You’ll definitely love the nightlife in Seoul, which is typically the reason some visitors find it so hard to leave. Many bars, pubs, clubs and all sorts of venues typically stay open till 4 or 5 am. Drink prices are very reasonable unless you’re in an upscale area. A mug of Korean draft beer will run about 3,000 won with pitchers available for about 15,000. Shots can be had for quite cheap as well (starting at 5,000 won), and there are many all you can drink cocktail bars in Gangnam for a mere 15,000 won. Considering that Korean liquor aka soju costs only a little more than 1,000 won, it’s no surprise that the streets tend to be littered with smashed businessmen and younger people alike. For you clubbers, the average entrance fee for a smaller venue is about 10,000 won and includes a free drink. If you want to bust out that new fashionable ensemble, check out the Cheongdam and Sinsa areas where fees are upped to 30,000 won for entry but obviously feature world class facilities and a lively crowd. If you’ve got a big party coming up, private buses are also available, and a 40 seater bus runs around 750,000 won.
If you’re looking for cheap drinks, take a look at this list of All You Can Drink Bars in Seoul!
Taking a limousine bus to a beach or popular areas in Gangwondo can run from 18,000 won and up. And of course there are buses to further cities like Gwangju, Daegu, Jeonju that have buses ranging from in the 20,000 won to 30,000 won range. There is also the KTX bullet train, which can get you to Korea’s second biggest city, Busan, for 57,300 won. Not bad considering the roughly 2 1/2 hour ride you’ll be taking on a comfortable seat. Also, flights to Jeju Island can be had for as cheap as 35,000 won with specials. But average prices are about 65,000 won for flights departing from the Seoul area (Gimpo Airport).
Click out our post: How to Travel Korea by Train!
Accommodations are also priced reasonably, with motels available for as low as 30,000 won a night in some areas. Just be careful you don’t end up in a love motel or your trip could quickly get awkward. If you wanted, you can rent entire “pensions” (aka condos or vacation homes) for you and your family or a group of friends. An average four to six person pension will cost between 110,000 won and 170,000 won, depending on peak seasons and days. Keep in mind, many Koreans sleep on the floor, so some options won’t have beds. An alternative is to stay at one of the tons of jjimjilbangs (찜질방) in Korea, which are public bathhouses with large facilities for entertainment, food, and of course floors to sleep on. These typically run for a 10,000 won per overnight stay, and Yongsan’s Dragon Hill Spa in particular is a great location to check out for 12,000 won. It has several floors where visitors can play games, eat, relax outside, or read comics.
If you’re traveling, here’s Where to Stay in Seoul for Less than $50 USD a Night!
Gmarket is very popular for savvy Korean internet shoppers. For example, a pair of Converses run a mere 30,000 won on Gmarket. Clothes can be had for cheap at Dongdaemun if you know how to bargain. T-shirts typically start at about 10,000 won with a diverse selection. A nice blazer or jacket can be had for less than 100,000 won and custom made ones for even 300,000 won, so you can definitely get clothes for reasonable prices out here. Also, global designers like Zara and H&M have similar prices around the world. But for ultra high end shoppers looking to pay extra for quality and names, be sure you know of the added 18% tax on “luxury goods.”
Entertainment options in Korea have very reasonable prices for most people. Karaoke rooms (noraebang) can start at about 10,000 won per room (depending on size and peak/off peak hours). Professional sporting events have cheap tickets as well and can be bought for under 10,000 won per ticket. Movies start at 6,000 won for smaller theaters, with higher prices for better sound systems or even specialty theaters.
See our list of Unique Movie Theaters in Seoul, which includes 3D, 4D, couple seats, private chefs, etc..
Unfortunately, gyms in Korea can be quite expensive. Well, at least compared to countries where membership fees run a mere $30-40. The average gym in Korea typically costs at least 50,000 won a month and can go over 100,000 for a fully decked out facility. Membership at boxing clubs are usually around 100,000 won per month if you sign up for a multiple month commitment. For indoor basketball and other sports, there are facilities that can be rented out. If you have enough people, it usually costs about 5,000 won an hour or so per person. Tip: If you sign up for multiple months, prices are cheaper.
Generally, Korea is an affordable country to live in as there is a wide range of prices that can accommodate all different types of budgets.