2022 Cost of Living in South Korea - Most Expensive and Affordably Priced Cities (2023)

2022 Cost of Living in South Korea. That will be the topic of today’s article.

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Cost of living in South Korea is one of several things that expats should be aware of before relocating to the peninsula.

Are you considering migrating to South Korea? The Land of the Morning Calm is a favorite destination for visitors from all over the world, thanks to its easy way of life, lively metropolitan culture coupled with laid-back countryside, and an affordable cost of living.

There are several practical considerations to make while relocating to South Korea. For example, if you transport home goods and possessions to the nation, you have six months from the date of arrival to collect your products duty-free. This includes personal automobiles as well. Anything that enters after the six-month period will be taxed, and if it is an automobile, it will be inspected.

(Video) 8 Best reasons to retire to South Korea in 2022! Living in South Korea!

Whether you’re relocating to South Korea next month or next year, this guide will teach you all you need to know about cost of living in South Korea to ensure a smooth and successful transition. We go through the most effective communication skills to avoid offending others, as well as driving and public transit tips and tactics to help you move around your new Korean home.

Cost of Living in South Korea

2022 Cost of Living in South Korea - Most Expensive and Affordably Priced Cities (1)

The average cost of living in South Korea is just fair. It is not as inexpensive as living in Laos or China, and it’s also not as expensive as living in Japan or Singapore. In general, the capital, Seoul, will have the highest living costs in the country. Everywhere else, expats may expect to earn a fair living and save a substantial portion of their earnings without having to squeeze pennies or live on a shoestring budget.

Is living in South Korea expensive?

The main living expenditure in South Korea, as is true in other nations, will be the rent or housing. While rates are not outrageously high, especially in comparison to other popular expat cities, expats should expect to pay 30-40% of their monthly wage for a quality apartment.

The Average Cost of Living in South Korea’s Most Expensive and Most Affordably Priced Cities

2022 Cost of Living in South Korea - Most Expensive and Affordably Priced Cities (2)

When comparing South Korean cities, expats will discover that Seoul has the highest cost of living. However, this does not imply that residing in Seoul is too expensive. Expats migrating to the nation have the option of paying more to live in expat-centric high-rises and compounds, or living on the outskirts of the city in more local neighborhoods.

Following Seoul, the other most costly places to live in South Korea are Jeju Island, Incheon, and Busan. The average monthly living costs for each location are shown below. On a nationwide scale, a family of four may expect to spend an average of 2,300,000 KRW (2,000 USD) each month on living expenditures (excluding rent). A single expat should budget 652,000 KRW (560 USD) every month exclusive of rent.

Average Monthly Cost of Living in South Korea for a Family of Four (exclusive of rent)

Jeju Island1,200,0001,000

Average Monthly Cost of Living in South Korea for a Single Expat (exclusive of rent)

Jeju Island540,000460

Please check the chart below for a look at the rent in each of the cities listed:

Three-Bedroom Apartment Monthly Rent

Jeju Island1,170,0001,000

One-Bedroom Apartment Monthly Rent

Jeju Island700,400600

For a look at South Korea’s cheapest cities, avoid the main urban centers and instead focus on smaller, mid-sized communities with fewer expats and more native Koreans. Suwon (south of Seoul), Daegu (near Busan), and Gwangju (in the country’s southwest portion) are examples of cities that suit this criteria while being expat-friendly.

Utility Bills

Utilities in South Korea are not prohibitively expensive. Please bear in mind that, with the exception of the internet, the majority of utilities such as gas, water, and electricity are provided by the government.

(Video) Most Expensive Cities to Live in the World | Cost of Living Index 2022

Utilities will typically cost somewhat more than 100,000 KRW (84 USD) each month.

South Korean Food and Alcohol Prices

The country’s grocery prices are pretty inexpensive. Expats may be startled to learn that a bottle of wine is one of the most costly products to purchase.

Sample Grocery ItemKRWUSD
One-quart of milk2,5002.15
One-pound of chicken breast4,8004.10
One dozen of eggs3,1002.65
One-pound of tomatoes3,0002.60
One-pound of apples3,5003.00
One-pound of potatoes1,9001.60
16oz of local beer2,6002.25
One bottle of wine16,00014.00

Costs of Eating Out

Dinner for two at a low-priced restaurant will cost around 20,000 KRW (17 USD). A decent restaurant dinner will cost roughly 56,000 KRW (50 USD).

Education Cost

The cost of schooling in South Korea varies according to where you reside and the sort of school your children want. International students are welcome to attend any sort of school in South Korea, including public, private, religious, and international schools. The most expensive choice will be international schools. Public schools are free for all kids, including international pupils, but keep in mind that your children will need to speak Korean in order to enroll.

Starting January 17 of this year, immigrant children aged 3-5 living in Seoul can receive education fee support equivalent to that granted to South Korean children.

Immigrant children enrolling in public kindergartens in Seoul will be eligible for up to 150,000 won (US$126) a month from the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. The entire assistance will be divided as follows: 100,000 won for daytime programs and 50,000 won for after-school programs.

Those who enroll in private kindergartens will get a fee support of up to 350,000 won, with 280,000 won going for daytime activities and 70,000 going toward after-school programs. Only children aged three to five with a foreigner registration would be eligible for education fee support.

Healthcare Expenses

South Korea’s public healthcare system is first-rate. Everyone must contribute to the scheme. The sum you pay monthly is determined by your gross wage. On average, you can anticipate to pay roughly 30% of your monthly wage to the National Health Insurance (NHI). On a national scale, this equates to around 120,000 KRW (100 USD) every month. In exchange, the NHI will cover around 50-80% of your medical expenses.

(Video) 8 Things You CAN'T do in South Korea

If you choose private health insurance, the monthly cost will be roughly the same as the public health insurance scheme: 114,000 KRW (100 USD). Although not as frequently utilized as the country’s national health insurance, many Korean people choose private insurance to augment expenditures not covered by the public insurance.

South Korea’s Public Transportation Costs

2022 Cost of Living in South Korea - Most Expensive and Affordably Priced Cities (3)

Single-use tickets are readily accessible in Korea, but most commuters choose to utilize T-money or Cash-bee transit cards. This is due to the fact that it simplifies your trips and allows you to switch between modes of public transportation for free if done so within 30 minutes.

In addition to public transit tickets, the money on the card may be used to pay for taxi trips and items in convenience stores and vending machines. Some cards also provide discounts at linked businesses.

For 4,000 KWR (3.50 USD), you may acquire a travel card at the airport (at duty free shops and airport banks), metro stations, or convenience stores. The card may be charged via ticket machines or topped up at convenience stores. T-money and Cash-bee are available across the country, but T-money is more concentrated in the greater Seoul area.

In terms of cost, public transportation in South Korea is inexpensive. In most cities, a single subway journey costs 1,250 KRW (1 USD), however in Busan, it costs 1,300–1,500 KRW (1–1.30 USD). The cost of a bus ticket ranges from 1,000 to 2,400 KRW (0.85–2 USD), depending on the type of bus you board. The cost of a night bus is 2,400 KRW (2 USD). Children and teens are eligible for reduced rates.

Taxis are likewise reasonably priced, with the regular daytime flag-down charge of 3,800 KRW (3 USD) and the nighttime rate of 4,600 KRW (4 USD). After the first two kilometers (1.24 mi), each 132 meters (433 ft) will cost you 100 KRW (0.09 USD).

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2022 cost of living in south korea, Average Monthly Cost of Living in South Korea for a Family of Four (exclusive of rent), Average Monthly Cost of Living in South Korea for a Single Expat (exclusive of rent), Cost of Living in South Korea, daily expenses in south korea, Healthcare Expenses in South Korea, Is living in South Korea expensive?, South Korea's Public Transportation Costs, South Korean Food and Alcohol Prices, The Average Cost of Living in South Korea's Most Expensive and Most Affordably Priced Cities

(Video) 10 Most Comfortable and Cheapest Country to LIVE in !


Which city is most expensive in South Korea? ›

The most expensive area in Seoul, South Korea as of October 2022 was Gangnam-gu with an average apartment selling price of around 2.28 billion South Korean won.

Does South Korea have a high cost of living? ›

The average cost of living in South Korea is reasonable. It is not as cheap as living in some Asian countries like Laos or China, but it is also not as expensive as Japan or Singapore. In general, the most expensive living costs in the country will be found in the capital, Seoul.

Why cost of living is high in South Korea? ›

The general prices of things are pretty similar across Korea, with housing being one of the big differentiators. The housing costs and security deposits are the big reasons why Seoul often appears on top ten lists of the world's most expensive cities.

What is the living cost in South Korea? ›

A single person estimated monthly costs are 953$ (1,246,091₩) without rent. Cost of living in South Korea is, on average, 5.30% lower than in United States.
Cost of Living in South Korea.
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)55,000.00₩
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)3,500.00₩
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff)1,609.34₩
63 more rows

What is the best city to live in South Korea? ›

Seoul. The capital city, Seoul, is another of the best cities to live in South Korea due to its eclectic nightlife, diverse cuisine, and large expat community.

What is expensive apartment in South Korea? ›

K-pop artist G-Dragon has broken the record for purchasing the most expensive apartment in South Korea. The Big Bang leader spent ₩16.4 billion KRW (approximately $13.1 million USD) on a penthouse at Nine One Hannam in Seoul.

How much is a 2 bedroom apartment in Korea? ›

In general, you should expect to pay around 1.5–2.5 million KRW (130,000–215,000 USD) for a small apartment or a studio in Korea. Prices for bigger accommodation start at about 4 million KRW (340,000 USD).

How much is a house in Korea? ›

The average price of apartments amounted to around 1.18 billion South Korean won, while the price of detached and row houses was about 941 and 334 million South Korean won, respectively.
CharacteristicPrice in million South Korean won
3 more rows
19 Jul 2022

How much is monthly rent in Seoul? ›

In February 2021, the average monthly rent for one-bedroom flats in Seoul, South Korea, amounted to around 510 thousand South Korean won, up from about 480 thousand South Korean won in the previous month.

How can I move to Korea without a job? ›

How to move to South Korea without a job? The best way is to get an F visa such as the F-4 (overseas Korean) Visa or the F-6 (marriage visa). Or you can try to get an investment visa if you have 100 million (90,000 USD) to 300 million KRW (270,000 USD) to invest.

Why is rent so high in South Korea? ›

Under the new real estate measures, the tax burden on multiple-home owners increased drastically and it has become untenable for many homeowners to have more than one property. As landlords struggle to pay the heavy taxes, some raised rents accordingly, while others decided to sell or move into their own properties.

How much does it cost to rent in South Korea? ›

Outside of the big city centers, rent can average from as low as $300 – $600/month usually for a studio or one bedroom apartment. In the heart of Seoul, you'll probably see rent costs of $800-$1,000+. And of course, the bigger the place and the better the location, the more expensive.

What is a good salary to live in Korea? ›

The national average salary in South Korea (2022)

The salaries in the country range from 983,000 KRW (819.46 USD), which is the lowest average, to 17,400,000 KRW (14,505.21 USD), the highest average.

Is living in South Korea cheaper than us? ›

The average cost of living in South Korea ($1062) is 50% less expensive than in the United States ($2112). South Korea ranked 53rd vs 6th for the United States in the list of the most expensive countries in the world.

Which job is best in South Korea? ›

Top 10 Ranks, What are the highest paying jobs in South Korea in 2022?
  • No.1 Corporate Executive.
  • Real No.1 South Korea Lawmakers.
  • No.2 Psychiatrist.
  • No.3 Plastic Surgeon.
  • No.4 Surgeon.
  • Tied For No.4 Obstetrician-Gynecologist.
  • No.6 Urologist.
  • No.7 Ophthalmologist.
6 Aug 2022

What is the safest place to live in Korea? ›

10 Safest Cities in South Korea
  • Jeju Island.
  • Gwangju.
  • Daegu.
  • Suwon.
  • Sinchon.
  • Myeongdong.
  • Gangnam.
  • Hongdae.

How much do I need to live comfortably in Seoul? ›

This may seem crazy, but with cheap rental fees and very high food costs, it isn't all that surprising. Overall, a student or worker living in a one-room apartment can live in Seoul for less than 1,500,000KRW per month. This cost of living can be easily decreased to 1,100,000 or 1,200,000 with some simple budgeting.

Why do Koreans live in apartments? ›

Jun of Chung-Ang University explained to me why Koreans prefer apartments. They have good security, parking, doormen, janitors, and plentiful access to public transit (bus stops are often named after the nearby complex). One needn't worry about a broken sink or light fixture—just call the building manager.

Who owns the most expensive apartment in Korea? ›

K-pop artist G-Dragon has broken the record for purchasing the most expensive apartment in South Korea. The Big Bang leader spent ₩16.4 billion KRW (approximately $13.1 million USD) on a penthouse at Nine One Hannam in Seoul.

How much does an English teacher make in Korea? ›

First-time English teachers in South Korea working in public schools through programs like EPIK typically earn monthly salaries between 1.5 to 3 million won ($1,150 - $2,650 USD). English teachers at private schools (Hagwons) earn from 1.9 to 2.4 million won ($1,600 - $2,000 USD) monthly.

How much is a car in Korean won? ›

Currently, 1 CAR to KRW exchange rate is 230.11 KRW.

How much is to buy a house in South Korea? ›

Looking at a national level, the average home price has increased by less than 100%, from around KRW 210,000,000 (USD 185,000) in 2009 to KRW 380,000,000 (USD 335,000) in 2020.

Can I live in Korea if I buy a house? ›

Can foreigners buy property in Korea? Korea is one of a few Asian countries where you can buy residential and commercial property without restrictions as a foreigner. You are treated on a similar level as locals, something that's rare for Asian countries.

How much is a meal in South Korea? ›

While meal prices in South Korea can vary, the average cost of food in South Korea is ₩30,541 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in South Korea should cost around ₩12,216 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner.

Do you pay monthly rent in Korea? ›

Expatriate payment methods

In popular expatriate neighborhoods in Seoul, it is common to pay in advance for the full contract period. After the advance payment, tenants do not have to deposit any money or pay any fees on a monthly basis.

How much does a house rent cost in Seoul? ›

List of prices in Seoul Current as of Dec 2022.
FoodUpdate prices
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in normal area₩1,635,570
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 2 people in 85m2 flat₩255,318
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 sqft) furnished studio in expensive area₩1,888,430
57 more rows

How much is rent deposit in Korea? ›

Instead of paying monthly rent, a renter will make a lump-sum deposit on a rental space, at anywhere from 50% to 80% of the market value, which is then returned at the end of the lease term. The owners make profit from reinvesting the jeonse deposit, instead of receiving the monthly rent.

What jobs can foreigners do in South Korea? ›

Job Opportunities in South Korea for Foreigners

In addition to teaching English, other sectors where expats will find a lot of opportunities are in IT, general office administration jobs, manufacturing, and careers related to health, science, research, and technology.

What is the easiest job in South Korea? ›

A teacher is the most accessible and great job to land for a foreigner. In particular, if you are teaching English in South Korea as a second language (ESL). It is the most common way to start a career in Korea. South Korea has a lot of demand for English speakers.

What jobs are in demand in South Korea? ›

8,000+ Jobs in South Korea (428 new)
  • Executive Assistant, Content - Korea. ...
  • Business Analyst. ...
  • Creative Writing Strategist - Korea. ...
  • Manager, Partner Marketing Creative - Korea. ...
  • Social Marketing Lead - Korea. ...
  • Analyst - Investment Banking & Capital Markets. ...
  • Customer Success Manager - APAC. ...
  • Corporate Events Specialist - Korea.

Do people pay rent in Korea? ›

Deciphering the Rental System

In Korea, however, rental agreements are centered around either the jeonse or wolse system. The jeonse system allows you to stay in your apartment without paying rent. The catch? Tenants must put down an enormous chunk of cash (also known as 'key money') before moving in.

Can foreigners rent in South Korea? ›

Renting Accommodation - Seoul

It's easier than obtaining a mortgage, and it's also much more affordable since land is so expensive and there are so many possible complications connected with foreigners purchasing a home in Korea. To rent is quite easy in comparison – all you need is a passport.

Is it hard to move to South Korea? ›

In general, moving to South Korea is easy as long as you are prepared before your arrival. Although the country has a long history of not preferring foreign migration, those sentiments have changed as Korea has started to welcome more and more international companies through its borders.

Why do people leave South Korea? ›

"The main reason why people are leaving are house prices," she told DW. "Prices are rising really rapidly and it's just too expensive for many people to live in Seoul now."

Does South Korea have good quality of life? ›

Korea outperforms the average in education, health and civic engagement. It underperforms average in environmental quality, social connections and life satisfaction. These assessments are based on available selected data. Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards.

Does South Korea have good healthcare? ›

The healthcare system and health insurance in South Korea is of extremely high quality, and expats will receive excellent care during their stay in the country. The only problems expats may encounter are lengthy wait times, even in emergency situations.

What is the average salary in Korea? ›

The average salary in South Korea is around 3,890,000 KRW (South Korean Won) or USD 3257.33 per month (as per the exchange rate in February 2022, 1 KRW = 0.00083 USD).

Is South Korea a good place to retire to? ›

🎧 Survey ranks Korea as 2nd-best Asian country to retire in

13 reported on the top countries for retirement based on the 2022 Global Retirement Index (GRI) released by the French investment bank Natixis.

How can I live in Korea on a budget? ›

Living on a Budget in South Korea
  1. Limit your meals out or eat at local restaurants. ...
  2. Set up a savings plan once you've established yourself. ...
  3. Limit going out to once or twice a week. ...
  4. Take the bus or subway whenever you can rather than catching a taxi.

Is it easy to get a job in South Korea? ›

There are plenty of requirements in various fields in South Korea. Job opportunities are now more plentiful than ever before. Prospects for finding work are not limited to just a few industries. It is not necessary to speak Korean fluently for some of these positions!

What is a rich salary in South Korea? ›

According to a survey conducted in South Korea in 2021, around 34.5 percent of millionaires surveyed stated that households with a minimum annual income of 500 million South Korean won or more can be perceived as rich.

What is the lowest salary in Korea? ›

The minimum salary in Seoul, South Korea in 2023 is of 9620 Won per hour, or approximately USD 6.73. Per month, considering a full time job, the sum is approximately 1.7 million KRW or slightly less than 1250 USD. This salary is effective as of 2020. More info available here.

How much is $1 worth in Korean? ›

1 USD = 1,299.350487 KRW Dec 14, 2022 02:30 UTC

The currency converter below is easy to use and the currency rates are updated frequently.

Where is the most expensive country to live? ›

According to the report, Bermuda is the most expensive country in the world. Switzerland ranks second on the list, followed by the Bahamas, Barbados and Iceland to round out the top five. Australia ranks at a merciful number 12, with an index of 77.75.

Is Seoul most expensive city? ›

But Seoul is a gorgeous city and one of the most expensive destinations in the world as well.

What is rich in South Korea? ›

According to a survey conducted in South Korea in 2021, around 34.5 percent of millionaires surveyed stated that households with a minimum annual income of 500 million South Korean won or more can be perceived as rich. The threshold to be considered wealthy increased with the level of wealth of the respondents.

Where do most Korean celebrities live? ›

These prestigious neighbourhoods are where the rich—including popular Korean celebrities—flock to.
  • Cheongdam-dong in Gangnam district. ...
  • Apgujeong-dong in Gangnam district. ...
  • Hannam-dong in Yongsan district. ...
  • Seongbuk-dong in Seongbuk district.
15 Feb 2022

Is Seoul more expensive than Tokyo? ›

The cost of living in Seoul is 14% less expensive than in Tokyo. Cities ranked 2834th and 2208th ($1460 vs $1698) in the list of the most expensive cities in the world and ranked 2nd and 1st in South Korea and Japan, respectively.

What city is most expensive to live in? ›

Shanghai, named the world's most expensive city in the world by Forbes in 2021, is an energizing city booming with business and billionaires.

Which city has the most expensive rent? ›

A new report from Zumper found New York City is the most expensive city for renters in the United States, followed by Boston, Mass., and San Francisco. The ranking is based on one-bedroom median rent prices.

What is the most expensive city to live in 2022? ›

You've probably noticed, the cost of living is going up, up, up. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the most expensive places in the world to live are New York City and Singapore. They topped this year's list of the 'Worldwide Cost of Living Index.

Is Korea rich or poor? ›

What does it mean for a nation to be rich or poor at a time of global pandemic?
RankCountryGDP-PPP ($)
30South Korea53,051
32New Zealand50,411
141 more rows
1 Aug 2022

Who is the richest girl in South Korea? ›

Hong Ra Hee is the 6th richest person and the wealthiest woman in South Korea in 2022. According to Forbes, her current net worth is a whopping $4.6 billion USD.

Who is richest man in Korea? ›

  • Jay Y. Lee: $6.6 billion.
  • Seo Jung-jin: $6.1 billion.
  • Kwon Hyuk-bin: $5.9 billion.
  • Kim Beom-su: $4.5 billion.
  • Hong Ra-hee: $4.3 billion.
  • Chung Mong-Koo: $3.5 billion.
  • Song Chi-hyung: $3.2 billion.
  • Lee Boo-jin: $2.8 billion.
30 Sept 2022

How much does houses cost in South Korea? ›

The average price of apartments amounted to around 1.18 billion South Korean won, while the price of detached and row houses was about 941 and 334 million South Korean won, respectively.
CharacteristicPrice in million South Korean won
3 more rows
19 Jul 2022

Can you meet celebrities in Seoul? ›

SM Town SUM Cafe

Likewise, you may also get to spot Korean celebrities who are there to have a cuppa while waiting for their idol friends to meet them. Simply head to 20-8 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea to visit the SM TOWN SUM Cafe and spot Korean celebrities!

How can I meet Korean celebrities? ›

Go to their concert and fan signing meetings, obvioulsy. If you want to meet them upclose you have to buy VIP passes for their concerts. A BIGBANg concert. SeungRi of BIGBANg in fansigning meeting and getting close to the fan.

Is it cheaper to live in Tokyo or Seoul? ›

Cost of living in Tokyo (Japan) is 10% more expensive than in Seoul (South Korea) How much money will you need in Tokyo? Find out with your own Salary Calculation.

What is better Seoul or Tokyo? ›

Food scene. When it comes to Seoul vs Tokyo, it's definitely tough to decide as both are quite the food-obsessed cities. While Seoul has the more accessible and exciting street food stalls, the dining options in Tokyo are significantly more diverse.

Is Seoul more expensive than Los Angeles? ›

Cost of living in Seoul (South Korea) is 37% cheaper than in Los Angeles, California (United States) How much money will you need in Seoul? Find out with your own Salary Calculation. This comparison is based on abundant and consistent data.


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