How to Find Super Cheap Housing in Korea – Seoulistic

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!

If you want some professional help, try They’ll help find short to long term housing as well as deal with all the paperwork so you don’t have to.

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.

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!

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Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.


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  2. nergin says:

    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.

  3. Tina says:

    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

  4. Tina says:

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

  5. Nura says:

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

    • Anne-Marie says:

      Definitely don’t have to be a student to stay in all Goshiwons. I lived in a Goshiwon for three months in Busan in 2017. there were several non students staying there. One guy was a tradesman down from Seoul for a big tiling job in Busan (he spoke English so I got all the tips from him).

      The Goshiwon is really squashy but also really cheap, safe and private. My biggest tips are:
      1) be ready for a hard (like HARD) mattress and buy yourself a pillow/cushion
      2) boxes/trays to organise your stuff helps you make better use of the tiny space cos it’s easy to pull out the tray you need at the time (like bathroom/makeup tray; meals prep tray; study gear tray) or stash it to free up space when you don’t need the stuff.
      3) hooks! I bought hooks that could suction onto smooth surfaces and they were fantastic (I used them on the mirror and windows). I also had hooks that had hooks on both ends: one went over the permanently-opened cupboard door and I hung all my scarfs (winter!) and long neclaces off it and the other hooked on a ledge above the entry vestibule and I used it for drying wet stuff (undies, face cloth, cleaning cloth. I also had a stretchy clothes line I could hook from the cupboard door handle to the bathroom towel rack for drying undies. The rest of my stuff dried on the Goshiwon’s clothes lines.
      4) My shower was beside the toilet, with no shower curtain or divider so of course the entire 1 square meter bathroom got soaked every day. I bought a big plastic sheet (light plastic disposable table cloth, but a garden-litter-size garbage bin liner would do) to drape over the toilet cistern and toilet roll during showers. It cut down on my drying workload. I just hung the wet plastic sheet on a hook on the mirror after my shower.

      However, although the Goshiwon was adequate, I’m going more for a one-room for my next two-month visit to Seoul this year. And I’m bringing a blow-up mattress. my 50-year-old-ish hips didn’t easily hack the hard bed and sitting on the floor.

  6. Ran says:

    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..

  7. Thuy says:

    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

  8. Thuy says:

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

  9. Morn says:

    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?

  10. God says:

    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 🙂

  11. Atiq says:

    hi, i’m looking cheaper price bachelor flat if possible please reply me thnx

  12. Bam says:

    Ahhmm hi guys where can I stay in a cheapest rent room for a year near in Hanlim Multi Art School ??

  13. Mai says:

    I’m looking for a cheap place to stay for 30 days near Myeongdong, Seoul Station, or at least near a subway in Seoul for 2 people. Would prefer one with a kitchenette and laundry on site or in the unit.

  14. RK says:

    Hey there. I know this post is pretty old but I just stumbled upon it and found it very helpful. I have a question, though: is there an option to stay with a host family in Korea? If so, what is the proceedure? Do we have to look for them ourselves?

  15. Nicolette says:

    Thank you for the helpful article, Keith! It helped me decide which kind of accommodation i should get.

    My friends and i applied for a cute and comfortable Goshiwon recently through a student exchange platform. If any of you are interested, you can sign up as well! Here’s the link:

    We are going to Korea in Feb 2018 for our exchange and we are hoping to travel in a group with more friends! (:

  16. William says:

    Hi I am not a student ,or a short stay traveler. I am an older married man thinking about relocating to Korea, after retiring from my current employment. I realize that purchasing real estate in Korea is a complex matter. I still would like to relocate to South Korea in about two years. Purchase land and a home in a area away from major cities like Seoul etc. Have a dream of a home in an area that’s not so populated , peaceful and quiet. I am asking if you can recommend any real state firm that can be helpful in making my dream a reality.

  17. Sriyani says:

    I expect to coming seoul next July. I am married and I am student. I want to cheep rental house for living with my family.

  18. Sobia says:

    Hello please i want a chper rent house if it’s possible reply me

  19. Isaac lombeh says:

    can you please healp me with cheap aparment

  20. searen says:

    I will be coming to Korea around the 25th or the 27th of October this year I was hoping to find a one-room studio apartment or an officetel next to the SNU keep the price range around 500 to 650 USD per month and if it was pretty good I can pay more i can’t wait to hear from you
    with my very best regards

  21. oana fortu says:

    hy im looking to find a niece house in seoul as possible as central with a budget of maximum 1000 $ monthly and a depozit of 10.000$annually. im afraid of scamms .how can i contact you

  22. Journey says:

    Hi .
    I am looking for nice people to stay in my house. My house is in central and very safe but cheap area in Seoul. It is 4 minutes walk from Isu subway station (7 line) and chongshin university station (4 line ). It also is in 15 minutes walk from Sadang subway station (line 2). My house comprises two parts. One has two bedrooms and one common area and a bathroom. The other is like a studio with a kichenette and a toilet with shower. [email protected]

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