Cost of Living in Seoul, South Korea (And How Much to Enjoy Life in Seoul!) – Page 2 – Seoulistic

Cost of Transportation in Seoul

Public Transportation

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

A ride on the subway costs a mere 1,050 won and gets you all around Seoul. Transferring to another line runs roughly 500 won so it’s very easy to get around. The subway stops running before 1am, but there are buses that still run after that for a similar price. Best of all if you take the bus, you also earn a free subway ride. If you’re looking to get home quick, taxis are the way to go. With a starting rate of 2,300 won, a 35 minute ride on the subway will cost about 10,000 in a comfortable cab. The black (deluxe) cabs are more expensive but provide a more comfortable ride. Better yet, just grab a bike and save some money while burning some calories.

Gas Prices

A liter of gas in Korea costs about 2,000 won. That’s roughly 8,000 won for a gallon of gas to put that into perspective for those of you scratching your heads. There are multiple traffic jams in Seoul, depending on your route. Considering the extremely efficient and cheap transportation options in Korea, it’s much better to put off on buying a car in Korea if you aren’t planning on being a long term resident.

How Much Are Taxes in Korea?

Income Tax

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

The dreaded three letters themselves. Fortunately in Korea, for many foreign workers in Korea, tax deducted from paychecks is limited to a residence tax, which amounts to a very reasonable 3.3% of income. That way, you don’t have half your money deducted from that monthly paycheck and can have fun exploring and living it up out here. Citizens from certain countries including the U.S. and U.K. are also eligible for an income tax exemption for the first 2 years. If you work here as a teacher, a portion of your earnings will go towards a pension which can be collected in a lump sum once you leave the country.

Sales Tax

Sales tax is included in almost all prices listed, so you won’t have that psychological effect of seeing final price tag numbers suddenly go up. But hidden in each price tag in Korea is an approximate 8% sales tax on goods and services.

Medical Costs in Korea

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

Check Up at the Doctors

If you’re covered by insurance, a visit to the doctor to alleviate that winter cold will cost about 5,000 won. Prescription medication can range from as cheap as 3,000 won to about 10,000 won for more expensive items. But even without insurance, visits are still quite cheap and can start as low as 10,000 won. So feel free to play basketball in the pouring rain or go snowboarding in your birthday suit. Feel free to get that flu shot during the winter if you’re flu prone.

Cheap Enough for Medical Tourism

South Korea is also a popular medical tourism destination for more expensive procedures. That’s because it has first world medical technology and education without exorbitant prices. That means you can get life-saving surgeries, important medical treatments and procedures, and medical care at very reasonable prices. For a general reference, chest x-rays cost approximately 20,000 won, CT Scans cost 125,000 won and MRIs cost 450,000 won (all insured prices).

Find this in our post: 4 Quality Things to Get on the Cheap in Korea.

Check out the next page to see if it’s how much it costs to party, go on a one day trip and shop in Seoul!

Daniel Kang is a Korean-American from Los Angeles, California and currently enjoys living in Seoul. He is a diehard Laker fan and loves playing basketball, poker, and hanging out at the beach. Daniel is a passionate writer and has compiled pieces for Groove Korea and 10 Magazine. Check out his Lakers blog at lakerlinanalysis


  1. Carla says:

    Hi Daniel. I really liked all the information you gave. It was all that I was searching for.
    안녕히계세요 ^^

  2. Joseph says:

    2,000 won per gram for samgyeopsal seems a bit much… 😛

    But I’m thankful for this article, and I want to move to Korea!

  3. Sam says:

    You’re right! Fruit is so expensive. A small handful of blueberries sold for $20 at Lotte.
    …Which is why you shouldn’t buy fruit at department stores…

  4. makaiya says:

    Since I’m a chef speacializing in traditional sushi, where would a good place for me too live and work? But this is great news! 나는 한국 을사랑합니다.

  5. Kai Lee says:

    Thanks for this. I’ll be moving to Korea soon and this article is very helpful! Bookmarking for future reference 🙂

  6. Ben Fallon says:

    Samgyupsal is pork last time I checked, not beef!

  7. Nancie says:

    I agree that eating traditional Korean food can be quite cheap when you’re eating in the small local restaurants. However, things like barbecue and fish (I’m thinking raw) can be very expensive. Purchasing food from a regular grocery store like Emart or Homeplus is also expensive, and it isn’t only the fruit. Vegetables are also way up there in price. To buy food at relatively cheap prices you have to be prepared to visit the local traditional markets. They can be a lot of fun. However, in the cold of winter I’m not prepared to take a bus and subway to get to the market. People should realize that living in Korea is probably cheaper than some western countries, but not that much cheaper.

  8. Abigail says:

    Is water usage not charged in Korea? Or is it included in heating/cooling bills? I’m thinking of moving to Korea and am collecting some basic information on Korean lifestyle 🙂 Thank you for all these handy and interesting information!

  9. Adnan Farooq says:

    Hello Thanks for sharing useful information..

    I heard about the concept of using electricity at night hours till early morning which is less expensive.. Is it true?? IF it’s true then please tell us about that in detail..
    Thank you

  10. Ma Najieb says:

    Roughly if we sum it up, how much will I spent in a month?

    Please help. I need to know what will I get with 3 mil Won salary /month.

  11. Accisia says:

    OMG, the housings are so expensive >.<

    • Paul says:

      I am from USA. For me, Korean housing is cheaper.
      It also depends on location and quality of the house (new or older). Also, a unit from a 25 story apartment units are more expensive than a unit from a 3-4 story villas.

  12. miya says:

    damn Koreans have higher monthly salary that’s the reason why it’s expensive I guess.

  13. Hannah says:

    is the deposit paid back after you move out? thanks

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