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Cost of living in Seoul, Korea


If you are visiting or moving to Korea for the very first time, then you will find the information below very helpful. I have written this article keeping Seoul in mind but if you are visiting some other city or province this information would still be helpful to you to give you a fair idea about living in Korea. Apart from accommodation, the cost of living for food, travelling, maintenance is almost the same across various cities in South Korea.

Note: If you want to learn about the Cost of living in Korea for the year 2012 then we recommend that you read this post – Cost of living in Korea for 2012.

The Cost of living is giving below in three currencies – Rupees (India), Won (Korea) and Dollars (America).

The Cost of Living in Seoul Korea can broadly be divided into:

Accommodation

  • Deposit – Rs. 2 lacs / 5 Million Won approx ($5000)
  • Monthly Rent – Rs. 25,000 / 700,000 Won per month approx ($700)

Maintenance

  • Winter – Heater / Gas / Electricity / Water – Rs. 2,000 / 50,000 Won per month approx ($50)

Food and Grocery

  • If you cook at home – Rs. 8000 / 200,000 Won per month approx ($200)
  • If you eat outside – Rs 20,000 / 400,000 Won per month approx ($500)

Travelling using public transport

  • If you travel by subway or bus – Rs. 3600 / 90,000 won per month (including weekend travelling) ($90)

Communication

  • Local calls using Mobile – Rs. 900 / 23,000 Won per month ($23)
  • International Calling cards – Rs. 600 / 15,000 won per month ($15)
  • PC to Phone – Rs. 800 / 20,000 won for 3 – 4 months.
  • Internet – Rs. 500 / 13,000 Won per month

So per month you would be spending approx – Rs. 40000 / 1000,000 Won per month. ($1000)

Accommodation (and maintenance): The cost of accommodation depends upon many a factors – whether you are staying alone or with family, location of the house, room sharing etc.

For budget hotels or cheap accommodation in South Korea you can read our detailed post on - Cheap and Budget Accommodation in Korea.

If you are staying alone in an officetel or a studio apartment then your monthly rent can come to – 300,000 – 350,000 won per month ($300 – $350). For certain officetel you need not pay any maintenance like electricity, water, gas, heater separately. It is all inclusive (including dinner). But since it is occupied mostly by Korean students for studying you would not be allowed to invite your friends over or talk inside the room.

If you are sharing your room then your monthly rent as well as maintenance can come down to – 350,000 – 500,000 won per month. You are likely to share your room with a Korean family, Korean students or some other foreigner. Maintenance and food is separate but it will be shared between the room-mates.

If you are staying with your family then your monthly rent will be minimum 700,000 won per month ($700). Maintenance separate.

Alternatively you can post your requirements for an apt/room sharing on Craigslist and you will have people contacting you directly.

The cost of accommodation may vary as per location. Places which are 40-50 minutes distance via Subway trains in Seoul would charge you lesser rent as compared to places in the proximity of Seoul Metropolitan area.

Deposit (Key Money) - Except for officetel, for other apartment or studio you would be required to pay Key Money or deposit before you sign the lease. The key money / deposit could range anywhere between 2 Million won to 5 Million won ($5000).

Furniture – Most of the studio or apartment are sometimes furnished, but you can check for the following things before you accept the offer

  • Bed with blankets
  • Refrigerator
  • Washing machine
  • Microwave
  • Gas stove for cooking
  • Chair and desk
  • Room heater facility
  • Rice Cooker

Officetel are normally furnished with a bed, chair and desk, refrigerator. They may share a common kitchen, bathroom and washing machine.

Water – Water is a bit hard in Korea so some of you may not find it suitable for drinking. You may chose to boil it before drinking or use mineral water which is approx. 600 – 800 won (less than a dollor, Rs. 25 – 35 per bottle in a department store) for a 2 litre bottle.

Food – Certain food items like milk, bread, butter, jam, yoghurt, corn flakes, ketchup, tea, coffee, noodles, egg, raw chicken, Korean rice, onion, potato, fruits and vegetables are easily available in Korean department store. If you need to do shopping for Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Middle Eastern Grocery items then you need to visit the Foreign Shop and Marhaba at Itaewon. You might not get everything but you would get many Indian spices, pulses and food items for cooking. There is also a Nepal Street in Dongdaemun. Dongdaemun is considered as mini Nepal as it has many Nepali shops and restaurants.

There are many Indian Restaurants in Korea but they are a bit expensive. Other eateries like Mc Donalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza hut, Paris Baguette, Papa Jones, TGI Friday, Subway, Quiznoss, Sunshine Kababs, Lotteria and many other burger, pizza, hotdog and kabab joints are commonly found in Korea. Eating in any of these eateries can set you back by approx 4000 – 5000 won per head. And sorry no vegetarian food available. Most of the food items would contain beef or pork but you will get chicken items too in any of these outlets easily.

If you are a vegetarian / vegan then read our post on Can Vegetarians / Vegans survive in Korea

If you want to know more about Korean Food then read out post on The Taste of Korea – What do Koreans Eat.

Travelling – Public Transport is highly efficient in Korea. From Subway lines to buses you can chose anything for your daily mode of transportation. All you need is a T-Money card to travel. T-Money Card is widely accepted in buses, subway trains, cabs and taxies, Seven Eleven shops, Public telephone booths and many other places. T-Money card is available in any Seven Eleven shop for 3000 Won which you need to reload with money from time to time as per your requirement.

Communication – International Calling Cards are easily available at various convenience stores in Korea. But it is commonly found in shops that are run by non-koreans (foreigners).  Shops selling calling cards would generally have a board or banner with the words International Calling Cards printed in bold. This card is like a scratch card. It has a Card No. which you will have to use for making International Calls from a public phone or your cell phone. The card has around 110 calling minutes and are available from various companies for various denominations. Sky and Very Good are amongst the commonly used cards. Other economical option is to use VOIP (PC to Phone) services which works out much cheaper than calling cards.

Doctors – You will find English speaking doctors mostly at Haebangchon and Itaewon, but you will find English Speaking doctors in other areas too. Look for International clinic when you visit Korea. And it is important to have a health insurance else a visit to a doctor could be very expensive.

E commerce – Internet is the fastest in Korea as compared to any other country in the world. And Korea is very tech or net savvy. Ecommerce is a big business in Korea and you can shop most of your items from G Market – http://www.gmarket.co.kr/index_eng.asp. But to use this website you need to have your Alien Registration Card and a cell phone.

Drinking and partying - Most of the clubs will have free entry for foreigners in Hongdae (Hongik University) area. Where as in other areas like Gangnam they might ask for some cover charge entry. Beer and Soju would cost anywhere between 2000 won to 3000 won per draft ($2 – $3).

Alien Registration Card – Every foreigner after landing in Korea is required to apply for Alien Registration Card. This card enables you to open a bank account, procure a phone and do other important activities in Korea. You need to visit the Korean Immigration office with your passport, employment agreement, passport size photo, and 10,000 won for stamping.

Do not forget to carry a Universal Travel Charger / Adapter plug for charging your laptop.

If you are new to Korea then we also recommend that you get yourself acquainted with Korean Culture and various Community and Groups in Korea.

If you have any specific question about South Korea then you can post us your query on our Frequently Asked Questions about Korea page. But make sure you read the queries posted by others before your post your query.

If you need more information about Moving to Korea then read all the pages listed in that section.

Please note: For this post we have considered 1000 won equivalent to $1 for easy calculation.

Comments (119)

  • vinay

    A very comprehensive article for newbies in Korea. Good job.

    Reply
  • Rahul

    A very detailed and good information is provided
    Thanks Brijesh.. It makes it so simple for an Indian Visiting Korea

    Reply
  • iPod

    I was planning to go to Korea. And I have no idea everything about it until I found this post. Thanks for sharing this to us.

    Reply
  • Shalinder

    Great info and well maintained for a newbie to Korea.

    I am planning to move to Busan.. any ideas about it?
    Please email me.. so I can ask you few more general questions.

    Thank you

    Reply
  • Rockstar Sid

    I always wanted to visit foreign places. Where have you been to apart from Korea and India?

    After a deep research, I found Malaysia, thailand are cheaper too! But unsure of the environment. However, korea seems to be a better place to settle. Are you still living there? :)

    Reply
  • Brijesh Bolar

    Sid,

    I have been to Malaysia. Thailand not yet.

    Yes Malaysia is cheaper (than Seoul) and better place to stay (may be) as people speak good English over there. Plus it is very scenic. But then Korea is no different. Yes I am in Korea now and I like it so far. I also have plans to settle here. Korea keeps me busy wid something or the other. So I wonder that if I come back home I may get bored. :)

    By the way, I saw ur blog / site and you are pretty famous dude. I have been following Digital Inspiration religiously. Articles by Amit are pretty impressive. And now on m gonna follow you guys.

    M working on Android these days so would like to dig a bit deeper on ur site for the same.

    Thanks for bumping in..

    Reply
  • Mahim

    Fantastic!!! Almost all the infos have been elaborated. Thank you gentleman.

    I am planing to bring my family in an year or so. Only info which I desire is children education. My son is 4 (indian age) and goes to Junior kindergarden.

    How much should be the school fee including registration in an international school. Plz share the info.
    Thanks
    Mahim
    Ansan

    Reply
  • Brijesh Bolar

    Hi Mahim,

    Thanks for your comment. I really dont have any info about schools right now. But will ask a few people around and get their views..

    About the school I’d suggest your shoot a mail in the IIK forum and lot of families here would suggest you the right school. You can also do some search in their older post if someone has already asked questions on kids education.

    Best,
    Brijesh

    Reply
  • Rishi

    Excellent article. This article gives very useful information about living expenses there. Recently I got a job offer in korea, I am thinking about pros and cons of moving to korea. My main worry is about my wife , whether she can work there or not? Like she has 5 years banking experience, will it be easy for her to get job or some kind of english teacher job etc. It will be great if you can write something about this issue also

    Reply
  • Brijesh Bolar

    Dear Rishi,

    Thanks for your comments. Life is Korea is really great and you should not miss the opportunity of coming here at least for a few years.

    To be frank your wife will not get a job here as an English Teacher. It is too complicated here. But she can get job to teach about Indian Culture in various schools. It will not be a fixed job and the schools will keep on changing. But she will be paid decently. From what I understand there is an agency who takes care of this. I will find out the details and will let you know or will post it in my blog.

    Regards,
    Brijesh

    Reply
  • sudhir

    Can you please tell me some one can get the part time job like tution(2-3 hrs/day) in seoul,korea?
    and how much one can get paid?

    Reply
  • dietquery

    Hi Brijesh,

    Wd repeat what has already been said quite a few times across your blog’
    Bravo, excellent blog…you are doing a real good job..’
    As for me, I wd be shifting to Seoul in a couple of months with family…and have been searching net for info abt living in korea, education, accomodation, etc…Ur blog did help a lot in understanding the nuances of Korea living…thnx

    I am a nutritionist and freelance writer and was wondering if you could provide any relevant links for possible job opportunities.

    Also, education for my kids is a big issue as the international school sites seem very expensive as per Mumbai standards..a bit confused abt the process…guess will have to wait till i land in Korea.

    Keep writing and Best wishes,

    Reply
  • sangay

    Hi,Brijesh
    Ur blogs are quite helpful for my future plan. I wit my 3 friends are about to give our exam of class 10 on 2011 Nd Dan would like 2 complete our study in yongsan international high school in seoul on scholarship so as we are student so we are finding for a flat with 3 or 4 bedroom 1 kitchen Nd 2 bathroom wit the income of about RS 25000 Nd so can u find a place for me.

    Reply
  • Skaiprath

    Is it possible to work on a visitor visa in Korea?

    Reply
  • Muskan

    Hi,
    I read your blog and found it very helpful. I have done Diploma in Computer Science and currently working in Govt Sector. I want to visit korea. Is it safe to visit korea alone? I am an Indian girl, 21 yrs old. Do I have any chances of getting any type of job in here?
    Even if I dont get a job, What will be my expense for one week tour in Seoul including the fare from India.

    Reply
  • Brijesh Bolar

    Dear Muskan,

    Good to receive your comment on my blog.

    Korea is the safest country in the world. The crime rate is very low in Korea. Koreans are very tolerant people and mind their own business. They will not create any problems as long as you are not creating any problems for them. (You meaning the foreign visitor).

    Korea is a beautiful place and you must visit.

    Finding a job on your own would be very difficult and rather impossible. Koreans recruit on the basis of recommendation. They would hire someone from the network of their Indian colleagues and friends. But you can visit the IndiansinKorea website (http://www.indiansinkorea.com/) and subscribe to their yahoo group. They regularly get email in the group with some job openings in Korea.

    One important thing is that to qualify to get an E-7 visa to get a job here you need to be atleast a graduate (degree holder) and should have atleast 1-2 years of working experience in India. Otherwise you will be disqualified to find a job in Korea.

    If you are planning to come here for a week then your expenses would be.

    1. Lodging – $30 – $40 per day
    2. Food – $5 – $6 for Mc Donalds, Burger king, $7 – $10 for Subway sandwich, Indian set meals (weekdays), Korean meals would be around $5. If you are a vegeterian then it would be more expensive as vegetarian food is hard to find here.
    3. Travelling in subway / bus around Seoul – $1 for one way trip.
    4. Travelling out of Seoul to other places would cost you $50 – $100 per trip depending upon the trip you decide. Oh yes, there is one trip to Gyeongju by Korean Government which is free of cost (travelling) once you reach there you ll have to manage your own expenses.

    $1 is equivalent to 1000 won.

    Reply
  • Nitin

    Hi Brijesh,

    Thanks a lot to you for providing such valuable information about Seoul. It is really useful. I just landed here last week and obviously I read many of your posting on this blog (however I will be here for 3 weeks only). Thanks a lot again. You are doing a great job and it inspires other Indians (including me) as well to do the same.

    Jai Hind
    -Nitin

    Reply
  • Vijayakumar

    Hi Friend, the information you provided here is very detailed. Its very use full for 1st time comer to Korea. Great Job…. Thanks a lot

    Reply
  • Ankur

    Hi,

    I am having a very good friend from Seoul Korea,Since it had been a long time i didn’t met him, I am planning to visit him but unfortunately my family member don’t allow me to go there.Now while going through your blog, I found i might get a job there as i am having a good five years experience in software engineering(Microsoft .Net, SharePoint etc).Just want to know can i get a job there?

    Reply
  • Formica Sheets

    ;`: I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information *”`

    Reply
  • Oscar

    Great review…!..thanx

    Reply
  • Suraj

    Hi,

    I have an offer from an IT firm in seoul what is the average salary in USD needed to live a decent life with family in Seoul ? Please guide.

    Regards,

    Suraj

    Reply
  • Shashi

    Hi,
    Thanks for the valueable info about Seoul and Korea. Iam a SW Engg working in Blore India. I got a job in Korean company http://www.openobject.net in Seoul. I am planning to come to Seoul by next month May. Can you help me on working, accomodation for family and Career growth. I will have a bond with company for 1 year they are providing independent furnished accomadation.

    Reply
  • theKoreaGuide

    Dear Sashi,

    Seoul (Korea) is one of the most beautiful places on earth so definitely do not miss this opportunity to visit and work in Korea. Since your company is providing you with a furnished accommodation your expenses would be low as the monthly rentals are high. Make sure that the company is paying your monthly rent and it is not deducted from your monthly take home.. Most of the people I have met are very happy with the exposure they get in terms of work. So after staying in Korea for a year they have willingly extended their contract for many more years.

    Apartments in Seoul are very small so your family will have to adjust. Let me know if you have other queries..

    Regards,
    TheKoreaGuide

    Reply
  • Narayan @ Tech Blog

    Thats a nice collection of information. I think it would be useful for me when I visit Korea in the third quarter of this year. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
  • sheetal

    Providing independent furnished accomadation with 3000$USD, is it enough for family with 2 peoples.

    Reply
  • sheetal

    Please give some sites where to see the jobs for an engineer with masters in electronics degree and with 4+ years of experience…

    Reply
  • Prince

    I got a job in Samsung C&T. The office is in Seoul. I was told that my accomodation(500 Sq.ft) will be provided in Bundang. Kinldy let me know the following
    1. Travel distance/time/means of transport from bundang to seoul.
    2. 500 SQft would be a Studio flat or one Bedroom flat
    3. I was told that accomodation would be fully furnished. What would be the facilities will be provided
    4. I am planning bring my 10 months old kid, what are precautions I need to take before start of my travel.
    5. What are main items i need to bring along with me.

    Reply
    • ishtar

      I’m Korean_now live in Australia_

      you got a job at fantastic company!

      1. you can take subway or bus but subway will be more convenient as traffic in seoul is quite bad_it will take 30 to 1 hour I guess. From the end to the other end takes about 3 hours in total when travelling by subway.
      2.some of them have a bed room but mostly they are studio.
      3. yea facilities are provided, washing machine, stove, fridge, tv, couch-
      4. air is quite bad due to population density, if she has allergy then medication will help but even if you have to take her to the doctor, it won’t be expensive and government health care is quite good.
      5. you will get everything and more at cheaper price, but if you have a hobby in special field, maybe you can bring some equipment or stuffs.

      Reply
    • Raj

      Hi Prince…

      Congrtas….
      below are the answers for your queries…

      1. Travel distance/time/means of transport from bundang to seoul.

      It will take almost 1 Hrs form bundang to seoul.

      2. 500 SQft would be a Studio flat or one Bedroom flat

      It will be officetel…..no separate bedroom..

      3. I was told that accomodation would be fully furnished. What would be the facilities will be provided

      They must have provided list of the items covered in furnished list….like we’ll have bed,mattresses,pillows,dining table & chairs,sofa (small one),fridge,washing machine, mostly all utenstile for kichten……

      4. I am planning bring my 10 months old kid, what are precautions I need to take before start of my travel.

      please if you r planning to travel in between Oct to April…..do carry lot of warm cloths with u…as temp is too low…..and keep ready list of medicines & there uses with you…as here…most of the people do not understand english….doctors knows well but on week end u will not find doctors….it is very dificult…..

      5. What are main items i need to bring along with me.

      Bring indian spices…..and it is very much imp if u r vegeterian….as vegeterian food is very rare…..

      restt hings u can find here easily..little bit expensive…as compare to india….

      all the best…and welcome to korea…..

      if u need further info..u can drop email to me…rajendra.chem@gmail.com…..

      Reply
  • Ravi

    Hello.

    I got one phd offer from korea in daejon(jeonju)they offered me for 1million korean won.this amount will be sufficient led life?

    Reply
  • Anthony

    This is the cool and nice read. Your blog is published such that it is so easily readable and understand. I’m a lover of your blog post. Thank you for giving this info.

    Reply
  • isthar

    I think it’s a bit more expensive that that recently. You can’t survive with 200$ per month recently even you cook at home every day- it depends but I think the cost in this page is minimum_

    Reply
  • mrdon

    Quite nice info.Very helpful for me.Will visit this blog soon.

    Reply
  • Dhiraj

    Hello Guys,
    I got a job offer from Korean Company. These guys are offering me 16400 usd/yr.
    Is it enough for city like Seoul?
    Considering,
    >I am a vegetarian and don’t know to cook.
    >The accomodations is company provided.

    Any pointers will be highly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Raj

      Dhiraj…

      salary offerred to you is not sufficient for you…to live city like seoul..you are just getting 1370 $ PM..

      if u r a vegetarian and u don’t know to cook…u shd learn atleast basic things rice and dal & rotis……as vegeterian food is not available in most of the rest here…as all r korean rest which serves korean food and indian rest are very expensive…it will cost u alsmot 15$ for one time food…and these are very less in nos…

      As your accomodations is company provided no need to worry about it & pplz make confirm for maintainace bill and deposit money…who is going to pay for the same…

      further more i would like you to get confirm following points for your employer..

      - As mentioned above deposit & maintance by whom…if it is by you cconsider additinal $50 pm for maintance only…
      - medical insurance of you…& family if u r coming on family status…
      - your traveeling ticket by employer…
      - home leave,emergency leves,sick leave

      all d best….if u wanna more information u can mail me on rajendra.chem@gmail.com

      Reply
  • Awan

    I have got scholarship in korean university(Jeonju) they offer me 900$ per month. will it be enough amount to stay and eat. Can any body update me the living expenses there per month.

    Reply
  • Amy gutierrez

    Thanks this really helped :) just wanted to visit korea for 3weeks

    Reply
  • Sarah

    Hi,
    Nice site, I;m thinking of moving to Korea and this site is easy to read. It actually makes me feel at ease. I will be back
    Tidings,
    Sarah

    Reply
  • Ankur

    Hi,
    I have an assignment in South Korea with one of IT majors and they want me to work form Seoul and Busan for two years.

    So wanted to know the approximate living cost for a family of 2 (Me & wife). Cost with accomodation, Vegeterian grocery and commutation in Busan.

    Please let me know the total monthly living cost for 2 in INR or USD or KWON.
    I am a strict vegeterian and hope to cook food in home. Also, I plan to rent a 1-BHK full-furnished house near to subway for easy commutation to office.
    Thanks for the great help,

    Let me know ASAP as I need to take a decision fast.

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Ankur,

      The approx living cost for a family for 2 would be
      House Rent
      Seoul – 500,000 – 700,000 won ($500 – $700)
      Busan – would be defintely less as compared to Seoul. Around $400 perhaps.
      In Seoul if you are staying in a area near Gangnam or Sinsa you would have to pay a very high rent and the max you would get is a studio apartment.
      The best place for foreigners to stay in Seoul is either Haebangchon or Kyongidon at Noksapyeong station in Seoul. You will be able to get a furnished 1 BHK flat well within your budget. And this is the only place where you can expect to easily get a furnished flat coz mostly foreigners stay here and they come and leave South Korea frequently. Haebangchon or Kyongidon is in the centre of Seoul easily accessible by bus and subway.
      Cost of living for 2 should be around $1000 per month. (1000,000 won per month) but that depends on how you save or spend.

      Reply
  • Rajesh

    Hi,

    I gonna join Chonbuk National University, jeonju for an assignment for one year. I wanna know the cost of living for a single person (room on sharing basis with one or two).

    Which will be cheaper staying inside the University campus or outside Univ campus?

    Let me know ASAP.

    Thanking you in advance.

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Rajesh,
      I am not sure about the cost of accommodation in Jeonju.. But at any point in time staying in University Campus would be cheaper that staying on your own. The university campus rent would most probably be subsidized for students with no profit motive as such.
      Hope that helps.
      for more questions join the Indians in Korea group on Facebook. I am sure you will find Indians from the Jeonju area who will be in a better position to answer your questions..

      Reply
  • Ma. Rosario J. Mission

    Hello I’m Charry from the Philippines I’m 23yrs old. i just want to ask if you know where I can apply for a scholarship I want to study in korea.. any schools that offer best scholarship for international students ? i dont have enough money to study abroad so I find alternative ways. hope you can help me. by the way I’m taking up BS in Radiologic technologist. I’m on my 3rd yr level. ooh I have read your blog and it’s very much detailed.. thank you so much. till here. God Bless!

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Charry,
      Thanks for the compliment about our website. We’ll be really glad if you have found this website helpful and it help you achieves your dream.

      Regarding scholarship in Korea I would request you to read the following page in detail. It has very detailed information about Scholarship in Korea and the email id of the concerned person.
      Study and Scholarship in South Korea

      For other information about studies you can visit the Study in Korea website.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  • unknown

    uhm hi can i ask you a question if i want to move from new zealand to korean and I want to buy a house and property in korean how much money would i spend

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      I do not know the exact figures, but the property prices are around $7000 per square meter in a city like Seoul.

      Reply
  • tadashi shoji plus

    I merely wanted to leave a simple comment to state your blog was good. I discovered it on yahoo search right after going through a lot of other information that had been not likely relevant. I believed I might find this much sooner thinking about how great the info is.

    Reply
  • S Saman

    Hi,
    I got an offer from my Indian company for a long term assignment in Seoul.
    Monthly Gross salary offered nearly 3k USD(before tax deduction).

    I wanted to know the expense for 2 person(me & my wife) for 1 bhk furnished flat, fooding exp(if cooking in home), travel exp,Telephone/internet exp.

    What salary should I ask to save more than 2k USD per month after tax.

    Thanks in advance,
    S Saman

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      I guess your monthly expenses should be around 1 – 1.5K USD per month.
      Tax deductions are very low.
      To save 2k You need at least 3.5K per month (if accommodation is not provided) and 3K (if accommodation is provided and the rent is not deducted from your monthly take home).

      Reply
  • Minishan

    How does the taxation, health insurance and pension scheme work in Korea?
    I learned of the following deductions:
    1) Income and Residence tax: slab based taxation with 50% reduction possible for up to a maximum of 2yrs.
    2) Pension (9% of salary with 4.5% from employer and 4.5% from employee)
    3) Health insurance (5.08% salary with 2.54% from employer and 2.54% from employee)

    Assuming a monthly gross salary of KRW 4.5 million, can I know what will be my net monthly income after removing (1), (2) and (3).

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Minishan,

      This is how it works annually:
      National Pension: about 1,944,000 won.
      Health Insurance: about 1,465,750 won.
      Long-Term Care Insurance: 96,007 won.
      Employment Insurance: 247,500 won.
      Income: 4,310,512 won
      Resident’s: 431,951 won

      Check this site for reference:
      http://www.cyworld.com/dr_moo/3918137

      Pension sounds correct. And if you live in Korea under two years the money gets sent to your home country and paid into that system.
      The health insurance sounds right. Both systems are mandatory.

      Reply
  • Saquib

    Dear Brajesh,

    Thanks alot for providing useful informations. I would like to request you to please include information about schools for Indians with suggestion. Since Schooling is very expensive affair in Seoul, it is suggested that all kinds of alternative with Pros&Cons shall be included.

    You have been true guide for Indians visiting Korea.
    Once again thanks alot on behlaf of Indians, wish to work/visit there.

    Reply
  • MP

    I am looking at an offer of about 5million KRW per month. How good is that considering its a family of 3, wife myself and a 7month old toddler? housing provided for, relocation and airfare covered too. Tks!

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Average Salary in S Korea – 2.5 Million KRW per month..
      Average Salary in a Family – around 4 Million KRW per month..
      Monthly Expenses for a couple per month (considering your 7 months toddler) – 1.5 Million KRW (including rent for accommodation)
      So, in all I believe anything you earn above 1.5 Million KRW you will easily be able to save.

      Reply
  • Nafe

    Hi All,

    I am planning to come to Korea for a duration of 6 months or more and my office address will be in 206 Jeongja-dong, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea Area.

    Could you please suggest me that where can I stay and how much would be the rent in that area of one Studio Apartment/1 BHK Flat ?

    How much total cost of Living for 2.
    Thanks in Advance.

    Reply
  • B Veerakumar

    Hi,
    I got offer of 2600$/month in south korea and Accommodation,maintenance are provided by the company itself.The company is located at gyeonggi-do south korea.
    I want to clarify following my doubts,
    1.the monthly salary deduction like PF,tax
    2.How much i can able to save
    3. cost of living and food

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Veera Kumar,
      The tax deductions are very low so around $400 dollars could go towards deduction – tax, medical, provident fund etc.
      Your approx in hand could be around $2200 approx.
      Your Cost of living max could be around $700 – $1000 max (if you are single).
      But all depends upon your lifestyle.
      If your expenses are not much you can easily save half (50%) of what you get in hand.
      Food can be expensive if you eat out and cheap if you cook at home. For details read the article above..

      Reply
  • Berita Hari Ini

    artikel yang sangat bagi saya untuk mencari ilmu tambahan.. thanks bro.. mantep … :D

    Reply
  • Nisha

    thanks for the post! It really helped.
    I want to visit/move to South Korea, but I am unsure about the food there. I am vegetarian, so, regarding eating out, will I be alright? Or will I have to rely on home cooked food?

    Reply
  • sumit

    Hello

    thanks for putting so much useful information about korea.

    I am planning to move to korea with my wife. I will join as Post doc in yonsei university. It would be nice if you can guide me the accommodation charges
    near that area and normal monthly expenses. Also will it be possible to get job for my wife who has done MSC-BOTANY.

    Also is it easy to find rented accommodation in seoul?

    thanks…

    Reply
  • subhajit

    hi,
    i am getting an opporunity to goto onsite in south korea from an indian based IT company. What can be my expected onsite salary that i asked for. I will go with my wife, and didnt know whether the company provide any accomodation or not, so it may be from my pocket only.what can i ask after all this tax deductions.

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      To survive in Korea for a couple you would need around $2000 (including accommodation) or 2,000,000 KRW (2 Million Korean Won) to live a comfortable life. But then there are couples who manage their expenses below 1,000,000 KRW ($1000) per month including accommodation.

      Check this post – Cost of living in Korea 2012 for details.

      Indians working in Korea (with some Korean company) get an average salary of around $2500 – $3000 (2.5 – 3 Million Korean Won).

      If you company is not providing you with accommodation, then make sure that at the least they are providing you with the deposit money for your accommodation in Korea.

      Reply
  • zoya

    hey what about civil engineers ?? i mean its scope and all..though i m currently a student…but i want to get job there after ma btech

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Are you currently studying in Korea? For foreigners to work in Korea they should have minimum 1 year experience in their home country to be eligible for working in Korea and get a visa. Alternatively it will also help if you learn Korean Language.

      Reply
  • Rajasekar

    I am getting a salary of 2200 USD with accomodation and lunch on working days. How much tax will be deducted and how much money I can save after my common expenses in Seoul, South korea.

    Reply
  • Tony

    Dear All,

    I got an Postdoctoral offer from an Institute located in Yuseong-gu, Daejeon. I just wanted to know how much would be the monthly living expenses in Daejeon, if I come with my wife. I was told that rent for normal size semi furnished I bedroom apartment in Daejeon is somewhat around 300,000-400,000 Won, besides a monthly expenses of 500,000 won for two people. This means that total monthly expenses would be around 800,000-1,000,000 won/month which is about 800-1000 USD/month. Kindly advise how much would be the monthly expenses for rent, utilities and living with family. I prefer to live a moderate life and would be getting 2.5 Million won/month as salary.

    Hoping to hearing from u soon.

    Regards

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Tony,

      The information provided to you is correct. Your monthly expenses if you live a moderate life, cook at home should be anywhere between 800,000 – 1000,000 won (in Seoul, Daejon, Busan etc.).

      So the rest would go towards your saving. They are paying you as per average industry standards for salary in Korea. But I would recommend that you get in touch with a few postdoc candidates who are working in Korea and get to know from them. Please join the Indian Researchers in Korea group on facebook – http://www.facebook.com/groups/indianresearchersinkorea/

      TheKoreaGuide

      Reply
      • Tony

        Dear Brijesh,

        Thank you very much for the help. As you told that expenses would be in the range of 800,000-1,000,000 Won, I just wanted to know if Daejeon is as expensive as Seoul. My professor who offered me Postdoc position told me that housing in Daejeon (I will be putting up most probably in Sanseong-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon where most of Indian students reside) is bit cheaper compared to Seoul. So if it is cheaper than how much would be the rent and utlities (Electricity, gas, heating, maintencae etc.) charges only for a 1 BHK apartment. Also in general how much is size of the apartments.
        Thanks

        Reply
        • TheKoreaGuide

          Dear Tony,

          Daejon is definitely cheaper than Seoul only in terms of rental. Your other expenses – electricity, gas, heating. food, internet, telephone – would be the same anywhere across Korea.

          Please check this post where I have given the break up in detail:
          http://www.thekoreaguide.com/2012/03/24/cost-of-living-in-seoul-korea-2012/

          How can I answer your question about the size of the apartment? For that you need to get in touch with some of the students residing in that area. In Seoul you mostly get studio apartments for 500,000 won rental. For a 1 BHK the rental can be anywhere around 800,000 won in Seoul.

          You can post you queries on the IIK Yahoo Group. Here you will be posting your query to almost all the Indians staying in Korea.

          Regards,

          Reply
  • tracy chin

    Hi……this is a very good place to find alot of useful info about working and living in Korea. Good job!

    I am a Malaysian (Singapore Permanent Resident) thinking and planning to visit or stay in Korea for long time. I don’t have university education but have 15 years of woking experience in Singapore. Any suitable and available job for me?

    Regards
    Tracy
    tracychin88@yahoo.com

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Tracy,

      Thanks for your comments and I am glad that you found our website useful.

      You can check our post on Websites for finding jobs in Korea. I have listed the email ids of a few consultants out there.
      You can send your resume to them or apply for jobs at the Korean Job sites listed on that page.

      Hope that helps.

      Reply
  • Binyam Girma

    Thank you very much for the help, i read all the posts
    I am Ethiopian i have got an offer from Dongguk university for combined masters &phd program starting at sep 2012.The university will give me 300,000KW. I have no other financial means as i read 300,000KW is not sufficient for stay in Seoul & i have 3 years of experience as an architect in my country Ethiopia can i get any type of part time job while studying, if so how ? i need to come to Korea so deeply. what would you advise me?
    Thanks!
    Binyam

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Binyam,

      If the university is providing you with accommodation then 300,000KRW should be sufficient or if you are expected to pay towards your own accommodation then 500,000 KRW is what you would need to survive in Korea. You can stay in a hasukjib where they can provide you with a one time meal.

      It will be very difficult to say that you will be allowed to work on a part-time basis. But yes lot of people work parttime in Korea and these jobs are not that easily available. So you will have to develop some network / contact.

      I would advise that come to Korea and try do develop a network here. Initial few months you will have to struggle but life will be good once you stay here for a few months and develop your network and meet people from various other communities as well as architects in Korea.

      Think of it this way, that you are getting an opportunity to meet architects in Korea and show your work / talent to them. So something should work out if they like your work.

      Reply
  • binyam girma

    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  • Sharad Kumar Garg

    Sir,
    My name is Sharad and i am M.B.A passed out have good command over English language but entirely unknown to Korean Language, and want a good earning job in Korea, how does it possible and more then i haven’t enough time to learn Korean.

    could you help me please. One more thing sir, can you tell the Indian community in Seoul.

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Finding a job on the basis of an MBA degree would be difficult if you do not know Korean because all the communication would happen in Korean. So ideally if you cannot communicate what kind of job would you do. Unlike India, in Korea, English is not the business or corporate language. People communicate in Korean at work.

      Search for Indian community in Korea using google or facebook and you will easily find the link to the community.

      Reply
  • hajinasha

    Dear Sir,

    I got an offer to do my PhD in Sejong University which is in Gwangjin-Gu.I am a single person. My prof. offered me to give 800000 won per month. Whether this money is enough for my accommodation and food per month.

    Also, Can you tell me what is the cost of living in Gwangjin-Gu. How much rent I need to pay for my accommodation per month. Where can I find the Dormitory or house.

    More over, I can able to cook. Is it possible to save some money with in this stipend.

    How can I come from ICN airport to Sejong univ.

    can you help me regarding this.

    Regards,
    Hajina

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Hajina,

      800,000 won should be sufficient to stay in Seoul as a student. Almost half of your stipend would go towards accommodation. Savings would be difficult.

      You get airport buses from Incheon to Sejong University.

      Reply
  • Manisha

    I am planning to move to south korea with my 6 year daughter. Can you please guide me if there is india school and how much expensive it is?

    Reply
  • Manisha

    Thanks for your input.
    can I send my 6.6 year old daughter to International Schools to 1st standard. is it equivalent to india’s 1st standard education so that when I return to India I can get admission for her in india. What is the fee per month? Do I need to pay yearly fee?

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Manisha, I would not be in a position to answer that question. I would recommend that you join the Indians in Korea group on Facebook. You can pose your question out there to other Indians who are currently residing in Korea. It is a very active group and you will find your answers there..

      Fees in International school could be anywhere around $1000 – $1500 per month. So around Rs. 50,000 – 75,000 is what you’d be expected to pay towards kids education for one kid in an international school.

      Reply
      • mohan

        I got a work offer for Korea salary is 1300$ food and accomandation free I am a Indian.the salary is OK for saving or not.

        Reply
        • TheKoreaGuide

          If food and accommodation is provided then you will have minimum expenses. Your monthly expenses could be mostly towards – travelling, maintenance, international calling cards, internet, mobile phone, medical, grocery. So accordingly you should be able to save upto $700 if you keep your expenses to minimum.

          Reply
  • hajinasha

    Thanks for your answer!

    Reply
  • Ada

    Hi, Do you know if there are any pssibilities of exchange work for food and accommodation in Seoul? Where can I find it?

    Reply
  • Venkat

    Hi Could any one guide me on the tax applicable for a Bachelor and Family person in seoul.

    Thanks,
    Venkat

    Reply
  • stanley

    Hello
    I am Tanzanian, i am planning to come to south korea and study korean language but at the same time i want to find a job as i am nutritionist by profession, please help me with more information, will i be able to find a job in nutrition? and will i get part time job while studying korean course for one year?
    Thank you
    my email: kunambi2003@yahoo.com

    Reply
  • cristy

    Mr. Brijesh Bolar

    It was a great relief reading dis article of yours, i am pursuing architecture in Mumbai and have a wish to do job in Seoul. I would like to stay connected but via e-mails .So, please if you don’t mind e-mail me.
    thank you ^_^

    Reply
  • Sam

    Hi

    I am thinking to move to Seoul as i have got a offer of PhD in one of the University in Seoul, and they are offering me 1.2 million won. After reading the comments above i am afraid its not enough for living in the city like Seoul.

    Reply
  • Vin

    Hello. Very informative blog. I am an Indian based out of Dubai. I have an offer from a Korean company based out of Suwon. The salary range that we are discussing is in the range of 75-85k USD + furnished family accommodation. Is it worth to move to Korea on this salary? I will be moving with my wife and a daughter aged 15.

    Reply
    • rich

      Considering the biggest cost for people is housing, that sounds solid. I believe it is up to you if you belief that salary will be sufficient for your needs or not.

      Best.

      Reply
  • Dharmendra Kumar Yadav

    Dear Sir,

    I have got postdoc position in Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea, i want stay their with my family, I am searching house. i want your suggestion regarding housing near Hanyang University.
    Please suggest me what will housing cost per month near Hanyang University in UD$ for one septarte room including kitchen plus washroom.

    regards,
    Dharmendra

    Reply
  • Rajib Chaudhury

    Hi I am Rajib Chaudhury from India. I got an job offer in Kyoungki-do , korea in private company. They had offered me maximum 10 lakh indian rupees per annum as salary. Please suggest me, is this amount sufficient to survive over there and saving of at least 4 lakh rupees from this salary per year. Please provide the details of expenditure if we three as family (Myself, Wife and our kid) will stay there or I only will stay there.
    Salary is negotiable, still I can demand appropriate salary according to above mentioned requirement. Hence please suggest about suitable salary structure to survive and do saving over there as early as possible.
    Also please provide the distance of this place from seoul and mode of transportation, time related to distance etc. How the place is? Is it a big city with all availability of facilities?

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Rajib,

      Seoul, Gyeongi Do has the best infrastructure and is well connected via public transport system – express bus, subway etc. Expenses per month should be around $1500 to $2000 depending on your lifestyle. But since you would be moving with your wife and kid it may go upto $2000. Education for kids is very expensive.
      Most of your expenses would be on accommodation which can go upto $400-$700. If you can manage to find a cheaper accommodation or if your company provides one then your expenses should be low and then you would be in a better position to meet your savings target.

      Reply
  • Thepassenger92

    Hi, i have heard in seoul the electronic devices are far more cheaper, like a mobile phones, ipads, so far. So im from central asia and planning to visit korea, so which city do you recomend to get cheap used gadgets? For resale in my country, and can i use visa card there? Thank you beforehand.

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      I dont think so electronics are cheaper in Korea. But yongsan in Seoul has an electronic market that I am aware of and is pretty popular for both used and new electronic items. Dongdaemun has an market for used items and you would find electronics items for sale over there.

      Reply
  • Leo

    Hi,

    I have an offer from a Korean major at their Gyonggi-Do office. They are offering me around 5.3 ~ 6.5 million won (per month) plus a fully furnished free accommodation (3-BHK) plus one round-trip fare to home country.

    I’m planning to move along with my wife. Can you please let me know, if this is a good salary to sustain in Korea? Also, what is the average expense on food and transport for a family of two (since the accommodation is already paid by the company)?

    Thanks for the help in advance.

    Best Regards,
    Leo

    Reply
    • TheKoreaGuide

      Dear Leo,
      Expenses depends on personal lifestyle. But on an average people in Korea earn around 2.5 Million Won per month and they live pretty much well, where they have to take care of their won accommodation as well. 2.5 Million Won should be good enough for family of two.
      So for you and your family sustaining in Korea.should not be an issue.

      Reply
  • Megan

    Hi, I have a question. If I want to live alone in seoul and go to highschool is that possible? What wohld I have to do?

    Reply
  • wasim

    Hi dear
    Iam planning to go korea as a student I will do my mba from ajou university plz guide me can I bring my wife with me as a student in korea
    Thanks for your reply

    Reply
  • EZHAVENI

    Hi
    I have got my phd program in cheonju chungbuk -south korea. I am going to stay in international students hostel with common kitchen .I am going to prepare myself. How much korean won or dollars i need for my expenses along with dormitory?

    Reply
  • Sally Dae

    I’ve been interested in starting up a small business in Seoul, but as of yet, I’ve never stumbled across anyone who let me know how much it would cost to find a place to start said business, and would really appreciate if you could possibly tell me anything about it.

    Reply
    • rich

      Hello Sally,

      The paperwork itself won’t cost much (permit or business license) but best to get someone who can help you translate what is needed. I know the US Embassy has a division designed to help with doing business in the ROK (http://seoul.usembassy.gov/business.html) I have also seen similiar programs with the EU and would check other embassy sites as well.

      Depending on what kind of business you want to start will determine the location. If you want to do manufacturing then the areas around Seoul or in Gyeonggi Province are where a number of factories and unskilled foreign workers are.
      If you want to do more research or higher skilled labor related to science or technology then Daejon City is best for you. KAIST and some R&D places draw a number of international skilled labor in addition to Seoul.
      If you want to have a storefront then it depends on the size, the city, the area, and which street.
      If you want to have an internet business then I recommend an “officetel” which is basically a small studio apartment/office space and the zoning is such that your electricity bill will be dramatically lower than a residential area. You can live there and work there.

      Simple rule is the closer to Seoul/middle of Seoul = higher building prices. The farther away = lower building prices. If you are an internet based company then you can setup for a delivery company to pick up your items weekdays and sometimes Saturdays. If you have only a few orders that need shipping then you can go to a post office (limited hours) or ship it from a convenience store as many have setup agreements with shipping companies.

      Do you have a specific kind of business or a location in mind?

      Reply
  • Bhuvi

    Hi.. I’m from India … I like to visit Seoul, South Korea for 15 days to 1 month period. I want to know average cost of living for month.

    Reply
  • Manjunath

    Hello.

    Firstly , must say an awesome description about Korea ..

    I m travelling to Jeonju and will be staying ther for 10 days.
    Regarding accomodation our company will be taking care..
    I need to purchase some clothes, groceries , utensils, chochlate and hot drinks to my family. I don’t have any idea of how much it might cost for me to purchase all those things. I searched many sites couldn’t get clear idea about cost of all those things ..
    Can you please guide me with respect to this, so that it helps my currency conversion.
    I m from INDIA. If you give some glare idea of costs it will help me.

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply

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