Want to know how much it will cost to travel in Korea? Worried about going over budget and not having enough cash? Not sure how expensive Korea is (it’s not)? Then this guide to the cost to travel in Korea has you sorted. Featuring a breakdown of all the costs you can expect in Korea, you can easily plan your Korean travel budget. Not only that, there are dozens of great tips to help you plan your dream Korean trip and save money in many ways.
Take the pain out of planning by learning more about the costs of accommodation, food, transportation, activities, day trips, and lots more. There are daily budget costs for 3 different types of travellers and actual detailed breakdowns to show how much things cost in Korea. Mix and match for each category to plan your realistic Korean travel budget.
Check the summary at the beginning of this article for a quick glance at what you can expect to spend each day. Then read through the following sections to find out more details about each of those costs.
You can also pick up some tips about how to find cheap accommodation, ways to save money on transport, some great food and drink options you have to try, and some of Korea’s best activities.
If you want some other guides that will help you save money when you travel to Korea, take a look at these other really useful articles:
Here are some of my favourite resources that will help you save time and money on your journey to Seoul:
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Cost To Travel In Korea By Traveller Type
Everyone is different and the way we travel, how much we spend, and on what, is unique.
Personally, I’m happy to spend less on transport and more on food and entertainment. Others people may cut accommodation costs and head to the most expensive attractions, whilst some people might want to control costs in all areas.
I’ve broken down the costs into three travel-styles to fit different budgets. These are as follows:
- Budget Travellers: Those who want to save as much money as possible and don’t mind roughing it a bit.
- Comfort Travellers: Typically families or couples who want to spend a bit more here and there.
- Luxury Travellers: When money is no issue and you want the best there is.
As I mentioned, most people will probably save in some areas and spend more in others. I’m a mix between a budget and comfort traveller, sometimes dipping into luxury on special occasions.
The cost to travel in Korea can be broken down into the following 4 expenses:
Below is a summary of the average daily cost by traveller type. You can pick and choose the costs for each section to work out your personal costs to travel in Korea. You don’t have to follow these figures exactly, but they should give you a much better idea when working out your Korean travel budget.
Summary: What Does It Cost To Travel In Korea?
For those who know what kind of travel-style they prefer, or want to get an idea of the costs they can expect when travelling in Korea, here is a quick summary of the ‘average’ daily cost to travel in Korea.
Please note: I’ve used KRW for all figures to avoid any exchange rate changes over time. To work out costs in your own currency, use Google’s exchange rate calculator.
Budget Daily Costs:
|Total Daily Costs:||75,000 KRW|
Comfort Daily Costs:
|Total Daily Costs:||200,000 KRW|
Luxury Daily Costs:
|Total Daily Costs:||360,000 KRW|
*Accommodation costs may seem low, but I have assumed that most people will be sharing a room as a couple of family (or have two rooms for a family). Therefore, costs will be split between two or more people.
A couple would spend 100,000 KRW per room, so the accommodation budget would be 200,000 KRW per night. This would actually get you a very nice room and you could actually spend a lot less than this on accommodation.
Solo travellers can find great single-room accommodation for 100,000 KRW.
Joel’s Tip: In my experience, budget travel costs and actual travel costs usually don’t match up as there is always something unexpected that comes up that you didn’t budget for.
Therefore, I’d recommend adding 20% to all of these costs.
If you need the extra money, you have it. If not, you can change any extra cash back at the end of your journey.
My personal travel costs are usually around the following amounts:
- Accommodation: 50,000 – 100,000 KRW
- Food: 30,000 – 50,000 KRW
- Activities: 0 to 25,000 KRW
- Transportation: 10,000 KRW
A weekend in Seoul generally costs me about 150,000 – 200,000 KRW. I try to find the best deals on hotels, but sometimes you can’t avoid paying more. Food is something that I enjoy and often don’t mind splashing out on, especially on holiday. I enjoy walking and exploring new places, so I often don’t pay for activities, unless it’s something that I specifically want to see. Even then, I’ll try to find discount tickets online if I can. Transport costs are low as I walk or take the subway or a bus. These are both cheap and easy ways to get around Seoul and other cities.
Please note: These are average costs and you can spend a lot more or less in each category. To understand how I got to these costs, please keep reading and you’ll find out more about the breakdown of the true costs to travel in Korea.
Costs Not Covered Above
Apart from these five main categories that make up most of the cost to travel in Korea, there are some other costs that should be considered, such as:
- Shopping and souvenirs
- Internet & Data Costs
- Flights to and from Korea
- Inter-city travel (incl. flights to Jeju Island)
- Day trips / personalised tours
- Visas (if necessary)
- Travel Insurance
You’ll find some of these costs included in the other expense sections above, whilst some of them have their own section at the end of this article. You can use the table of contents at the top of this page to find what you’re looking for.
Korea Travel Advice Group
Have any questions about your trip to Korea that you’d like answered? Want expert advice for the best places to see, eat, and explore? Then join the Korea Travel Advice Group on Facebook and get answers from locals, bloggers, travellers, and expats in Korea.
Tips To Control Travel Costs
Everyone wants to save money, and when you are trying to work out your cost to travel in Korea, you might find you need to control your travel expenses. Here’s a few tips to control your travel costs in Korea that will leave your Korean travel budget looking healthier, without compromising all the fun you plan to have.
- Plan ahead – make an itinerary that makes sense. Plan your days around zones in cities, and try to cut down unnecessary travel costs. It’ll save time, too. Pre-planning travel to Korea really helps.
- Figure out when to travel – knowing when the peak tourist season is, and when hotels and flights are more likely to be expensive, can save you a lot of money. This guide to the best time to visit Korea should help.
- Haggle in the markets – Seoul’s markets aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but you can still haggle for a better price
- Use discount cards – use the Discover Seoul Pass or Korea Tour Card to save money when you travel in Seoul. Plan your itinerary so that you can get the most out of these discount cards.
- Use a T-Money Card – the T-Money Card will save money on transportation in Korea.
- Make the most of complimentary services – if you get breakfast at your hotel, get up early enough to eat it. Top up water bottles at restaurants (water is always free). Try out the free samples in supermarkets and malls.
- Do free things to do in Seoul – there are lots of free things to see and do in Seoul, including romantic walks along the Han River, hiking to the N Seoul Tower, trying on Hanbok, and lots more.
For more great tips about how to save money when you’re visiting Seoul, be sure to check out this article:
Now, here’s a breakdown of the key expenses in your Korean travel budget.
1: Accommodation Costs In Korea
The biggest cost to travel in Korea, apart from your flights, will probably be accommodation. Whatever your budget, you’ll find some incredible options for places to stay in Korea. Accommodation costs have been rising in recent years, in line with big increases in house and rental prices, but they are still very reasonable.
From hostels to 5 star hotels, Korea has something for all travellers and you can spend a night in Seoul for as little as 10,000 KRW
Here’s a quick selection of the best accommodation for Seoul. Accommodation costs in Korea are generally the same in most cities, but you might find seasonal price rises during spring and autumn, or in areas where there is a festival going on.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of the different neighbourhoods in Seoul, as well as more great hotel recommendations, check out my guide below:
1.1: Budget Level Accommodation Costs
Budget accommodation ranges from shared dorm beds in a hostel, to cheap hotels with a private room. These rooms will usually be very small, but air conditioned or heated depending on the season.
These places, especially the hostels, have a great community and offer the chance for solo our group travellers to make new friends, get travel advice from others, and see an authentic side to Seoul.
The price for basic accommodation is between 8,000 KRW to 50,000 KRW.
I’ll use an average price of 25,000 KRW per night for accommodation to work out the daily Korean travel budget.
Here are six of the best budget places to stay in Seoul:
|Hotel Name||Cost Per Night||Location|
|Kimchee Guesthouse||from 8,000 KRW||Hongdae|
|Insadong Hostel||from 18,000 KRW||Insadong|
|Step Inn Hostel||from 20,000 KRW||Myeongdong|
|Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel||from 32,000 KRW||Myeongdong|
|Hongdae Style Guesthouse||from 34,000 KRW||Hongdae|
|Mosc Hotel||from 50,000 KRW||Itaewon|
Joel’s Tip: Another option for accommodation, especially if you haven’t booked any for one night, is to stay in a Korean sauna (jjim-jjil-bang). You can stay overnight and soak in the hot pools for about 10,000 KRW per night. They provide towels and pyjamas, too. These are great for emergency accommodation or budget stays when travelling to another city for one night.
1.2: Comfort Level Accommodation Costs
Comfort accommodation in Seoul includes basic and mid-range hotels. You’ll typically get a small to medium-sized private room in a good location. Expect fresh towels and cleaning daily and possibly a basic breakfast service, too (although this might be extra).
The price for comfort accommodation is between 50,000 KRW to 150,000 KRW per night.
I’ll use an average price of 100,000 KRW per night for accommodation to work out the daily Korean travel budget.
Here are six of the best comfort places to stay in Seoul:
|Hotel Name||Cost Per Night||Location|
|L7 Myeongdong By Lotte||from 90,000 KRW||Myeongdong|
|Mercure Ambassador Sodowe||from 90,000 KRW||Gangnam|
|Amanti Hotel||from 99,000 KRW||Hongdae|
|Rosana Business & Botique Hotel||from 74,000 KRW||Jamsil|
|Makers Hotel||from 52,000 KRW||Insadong|
|Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel||from 50,000 KRW||Itaewon|
Joel’s Tip: This category is the broadest and there are so many great (and not so great) hotels available in Seoul and other cities. If you’re going for hotels in this category, I would recommend choosing your location first and then filtering the hotels by their ratings, then price. You can find some outstanding hotels at great prices and avoid the over-priced and poorly run hotels this way.
1.3: Luxury Level Accommodation Costs
There is a wide range of options for luxurious hotels in Seoul, with some of the best areas to stay including Gangnam, Jamsil, and Yongsan. These are often less busy and crowded than Myeongdong and Hongdae. Expect high levels of service, great food options, and a wonderful night’s sleep.
The price for luxury accommodation is above 150,000 KRW per night
I’ll use an average price of 200,000 KRW per night for accommodation to work out the daily Korean travel budget.
Here are six of the best luxury places to stay in Seoul:
|Hotel Name||Cost Per Night||Location|
|Grand Hyatt Seoul||from 260,000 KRW||Yongsan|
|Signiel Seoul||from 390,000 KRW||Jamsil|
|InterContinental Seoul||from 175,000 KRW||Gangnam|
|The Shill Seoul||from 300,000 KRW||Myeongdong|
|Lotte Hotel Seoul||from 229,000 KRW||Myeongdong|
|Four Seasons Hotel Seoul||from 313,000 KRW||Jongno|
Joel’s Tip: You can have some truly unforgettable experiences in some of Seoul’s finest locations. For the most amazing views, the Signiel Hotel in the Lotte World Tower – the world’s 6th tallest building – is hard to beat.
AirBnB’s In Seoul
Another option for accommodation in Seoul is from AirBnB. With lots of owners renting out their apartments in excellent locations, you can get a very different experience from your typical hotel stay, with whole apartments available to rent instead of just one room.
There are options available for all budgets, with rooms available for as little as 12,000 KRW per night in central locations such as Myeongdong or Hongdae. You could rent a rooftop camping ground, complete with BBQ, city views, and a double bed inside a tented room. There are even apartments with tall windows looking out over the city from high up in one of Seoul’s many massive apartment complexes.
If you like the look of staying at an AirBnB, then make use of the referral voucher below to cut your cost to travel in Korea even more! You can get up to $37 off your first stay in Seoul or other places in Korea.
Joel’s Tip: Whatever level of accommodation you’re looking for, you’ll find it on AirBnb and in the various hotel booking websites mentioned before. If you want to cut your cost to travel in Korea, then I’d recommend taking some time to look around the best hostels and hotels, check the reviews, and find the best place for you.
2: Food Costs In Korea
Food is one of the most variable aspects of trying to work out the cost to travel in Korea. One person might eat a free breakfast at their hotel, another might go to one of Seoul’s amazing gourmet bakeries and spend 15,000 KRW on baked goods and coffee. You might want a simple meal for dinner and spend less than 10,000 KRW, or go all out with mountains of Korean BBQ goodness and spend ten times that.
In order to work out the costs and budget for your travels in Korea, I’ve broken the typical daily costs for budget, comfort, and luxury travel styles
To help you out, here are some guideline figures for how much you could spend on food, depending on your budget style. Of course, you might want to have a budget breakfast and splash out at dinner, that’s up to you. You can use the average food costs to help work out your daily cost to travel in Korea.
Budget Food Costs:
|Daily Total||25,000 KRW|
Comfort Food Costs:
|Daily Total||50,000 KRW|
Luxury Food Costs:
|Daily Total||80,000 KRW|
Please note: Costs for alcohol are not included. These prices include costs for water, soft drinks, and coffee. If you plan to drink a lot of imported alcohol, your costs will go up a lot. Please make a note to include it yourself. I’ll add some typical costs for drinks in the next section.
2.1: Breakfast Costs
Here are 6 great items that you’d normally eat for breakfast in Korea. The prices are based on an average cost and can vary according to location and quality. If you book a good hotel, you can often get breakfast included, which will save time and money.
|Breakfast Item||Cost (in KRW)|
Joel’s Tip: Gimbap is a versatile food option in Korea, especially if you’re trying to keep costs down. It’s great any time of day and there are lots of options for fillings. You’ll find gimbap in convenience stores, train stations, and in many gimbap chain restaurants. They’re also good for hiking and for packing in your bag as food to eat later on.
2.2: Lunch Costs
After a busy morning walking around and exploring Korea’s amazing sights, you’re bound to want a tasty meal to give you energy and keep you going for the rest of the day. There are plenty of great lunch options in Korea (more than I could put here) that won’t break the bank. Korea has a lot of seasonal dishes, be sure to get some delicious Korean winter foods when it’s cold.
|Lunch Item||Cost (in KRW)|
Joel’s Tip: Many meals in Korea are designed for 2 or more people. You’ll notice that they usually have ‘2인’ listed above them and are around 20 – 30,000 KRW. These dishes are incredible as they come in a large pot that you share. You generally get more food than you would for two single servings.
2.3: Snack Food Costs
If you walk down Myeongdong Market’s Street Food Alley then you can’t resist helping yourself to a few extra snack foods. And when it’s summer in Korea, you’ll find it hard not to indulge in a sweet Korean dessert or two. There are so many unique snacks to sample in Korea you’ll want to try them all. Good news, calories don’t count when you’re on holiday!
|Snack Food Item||Cost (in KRW)|
|Gyeran-ppang (egg bread)||1,500|
|Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes)||2,500|
|Bingsu (icy dessert)||7,000|
|Honey Butter Almonds||5,000|
|Fatcaron (big macaron)||2,500|
|Gun-goguma (roasted sweet potato)||3,000|
|Dakkochi (grilled chicken skewer)||1,000|
|Hotteok (sweet pancake)||1,500|
Joel’s Tip: If you want to take home all these yummy snacks that you’ve tried whilst visiting Seoul, then head to Hongdae or Myeongdong and you’ll find lots of shops selling discounted snacks. Also, you can buy an extra suitcase to pack them all into when you realise just how many you ‘had to buy’.
If you’re curious about what sort of snacks you can get from Korea, then check out Korean Snack Box – they’ll ship them directly to you so you can sample them without having to go to Korea! Get a taste for Korea right now!
Korean Snack Box
(Enter Code: KOREANSNACKBOX10 for 10% off!)
2.4: Dinner Costs
Dinner is when you’ll typically spend the most money on food. After a busy day of sightseeing, shopping, and exploring, you deserve a big meal with a drink or two. When trying to work out the cost to travel in Korea, dinner costs can cause the most variance. Do you splash out on a fancy Korean BBQ meal with bottles of soju and Korean beer, or have a simpler, healthier meal and save a few won? Here are some of the most popular evening meals you can look forward to in Korea.
|Dinner Item||Cost (in KRW)|
|Samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ)||15,000+|
|Korean Fried Chicken||15,000|
|Galbi (marinated pork ribs)||12,000|
|Korean Seafood Platter||30,000+|
|Bossam (boiled pork wraps)||15,000|
|Budae-jjigae (spicy stew)||10,000|
|Dakbal (spicy chicken feet)||12,000|
Joel’s Tip: Try to avoid the main shopping areas around Myeongdong in Seoul when looking for dinner. There are lots of good restaurants, and they’ll usually have English menus, but you can find much better quality food for a lower price in other areas. Jonggak Avenue Of Youth (종각젊음의거리) is only 5 minutes walk from Myeongdong and has lots of great places to eat. Also, check out the back-alley open-air dining north of Jongno-3 subway station for great Korean BBQ.
2.5: Drink Costs
One cost when travelling in Korea that many people overlook is the cost of drinks. A bottle of water might be cheap, but if you’re going to be consuming creamy lattes, hydrating with energy drinks, or getting merry with alcohol, then drink costs add up quickly. Try to budget for at least 3 or 4 drinks per day. Restaurants usually give you water with a meal, so you can save money by drinking while you eat.
|Drink Item||Cost (in KRW)|
|Coffee (from cafe)||4,000|
|Soft Drinks / Iced Tea||2,000|
|Korean Craft Beer||7,000|
|Makgeolli (rice wine)||4,000|
|Soju (Korean spirit)||4,000|
Korean alcohol in restaurants is typically the same price wherever you go. Expect to pay 4-5,000 KRW for beer, makgeolli, or soju whenever you’re eating in a Korean restaurant. There’s usually no foreign beers in restaurants unless it sells foreign food, too. Bars will have a wider choice. Makgeolli and soju are ridiculously cheap from convenience stores, as little as 1,000 KRW! If you want to cut your cost to travel in Korea, I’d recommend buying some cheap drinks from these stores.
Joel’s Tip: You can save money on food in lots of different ways, such as buying food (and alcohol) from a convenience store, eating street food, not drinking imported drinks, choosing small, local restaurants, and lots more.
If you’ve whet your appetite for some delectable Korean dishes, then why not check out some of my other articles about Korean food. Find out the most irresistible dishes you have to try when you arrive.
3: Activity Costs In Korea
There are so many incredible things to do in Korea and your cost to travel in Korea will depend a lot on what you plan to do. Activity costs can include many things, from taking a day trip to the demilitarised zone (DMZ), to skydiving, skiing, rail-biking, and lots more. Palaces, temples, museums, galleries, theatres, exhibitions, theme parks, aquariums, and whatever else you want to do usually all cost money.
So how can you work out how much money to bring with you to Korea for activities?
Advanced planning will help you a lot. Work out your itinerary, and see what you will spend money on. To help you do that I’ve outlined some of the most popular attractions in Seoul and their average costs. I’ll cover day trips later, as they are usually a lot more expensive.
To work out the daily activity cost to travel in Korea, I’ll assume the following:
- Budget travellers will see many sights, but also do free activities
- Comfort travellers will also see many sights, but will visit a few premium attractions
- Luxury travellers will mainly visit premium attractions.
Therefore, based on the above costs, I would say that activity costs in Korea for each group is as follows:
- Budget travellers = 20,000 KRW per day
- Comfort travellers = 30,000 KRW per day
- Luxury travellers = 50,000 KRW per day
Joel’s Tip: There are so many great activities in Seoul that don’t cost a single won. You can spend a whole day without paying for any attractions and the last Wednesday of every month is Culture Day, where you can find lots of free or discounted cultural activities. Find out more about all the best free things to do in Seoul below:
To work out the daily costs to travel in Korea, I won’t provide a detailed daily itinerary and costs for each day. That would be impossible and everyone’s travel plans are different. Instead, I’ll show you the sort of prices you can expect to pay for various activities. If you want some suggestions for an itinerary for Korea, with lots of the best activities, then check out 2this article:
3.1: Popular Activities In Seoul
Walking through the royal palaces in Seoul dressed up in hanbok and taking dozens of incredible photos – it’s the dream of many tourists coming to Seoul. But how much does it cost? And what are the costs to travel in Korea when you want to go out every day, visit the theme parks, chill out in aquariums, and cruise along the river at night?
Here are some of the most popular activities in Seoul, some of which you can also find in other cities in Korea.
|Activity||Cost (in KRW)|
|N Seoul Tower||11,000|
|Seoul City Tour Bus||15,000|
|Han River Cruise||16,000|
|Trick Eye Gallery||14,500|
|Museum / Gallery||3,000|
|Noraebang (Korean karaoke)||10,000|
|Seoul Sky Observatory||27,000|
|Jjimjilbang (Korean sauna)||10,000|
These are some of the most common activities in Seoul, but of course there are many more things to do in Seoul and Korea. If you want some help creating your Korean bucket list, check out the link below:
Joel’s Tip: You can find hanbok rental near Bukchon Hanok Village. This is a great place for unforgettable pictures with traditional Korean hanok houses. You can also wear this hanbok around Gyeongbokgung Palace. Doing both in one day saves you having to rent hanbok twice.
Reduce Your Costs In Seoul With The Discover Seoul Pass
If you plan to do lots of big activities in Seoul, then I’d really recommend getting a Discover Seoul Pass. The Discover Seoul Pass allows you free or discounted entry to a range of different attractions in Seoul, including the COEX Aquarium, Lotte World, Gyeongbokgung Palace, N Seoul Tower, River Cruise, Trick Eye Museum, and lots more. You can also get a free hanbok rental, city tour bus ride, Airport Express journey, and other great benefits.
I created some itineraries for the Discover Seoul Pass that show how you can save more than 50,000 won per person each day with the pass, and takes you across Seoul and into some of the best attractions. Check out the article below for more details:
3.2: Day Trip Costs In Korea
Visiting the natural beauty of Nami Island, Boseong Green Tea Plantation, and Damyang Bamboo Forest, or having fun riding rail bikes, rollercoasters, and cable cars, are just some of the great ways you can spend a day out from Seoul or other big cities.
These trips aren’t always cheap, but they’re definitely worth it as you can see some really amazing sights that you probably won’t find back home. Some trips you can make by yourself with public transport, others are easier when booked with a tour company such as Klook, Trazy, or KKDay. For more on the best day trips from Seoul, check out the article below:
There are also lots of festivals that happen throughout the year which are hosted in the far corners of Korea, such as the Boryeong Mud Festival, the Jindo Sea Parting Miracle, or various New Year celebrations along the coast where you watch the sun rise on the first day of the year.
Again, you can book tours or make your own way to some of the places. If you’d like to know more about all the best festivals throughout the year, check out the link below:
Here are the costs to travel on day trips in Korea. These are mostly based on tours from Klook.com, but there are ways you can get to some of them more cheaply by public transport. See the link above or ask for more details in the Korea Travel Advice & Planning Facebook Group for lots of great tips and suggestions about day tours and how to do them cheaply.
From 54,000 KRW
From 42,000 KRW
From 56,000 KRW
Jeonju Hanok Village
From 98,000 KRW
From 75,000 KRW
From 56,000 KRW
Joel’s Tip: Booking a tour can be expensive, but it can also save a lot of time and be convenient as you won’t have to deal with the language barrier so much. If you’re an experienced traveller, you can usually make your own way. However, for families or people who are not comfortable with the risk of getting lost or delayed, then tours are worth the extra money for peace of mind. Even I book tours for some events because it’s the only way to get to some places without a car.
4: Transportation Costs In Korea
Korea is a really cheap and convenient country to get around with lots of cost-effective forms of public transport. Getting around inside big cities like Seoul is simple, with subways, buses, taxis, and even bikes for rent. To get between cities, there’s a vast network of buses and trains (high speed and regular).
To work out the daily transportation cost to travel in Korea, I’ll assume the following:
- Budget travellers will walk or take only buses / subways.
- Comfort travellers will also take a taxi or two per day.
- Luxury travellers will mainly use taxis or trains for long distances.
Therefore, based on the above costs, I would say that travel costs in Korea for each group is as follows:
- Budget travellers = 5,000 KRW per day
- Comfort travellers = 20,000 KRW per day
- Luxury travellers = 30,000 KRW per day
Before I get into more details about transportation costs, it’s important to point out that these prices are the prices you’d pay with a T-Money card (or a card that has a T-Money function). The T-Money card is a transportation card that can be used throughout Korea and saves you having to use cash. You can top them up at convenience stores, train stations, and many other places.
There are several ways to get a T-Money card. I’ve covered the most common ones for tourists:
Assuming you’re using a T-Money card (you really should be), here are some of the travel costs in Korea:
4.1: Transportation Costs In Cities:
Getting around big urban areas like Seoul or Busan can be very time consuming if you have to walk everywhere. The cost to travel in Seoul and other cities on public transport is as follows:
Buses are 1,250+ won per single journey.
There are no round-trip tickets.
Bus Routes For Seoul
Subway / train rides:
Subway tickets are 1,250+ won per single journey.
Subway Routes For Seoul
Taxi prices start at 3,800 won (lower outside Seoul). A 10 minute journey should cost around 5,000 won.
Seoul Station to Hongdae (5km) would take around 35 minutes and cost around 15,000 won.
You can find out taxi costs with the Kakao Taxi app when you’re in Korea.
Information About Taxis In Korea
You can rent a bike in Seoul for 1,000 won per day.
This is a cheap and healthy way to explore Seoul.
Information About Renting Bikes In Seoul
As a tourist, your cost to travel in Seoul and other cities will depend on how many different places you want to visit. If you’re exploring one or two areas per day, you might not spend much time on public transport. If you want to visit lots of different locations, then you could spend a lot.
Joel’s Tip: When you leave a bus or subway, touch your T-Money card on the card machine (below) and you can get a discount on your next journey if it’s within 30 minutes.
4.2: Transport Costs Between Cities
If you want to travel between cities (there’s more to Korea than just Seoul!), then there are several options for you. The fastest method to get from Seoul to Busan and other major cities is to take the KTX high speed railway. The cheapest is either the slow train or intercity buses. Here is the cost to travel in Korea for each one.
Trains In Korea
There are several options for travelling by train in Korea, including the KTX high-speed train network that covers most major cities in Korea. Slower trains will take longer but also stop at more locations and cost far less.
You can find more details about Korea’s rail network and book tickets online from the Korail website.
If you plan to travel on trains a lot, consider a KTX Rail Pass for unlimited rides for 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 days.
To show you the cost to travel in Korea by train, here are the various prices you could pay to travel one-way between Seoul and some other select cities. Don’t forget, the travel times will be much faster with the more expensive trains.
Seoul to Busan:
KTX (high-speed) train = 59,800 KRW
ITX-Saemaul (mid-range) train = 42,600 KRW
Mugunghwa (low-cost) train = 28,600 KRW
Seoul to Daejeon:
KTX (high-speed) train = 23,700 KRW
ITX-Saemaul (mid-range) train = 16,000 KRW
Mugunghwa (low-cost) train = 10,800 KRW
Seoul to Suwon:
KTX (high-speed) train = 8,400 KRW
ITX-Saemaul (mid-range) train = 4,800 KRW
Mugunghwa (low-cost) train = 2,700 KRW
Joel’s Tip: The cheap trains can take a longer time to get to places. For tourists, I’d recommend taking the KTX, even though it’s more expensive. Time is precious when you’re on holiday and you don’t want to waste it travelling. That being said, the ITX-Saemaul can be almost as fast as the KTX and also considerably cheaper.
Intercity Buses In Korea
There are two types of buses that will comfortably shuttle you across Korea. These are the Gosok (고속, Express) and Sioe (시외, Intercity) buses. Together these bus networks cover almost anywhere you’d want to visit in Korea and the prices are really good.
Buses are clean, spacious, and the premium buses (extra cost) have large reclining seats that you can easily nap on. Korea is a small country though, so you won’t be taking too many long journeys.
You can book tickets for the various buses in the website below. There’s also an app you can download to book tickets on the go (only in Korean).
To show you the cost to travel in Korea by bus, here are examples of ticket costs for one-way travel between Seoul and some other select cities:
Seoul to Busan:
Premium (luxury) bus = 39,800 KRW
Excellent (mid-range) bus = 36,000 KRW
Economy (low-cost) bus = 24,200 KRW
Seoul to Gangneung:
Premium (luxury) bus = 23,700 KRW
Excellent (mid-range) bus = 21,500 KRW
Economy (low-cost) bus = 14,600 KRW
Seoul to Gyeongju:
Premium (luxury) bus = 33,700 KRW
Excellent (mid-range) bus = 30,500 KRW
Economy (low-cost) bus = 20,600 KRW
Joel’s Tip: There are also late night buses which will cost a little bit extra (about 3,000 KRW). These are a great way to save on a night’s accommodation when moving between cities.
4.3: Flight Costs Inside Korea
If you want to get to Jeju Island, the best way is to fly. There are many low-cost airlines in Korea that will fly there cheaply from Korea’s other major cities, such as Seoul (Gimpo Airport) and Busan.
Korea’s low-cost airlines are Air Busan, T-Way, Jeju Air, Jin Air, and Easter Jet. Flights from Seoul to Jeju Island can vary a lot depending on the season, but the lowest price I’ve seen them is around 20,000 KRW one way. However, expect to pay an average of 50,000 KRW, especially if you’re booking last minute.
The only other option is to take a ferry from Mokpo to Jeju Island. which runs 14 times per week and costs about 26,000 KRW per person (foot passenger) one way. If you have rented a car, this is the only way to take it to Jeju Island. The ferry takes 4.5 hours.
5: Other Costs To Travel In Korea
These next few sections offer some further advice about how much you can expect to spend when planning your dream trip to Korea.
5.1: Souvenirs & Shopping Expenses In Korea
For some people, shopping is one of the main reasons for visiting Korea. Seoul’s markets and shopping malls are packed full of bargains, while designer stores and boutiques offer a wide range of exclusive items that can’t be found elsewhere.
Here are some of the most common souvenirs you’ll find in Korea, and how much you can expect to pay for them:
- Korean cosmetics – 5,000+ KRW
- Korean facemasks – 1,000+ KRW
- Korean tea – 10,000+ KRW
- Magnets – 3,000 KRW
- Chopsticks – 2,000 KRW
- Bookmarks – 2,000 KRW
- Korean snacks – 1,000+ KRW
- Socks – 1,000 KRW per pair
- Traditional Crafts – 5,000+ KRW
- Tea Set – 10,000+ KRW
Again, it’s very hard to set an actual price for these items as they differ in size, quantity, quality, and authenticity. You might pay 10,000 KRW for some basic Jeju green tea, or you might pay 100,000 KRW for a more exclusive gift-set version.
Whatever you plan on buying, remember to add extra to your Korean travel budget for shopping and souvenirs.
Bargain hunters looking for the best bargains should definitely check out the awesome traditional markets in Korea. They have authentic items, such as hanbok, arts, crafts, souvenirs, and traditional foods, as well as many modern items.
Most cities in Korea will have at least one traditional market, while Seoul and Busan have a wide range that offer more specialised products. To find the best ones for you, check out my guide to traditional markets below:
Other great places to buy souvenirs and go shopping include the various shopping malls, which range from busy malls exploding with discounts, to more refined department stores with only the finest goods. Here are some of the best ones you’ll find in Seoul:
- Starfield Mal, Gangnam (COEX)
- Goto Mall, Gangnam (Bus Terminal)
- Shinsegae Department Store, Myeongdong / Gangnam
- i-Park by Shilla, Yongsan
- Lotte World Tower, Jamsil
- Lotte Young, Myeongdong
- Times Square, Yeongdeungpo
- Insdaong Art Street (various places), Insadong
You might not plan to buy a suitcase’s worth of goods, but sometimes you can’t help it. Especially once you start trying Korea’s great snacks and see the colourful souvenirs on sale. I often see pics of people buying additional luggage to pack them full of snacks and goodies from Korea!
Joel’s Tip: If you’re curious about what sort of snacks you can get from Korea, then check out Korean Snack Box – they’ll ship them directly to you so you can sample them without having to go to Korea! Get a taste for Korea right now!
Korean Snack Box
(Enter Code: KOREANSNACKBOX10 for 10% off!)
5.2: Internet & Mobile Phones Costs In Korea
I’ve not included the cost for Internet access and mobile phone sims in the daily Korean travel budget figures because not everyone will get a sim card or Internet service in Korea.
Korea has great free WiFi access in places like Incheon Airport, in public transport across Seoul and other cities, and in lots of public places. You can usually find free WiFi in cafes and restaurants throughout the country.
Seoul has declared it will provide free WiFi across most of the city by 2022 and is spending a lot of money to make sure that happens. Travelling and using your connected devices is safe and easy in Korea.
That being said, I know that most people want to have a secure connection to the online world wherever they go. I’m no exception. If you do want to get a mobile sim card or WiFi egg, then you can pick these up at Incheon Airport or order them online from various agencies.
Sim Card Costs
You can buy sim cards from all major phone companies in Korea – KT Olleh / LG / SK Telecom – and they offer various data packages, including unlimited deals. Packages typically last 1 / 5 / 10 / 30 days and there are a lot of options to suit your needs and budgets. You can find a great offer in the link below:
Example Prices For Unlimited Data Sim Card:
Here are some costs for sim cards in Korea. You can probably find cheaper, but remember that this is for unlimited service and there are no extra fees.
1 day – 5,900 KRW
5 days – 24,800 KRW (4,960 KRW per day)
10 days – 34,700 KRW ( 3,470 KRW per day)
30 days – 64,400 KRW ( 2,145 KRW per day)
Portable WiFi Costs
A WiFi egg or portable WiFi device is a great way to keep multiple devices connected without needing to insert a sim card. You can pick these up across Korea and pay for the time or data that you use.
Prices for portable WiFi with unlimited data start at 3,300 KRW per day, but can rise to about 10,000 KRW for plans that include power packs and other features.
For lower data needs, you can pick up a 1gb portable WiFi pack for 2,400 KRW per day.
Whatever option you choose, Korea has one of the best Internet services in the world and you will get a great online experience.
5.3: Flight Costs To Korea
The cost to travel to Korea is probably one of the biggest expenses you’ll face when planning your Korean travel budget. Of course, I can’t tell you a single amount for any flight to Korea as there are so many variable factors including where and when you’re flying from.
Instead, here’s some great sites where you can compare flight costs. These will help you to find the best flight to Korea for you. It’s worth spending some time checking flight times and airlines to get the best deals possible.
Korea has two major airlines that offer direct flights to the country from around the world, These are:
Korean Airlines / Asiana Airlines
There are also 5 Korean budget airlines that might offer amazing flight prices to Korea, especially if you’re travelling from East or South East Asia. These are:
Jeju Air / T-Way / Air Busan / Jin Air / Eastar Jet
Joel’s Tip: Incheon Airport is Korea’s main airport and has lots of great facilities. If you have to travel there at an inconvenient time, it shouldn’t be a problem. There is a spa, sauna, cinema, loads of great restaurants, cafes, and bars, hotels, rest areas, and lots more. Check out my guides for Incheon Airport to learn more about this highly accessible and entertaining airport.
5.4: Visa Costs For Korea
Korea is a popular tourist destination for many travellers around the world and many countries have a visa waiver agreement in place. This allows tourists to travel in Korea for 30 / 60 / 90 / 180 days when they arrive. If you’re from one of these countries (see pic below), then you won’t have any visa costs for Korea.
Unfortunately, there are no visa waiver agreements in some countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia, China, India, and The Philippines. Therefore, there are likely to be increased travel costs for citizens from these countries. It’s worth checking out the cost to get a visa from your local Korean embassy and adding that to your Korean travel budget.
For travellers from The Philippines, it’s not possible to get a tourist visa from the Korean embassy due to high demand. Therefore, please check this page to see where you can get a Korean tourist visa from an agency.
If you’re unsure about whether or not you need a visa, or the visa cost to travel to Korea, then contact your local Korean embassy.
Please note: Due to the current global pandemic, the availability of visas may be restricted or changed. Please contact your local Korean embassy to confirm the current status.
5.5: Travel Insurance Costs
Korea is one of the safest countries I’ve ever been to and the risk of theft or assault are very low. That being said, there is always the chance that things can go wrong on holiday and it’s good to be prepared. Flights can be cancelled or delayed, luggage lost, things get broken, and you can even end up in hospital. Trust me, I’ve experienced most of these problems myself and they’re no fun!
Joel’s Tip: You can find lots of options for travel insurance and you should choose one that matches your country, activities, and costs. Personally, I buy travel insurance from World Nomads when I’m travelling. They provide great coverage and were one of the last to stop their travel insurance policies during the global pandemic. If you’re looking for good travel insurance, you can check them out in the link below:
Cost To Travel In Korea FAQs
Finally, here’s a few FAQs about the cost to travel in Korea, in case the above information didn’t cover enough for you.
Is food expensive in Korea?
No. Food is generally very reasonably priced in Korea. Meals can cost as little as 3,000 KRW ($3 USD) and even a large meal like a Korean BBQ can cost as little as 10,000 KRW ($10 USD) per person. There are many delicious street foods starting from 1,000 KRW that are a great way to snack between meals without spending lots. Foreign foods can cost more, however.
How much does it cost to travel in Korea
Around 75,000 KRW – 200,000 KRW per day should be sufficient for most travellers coming to Korea. This includes accommodation, food, transportation, and activity costs. If you plan to do lots of expensive activities, day tours, or shopping, then be sure to add in extra budget to cover these costs. There are many free and cheap activities you can enjoy in Korea that will help you travel for less.
What is the cheapest time to travel in Korea?
March. March is one of the cheapest times to travel to Korea as it is between Seollal (Korean Lunar New year) in late January, early February, and the start of the cherry blossom season (late March, early April). November is also cheap as it is between peak autumn leaves season and Christmas / New Year.
How can I save money travelling to Korea?
Planning, budgeting, discount cards, and making use of free activities. Planning your trip to Korea and making a budget will let you work out how much you’ll need when you travel. Scheduling your daily travel plans for similar areas (e.g. Bukchon Hanok Village, Insadong, and Gyeongbokgung Palace), cuts down on travel costs and avoids having to rent hanbok twice in one trip. Using discount cards like the Discover Seoul Pass, Korea Tour Card, or the T-Money Card will also cut costs a lot.
How much money do I need for 7 days in Korea?
The cost to travel in Korea for 7 days is typically around $1,000 USD. However, it can be higher depending on the accommodation you book. This figure also doesn’t include flights or visas. Budget travellers can spend a lot less, with daily costs as low as $50 per day ($350 per week), or even less.
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