Cost of Living in South Korea: A Comprehensive Guide to Living Expenses in Seoul

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Embarking on a thrilling adventure, i.e., living in a foreign land, comes with many exciting opportunities. Everything from exploring new places to immersing in cultural diversity feels like a breath of fresh air. South Korea is no exception, either!

Ever since Korean dramas have given exposure to South Korea’s living standards and scenic localities, it has become a popular residence destination. The country’s booming economy and vibrant culture will win you over within the first few days of your stay. 

If you are planning to move to this heavenly country but do not have a clue about living costs in South Korea, this article will give you a detailed breakthrough. 

How Much Does It Cost to Live in South Korea?

Traveling and moving to a place are two very different ways to explore and experience a place. When contemplating shifting to another country, you must consider various factors to ensure its affordability. Here is how much living in South Korea will cost you:

Accommodation: The Cost of Finding Your Home

From cozy studios nestled amidst Seoul high rise apartments to sprawling villas in suburban havens, South Korea offers diverse choices for accommodation. Each place carries a unique price tag, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center ranging from KRW 800,000 to KRW 1,500,000. 

For those seeking a more serene apartment outside the city center to get a soothing living vibe, the cost can be between KRW 600,000 and KRW 1,000,000. As life unfolds and things fall into place, utilities such as electricity, water, and the internet add approximately KRW 100,000 to the monthly expense.

Many people prefer living in Seoul, the country’s capital. The city indeed offers the best accommodation standard coupled with natural surroundings. You will love the blend of modern and traditional ways of living in South Korea. Moreover, the cost of living in Seoul will vary with your choice of neighborhood and accommodation. 

Transportation: The Struggle to Get to Work

Seoul boasts an efficient public transportation system comprising buses, subways, and taxis. The cost of commuting in Seoul is relatively affordable compared to other major cities. A single journey on the subway costs around KRW 1,350, and monthly passes can be purchased for approximately KRW 55,000. 

Taxis are also reasonably priced, with an initial fee of KRW 3,800 and an additional KRW 100 for every 142 meters traveled. Owning a car can amplify your expenses due to factors such as fuel costs, toll fees, and parking charges.

Food and Groceries: Enjoying the Delight of Korean Cuisines

In Seoul, the air is filled with the aroma of culinary masterpieces, compelling you to experience the flavours of the city. From the sizzle of street food stalls to fine-dine restaurants, Seoul’s dining scene presents an array of options.

Eating out in Seoul can vary widely in cost, depending on the type of establishment. While a simple meal at a local eatery can be as low as KRW 5,000, dining at a mid-range restaurant may cost around KRW 15,000 per person.

For budget-conscious individuals, cooking at home can help save money. Basic groceries like rice, vegetables, and fruits are reasonably priced, with a monthly grocery bill averaging KRW 300,000 for a single person.

You can keep switching between both options to maintain the cost of living in South Korea per month.

The Cost of Maintaining Your Wellness

South Korea has an outstanding healthcare system, ensuring the well-being of its residents and expatriates alike.

Expats can opt for national health insurance, which covers a significant portion of medical expenses. The cost of health insurance for an expat is around KRW 110,000 per month. Prescription medications and essential healthcare services are generally affordable, ensuring access to quality healthcare without incurring excessive costs.

The Cost of Studying

For families seeking a harmonious blend of education and adventure, South Korea invites you to experience its scholarly approach. International schools in Seoul can be quite expensive, with annual tuition fees ranging from KRW 20,000,000 to KRW 30,000,000, depending on the institution and grade level. They can take a toll on your cost of living in Seoul

However, the city’s public schools take centre stage, offering knowledge free of charge for children of expatriates residing in this beautiful land.

Entertainment and Leisure: Making the Most of Your Life in Seoul

As twilight paints the cityscape in hues of gold, Seoul transforms into a kaleidoscope of delight. The city’s vibrant nightlife and cultural scene take the forefront, offering exciting entertainment options. 

A ticket to the silver screen costs approximately KRW 10,000, while a night out at a local pub or club invites you to dance to the rhythm of Seoul’s heartbeat, ranging from KRW 30,000 to KRW 100,000, depending on the tempo of the venue. 

Moreover, Seoul’s parks, museums, and cultural festivals gracefully welcome residents and visitors, with many offering complimentary access or charging a nominal fee, ensuring that all can enjoy this symphony of leisure.

You can easily afford to make the most of your life while easily keeping the South Korea cost of living on track. 

Why is Seoul a Popular Destination Among Expats? Facts to Know

Are you still looking for reasons to move to Seoul, South Korea? Here are the facts that are bound to inspire you:

  1. Natural Beauty and Outdoor Recreation

Although Seoul is a bustling metropolis, it is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. Residents can escape the urban hustle and immerse themselves in picturesque mountains, serene parks, and scenic hiking trails.

The green spaces offer an opportunity to reconnect with nature, engage in recreational activities, and enjoy breathtaking city views.

  1. Thriving Entertainment and K-pop

South Korea’s entertainment industry, particularly K-pop (Korean pop music), has gained immense international popularity. Seoul is the epicentre of this phenomenon, offering a thriving music scene and live performances by top K-pop artists. The city also hosts various music festivals and cultural events, providing residents with diverse entertainment options.

  1. Vibrant Culture and Traditional Heritage

Seoul is a treasure trove of culture and history. The city seamlessly blends ancient traditions with modern innovation, offering a unique cultural experience. 

From majestic palaces like Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung to traditional markets like Namdaemun and Insadong, Seoul provides an immersive glimpse into South Korea’s rich heritage.

  1. Dynamic Food Culture

South Korea is a heaven for food enthusiasts, and Seoul stands at the forefront of this culinary paradise. The city offers diverse traditional and fusion cuisine, ensuring that every palate is satisfied. 

From street food stalls serving favourites like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and mandu (dumplings) to high-end restaurants serving authentic Korean barbecue and world-class fine dining, Seoul caters to all tastes and budgets.

  1. Safety and Low Crime Rate

South Korea, including Seoul, is known for its strong focus on public safety. The crime rate in the country is relatively low, making it one of the safest places to live. The government invests in robust security measures, ensuring a secure environment for residents and visitors alike. This emphasis on safety contributes to overall peace of mind and enhances the quality of life in Seoul.

  1. Efficient Public Transportation

Seoul boasts an exceptional public transportation system that is efficient, reliable, and affordable. The extensive subway network covers the city and its outskirts, allowing residents and visitors to travel seamlessly to various destinations. 

The buses are also well-connected, providing an additional mode of transportation. With reasonably priced fares and frequent service, getting around Seoul is a breeze, enabling residents to explore the city easily.

  1. Tech-Savvy Society

South Korea is renowned for its technological advancements and has earned the title of one of the world’s most tech-savvy nations. In Seoul, the capital city, you’ll witness the seamless integration of cutting-edge technology into everyday life. 

From lightning-fast internet speeds and widespread smartphone usage to smart city infrastructure, South Korea offers an impressive and convenient digital landscape.


In the heart of Seoul, where the pulse of life beats with vibrant energy, the cost of living varies with different factors. While it may be true that the financial burden in this bustling city tends to be higher than in other parts of South Korea, the rewards are abundant. 

Seoul offers many opportunities, thus, harmonizing the higher cost of living with a high standard of living. Within this metropolis, expatriates can design their budget and find the perfect way to align their unique aspirations and lifestyle with it. 

With diligent research and careful budgeting, individuals and families can navigate the intricacies of the cost of living in Seoul. This city’s multiple choices, from diverse accommodations to efficient transportation, delectable culinary journeys, accessible healthcare, and educational avenues, inspire young minds.

Living in Seoul and South Korea presents a dynamic blend of modernity, cultural richness, and technological innovation. Letting it be your home for the coming years can transform your life for good. There won’t be a dull moment while living in this iconic city! Happy Living!

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