Is Seoul, Korea Expensive…
… well that depends upon where you coming from. If you are coming from US, UK, Australia or any other developed nation then you would find Korea much much cheaper. But if you are coming from a developing country like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal etc. then it is definitely expensive as compared to your home country.
If you would want to know where Seoul stands in comparison to other cities across the world, then read our latest article which compares Seoul with Tokyo, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Bangalore for cost of living expenses.
For this article I’d comparing the expenses with Mumbai, India. First, we will talk about accommodation. As I come from Mumbai I feel the house rent in Seoul is equivalent to Mumbai rentals. For Rs. 20,000 to 25,000 you might get a 1 BHK flat in Andheri, Powai area of Mumbai where as in Seoul you might get a studio apartment or a house with 2 rooms for Rs. 20,000 ($500). So rent wise I feel Seoul is not that expensive. But if you need still cheaper accommodation then read our post on budget hotels or accommodation in South Korea - Cheap and Budget Accommodation in Korea.
Food, is definitely expensive. You can easily find Indian grocery here but you would end up paying twice or thrice of the printed price (MRP). An happy meal in Mc Donalds would cost you Rs. 200/- ($5) and dinner in any Indian Restaurant for two would set you back by Rs. 1000-12000/- ($30).
Clothes are cheaper. You would find decent clothing for Rs. 200 – 400 ($5-$10) (not branded) at Dongdaemun, Namdaemun area. Seoul could be like a paradise for females interested in shopping clothes and accessories. And trust me you would get the best designs, fabric, patterns, cuts n shades over here. Branded clothes are way too expensive.
Books, are expensive, almost double the price than what you would pay at Landmark or Crossword in India. So pack your fiction collection while coming to Korea.
Medicines, and a visit to Doctor is expensive too. A visit to a general physician would be anywhere between Rs. 100-400/- ($3-$9) and medicines would starts from Rs. 50/- ($1) onwards provided your company have covered you for Health Insurance.
Public Transport is again expensive as compared to Mumbai. The minimum distance in Subway or Bus is almost Rs. 40/- ($1) whereas in Taxi it is Rs. 100/- ($3).
Mobile phone is slightly expensive. A prepaid phone (including secondhand handset) would cost you Rs. 400/- ($10) per month whereas a new postpaid phone would cost you approx. Rs. 800/- ($20) per month for their services. International calling cards are cheaper. For Rs. 800/- ($20) you would get approx 300 minutes. And a VOIP service would cost you Rs. 800/- ($20) for 1000 minutes.
Internet is cheaper, much much cheaper than India. For Rs. 1600/- ($40) per month you get unlimited download and crazy speed.
Electricity, Gas, Heater, Water etc is equivalent or may be cheaper than Mumbai. It would come down to Rs. 1500-1600 ($40) per month depending upon the usage. But during winter the bill shoots up to almost Rs. 4000/- ($100) per month if you use the heater a lot.
Fitness is free if you get up early in the morning and go running to parks or go for hiking on weekends. Some parks have machines for workout which can be used for free. But if you have to join some Gym / Sauna then it might workout a bit expensive than Mumbai.
Haircut, would cost around Rs. 300 – Rs. 400 ($7-$10) for men and Rs. 400 – Rs. 600 ($10 – $15) for women.
Maids are appointed by hour. And they do all household cleaning, ironing etc. in that hour. For an hour of services they charge around Rs. 400 ($10) so instead of calling them everyday people call maids once a week. For detailed information on Maid Service you can check this article on KMK’s blog.
Entertainment can be expensive depending upon where you want to go. A movie ticket would cost you Rs. 350/- ($10) per head. And popcorn and all would cost you somewhere between 100-200 rs ($2-$5). Parks are mostly free but some might charge you for the entry if it is well maintained. Art galleries and museums would charge you some entry fee.
Education for kids is expensive and is a different topic of discussion altogether. But lot of kids study in Korea. So may be I am not the right person to answer this.
Well thats about it…. if there is anything else specific you want to know then just put a comment and I’ll find it out for you.. For more details you can also check my previous article on Cost of Living in Seoul, Korea.