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What is the Average Cost of Living in Seoul?

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What is the Average Cost of Living in Seoul?

Living in Seoul can be a fantastic experience. As the capital of South Korea, Seoul is home to a variety of cultural activities, world-class dining experiences and some of the world’s most modern architectural wonders. But, with all of this comes a price tag – what is the average cost of living in Seoul?

This guide will answer this question and explore different aspects of living costs in Seoul, such as rental costs, transportation expenses, shopping and dining out. By the end of the article, you’ll know if living in Seoul is affordable for you and your budget.

Rental Costs in Seoul

Whether you’re looking for an apartment or a house, the cost of rent in Seoul is quite high compared to other parts of South Korea, and even other cities around the world.

According to’s Cost of Living in Seoul page, the average rental cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Seoul is 897,861 KRW (or approximately 760 USD). A three-bedroom apartment will cost on average 1,547,742 KRW (1,318 USD).

These prices will fluctuate depending on the area and neighborhood you’re looking to live in. For instance, if you’re looking to live in a more affluent part of Seoul, such as Gangnam or Seocha, you can expect to pay more for rent. Additionally, these prices assume a long-term contract – short-term and “daily-rent” accommodations are likely to cost more.

Transportation Costs in Seoul

The cost of transportation in Seoul is relatively reasonable compared to more affluent cities around the world. However, if you plan on using multiple forms of transportation like taxi rides, buses and subway fares for your daily commutes, you can expect those costs to add up.

The base fare for the subway (called the metro in Seoul) is 1,250 KRW (approximately 1 USD). The fare is then multiplied depending on how many zones you will be traveling across. A cab ride within the city has an initial fare that starts at 3,000 KRW (2.50 USD) and increases by 100 KRW for each 144 meters travelled. Bus fares within the city start at 1,150 KRW (1 USD) per ride and go up to 5,000 KRW (4 USD).

Alternatively, if you like to bike for your daily commute, Seoul offers quite a few choices for bike sharing rides – with prices ranging from 15 KRW (approximately 0.01 USD) for 15 minutes to 30 KRW (0.03 USD) for 30 minutes.

Shopping Costs in Seoul

Seoul is every shopper’s paradise – there is an abundance of shopping centers scattered across the city, with everything from luxury department stores to small family-owned souvenir shops. Prices vary greatly depending on what exactly you are looking to buy – reading materials come at a low cost at second-hand bookstores while a pair of designer shoes can be quite expensive.

Generally speaking, grocery shopping in Seoul can be quite inexpensive. According to Expatistan’s basket of goods index, groceries cost 68 per cent less than the same items would in New York City. Additionally, organic produce can be purchased at a variety of farmer’s markets across Seoul. At these markets, prices are typically much lower than those found at grocery stores, although selection may be somewhat limited.

Dining Costs in Seoul

When it comes to dining out, prices vary from place to place – from street food carts to five-star restaurants. However, most restaurants in Seoul come at reasonable prices – it’s quite easy to find a great meal for under 10 USD. Korean staples like bibimbap and kimchi soup are especially inexpensive, costing between 5 USD and 7 USD per dish. Additionally, food delivery services like Baedal Minjok allow users to order restaurant meals straight from their homes, at no extra cost compared to actually eating at a restaurant!


Based on our research, the average cost of living in Seoul is relatively high compared to other parts of South Korea, but still quite reasonable compared to other major cities around the world. When it comes down to it, living costs depend on your lifestyle – if you live frugally and take advantage of public transportation you can keep your costs low. However, if you enjoy going out for dinners and shopping then it may be difficult to stay within a strict budget. We hope this guide on living costs has given you an idea as to how affordable it is to live in Seoul!

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What is the Average Cost of Living in Seoul?

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