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Is Korea an expensive country?


Korea has become a popular travel destination over the years, and many are curious about the cost of living in this country. This article aims to explore the question, “Is Korea an expensive country?” by taking into account various factors that contribute to the cost of living in Korea.

Exchange Rate

To determine if Korea is an expensive country, it is essential to consider its exchange rate. As of August 2021, the exchange rate for 1 US dollar is 1,170 Korean won. Compared to other countries, Korea’s exchange rate is relatively affordable, making it an attractive destination for tourists.


The cost of accommodation is a significant factor when determining if a country is expensive or not. In Korea, the price for accommodation varies depending on the city and the type of lodging. However, compared to other popular travel destinations like Japan and Europe, accommodations in Korea are relatively affordable.


Public transportation in Korea is convenient and affordable. The subway system in major cities like Seoul and Busan is extensive, and the fare starts at 1,250 won ($1.07). Taxis are also readily available and reasonably priced.


Korean cuisine has gained popularity worldwide, and it is no secret that food plays a significant role in Korean culture. The cost of food in Korea varies depending on where you dine. Eating out at local restaurants can be affordable or expensive depending on what you order.


Korea’s nightlife scene is vibrant and exciting, but it can also be costly. Drinking at bars and clubs can add up quickly, especially in areas like Gangnam in Seoul.

Clothing & Shopping

Korea is known for its fashion industry and beauty products, and shopping is a popular activity for tourists. The price of clothing and beauty products in Korea can vary depending on the brand, but overall, it is affordable compared to other countries.


Korea has a thriving entertainment industry, producing music, TV dramas, and movies that have gained global popularity. Attending concerts or events can be expensive, but it is also an experience worth having for fans of K-pop or K-dramas.


Korea has a high-quality healthcare system that is affordable for its citizens and foreigners. Medical procedures and treatments in Korea are relatively inexpensive compared to other developed countries.


Education is highly valued in Korea, and the country has a robust education system. The cost of education in Korea varies depending on the level of education and the institution.


The tax system in Korea is relatively complex, with various types of taxes levied on individuals and businesses. However, the overall tax rate in Korea is lower than other developed countries like Japan and the United States.


Determining if Korea is an expensive country depends on various factors like accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment. While some aspects of living in Korea can be costly, such as nightlife and entertainment, many other factors like healthcare and transportation are relatively affordable. Overall, compared to other developed countries, Korea’s cost of living is reasonable making it an attractive destination for tourists and expats alike.

Why is South Korea so expensive?

Seoul is frequently listed among the world’s most expensive cities due to high housing costs and security deposits. The majority of Korean housing is in the form of apartments, and the city offers impressive views of its downtown cityscape and iconic Seoul Tower. This information was last updated on January 5, 2023.

Is $100 dollars a lot in South Korea?

Based on my personal experience in Itaewon, US$100 a day should suffice, but keep in mind that it is pricier than other areas in Seoul and you may need to negotiate prices.

How expensive is South Korea for tourists?

The prices for transportation in South Korea vary depending on the type of pass you choose. Adults (28+) can buy a flexible 2-day pass for 121,000 Korean won ($108) or a flexible 4-day pass for 193,000 Korean won ($173). Children (6-12) have lower prices for the same passes. Alternatively, you can buy a consecutive 3-day pass for 138,000 Korean won ($124) or a consecutive 5-day pass for 210,000 Korean won ($188). These prices are effective as of March 16, 2023.

Is US money worth a lot in Korea?

According to a source, the exchange rate is 8,000-9,000 North Korean won for one U.S. dollar, but only 1,200 North Korean won for one Chinese yuan, as of February 21, 2018.

How much is $10000 in Korean money in US?

Are you paying too much to your bank? The conversion rate for South Korean Won to US Dollars is 1000 KRW = 0.76126 USD, 2000 KRW = 1.52252 USD, 5000 KRW = 3.80629 USD, and 10000 KRW = 7.61258 USD.

Is Korea richer than Japan?

There was a significant event in the geoeconomic landscape in 2018 when South Korea’s real GDP per capita exceeded that of Japan. According to the International Monetary Fund, by 2026, South Korea is expected to have a 12% higher GDP per capita than Japan. This occurred on April 1, 2022.


The cost of utilities in Korea is reasonable. The price of electricity, gas, and water bills is relatively low compared to other developed countries. However, the cost of internet and mobile phone plans can be expensive, especially for high-speed internet and unlimited data plans.

Visa Fees

For those planning to stay in Korea for an extended period, it’s important to consider visa fees. The cost of a visa depends on the type and duration of the visa. For example, a tourist visa is free for many countries, while a work visa may cost several hundred dollars.

Language Barriers

While Korea is becoming more accessible to foreigners, language barriers can be a challenge for some. English is widely spoken in major cities like Seoul and Busan, but it’s not always the case in smaller towns. Learning basic Korean phrases can help with communication and navigating daily life.

Tipping Culture

Tipping culture is not common in Korea. It is not expected or necessary to tip at restaurants or for services like taxis or haircuts. However, some high-end restaurants may add a service charge to the bill.

Seasonal Costs

Seasonal costs should also be considered when determining the cost of living in Korea. Summers can be hot and humid, requiring air conditioning, which can increase electricity bills. Winters are cold, requiring heating, which can also increase utility bills.

Income Levels

While the cost of living in Korea may vary depending on the city and lifestyle choices, it’s important to consider income levels as well. The average salary in Korea is lower than other developed countries like Japan and the United States. Therefore, living costs may be more affordable for locals but less so for foreigners with higher income expectations.

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