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Is South Korea expensive to live?

Is South Korea Expensive to Live?


South Korea is known for its culture, food, and technology. However, one question that comes up frequently is whether Korea is expensive to live in or not. In this article, we will take a closer look at the cost of living in Korea and compare it to other countries.

The Cost of Housing

Housing is one of the biggest expenses in Korea. The rental prices vary depending on the location and size of the apartment. In major cities like Seoul, the rental costs can be high. However, if you choose to live outside the city center, you can find more affordable options. Additionally, you can also consider sharing an apartment with a roommate to save money.

The Cost of Food

Korean cuisine is delicious and diverse. The cost of food depends on where you eat and what you eat. Eating out at a restaurant can be expensive, especially in tourist areas. However, there are plenty of affordable options like street food stalls or small local restaurants that offer delicious Korean food at reasonable prices. Moreover, cooking at home can be a more affordable option as groceries are relatively cheaper.

The Cost of Transportation

Public transportation in Korea is efficient and affordable. The subway system is extensive and covers most parts of the city. The buses are also affordable and convenient. Taxis are also available but can be expensive, especially during peak hours.

The Cost of Healthcare

Healthcare in Korea is considered to be one of the best in the world. The cost of healthcare depends on your insurance coverage and the nature of your treatment. If you have a national health insurance plan, the cost can be lower than private insurance.

The Cost of Education

Education is highly valued in Korea, and there are many reputable universities and schools. The cost of education depends on the institution and program. However, education can be expensive, especially for international students.

The Cost of Entertainment

Korea is known for its entertainment industry, including K-pop, K-dramas, and movies. The cost of entertainment depends on your preferences and interests. Attending concerts or events can be expensive, but there are also plenty of free options like visiting museums or parks.

The Cost of Utilities

Utilities like electricity, gas, and water are relatively affordable in Korea. However, the cost depends on your usage and the season. In winter, heating costs can be higher due to the cold weather.

The Cost of Taxes

Taxes in Korea are relatively low compared to other developed countries. The income tax rate is progressive, with higher earners paying more.

The Cost of Living Compared to Other Countries

Compared to other developed countries like the United States or Japan, the cost of living in Korea is relatively affordable. However, compared to Southeast Asian countries like Thailand or Vietnam, Korea can be more expensive.


In conclusion, the cost of living in Korea depends on various factors such as location, lifestyle, and preferences. However, overall, Korea is a relatively affordable country to live in compared to other developed countries.


To save money while living in Korea, consider living outside the city center or sharing an apartment with a roommate. Additionally, eating at local restaurants or cooking at home can be a more affordable option. Taking public transportation instead of taxis can also help save money.

Further Research

If you are considering moving to Korea, it is recommended that you research more about the cost of living in specific locations and plan your budget accordingly.

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

For a family of four, the average monthly living expenses (not including rent) in South Korea are around 2,300,000 KRW (equivalent to 2,000 USD). In comparison, a single expat can expect to pay approximately 652,000 KRW (560 USD) per month (excluding rent).

Is rent expensive in Korea?

If you are relocating to Korea without any accommodation support, the cost of rent is reasonable. In areas away from the main city centers, the average cost of rent for a studio or one-bedroom apartment can be as low as $300 to $600 per month. However, in central Seoul, you can expect to pay between $800 to $1,000 or more for rent.

Is it more expensive to live in South Korea or the US?

Compared to the United States, South Korea is 17.5% less expensive.

Is $100 dollars a lot in South Korea?

Based on my personal experience in Itaewon, a budget of US$100 per day should be sufficient, however, this area is generally more expensive than other parts of Seoul, and bargaining may be necessary to get the best deals.

Is it hard to live in Korea as a foreigner?

Moving to South Korea can be a smooth process if you adequately prepare in advance. While there has historically been a reluctance towards foreign migration, the country is now more welcoming, especially towards international businesses.

How much is a house in South Korea in US dollars?

Typically, a small apartment or studio in Korea will cost between 1.5-2.5 million KRW (130,000-215,000 USD), while larger accommodations begin at around 4 million KRW (340,000 USD).

Other Factors to Consider

While the cost of living in Korea is relatively affordable, there are other factors to consider before moving. For example, the language barrier can be a challenge for foreigners who do not speak Korean. Additionally, the work culture in Korea can be demanding, with long working hours and a strong emphasis on hierarchy. It is important to research and understand these cultural differences before making the move.

Finding Employment in Korea

Finding employment in Korea as a foreigner can also be challenging. The job market is competitive, and many positions require fluency in Korean. However, there are opportunities in industries such as English teaching, IT, and international business. It is recommended to research job opportunities and requirements before making the move.

Visa Requirements

Foreigners who wish to live and work in Korea must obtain a visa. The type of visa required depends on the purpose of your stay, such as studying, working, or visiting family. It is important to research visa requirements and application processes before making the move.

Cultural Adjustment

Moving to a new country can be a significant cultural adjustment. Korean culture may differ significantly from your home country, and it may take time to adapt to new customs and social norms. It is recommended to learn about Korean culture before making the move and to be open-minded and respectful of cultural differences.


Overall, the cost of living in Korea is relatively affordable compared to other developed countries. However, there are other factors to consider before making the move, such as language barriers, work culture, employment opportunities, visa requirements, and cultural adjustment. By researching these factors and planning accordingly, you can make an informed decision about whether living in Korea is right for you.

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