What is it like to live in south korea

cost of living

The average cost of living in South Korea is reasonable. It’s not as cheap as living in some Asian countries like Laos or China, but it’s not as expensive as Japan or Singapore either. In general, the most expensive costs of living in the country will be found in the capital, Seoul. everywhere else, expats can expect to earn a decent salary and save a good chunk without having to skimp on pennies or live on a strict budget.

is it expensive to live in south korea?

As is typical in most countries, the biggest living expense in South Korea will be your home. While the prices are not astronomical, especially when compared to other popular expat destinations, expats should be prepared to pay 30-40% of their monthly salary for a good place.

the cost of living in the most expensive and affordable cities in south korea

When comparing cities in South Korea, expats will find the highest cost of living in Seoul. however, this still does not mean that the cost of living in the capital city is exorbitantly high. expats moving to the countryside have the option of paying more and living in expat-focused resorts and skyscrapers or you can live on the outskirts of the city in more local communities.

after seoul, the other most expensive places to live in south korea are incheon, jeju island and busan. Below is a look at the average monthly costs of living for each location. Nationwide, a family of four can expect to spend an average of KRW 2,300,000 per month ($2,000) on living expenses (not including rent). a single expat can expect to pay 652,000 krw ($560) per month (not including rent).

average monthly living expenses for a family of four (not including rent)

city krw usd seoul 2,700,000 2,300 incheon 1,900,000 1,600 jeju island 1,200,000 1,000 busan 3,345,000 2,900

average monthly living expenses for a single expat (including rent)

city krw usd seoul 711,000 600 incheon 665,000 560 jeju island 540,000 460 busan 690,000 590

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To see just the rent in each of the cities listed, see the chart below:

monthly rent of a three-bedroom apartment

city krw usd seoul 2,600,000 2,200 incheon 1,170,000 1,000 jeju island 1,170,000 1,000 busan 1,170,000 1,000

monthly rent one bedroom apartment

city krw usd seoul 818,000 700 incheon 467,000 400 jeju island 700 400 600 busan 525,000 450

To take a look at the most affordable cities in South Korea, you’ll need to move away from the big urban areas and look towards smaller and mid-sized cities where there are fewer expats and more local Koreans. Such cities that fit this description, and are still friendly to expats, include Daegu (near Busan), Suwon (south of Seoul), and Gwangju (in the southwestern corner of the country).

service costs

utilities in south korea won’t add too much expense to your rent. Keep in mind that with the exception of the internet, most utilities, such as gas, electricity, and water, are provided by the government.

utilities will generally cost a little over 100,000 krw per month ($84).

food and alcohol prices in south korea

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Grocery prices in the country are quite reasonable. Expats may be surprised to discover that one of the most expensive items to buy is a bottle of wine.

supermarket item krw usd a liter of milk 2500 2.15 a pound chicken breast 4800 4.10 a dozen eggs 3,100 2.65 a pound of tomatoes 3,000 2.60 a pound of apples 3,500 3.00 a pound of potatoes 1,900 1.60 16 oz domestic beer 2,600 2.25 a bottle of wine 16,000 14.00

expenses for eating out

A dinner at a cheap restaurant for two people will cost an average of 20,000 krw ($17). dinner in a good restaurant will cost around 56,000 krw (50 usd).

cost of education

The cost of education in South Korea varies depending on where in the country you live and the type of school your children prefer. Foreigners can attend all kinds of schools in South Korea, from public to private, religious, and international schools. international schools will be the most expensive option. public schools are free even for foreign students, but keep in mind that your children will need to know Korean in order to attend.

Annual tuition for private education will range from 15,000,000 to 42,000,000 KRW (12,600 to 35,300 USD). international schools will start around 24,000,000 krw (20,100 usd). As childcare is not compulsory in the country, you can expect to pay around 250,000-500,000 KRW ($210-430) per month if you want to enroll your child. the younger your child, the more you should be prepared to spend.

If you are moving to the country to attend university, the tuition for a university degree will be between 2,000,000 and 5,900,000 krw. for postgraduate, the tuition will be between 2,500,000 and 7,000,000 krw. both krw average about $2,100 to $5,900.

health costs

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South Korea has an excellent public health system. everyone must pay into the scheme. the amount you pay each month will depend on your gross salary. On average, you can expect to pay around 30% of your salary per month for National Health Insurance (NHI). Nationwide, this is around 120,000 KRW (US$100) per month. in return, the nhi will pay 50-80% of your medical costs.

If you opt for private health insurance, it will cost about the same amount per month as the public health insurance plan: 114,000 krw (100 usd). Although not widely used in the country’s public health insurance, many Korean residents opt for private insurance to supplement costs not covered by public insurance.

travel and transportation expenses

transportation costs in south korea will depend on several factors. The first is: do you have your own means of transportation, such as a car or motorcycle? Or will you depend on public transport?

If you use your own vehicle, a liter of gasoline will cost around 1,460 krw (1.20 usd) or 5,840 krw per gallon (5 usd).

For public transportation, travel between cities in South Korea will range from 17,860 to 60,000 krw each way (15 to 50 US dollars). the subways within the cities will cost about 2,300 per trip (2 usd). Taxis start at a base fare of KRW3,500 ($3) and can go up to KRW24,000 ($20) for a thirty-minute ride.

For more information on transportation in South Korea, see our sections on driving and public transportation below.

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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