Is South Korea expensive to travel? This is a question that many people ask themselves before they even think about traveling to South Korea. However, the answer to this question largely depends on your budget and what you’re looking for while traveling.
This article from Lucia Grilli will provide you with a breakdown of the typical cost of a trip to South Korea. It also gives some tips on how to save money while traveling in South Korea. For details about South Korea’s cost of living, read on.
Is South Korea expensive to travel?
Yes and no. Seoul is a relatively pricey destination, particularly for accommodation. When it comes to accommodations, Seoul is an expensive place. Nevertheless, compared to its capital city, most of South Korea remains moderately priced, just like most other nations.
For as little as US $70 per night, you can get a large room for two in a four-star hotel in towns like Busan, Daegu, and Gyeongju, complete with breakfast. While in Seoul, you’ll be lucky to get a small room in a three-star hotel for that price and no breakfast.
Food in South Korea is both affordable and nourishing. In the country’s busiest cities, you’ll discover hundreds of tiny eateries serving superb Korean food for $5 USD per plate—a great deal!
Overall, it’s not too expensive to travel to South Korea compared to other places in East Asia and further afield. Before traveling to South Korea, check with an internet travel agency for current exchange rates.
When to visit South Korea for the lowest prices
Take advantage of the fall and winter seasons, when temperatures are milder and crowds are lower. Spring and summer can be quite busy, especially in Seoul. And finally, avoid the holiday season (Christmas and New Year’s) when tourist numbers increase.
The best time to travel to South Korea and stay in a hotel there are, on average, the following dates:
- 8 January to 18 March
- 20 August to 9 December
The cheapest time of year to travel to South Korea is typically early September.
The typical cost of a trip to South Korea
To stay comfortably in South Korea, foreign visitors should spend $50-150 per person per day. The typical total cost is $1,452 for a solo traveler, $2,504 for a couple, and $1,084 for a family of 4.
Flight prices to South Korea
The estimated expense is $490–$1333 USD for a roundtrip ticket. The flight prices vary depending on the time of year, but the cost of a round trip ticket from any major city in the U.S. is typically around $1,000. This includes airfare, taxes, and all other mandatory fees such as baggage and fuel surcharges.
The cost of lodging in South Korea
Without doubt, South Korea is expensive to visit when accommodation is concerned, but it also depends on the type of hotel you choose. For example, a five-star hotel in Seoul will likely cost more than a three-star hotel in Busan. But the estimated trip cost calculator is about $100 per night, so it’s still a comparatively affordable option.
South Korean hostels
They are also reasonably priced, especially if you’re looking for a place to party and socialize with other travelers. A hostel in Seoul will run you about $25 USD per night, while a hostel in Busan will cost around $10 USD per night.
South Korean Airbnbs
Airbnb is also a great way to find budget-friendly accommodations in South Korea. For example, you can find a room in a three-star hotel for as little as $50 per night. But be sure to read the reviews first to make sure the host is reputable.
South Korean hotels
When it comes to hotels, there are a lot of choices. You can find budget-friendly options in up-and-coming areas, but you’ll also find luxury hotels in the bigger cities. South Korea hotels range from $45 to $202 per night with an average of $67.
South Korean Jjimjilbang
Some travelers also enjoy staying in Korean jjimjilbangs, which are sort of like hostels but with more private rooms. They typically cost around $27 per night and are a great way to get to know the locals.
Transportation in South Korea
When exploring South Korea by car, you’ll be spending an average of $50 per day on gasoline. But the fact that South Korea has some of the best highways in the world can help make up for this cost.
For budget tourists, public transportation is cheap and extensively available.
South Korean Railways
If you’re looking to take a train, the cost is about $10 USD per person for a round-trip ticket. This is a great option if you’re traveling in a group and want to save on costs.
Travel by bus in South Korea
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can travel by bus. The buses run for about $1 USD per ride and are a great way to get around the larger cities.
Car rental in South Korea
You can also rent a car in South Korea. The cost of a rental is typically around $50 USD per day, and the rates vary depending on the type of car you choose.
Using the subway in South Korea
Finally, if you’re looking to save even more money, you can use the subway. The subway is typically very affordable and runs for about $2 USD per ride.
South Korea’s price of food
When it comes to food, the prices in South Korea are very reasonable. For example, a meal at a street stall can cost as little as $2 USD. In addition, most restaurants offer set menus that typically include several inexpensive dishes.
- South Korean barbecue has become a global phenomenon, offering a unique way to enjoy food. You can prepare your own plateful of meats, accompanied by scrumptious vegetables and side dishes, for as little as USD 11 per person!
- Bibimbap, a hot bowl of sautéed rice, vegetables, an egg yolk, or meat, and gochujang, is the nation’s most popular rice meal. (chili paste). A single serving can be purchased for as little as $5!
- Delicious dakgalbi is a spicy dish made with chicken, tteok (rice cakes), and a range of additional ingredients, including cheese. This might run you about $8.
Alcohol and water cost in South Korea
The cost of groceries and drinks in South Korea is much lower than in most Western countries. In fact, a bottle of water can cost as little as 50 cents, while a bottle of liquor can cost around $10.
When it comes to alcohol, the prices in South Korea are quite reasonable. For example, a bottle of wine can cost as little as $10 USD. In addition, most restaurants offer a wide variety of alcoholic drinks at very low prices.
If you prefer drinking things at low prices, stick to these: bokbuns (rice cakes), soju (a type of Korean moonshine), and jjimjilbang beer.
Korea’s spending on entertainment
South Korea is one of the most expensive countries in the world when it comes to entertainment. For example, a ticket to a popular K-pop concert can cost you anywhere from $50-$200. In addition, amusement parks and other recreational attractions can be quite costly.
In South Korea, the average cost of entertainment and leisure is about USD 30 per day. This covers the price of entrance to museums and other attractions, day trips, and other outing costs.
South Korea’s extra travel expenses
The unforeseen, or ‘unanticipated’ expenses, are those that come out of nowhere. You could be planning to purchase a novel from your local bookstore.
These expenditures may appear small and can be budgeted for with 10% of your initial allowance. However, if left unaddressed, they can cause long-term issues!
The cost of tips in South Korea
Another expense you’ll likely incur when traveling to South Korea is tips. The average tip for a waiter in a restaurant is about USD 20, which typically ranges from 5% to 15%.
South Korean budget for fraud, theft, and accidents
Unfortunately, it is possible that on a journey, one may encounter adverse circumstances. In South Korea, the average amount that is lost in theft, fraud, and accidents is about ₩1,000.
The crime rate in South Korea is low. However, petty crime happens, especially in major cities such as Seoul and Busan. Watch your belongings.
As cited in www.smartraveller.gov.au
Money-saving advice for visitors to South Korea
Think about whether you need a SIM card
Since there is a lot of free Internet these days, it is a good idea to skip getting a SIM card. With strong wi-fi and pre-downloaded maps and translation software, they can make navigation easy and cheap!
Take a bus or airtrain out of the airport
If you’re looking to save some money on your taxi ride into the city, take a bus or airtrain out of the airport. The cost of a single ride can be as little as $2.50.
Get cheaper bus and subway prices with transit cards
If you’re looking to save even more money, consider purchasing a transit card. These cards are valid for a range of bus and subway lines and can provide you with discounted rates.
Consider purchasing insurance
Even if you don’t have any travel accidents planned, it’s still a good idea to purchase travel insurance. This way, in the event that something does happen, you’re covered and won’t have to worry about paying out of pocket.
Purchase a Korail Pass for limitless train travel
One of the great money-saving features of traveling to South Korea is the Korail Pass. This allows you to travel on all types of trains, including long-distance express trains, without paying additional fees. In addition, the pass offers unlimited rides on certain days and hours.
A sluggish rail ride
The slothful class of trains is notorious for its sluggish pace. However, they allow travelers to enjoy the stunning surroundings outside their windows at a slower pace. They’re also low-budget.
Choose local hotels over international ones
When you’re looking for a hotel, consider checking out the options in your city or neighborhood. These tend to be a little bit cheaper and offer more personalized service.
Choose street food over fine dining
If you’re looking for a cheap and filling meal, consider opting for street food. These options are typically inexpensive, tasty, and easy to find.
Look for travel discounts
Travelers can save money by looking for travel discounts. For example, some airlines offer discounts during low seasons and special offers for students and families.
Take advantage of Culture Day by visiting museums, theaters, and other attractions
South Korea’s Culture Day offers free admission to museums, theaters, and other attractions. This is an excellent way to explore the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Flying to Jeju is more affordable than taking a ferry
If you’re looking to travel to Jeju, flying is more affordable than taking a ferry. Flights from Seoul will cost around USD 175; a ferry ticket will set you back an estimated USD 230.
Before leaving, request your sales tax refund
Foreigners and overseas Koreans staying fewer than six months in South Korea can get their 10% sales tax back. Tax-free stores only allow purchases over $30,000 and under $500,000. The tax-free store, a booth outside airports and ports, or a counter or kiosk within major airports can quickly compensate you. Passports and receipts are required.
FAQs Is South Korea expensive to travel?
Is South Korea costly compared to the UK?
South Korea is 52.2% cheaper than the UK. South Korea is very doable. You might not get the cheap prices that Southeast Asia offers, but it’s still pretty reasonable.
Is South Korea safe for women?
South Korea is very safe for female. The pristine streets, friendly atmosphere, and low crime rate impress many visitors. Foreigner-related crime is minimal.
Are South Korean foods expensive?
Korean food is cheap. Buying groceries and making a Korean supper at home is cheaper.
Is South Korea pricey for American tourists?
South Korea is a very inexpensive destination! South Korean hotels are affordable. Even though it’s cheap, the accommodations are nice.
South Korea is a relatively inexpensive travel destination, according to gonseekorea.com. Currency conversion rates change, so check with an online travel agency before visiting South Korea on vacation.