Often overlooked by its much larger neighbors, South Korea still offers an exciting cultural 180 from many western countries. While most foreigners here come to teach English, there’s plenty to take away from anyone looking to pass through. Seoul, like any global city, will be the most expensive. Venture outside of this megapolis however, and your costs will diminish dramatically.
Average cost per day: $50. Here’s what everyday items will cost.
Dorm bed: A typical dorm bed will cost around $12. A private room will probably cost double. For those on a super tight budget, Jinjilbongs (gender segregated saunas) will provide a sleeping mat and a multi-hour pass for less than $10. If you don’t mind crashing with a bunch of strangers on the floor, or just need to pass a few hours before catching a flight, this is a great option.
Bus Trip: Busses are your best option for inter-city travel between cities. Seoul to Busan, a distance which spans the entire length of the country, will be approximately $25. Buses to regional areas from your starting point are much cheaper. Planes and trains, while certainly an option, are typically much more expensive and when considering the amount of time saved, are not worth the added cost.
Standard Meal: Korean food is cheap and amazing. Any food that is not Korean food, errr, not so much. Unless your absolutely craving mediocre Mexican, stick with the Korean basics. Average sized meals should average $5-6. Splurge on a big Korean BBQ, not including any beer, and you’ll pay closer to $10.
Average Tour: Costs here vary widely. Most museums, gardens, and national parks are free, or less than $3. A tour of the DMZ however, can easily run more than $75.
Beer: Beer in a restaurant is cheap, but have a couple bottles and the cost adds up. A better option is buying your alcohol, and let’s not forget soju!, at a local convenience store. Korean beer averages 1.50 – 2.00. Foreign imports are closer to $3. South Korea has no open container laws. In fact, most convenience store put tables and chairs out for their customers. If the weather is good, take advantage of this cheaper (and better!) option. Who could resist all that resplendent people watching?