Seoul in winter

Gay Seoul Seoul City Guide

Curation by Bastiaan Ellen, words by Laura Tucker

South Korea’s capital city of Seoul is both fiercely modern and uniquely old school. Belonging to a country isolated and under military dictatorship until the 60s, both the capital and the country have undergone rapid growth since embracing globalism, tech and democracy. A sprawling hub of contrasts, Seoul is where sleek skyscrapers and 5G WIFI rise high over serene palace compounds flanked by ramshackle hanok villages. Where a riverside bike path can either lead you to a fish market or a K-pop concert, and where cosmetic surgery adverts plaster the sides of lean-tos selling boiled eggs and kimbap. While Korea is ultra-quick to pick up on trends, the country remains behind neighbouring nations when it comes to LGBTQ rights, as conservative Confucian roots die hard and politicians pander to Christian fundamentalists. Despite this, increasing international influence and openness among the younger generation has helped create space for queer events and wider acceptance. For your definitive Seoul gay guide, you’ve come to the right place.

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The best hotels  in Seoul

Let’s start this gay Seoul travel guide with a roundup of the best places to stay in Seoul. The RYSE, Autograph Collection is the ultimate backdrop for a stylish stay in Seoul, slap bang in the centre of Hongdae, within touching distance of underground clubs and K-pop street dancers, yet remaining aloof of the action like Andy Warhol at a BTS gig. After manoeuvring through screaming fangirls and innumerable sock stores, you’ll be thankful for the curated colourful aesthetic and modern elegance of the Marriott’s interior. Another notable chain contender in the area is GLAD Hotel Mapo which offers a more practical chicness and a minimalist yet friendly vibe.

For something of a more lush texture, L’Escape Hotel brings all the romance of a Parisian boutique and the playful risquéness of the Moulin Rouge to the heart of Myeongdong’s shopping and business district. Down the street, the home-grown Lotte Hotel Seoul Executive Tower boasts 5-star opulence designed by no less than four world-leading design firms.

While amenities abound in Seoul’s top hotels, for insight into the foundations of traditional Korean living, you’ll want to experience life at Rak Ko Jae, a quaint 130-year-old guest house within Bukchon Village, entirely made from wood and stone, featuring a mud sauna, family vibes and home cooked Korean cuisine.

RYSE, Long Chim Kitchen

RYSE, Long Chim Kitchen


Recommended hotels in Gay Seoul - Seoul
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