maeul (Seorae French Village)
  • Recommended for career seekers: Yeouido, Gangnam and Gwanghwamun
  • Recommended for people who want to live in Korea temporarily: Itaewon, Gyeonglidan and Haebangchon (HBC)
(Video) πŸ‡°πŸ‡· 28 Places to Visit in Seoul, South Korea in 2023 - Solo Travel Vlog

Gyeonggi (Gyeonggi-do)

The large province surrounding Seoul with 13 million inhabitants. It is a suburb with "bed cities" where people who work in Seoul go to sleep.


  • Less crowded and more expensive than Seoul
  • More green spaces and parks
  • There are still many trendy neighborhoods with nice cafes and restaurants.


  • People in Gyeonggi say that everything is an hour and a half away, since they are more likely to travel to Seoul for work.
  • Some areas have the worst of both worlds with small town mentality/xenophobia plus the stress of working in Seoul
  • Recommended areas for single college students in their 20s to 30s: Suwon
  • Recommended areas for families: Bundang, Ilsan, Bucheon, Paju and Gwangyo


An old southern port city with the best beaches outside of Jeju. It has the second largest population. People speak a different dialect that you may or may not want to learn. Even the people of Seoul have a hard time understanding it.


  • Did we mention the beach?
  • Warmer and more temperate climate
  • More affordable living expenses, including "popular food" options
  • Many universities to choose from
  • They have events every year that rival those in Seoul, including a major international film festival (BIFF).
  • Summer is a great time to be single.


  • Older and dustier than Seoul
  • Traffic is still a problem because the streets are narrow.
  • People sound a bit more aggressive, but are generally good-natured.
  • It gets super touristy in the summer.
  • Recommended areas for graduating young singles: Seomyun and KSU (Kyungsung University)
  • Recommended areas for families: Dongnae, Sajik, Yeongdo, Gijang and Haeundae


More than just an airport, Incheon is a city of just under 3 million people. Its area is almost twice that of Seoul.


  • Some of the neighborhoods like Songdo are new and very liveable.
  • Many job offers as an English teacher.
  • attractive price
  • Not as crowded as Seoul and Gyeonggi
  • Close to the airport so you can travel with peace of mind


  • Worse air pollution compared to Seoul as it is closer to factories, ports and countries that pollute the environment.
  • The beaches are not the most beautiful in the area.
  • Recommended areas: Songdo, Bupyeong, Guwol-dong and Inha University

Changwon (Changwon)

A planned city based on Canberra, Australia. Changwon is a prosperous place with a beautiful shopping district and mountains for walking.

Changwon was merged or absorbed with Masan and Jinhae in 2010. But locals still refer to them separately, considering Changwon to be younger and more prosperous, while Masan is older and Jinhae is known for its navy blue and its Cherry blossoms.


  • Organized and easy to navigate.
  • The entire city can be explored by bike, as it is covered by bike lanes.
  • Numerous green areas and parks
  • Not as crowded as Busan
  • There is more nightlife than you think.


  • looks more like a suburb
  • Prices are going up and it's getting crowded
  • It's not the most exciting place.
  • Areas recommended for families: Yongho-dong, Banlim-dong, Palyong-dong and Gaeumjeong-dong

Daejeon (Daejeon)

A great city that prioritizes education. It is an easy place to live and move.


  • Some of the areas are very habitable.
  • Located in the center of Korea, it is easy to travel around the country.
  • Not as crowded as Seoul and Gyeonggi
  • Traffic jams are rare


  • It can be quite expensive even far from Seoul.
  • It's a bit older, with fewer new housing options.
  • Not much to see, eat or do.
  • Recommended areas: Gung-dong, Wolpyeong-dong, Dunsan-dong and Sinseong-dong

Cheongju (Cheongju)

A quiet town with great restaurants and cafes. Whatever the reason, here the gastronomic culture is highly developed. People are generally very calm and relaxed.


  • Lower cost of living than Seoul
  • In the center of Korea so getting around is easy.
  • Not as crowded as Seoul and Gyeonggi
  • People seem calmer and more independent.


  • Large semiconductor factory in the north of the city
  • Recommended areas: Gagyeong-dong, Bokdae-dong, Yullyang-dong and Sannam-dong
(Video) Korea Entry Requirements 2023 Walkthrough (Enter South Korea with me)

Gwangju (roommainly)

The food capital of Korea with an artistic culture and a modern center.

I have tried the best Korean food in Gwangju. Places like Chammwoe (μ°Έλ«Ό κ΄‘μ£Ό 동ꡬ μ€‘μ•™λ‘œ 196번길 23-12) will fill you up for less than $10, where they keep bringing you fresh and delicious dishes until you drop.

Gwangju feels like an alternate Korean reality, where women are allowed to smoke in public and the economy hasn't grown to the point where people don't care about food (which will make more sense when you go there).


  • Realistic environment compared to Seoul
  • More open minded people.
  • Many museums and exhibitions.
  • The food is on another level.
  • getting closerBoseong-Teefelder


  • The infrastructure is degraded.
  • Traffic is bad at rush hour
  • Recommended areas: Sa-dong, Dongmyeong-dong and Daein-dong


A smaller city with a super tourist center. You can think of Jeonju as a mini Gwangju (but don't tell them that).

To outsiders, Jeonju is famous for bibimbap. The last time I was there, I asked a taxi driver where the best place to get bibimbap was. After much thought, he said, "We don't actually eat that here," as if it was only for tourists. So make of it what you want.


  • good gastronomic culture
  • Small town and traditional atmosphere
  • Just go out into nature
  • PNB Bakery, home of the best chocolate cakes


  • There isn't much to do apart from the main attractions.
  • The city is old and run down in places.
  • Recommended areas: Pyeonghwa-dong, Hyoja-dong, Jeonju University and National Chonju University

Pohang (Pohang)

Quaint seaside town with a steel mill and many jobs.


  • directly on the lake
  • relaxed
  • Just go out into nature


  • Steel mills don't offer the best living conditions (but the sea breeze keeps the air clean)
  • not so busy
  • Recommended areas: Yangdeok, Jigok and Daejam-dong


The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (8)
The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (9)
The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (10)

Hawaii from Korea, which has its own unique culture and dialect.


  • You are surrounded by the sea and the beautiful nature.
  • Hot spots are on the rise with the influx of Seoulites moving there.
  • There are farms where you can enjoy farm life and green tea plantations.
  • The most relaxed place in Korea.


  • Small island of scarcity mentality
  • The night life is not so crowded in the low season (winter).
  • Air pollution and tourism have increased over the years.
  • Do you need a car to get around?
  • Recommended areas: Aewol, Gujwa and Seogwipo
The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (11)

Here's how to check your neighborhood in Korea before you move

Wouldn't it be great to predict the future? Imagine the headaches you could avoid.

I can offer you the next best thing, a way to check your street and building in Korea before you live there.

Having booked 40 Airbnbs in 30 different countries over five years, I am an expert in the art of exploring livability before setting foot in a country.

The secret ingredient is the Internet.

google mapsIt is limited in Korea. Street View covers Seoul well enough, but not other areas. At best, you just get random snapshots.

You must use a combination of google andnaver map.

Upload both and enter your potential address.

Check out the area for bars, clubs, noraebangs and schools.

(Video) Travel Guide 2022: Where to Stay in South Korea

Enter the following and search for them nearby:

  • Tissue
  • night or club
  • Karaoke (Noraebang) o barra de karaoke
  • bar/pub
  • Fuel station

Then read reviews of potential homes or search for them on the Naver blog. WearGoogle Translate or Papagoif you can't understand Korean to get the basics.

If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below and we'll go through it for you.

Some things, like your upstairs neighbors, are hit or miss. Some people I know have bought new apartments in nice neighborhoods just to live among the enthusiasts on the midnight tap. I have also stayed in old run down places with very quiet tenants.

  • Recommended accommodation for singles, couples (who get along), professionals and recent university graduates: Officetels (μ˜€ν”ΌμŠ€ν…”)
  • Recommended Accommodation Type for Families and Multiple Roommates: Branded Apartments (μ•„νŒŒνŠΈ)

things to avoid

mansions and mansions: sounds cool, but they are actually small apartment buildings with about 10 units. It's often poorly insulated and sometimes owned by a control freak who lives above you and loves to micromanage. It goes without saying that they are popular with neighbors and homeowners alike.

industrial construction: In many regions outside of Seoul, you can live in the shadow of a semiconductor factory or power plant. That may be good for jobs and the economy, but not for your health.

English towns: Cool in theory, but it works more like Little Pyeongyang.

Fuel station: they are usually built next to the apartments.

main streets: It's always a good idea to face the windows in an empty alley to avoid the noise of scooters and cars at night.

attic houses: They may look quaint and rustic, but they are often contaminated with mold, insects, and other unsightly features.

great shamanic temples: Most religious buildings in Korea are silent, but shamans often make money from exorcisms. This may seem like a fun novelty and a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture, but in reality, living next door to them is a nightmare. You can expect slightly hallucinogenic incense wafting through the air, drums pounding at all hours of the night, and unsavory characters straight out of a Korean horror movie. (I spent a few hours looking for a good spot near one and confirmed with a local.) Most people don't want any of it, so you're left with neighbors who have little to lose.

learn some korean

pimsleurIt is the language program that I wish I had known about before going to Korea. Then I used it to speak Japanese in 90 days. you can tryPimleur herefree!

Frequent questions

What is the best place to live in Korea?

It depends on what you are looking for. Somewhere not too crowded and off the main roads is a good idea. You can see places on Google Maps and Naver Map. We have covered different cities in detail above and what kind of people they would like.

What is the safest city in South Korea?

Crime statistics are hard to come by in South Korea, but security is not an issue. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. seoul isin ninth placethe world in terms of security.

What is the most beautiful city in South Korea?

It depends on your definition of beauty.

  • For historic buildings, Gyeongju
  • A la playa, Busan (Busan)
  • For the outdoors, Seogwipo (Seogwipo)

What is the cleanest city in South Korea?

Changwon is one of the cleanest cities with the same layout as Canberra, Australia.

When should I move to Korea?

The 11 Best Places to Live in Seoul and All of South Korea (2023) (12)

Early spring to mid-March is ideal. This gives you enough time to settle in and enjoy the best season of the year.

Where do expats live in Seoul?

They live everywhere but tend to congregate in the Itaewon (including Gyeonglidan, Haebangchon, Hannam, and Yongsan) and Gangnam areas.

Can you live in South Korea without speaking Korean?

Yes, many locals speak English and even more understand it. It's still a good idea to learn the basics before you have fun.

Did we miss something?

Korea is a great place to live as an expat.

Now we want to hear from you.

Tell us your favorite city in the comments!

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