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Is South Korea expensive or cheap?


South Korea has become a popular destination for travelers from all over the world. However, there is still much debate about whether the country is an affordable vacation spot or if it’s an expensive place to visit. In this article, we will explore various factors that contribute to the cost of traveling in South Korea and help you determine whether or not it’s a budget-friendly destination.

Exchange Rates

One of the most significant factors that determine how expensive or cheap South Korea is, is the exchange rate. Depending on your home currency, traveling to South Korea may be expensive or quite affordable. The Korean won is relatively weak compared to major currencies like the US dollar, Euro, and British pound. Therefore, if you are coming from these countries, you may find that South Korea is an affordable destination.

Accommodation Costs

The cost of accommodation in South Korea can vary significantly depending on the type of lodging you choose. Staying in luxury hotels or resorts can be quite expensive, while hostels and guesthouses can be very affordable. On average, a single room in a mid-range hotel costs around $70-$100 per night. If you’re on a tight budget, you can find decent guesthouses for as little as $20 per night.

Transportation Costs

Getting around in South Korea can be quite cheap if you use public transportation. Buses and subways are the most common and efficient means of transportation in large cities like Seoul and Busan. A one-way subway fare costs around $1-2, while a bus ride costs about $1-3 depending on the distance traveled. Taxis are also relatively affordable compared to other developed countries.

Food Costs

South Korean cuisine is known for its delicious and unique flavors. However, eating out in restaurants can add up quickly, especially in tourist areas. A casual meal at a local restaurant costs around $10-$15 per person, while a fancy dinner at a high-end restaurant can cost up to $50 or more. Street food is a popular and cheap alternative, with prices ranging from $2-$5 per dish.

Alcohol Costs

Drinking alcohol in South Korea can be expensive or cheap depending on where you go. Bars and nightclubs in major cities like Seoul and Busan are costly, with a beer costing around $5-$10. However, if you prefer to drink at home, you can buy a bottle of soju, a popular Korean liquor, for as little as $1.50.

Entertainment Costs

South Korea is a hub for entertainment and culture, with many exciting things to see and do. Visiting museums and historical sites is generally affordable, with most charging entrance fees between $3-$10. However, attending concerts and festivals can be quite pricey, with tickets costing upwards of $100.

Shopping Costs

South Korea is known for its shopping opportunities, especially for cosmetics and electronics. Prices for these items are usually cheaper than in other countries. However, clothing and designer brands can be expensive, especially in high-end shopping districts like Gangnam in Seoul.

Tourist Season Costs

Tourist season in South Korea falls between June-August and December-February when the weather is most pleasant. During this time, prices for accommodation and transportation tend to rise by up to 50%. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to avoid traveling during these peak seasons.

Language Barrier Costs

If you don’t speak Korean, you may find that communication can be difficult and may end up spending more money on translation services or hiring English-speaking guides. However, most Koreans are friendly and willing to help, so it’s possible to have a great time without spending extra money on language services.

Currency Exchange Fees

When exchanging currency, you may incur fees and charges that can add up quickly. It’s best to compare rates and fees at different exchange bureaus to find the best deal. Using ATMs can also save you money on exchange fees.


In conclusion, South Korea can be an affordable or expensive destination depending on various factors. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to avoid high-end restaurants and luxury accommodation. However, there are plenty of affordable alternatives that won’t compromise your experience. Overall, South Korea is an exciting and diverse country that is worth visiting regardless of your budget.

Is $100 dollars a lot in South Korea?

My personal experience in Itaewon was that it is more expensive than other parts of Seoul, and bargaining is necessary. However, US$100 a day should be sufficient.

Is South Korea cheap or expensive to visit?

South Korea is an affordable travel destination thanks to its extensive and reasonably priced transit system, diverse dining choices, and many budget-friendly activities and tourist sites. For those looking to save even more money, this guide provides useful tips on how to travel to South Korea on a budget.

Is US or South Korea more expensive?

South Korea is 26% cheaper than the United States.

How much usd should i bring to Korea?

It is advised to carry a minimum of $200 in cash, which can be used in situations where cash is the only accepted form of payment or in case of emergencies. Although most stores accept cards, there are some small vendors or marketplaces that only accept cash payments.

Is South Korea tourist friendly?

Is South Korea a safe destination to visit? Absolutely. Visitors to South Korea often remark on the country’s clean streets, welcoming atmosphere, and low crime rates, including those affecting foreigners.

How much does a 7 day trip to Korea cost?

For a 7-day trip to South Korea, the typical expenses are $1,452 for one person, $2,504 for two people, and $1,084 for a family with four members. Accommodation costs range from $45 to $202 per night for hotels, with an average cost of $67. Meanwhile, vacation rentals typically cost $110 to $440 per night for the entire home.

Activities Costs

South Korea offers many exciting activities, such as hiking, skiing, and visiting theme parks. The cost of these activities can vary depending on the location and time of year. Hiking in national parks is usually free, but skiing can be quite expensive, especially during peak season. Theme parks like Everland and Lotte World charge entrance fees of around $30-$50 per person.

Travel Insurance Costs

Travel insurance is essential when traveling to any foreign country, including South Korea. The cost of travel insurance varies depending on the coverage you need and the duration of your trip. However, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind in case of unforeseen circumstances like accidents or illnesses.

Tipping Costs

Tipping is not a common practice in South Korea, and it’s not expected in most places. However, some high-end restaurants and hotels may add a service charge to the bill. It’s always a good idea to check before tipping to avoid any confusion.

Language Learning Costs

Learning Korean can enhance your travel experience in South Korea, especially if you plan on staying for an extended period. There are many language schools and online resources available that offer language classes at varying costs. However, if you’re only staying for a short time, learning basic phrases and using translation apps can also be helpful.

Cultural Experience Costs

South Korea has a rich cultural heritage that is worth exploring. Visiting traditional Korean villages like Bukchon Hanok Village or attending cultural performances like traditional music concerts or dance performances can be an enriching experience. Prices for these experiences vary depending on the location and type of activity.

Souvenir Costs

Souvenirs are an essential part of any travel experience, and South Korea offers many unique items to take home. Prices for souvenirs vary depending on the item and location. Traditional Korean handicrafts like pottery, ceramics, and hanbok (traditional clothing) can be expensive, while smaller items like keychains or magnets are more affordable.


In summary, South Korea can be an affordable or expensive destination depending on various factors. By considering the costs of accommodation, transportation, food, entertainment, shopping, and other factors, you can budget your trip accordingly. Regardless of your budget, South Korea offers many exciting experiences that are worth exploring.

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