Want to travel to Korea but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you! For this post, we’ll be detailing everything you need to know about how to budget your Korea trip. Whether you’re a budget or a luxury kind of traveler, you’ll definitely learn something new from us today.
Like every other country in the world, travel in Korea has changed a lot post-pandemic. Prices have definitely shifted and things that were accessible before have been altered quite a bit now. That’s why we’ll be giving you an updated guide to make sure your Korea travel budget is as accurate as possible!
Cost Of Accommodation In South Korea
One way to cut down costs is to choose a cheaper kind of accommodation. Take note, “cheap” doesn’t necessarily mean bad! There are plenty of clean and comfortable guest houses in Korea that you can choose from. Known locally as “yeogwan,” guest houses are typically older and a little less polished than their hotel siblings.
These affordable guest houses can be found near bus and train stations in Seoul which makes them super convenient for travelers. Accommodation usually comes in the form of double rooms with en-suite bathrooms. A double room costs around ₩20,000-₩35,000 (~$15-$26) a night. For such an affordable price, you can already have a good place to sleep!
Guest houses are perfect for those who want to maximize their travel experiences and do not care much about their accommodation since they’ll be out the whole day anyway. Besides, staying in a guest house is also a great way to get more in touch with the local culture!
If you have a bit more of a budget, then hotels are the way to go. Mind you, you do not have to break the bank just to stay at a hotel! There are plenty of affordable and reasonably priced hotels in South Korea. In addition to having quaint clean rooms that are definitely more spacious than guest houses and having private bathrooms, most even offer free Wi-Fi!
Private rooms in well-rated hotels cost around ₩40,000 (~$30) for a one-night stay. If you’re looking to splurge a little, you can also go for more luxurious four-star hotels that will definitely make your travel experience unique and comfortable! These cost around ₩200,000-₩265,000 ($150-$200) a night.
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Now if you really want a true cultural experience to be part of your travel, then staying at a hanok might just be for you! A hanok is a traditional Korean house with beautiful architecture that will surely make your stay a unique one. These hanok stays offer a tranquil environment with wooden frames, sliding doors, and a unique underfloor heating system called ondol.
Many hanok stays also include fun traditional activities like tea ceremonies and kimchi-making for the guests. While there are hanok villages in Seoul, most hanok are located in Jeonju. Jeonju hanok can go as low as ₩32,000 (~$24) per night.
If you want to stay in a Hanok in Korea, make sure to read the following articles:
Cost Of Transportation In South Korea
Another important thing to keep in mind while traveling is the cost of public transportation! South Korea has a super streamlined public transport system that will definitely make your travel hassle-free. You just need to know how it works.
From buses to lightning-fast trains and subways, using public transport to get around Korea–especially Seoul–is super convenient. If you’re planning on traveling around the city, then we definitely suggest getting a T-Money Card. A T-Money Card is definitely a travel must-have as it will serve as your ticket to all the buses, subways, taxis, and even vending machines all over the country. You can buy it at the airport and load it there so you can use it when you travel.
For navigating Seoul and other places, we definitely recommend going by train or subway. Aside from being much faster than buses and taxis, they’re also a lot cheaper. Korea has a very efficient subway system that can take you pretty much anywhere you want to go.
The cost of tickets is based on the distance traveled, with children paying ₩450 (~$0.40) for the base fare while adult tickets cost around ₩1350 (~$1).
For the cost of train between cities, here is how KTX train tickets usually cost:
- Seoul to Busan: ₩105,000 (~$79)
- Seoul to Gangwon: ₩27,600 (~$21)
- Seoul to Gyeongju: ₩64,000 (~$48)
- Seoul to Jeonju: ₩56,000 (~$42)
- Seoul to Pyeongchang: ₩33,000 (~$25)
To save money while you visit Korea with unlimited KTX train rides, you can also get the Korea Rail Pass!
Cost Of Food In South Korea
We’re sure many of you would agree that food is one of–if not the–best parts about traveling. Not only is eating while traveling a necessity but it also gives you unique insights into the local people and culture–all in a super delicious way! Korean cuisine has gone global over the past few years. Korean BBQ is a staple in almost all major cities around the world, as well as favorites like gimbap, tteokbeokki, and of course, kimchi.
But of course, nothing beats the original. If you’re in Korea and looking to try some local dishes, a meal would generally cost around ₩10,000-₩15,000 (~$7-$11) at a Korean restaurant. If you want a true taste of the local cuisine, then you shouldn’t just eat at restaurants. You should also explore all the bright street food stalls you can find all over the country! These range around ₩3,000-₩7,000 (~$2-$5).
You May Also Like: The Weirdest Korean Foods We Dare You To Try
Cost Of Drinking In South Korea
Another fun part about traveling is getting a taste of all the unique liquors and alcohols each country has! Korea has an incredibly rich drinking culture. You would often find plenty of college students, office workers, and even middle-aged people having a drink no matter the time of the day. Drinks are best paired with fun stories and even karaoke, another popular pastime in Korea.
Beer and soju are probably the most popular drinks in Korea, as well as their combined cocktail called “somaek” which comes from the words “soju” and “maekju,” the Korean word for “beer.” These drinks are available everywhere, in almost every convenience store and restaurant, and they cost around ₩4,000 (~$3) for a bottle. Another alcohol you must try is makgeolli, a sparkling rice wine that tastes milky sweet with a bit of a tang. An entire 750 ml bottle of makgeolli also costs around ₩4,000 (~$3).
Cost Of Activities In South Korea (entrance fees, paid tours…)
Sightseeing is the way to go when you travel to Korea. Even just in Seoul, there’s a huge variety of places you just have to check out. From historic temples and palaces to beautiful natural gardens and mountainscapes, Seoul has it all. While some places do charge an entrance fee, some are also free so we suggest that you be strategic when planning out your daily sightseeing trips.
It’s ultimately up to you which places you want to go to, but we do have some recommendations that we think you have to visit when you go to Korea. One of those is the royal palaces! These gorgeous pieces of ancient architecture are perfect for learning more about the history and culture of Korea, as well as for taking incredible pictures!
For just ₩10,000 (~$7), you can get a combo ticket that will give you access to Gyeongbokgung, Chandeokgung (plus its secret garden!), Deoksugung, Changgeyonggung, and Jongmo Shrine.
In general, entrance fees to other places like museums and parks cost around ₩3,000-₩20,000 (~$2-$15). A good way to enjoy free sightseeing is to visit temples! Temples in general do not charge entrance fees or if they do, they charge very little. We definitely recommend visiting the Jogyesa Temple, Bongeunsa Temple, and Bongwonsa Temple right here in Seoul.
To find good deals, it’s better sometimes to book your tickets in advance. Check out for example what kind of experiences Klook have in South Korea.
Any Other Travel Expenses
Another travel must-have is definitely an eSIM. We all know how complicated it can get to set up a new SIM and number when you travel abroad, but eSIMs make the entire process so much more convenient. Basically, with eSIMs, you can buy a SIM card online before you even go to your travel destination.
Once you get to Korea, you can easily switch your phone on and be online–as easy as that. The Wi-Fi signal in Korea is known to be super fast, so you won’t have a lot of trouble when it comes to that department. Usually, travelers spend about ₩20,000 (~$15) for 5 GB of data which can last for an entire month!
Here are some interesting offers for:
Another important thing when we travel is insurance. While we hope nothing bad happens during our travels, we also have to be prepared for any emergencies, and travel insurance helps us as a safety net in these kinds of situations. A good and reliable travel insurance is SafetyWing, which costs $1.50 a day.
Total Daily Budget For Each Type Of Traveler
Budget Traveler / Backpacker
For budget travelers, the priority is not on comfort but on maximizing the travel experience. The lowest cost for a person to visit Korea for a week is around $760 or about a million Won. This includes economy flight tickets that can cost around $535, with the cheapest guest house lodging that can go for around $15 per night, and daily expenses which can go as low as $17 a day if you’re thrifty!
For those with a little more budget to spare, the average cost to visit Korea for one week would be around $980 or around ₩1,300,000. This already includes economy flight tickets which cost around $535, as well as the daily cost of food, travel, and sightseeing which could go as low as $34 a day if you’re strategic. This cost also includes lodging which goes around $30 for a decent hotel room.
Now, luxury traveling is a whole different story! This is for those who really have the budget to spare for travel and comfort. The high-end price for a one-week visit to Korea would be around $2,500 or around ₩3,300,000. This includes business class tickets which cost around $1,333, as well as daily expenses that can go about $68 per day which includes food, transportation, and sightseeing. Lodging at a well-rated hotel would cost around $100 a night.
We hope you liked our guide to your Korea travel budget! What kind of traveler are you: the budget kind, the average kind, or the luxury kind? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Traveling is everyone’s dream, and it’s a lot less hassle when you have a thoroughly planned budget for the trip. Ultimately, each traveler will have a unique experience and it’s best to budget according to what you want to prioritize during your travel. Nevertheless, we hope we’ve helped you in getting an idea of how much money you would need to spend once you get to Korea!