Hongdae Neighborhood Guide

If you ever find yourself having to live in Hongdae because of a job offer you can’t refuse, or if you’re a student in any one of the universities nearby: Hongik University, Ewha Women’s University, Sogang University, then here’s what you need to know about life in this young, trendy and vibrant neighborhood in the Mapo-gu district of Seoul.

1. Transportation

If you’ll be working in the center of Seoul while living in Hongdae, it’s good to know that you have plenty of transportation options.

The best way to get around Seoul is by train from the Hongik University Station to the Seoul Station, taking you to all the major stops along line 2. That includes Gangnam Station to the south, but also Shincheon and Dongdaemun in the north.

Also handy is the direct subway line to Incheon International Airport via the Airport line. A big plus for cheap travel to the airport which can otherwise be a little inconvenient to get to if you need to transfer during rush hour from a different location or try to arrive by bus.

2. Access to facilities

Like any typical neighborhood in Seoul, Hongdae is a busy commercial neighborhood with all the major banks, supermarkets, shopping, family and leisure centers, 24-hour cafes, restaurants (with all the yummy samgyeopsal you can eat!), and everything else you need to live life comfortably.

Of course, there are also residential sections where the noise of this vibrant neighborhood is effectively filtered out. However, the moment you step out, you’ll realize exactly where you live – that’s bustling Hongdae for you.

3. Shopping

Overall, the neighborhood is particularly known for its fashion shopping for younger crowds (16-30s) and trendy bars, cafes, clubs and pubs.

The Hongdae shopping street features fashion items, accessories, stationery supplies, and furniture. There are also plenty of convenience stores (GS25, CU, Ministop, 7-11, etc.) dotting Hongdae. B

But if you want a more western supermarket experience, it’s recommended you visit Home Plus just one station stop down to the south at Hapjeong Station. (If you love a good bargain (and who doesn’t?), head to their ‘Happiness of 1,000 won’ section).

Insider Tips: Bring your own shopping bag everywhere you go as the country has been doing away with using plastic bags in supermarkets. If you’re buying liquor, it’s very accessible as groceries, convenience stores, and supermarkets sell it. However, bring proof that you’re above 19 years of age.

4. Accommodation

Real estate in Seoul is expensive in general, so Hongdae is no different. Renting a room today or house sharing can set you back by a minimum of 500,000 KRW (approximately $210.00) monthly.

Utilities can cost you about 50,000 KRW (approximately $42.00) to 100,000 KRW ($82).

In most cases you also need to give money upfront as a down payment. So be prepared to shell out at least 1.5 months rent up to 1,000,000 KRW (approximately $845.00) initially to arrange for decent accommodation.

Living in Seoul, in general, can be quite pricey, and the Hongdae neighborhood is no exception, so do come financially prepared.

Welcome to Hongdae!

Image credit: Minyoung Choi