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Is it expensive to live in Korea?


Living in Korea has become a popular option for many people around the world. However, before considering a move, it is essential to understand the cost of living in the country. In this article, we will explore the different factors that contribute to the cost of living in Korea.

Accommodation costs

One of the most significant expenses when living in Korea is accommodation. The cost of rent varies depending on the location and type of housing. Seoul is one of the most expensive cities to live in, with rent prices being higher in areas such as Gangnam and Itaewon.

Transportation costs

Transportation costs can also add up quickly when living in Korea. The public transportation system is extensive and efficient, but using taxis or owning a car can be costly. Gas prices are high, and parking fees can be expensive in urban areas.

Food costs

Korean cuisine is renowned worldwide, but eating out can be expensive. The price of food depends on the type of restaurant and location. Street food and local markets offer cheaper options than high-end restaurants.

Utilities costs

Utilities such as electricity, gas, and water, are relatively affordable in Korea. However, internet and phone bills can be expensive compared to other countries.

Education costs

Education is highly valued in Korea, and the cost of schooling can be high. Private international schools are more expensive than public schools, but they offer better facilities and resources.

Healthcare costs

Korea has a national healthcare system that is affordable for residents. However, non-residents may need to pay more for medical care. Private healthcare services are also available but can be costly.

Entertainment costs

Korea offers an array of entertainment options such as concerts, cinemas, and theme parks. However, these activities can be expensive. Discounts are available for students and residents.

Insurance costs

Insurance is essential when living in Korea, but it can be costly. Health insurance is mandatory for all residents, and car insurance is required for those who own a vehicle.


Taxes are relatively low in Korea compared to other countries. However, income tax rates vary depending on the income level.

Job opportunities

Korea has a competitive job market, but salaries are high compared to other Asian countries. The cost of living is also higher in areas where jobs are more readily available.

Cultural differences

Living in Korea can provide a unique and exciting cultural experience. However, adapting to the culture and language can be challenging for some people.


Living in Korea can be expensive, but it provides many benefits such as high-quality education and healthcare systems. To live comfortably in Korea, it is essential to research the cost of living in different regions and carefully plan your expenses.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in South Korea?

In Seoul, South Korea, a family of four can expect to spend around $4,080 per month on living expenses, excluding rent. For a single person, the estimated monthly cost is around $1,128, without rent.

Is South Korea very expensive to live?

The monthly expenses for a family of four in South Korea, excluding rent, are estimated to be $3,617.7 (₩4,685,458.9) while for a single person it is $999.9 (₩1,294,969.6). The cost of living in South Korea is, on average, 5.3% cheaper than in the United States, and the rent is, on average, 60.9% lower.

Is it hard to live in Korea as a foreigner?

Transitioning to South Korea can be a smooth process if you prepare in advance. While the country traditionally had a negative attitude towards foreign migration, this has changed as it has become more welcoming to international companies.

How much is rent in Korea?

As of February 2021, the typical cost for one-bedroom apartments in Seoul, South Korea was approximately 510,000 South Korean won per month, increasing from the previous month’s average of 480,000 South Korean won.

Is living in Korea cheaper than the US?

The cost of living in South Korea is 17.5% lower than in the United States.

How much does it cost to live in Korea as a foreigner?

For a family of four, the average cost of living expenses per month nationwide is 2,300,000 KRW (2,000 USD), not including rent. A single expat can expect to pay around 652,000 KRW (560 USD) per month for living expenses (excluding rent).

Housing Options

When it comes to housing options in Korea, there are various types available. The most common options include apartments, villas, and officetels. Apartments are the most popular type of housing and can be either small or large, depending on the budget. Villas are slightly more expensive than apartments but offer more space and privacy. Officetels are studio apartments that come with a small kitchenette, which is convenient for those who prefer to cook their meals.

Cost of Groceries

Grocery shopping in Korea can be cost-effective if you know where to shop. Local markets offer fresh produce at affordable prices, while large supermarkets like Lotte Mart and E-mart provide a wide range of products from both local and international brands. Prices for imported goods can be higher than local products, but it depends on the brand and location.

Language Barrier

Korean is the official language of South Korea, and while many people speak English, there can still be a language barrier for those who don’t speak Korean fluently. It’s essential to learn basic phrases and words before moving to Korea to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. Taking Korean language classes can also help with communication and adapting to the culture.

Safety Concerns

Korea is generally considered a safe country, with low crime rates compared to other countries. However, it’s still advisable to be cautious when moving around at night and in crowded areas. Petty theft like pickpocketing can happen in tourist areas or crowded places like public transportation.

Currency Exchange Rates

The currency used in South Korea is the Korean Won (KRW). It’s essential to keep an eye on exchange rates when sending or receiving money from overseas as they can fluctuate frequently. Most banks offer currency exchange services, but it’s advisable to shop around to find the best exchange rates.


Living in Korea can be an exciting and challenging experience, but it’s crucial to consider the cost of living and other factors before making a move. By doing research and planning accordingly, you can enjoy all that Korea has to offer while living comfortably within your budget.

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