Earlier this month we visited Seoul, South Korea as part of our two-month backpacking tour of east/southeast Asia. In a place like Seoul where it can be tricky finding Muslim-friendly accommodations, we were grateful to come across the lovely FN House! Located in Seoul’s hippest neighborhood Gangnam (Gangnam Style!), the FN House offers a comfortable, affordable, and best of all Muslim-friendly stay. It’s owned by a kind young Malaysian couple who have lived in Seoul for over ten years and want the absolute best for their guests. Here are the top 6 things we loved about the FN House:
1. THE PRAYER ROOM
How many hotels or guesthouses have you stayed in that have a separate, spacious prayer room? It was definitely our first. It just goes to show how the owners sincerely care about their guests’ comfort and maintaining a place where Muslims feel at home.
2. YOU’LL NEVER GO HUNGRY
If you’re always hungry like we are, it’s a terrible feeling to be up at midnight with no food options around. Thankfully the FN House has a mini store downstairs for those late-night munchies, where they sell snacks and halal ramen. Their kitchen even has a hot water machine so you have no excuse to visit Seoul without trying ramen!
Every morning, FN House offers a complimentary breakfast with tea, coffee, dry snacks, and toast. There are also two kitchens if you’re in the mood to cook, and everything in the kitchens is halal friendly, as they have a strict no pork and no alcohol policy. The FN House even offers halal chicken you can cook with.
There is also a convenience store down the street called CU that sells all kinds of snacks, but make sure you ask the cashier whether the ingredients are pork-free.
3. THE SOCIAL SCENE
One of our favorite things about the FN House was meeting other Muslim guests while dining in their modern and spacious halal kitchen. We loved hearing their stories and learning more about the countries where they came from, sharing food, and making some wonderful lifelong friends!
4. THE RESOURCEFULNESS
As soon as you walk in, you’ll find recommendations posted for halal restaurants and attractions in Seoul.
Both the owners and staff are brimming with local knowledge and helpful suggestions. We visited so many great places in Seoul thanks to them. The FN House has even collaborated with the restaurant next door to bring its guests a customized Muslim-friendly menu so you don’t have to walk far for a delicious halal hot meal!
Look for the orange sign next to the FN House for a Muslim-friendly meal!
For more suggestions on food and things to see, check out the end of this post.
5. THE CONVENIENCE
The FN House is located about a 7 to 10 minute walk (no hills!) from the nearest Metro Station – Apgujeong. For more specific instructions, please see below.
The Metro is the best way to get around Seoul and even goes to the airport. When you first arrive, consider getting a T-money card for convenient use of the Metro.
6. THE AFFORDABILITY
Rooms start at 38,000 won (33 USD) per night for a single room, and depending on which room you stay in, you can double up to save money or go up to the family of 9 room where it’s just 25,000 won per guest (22 USD). It’s perfect and very affordable whether you’re traveling solo, with a friend or loved one, or with an entire family.
To check availability and book a room, visit the FN House website.
HOW TO GET TO THE FN HOUSE
There are 3 ways to get to the FN House:
- Take a taxi for about 90,000 won. Recommended for those with large parties. Contact FN House for booking.
- Airport Bus 6006 – this is a quick option and we recommend it for individuals with heavy luggage. It costs 15,000 won one-way. Tickets can be bought at the ticket station near the bus stop at the airport or from the driver. Buses run from early morning to late night every 10-20 minutes. The bus drop off point is located about a 5 minute walk from the FN House (see dropoff and pickup points on this map).
- Metro – this is less convenient since you need to switch trains 3 times but is considerably cheaper and costs about 5,000 won per person one way (4,000 won AREX commuter train airport premium + the normal fare). See this map for location of Apgujeong Station.
HOW TO GET AROUND SEOUL
Use the METRO. Its fast, easy to use, and cheap. Fare costs are below:
|Adults (age 19 and older)||1,250 won||1,350 won|
|Teens (age 13-18)||720 won||1,350 won|
|Children (age 7-12)||450 won||450 won|
We got a T-money card for the convenience since we were in Seoul for 1 week. Ýou will find T-money vending machines at every station so you can purchase a T-money card (4,000 won non-refundable fee). You can refill T-money cards at any time in 1,000 won increments.
WHAT TO SEE IN SEOUL
There’s plenty to do in this city that suits every interest! Here’s a map we made where we highlighted some of our favorites.
For dining, we recommend the following restaurants and foods:
- Yang Good Korean BBQ (halal)
- Makan Korean Restaurant (halal)
- Kimchi Bus food truck @ Common Ground (vegetarian options)
- Thanks Nature Cafe aka “Sheep Cafe” have some coffee, drinks, or desserts while interacting with free roaming sheep!
- Food Court at Lotte Department Store Main (lots of samples to try and vegetarian meal options)
- Hodduck (affordable street food) – sweet pancakes filled with sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. Find it on Insadong-gil Street)
Things to Do:
- For natural beauty, be sure to see Bukhansan National Park. We did a 2 hour hike to the highest peak.
- DMZ Tour – see the “most dangerous” place on Earth, starting at 30,000 won/person
- Seoul Central Mosque – don’t miss this as well as the surrounding Muslim Itaewon area!
- Korean Herb Museum – learn about traditional medicine
- Common Ground – Seoul’s Hipster Scene
- Cheonggyecheon Stream – nice bit of nature in the middle of downtown Seoul
- Samsung d’light – free interactive experience with cool Samsung products
Seoul’s Incheon International Airport is one of the best we have seen, so be sure to head there a little early to check out its great amenities.
- Korean Cultural Experiences – Hanji Craft – lots of fun even if you’re not a crafty person
- Try on Hanbok (traditional Korean dresses) for free
- Halal Korean Food available if your gate is at Gate 101-132, starts at 10,000 won per entree
- Free showers at Rest and Relax zone, ask for a face towel, soap, and hair dryer 7am – 10pm
- Movie theater – located in the Express Train building
- Skating Rink – located in the Express Train building, free, and great for younger kids