How to Find Super Cheap Housing in Korea


Are you planning on moving to Seoul? Starting up in a new country is always difficult. And it’s even harder if you’ve got no money! We can’t help you out with being broke, but if you’re looking for housing in Korea and don’t have much cash with you, there’s a number of super cheap options that are available!

Note: These housing options are for those looking to live on their own. Super cheap usually means smaller living spaces. Sorry couples!

 

Studio Apartments/One Rooms in Seoul (원룸)

Studio apartments (aka “one room” in Korean) are just regular ol’ apartments. And although studio apartments in Itaewon, Gangnam, and other popular/central areas come with big price tags, you can still get your own apartment in Seoul without being a baller. You should check out less central areas for very cheap housing, and in Seoul that means the suburbs (i.e. Incheon, Ilsan, Anyang, Bundang, Uijeongbu, Seongnam, etc.). And if you’re ok with walking a bit from public transportation, housing will be even cheaper.

Of course, the problem with finding housing for most foreigners in Korea is the very large security deposits. The rental system in Korea is different, and before moving into an apartment in Korea, tenants will give landlords a security deposit starting anywhere from 5 to 10 million won (approximately 5,000 to 10,000 USD). You’ll of course get that money back, but that’s not cheap at all. However, if a 2 million won (~2,000USD) security deposit sounds doable, there are places with ultra cheap monthly rent, starting from 250,000 won (~250USD). The apartment will definitely be small, but at least you’ll be living by yourself and no one will see that embarrassing Jay Park pillow you sleep with every night.

Check out pics of this apartment in Uijeongbu. Security deposit is 2million won and monthly rent is 320,000 won. Not bad!

If you’re ready to find your own super cheap apartment in Seoul, apply these tips to our post on how to get your own apartment in Korea.

Tip: If you can afford to give more security deposit, many landlords will be open to lowering your monthly rent.


Check out this video for a typical “cheap” apartment. Actual apartment tour starts at 1:22.

 

Goshiwon (고시원)

If you don’t want to live in the suburbs of Seoul and are looking to live somewhere super cheap so you can spend all your money on boozing in Hongdae, why not check out a goshiwon, housing for super small people or for people that just want mega cheap rent. Rent can be as cheap as 250,000 won a month, and if you’re ok with living in these closet-sized rooms, you’ll get the benefit of free furniture (typically come with a bed, table, and mini-fridge) as well as free internet and TV (sometimes even free rice and kimchi!). Be warned though, you’re typically not allowed to bring friends and you most likely will have to use a communal bathroom (although you can pay extra for private bathrooms at some goshiwon). It’s probably uncomfortable for most, but it’s also perfect if you’re outside all the time and all you want is a place to sleep (for cheap!). “Hooray!” say all the tiny and broke people :)

Language tip: Sometimes these are referred to as different names: 고시텔 (goshitel), 원룸텔 (One room-tel), 원룸리빙텔 (one room living-tel), etc.

Goshipages.com is pretty awesome if you’re looking for one.

And this dude does a pretty good job of introducing goshiwon too :)

 

Hasukjip (하숙집)

Hasukjip is a pretty old school housing option in Korea. This was and still is mostly utilized by students who need to live close to their schools. But students miss their mommies. That’s why hasukjip ajummas offer breakfast and dinner everyday! The rooms aren’t anything amazing (usually a bit bigger than goshiwon rooms), but if you’re going to get not just one but TWO full on homemade Korean meals everyday, we don’t think you’ll be complaining too much. These are mostly privately/independently run by the ajummas, so it is not as easy to find as goshiwon. But go to any university and there’s guaranteed to be a hasukjip close by. Prices are similar to goshiwon prices (starting from 250,000 won and up).

Tip: The buildings/rooms are typically owned by the ajumma. Essentially, you’re moving into their house. So some owners might not be cool with you coming home too late. Don’t worry though, the rules will be laid out for you.

Kind of a long, but good introduction :)

Planning to come to Korea on a budget? Which one of these would you stay in? Write us a comment!

About Keith

Keith Kim is a Korean-American living in Seoul, Korea. He likes espresso shots, photography art and he loves his Playstation 3. He started seoulistic.com as a hobby site, and is now in the process of turning it into a full-time business. Wish him luck! Check out his blog for an uncensored view on entrepreneurship, dating and life in Korea. Personal Blog: gyopokeith.com Facebook: facebook.com/gyopokeithkim Twitter: @gyopokeith Youtube: "Gyopokeith e-mail me anytime at: gyopokeith [at] gmail.com

44 comments

  1. Shelbie

    I live in a hasuk right off of Yonsei’s main campus. I was a bit disappointed when I first saw the room, but it turns out I got really lucky. The ahjummas who own the hasook are lovely, and my neighbors are mostly international students of the degree-seeking variety, like me. Even if you’ve got a room that may not be perfect, depending on who you’re living with, a hasuk may be your best bet… especially if you don’t know anyone in Seoul yet. Chances are you’ll make a ton of friends! Some universities can provide foreign students with an English list of nearby hasuks, too.

    • leahochi

      Hi Shelbie , i plan to go to korea and your option looks so great and near my boyfriend place . Could you tell me how much you pay per month and what is the name , adress of your place ? Thank you sooooooooo Muc . Lea

  2. Lisa

    Hi,

    My boyfriend is looking for an apartment in Uijeongbu. Can you tell me how to find similar one’s to the one you have pictured in your article please?

    Many thanks!

  3. Im looking for one year living in korea, i wonder where is the best place to live for me who want to study korean music?

  4. Songhwang

    My friend is moving next month. If u’re interested in a cheap room and near subway, go to that link

    http://seoul.craigslist.co.kr/apa/3765310490.html

  5. Elley

    Are you looking for house in Korea?
    I am looking for house mates who can teach me English and be my friend.
    I am 38 years old female, go to work during daytime, live alone at a small apartment in Anyang city(near Seoul) and can provide a room for you for free.
    It is a normal house for Korean to live, having near E-mart, in front of Bus station, taking 10 minutes using bus to take a Subway.
    You can experience korean culture while you live in Korea.
    If you are interested in my propose, contact me to scna2@daum.net.
    only female is acceptable.

  6. Kristine

    Hi elley! Im from Philippines. How can i contact you? because your contact info.is not working. Give me some contact that i will easly contact you.

  7. Kristine

    Your comment…

  8. Amber Rose

    Is it normal for non college student to live in an Hasukjip? I wont be attending college for a while when I move over to South Korea.

  9. Sadnars

    Do you know of any pet friendly apartments in uijeongbu?

  10. Peter Sinclair

    the koshiwon room in that YouTube video above was HUGE !! i stayed for 3 mths in a room 190cm x 90cm, THAT is a real koshiwon room, don’t show luxury koshiwon like it’s normal standard room..

  11. Peter Sinclair

    and not to mention NOTHING is provided in the no frills koshiwon, no tv, no fridge, no food, no TP, no bedding, you get basically 2 shelves, one is a desk and the other is a bed ! you provide everything..

  12. Mary

    I am moving to Daejeon shortly and need to find accommodation for me and my family, anyone has any tips? Thanks!

  13. sal

    Hi. i will be going to Kyunghee University for a short language program (6mth) in October. Was wondering if anyone has any recommendation for hasuk/ goshi nearby. I prefer to have private bathroom though. Help appreciated!

  14. shay

    Your comment…hey sal..why not try gosi1.net ? i studied there before and lived in goshiwon..but then, i was living near hufs..although kyunghee is just right behind hufs..but the goshiwon i stayed was about 10mins walk from hufs..and it was KRW550,000 per month for a room of 2 people..so quite affordable..also, the bathroom is inside the room..they also provide free rice, eggs, kimchi and seaweed..email me at ezymelra@hotmail.com if u wanna ask more :)

  15. Maile

    Hi I will be attending EWHA womans university and am looking for a place for 3 people just in case we dont want to stay in the dorms. Any SUggestions on where to look? ive looked on CL but no such luck everything is for 2. Mahalo… MaiLe

  16. Carito

    Hi!! i have a huge question!! can somebody tell me about if is possible to stay on a goshiwon with my fiance….or maybe to some place else to stay both of us…there is any trouble with it?? cuz i really dont want to spend too much…thanks :D

  17. PalashSNU

    I need a single room with cooking facility. I am on processing to join Seoul National University from 22 August 2013, Please recommend me a cheap room near SNU.

  18. kath

    I and my husband will be staying 11days in mapo-gu area from 31st of August to 11th of September.
    Non smoker and no pets. I hope to hear from anyone and it would be very helpful.

    Thanks.

  19. mahdi

    Hello

    Me and my wife rent a Korean type single room in Busan
    Include Kitchen . bathroom , toilet , TV , washing machine , wifi , ….
    For 300 000 won per month , and we pay Gas and electricity separately .

    Now , we will stay for a long time in Seoul .
    I search for a room like Busan.
    330 000 won per month in Advance.

    I will pay every month rent in advance because we can not pay deposit money.
    And Gas and electricity separately.

    From 2nd month I can pay more than 300 000 won.

    Thank you for cooperation
    best regards

    contact : mahdi.busan@gmail.com

    • Hadi

      Hi Mahdi, my wife and I are new students of PNU and we are looking for a flat near it. Would you please let me know any contact info of your host? Tnx

  20. adma

    Great article! ;D
    Have you got any information about rooftop apartments? I heard they can be cheap, but can’t find any info. I might go to Korean Uni, but I’m tired of student dorms, so I would like to live outside, but still at an affordable price. Also,are they usually only one bedroom/studio? Are the bills usually included in the rent price?

  21. adma

    Great article! ;D
    Have you got any information about rooftop apartments? I heard they can be cheap, but can’t find any info. I might go to Korea Uni, but I’m tired of student dorms, so I would like to live outside, but still at an affordable price. Also,are they usually only one bedroom/studio? Are the bills usually included in the rent price?

  22. Pete

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the tips. I have a family here in Korea and I’m a permanent resident. My wife is Filipina who has become a naturalized citizen. While her Korean is pretty good and she’s a wonderful lady, she’s not good at planning or finding details. I’ve been wanting to find out about Korea’s low income housing programs that might help us find a place of our own where we could live permanently.

    After my son’s birth and a few surgeries and because of Korea’s high cost of living I’ve had a terrible time supporting 4 people on my tiny salary and saving money too. I’m a Korean 공무원. I’m fortunate to have a possibly permanent job, but at the bottom level salaries are very small. I’m not complaining. Life is good and we’re surviving well and doing okay but are tired of moving and living in places that are too small.

    We heard about programs sponsored by the government, KB or Woori, and LH apartments to help folks buy their own homes. We wondered how they work, but my wife and I have grave difficulty communicating in specialized language. Are you aware of any of these programs? LH just finished a project in our city. We’re afraid we missed our chance.

    Sorry to ramble. To make a long story short, do you know where we can find imformation on subsidized housing purchases supported by the Korean government?

  23. Pete

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the tips. I have a family here in Korea and I’m a permanent resident. My wife is Filipina who has become a naturalized citizen. While her Korean is pretty good and she’s a wonderful lady, she’s not good at planning or finding details. I’ve been wanting to find out about Korea’s low income housing programs that might help us find a place of our own where we could live permanently.

    After my son’s birth and a few surgeries and because of Korea’s high cost of living I’ve had a terrible time supporting 4 people on my tiny salary and saving money too. I’m a Korean 공무원. I’m fortunate to have a possibly permanent job, but at the bottom level salaries are very small. I’m not complaining. Life is good and we’re surviving well and doing okay but are tired of moving and living in places that are too small.

    We heard about programs sponsored by the government, KB or Woori, and LH apartments to help folks buy their own homes. We wondered how they work, but my wife and I have grave difficulty communicating in specialized language. Are you aware of any of these programs? LH just finished a project in our city. We’re afraid we missed our chance.

    Sorry to ramble. To make a long story short, do you know where we can find imformation on subsidized housing purchases supported by the Korean government?

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  25. Carrie

    Is there an easy way to find housing near a particular university?
    I’m planning on going to Sungkyunkwan University (Seoul campus) for the second half of the year and I don’t really want to live in university dorms, nor can I afford a huge deposit AND the rest of the stuff I would need.

    I also have a boyfriend who will be in the area too– goshiwons, and I’m betting hasukjips as well, wouldn’t usually let you have guests over, so what’s my best bet to be able to have him visit (and possibly/probably even stay the night)?

  26. need escape

    it’s year 2013 and it’s still hasn’t changed!
    i guess i need to save more to move there.
    can you make video for bigger appartement or a house?

  27. An

    I and my boyfriend want to rent a room in seongnam si for 1 week or 2 weeks from 16/1/2014 to 2/2/ 2014. Any sugguestion

  28. Yuri

    omg this made me laugh because I actually have a Jay Park pillow!! X) Great information thanks a lot!^^

  29. Azmal

    I had been checking goshipages.com
    I checked nobleresidence which has 500 thou KRW room. My sponsor booked a 500 Thou KRW room for me in Cherville. Is there really some cheaper one that would cost 350 thou KRW near Hyehwa station?

  30. Diya

    Hi
    I am planning to travel to Seoul for 4 weeks. Can any one suggest me a better and cheap place for stay?

    • Wanteng

      I stayed at Birdnest Hostel previously. Its at Hongdae, I think it is pretty affordable if you choose their dorm.

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  32. Hi! I’m coming to Korea for 3 months. I will inform the deposit. And exactly where this place. If you contact me I’d appreciate it.

  33. Tina

    waaaaaaw that’s expensive, but I would rather pay more to live in a studio room rather than pay less and live in a goshiwon

  34. Tina

    but isn’t there a website to look for apartments like airbnb in English??

  35. Nura

    Do I have to be a student to stay in a Goshiwon or a hasukjip?

  36. Ran

    A helpful and informative article, thanks!
    I want to ask about how should I search for hasukjib through online, since most of them are in hangul and my korean is not that good. I will be an intern in Seoul and am looking for a hasukjib preferably near Gangnam..

  37. Thuy

    Hi everybody,

    My boyfriend is gonna come to Seoul next month and he will only stay for 3 weeks. Now we are looking for a cheap place for him to stay, somewhere in Gwanak-gu? Any suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. x

  38. Thuy

    Forget to say, he’ll be here on 8th and back home on 30th of August..

  39. Morn

    Hi everyone,

    I potentially going to study at Seoul National Uni. in Sep. 2014. I have never been to Korea before. Could anyone suggest me cheap room that not very far from the Uni?

  40. God

    I am looking for cheap accommodation from Feb27 2015 to mid June 2015. My budget is around 800,000won for 4 months. Preferable if it’s located near to hanyang university or kyung hee university. Thanks :)