Whenever I ask people about Korean travel experience, the first topic in the story will be “cost”. Particularly in this article, I will share with you some extremely useful tips for you to fully explore the most interesting things in Seoul without having to worry much about the trip cost. Seoul is expensive but there is no shortage of ways for you to freely discover and still save a lot of money. Is Seoul expensive to visit, is south Korea expensive to visit and are do you want to travel to Seoul on a budget (Seoul budget trip, budget for Seoul trip)? Let’s check it out our top 10 Seoul Korea travel tips (Seoul South Korea travel tips, Seoul Korea travel tips, Seoul travel tips, Seoul tips, tips for visiting Seoul) to saving budget during your trip to Seoul to find out the answer!

Gyeongbokgung palace hanbok
Visitors wearing Korean traditional costumes at Gyeongbokgung
cherry blossom in spring of Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul (1)
Cherry blossoms at Gyeongbokgung Hall
namsan autumn 2
Namsan Tower, the symbol of Seoul in Autumn
Myeongdong night market
Bustling street at Myeongdong neighborhood.
Gangnam district (1)
Gangnam, one of the most bustling district in Seoul
walking_down_an_alley_in_itaewon_at_night
Walking down an alley in Itaewon at night.
Fountains at Banpo bridge.
Spectacular fountains at Banpo bridge.
night-street-seoul-south-korea seoul travel blog seoul blog
Vibrant of Hongdae street at night.
Street-Food-Stall in seoul
Seoul street food | tips for visiting seoul
itaewon street food
Kimbap (Korean sushi roll) at Itaewon street, Seoul
Credit: 5 days in seoul blog. seoul-street-food-1533289916-1000X561
Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes), one of must eat foods in Seoul | tips for visiting seoul
best street food area in seoul,where to eat korean street food in seoul,where to eat street food in seoul333
Gwangjang Market

Budget for Seoul trip: Looking for cheap place to stay in Seoul

Hotel - ibis budget Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun
Ibis Budget Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun, with room rates from $50/night (You can check rates, reviews and book on Agoda.com or Booking.com). | seoul travel tips

The first Korean travel tip to protect your wallet in Seoul is to find the most affordable accommodation in terms of price and quality. Fortunately, Seoul has many such places. Hopefully the following information will be useful for those who are preparing to travel to Korea.

Budget Hostel/Guesthouse

guesthouse in central seoul
A guesthouse in Seoul center. | seoul travel tips

This is also a smart choice in Seoul for about $25 – $45/night, depending on whether you choose a single room, double room or dorminity room for a whole group of friends.

Hongdae Seoul
Nice view hostel in Hongdae
Bunk Guesthouse Hostel-seoul-korea
Dorminity room at Bunk Guesthouse Hostel, from $13/bed (You can check rates, reviews and book on Agoda.com or Booking.com). | seoul travel tips

Read more: Hotels in Central Seoul — Top 6 best cheap hostels in Seoul & best cheap hotels in Seoul.

Goshiwon (고시원)

Goshiwon has a very small area.
Goshiwon has a very small area. | seoul travel budget

Goshiwon is the smallest room type in Korea, it is only the width of a single bed or a small closet. People used to call it a capsule hotel. In Goshiwon, sometimes you have to share the bathroom and kitchen with many other guests. Goshiwon is usually suitable for university students in the provinces to Seoul, or who go on their business trip during the week. If you have a fixed plan to stay long enough in Seoul then think of Goshiwon as a really budget option. The price for such a room is about $200/month.

Goshiwon seoul.1

Jjimjilbang (찜질방)

Jjimjilbang
Korean Jjimjilbang | seoul travel budget

Basically, Jjimjilbang is a kind of public sauna that you often see in Korean movies, but Jjimjilbang is not bad at all if you lean back one night and learn more about Korean culture here. Jjimjilbang has a huge bedroom, you will see lots of carpets and people scattered everywhere, sometimes the wooden room corners are quieter.

review jjimjilbang siloam sauna seoul south korea
Jiljimbang seoul | seoul tips
Best jjimjilbang in Seoul The Spa in Garden 5 (1)
| huge room
p-Jjimjilbang seoul
You also can stay at Jjimjilbang | seoul south korea travel tips

I do not recommend you have to spend every night in your entire trip at Jjimjilbang but in my experience this is the most convenient place when you miss the car, have not had time to book a hotel or have to fly on a flight very early. One thing that will make you embarrass is having to be naked when using a public bath. If you compromise on this condition, Jjimjilbang is a very reasonable suggestion. The cost for a night in Jjimjilbang ranges from $10 – $15)/person depending on the place.

best jjimjilbang seoul
| jjimjilbang or Korean sauna
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| seoul south korea travel tips
review jjimjilbang siloam sauna seoul south korea
| Jjimjilbang is one of the choices to overnight. | seoul korea travel tips

To learn more about Jjimjilbang and the best Jjimjilbang in Seoul, please read here: Jjimjilbang Seoul — 6 best jjimjilbang in Seoul & cheap jjimjilbang in Seoul you should try.

Hotel

Lotte Hotel Seoul
Lotte Hotel Seoul | seoul korea travel tips

In Seoul, many types of hotels are built to serve tourists with an average price of about $75 – $100/night for a mid-range hotel. The price here is high and low also depends on the location of the hotel you book, the closer to the center, the busier shopping area, the higher the price. To find the best hotels you can go to Agoda, Booking or Airbnb to find.

Hotel Cappuccino, top rated hotel with room rates from $66/night (You can check rates, reviews and book on Agoda.com or Booking.com). | budget for seoul trip

Hanok (한옥)

Small House Cafe in Bukchon Hanok Village
Small House Cafe in Bukchon Hanok Village

Hanok is a traditional Korean style house with tiled roofs, pillars, doors and wooden floors. Hanok rents are around $40 – $100/night or may be higher depending on the quality of the house, services as well as festive seasons, peak tourist seasons.

A traditional Hanok wooden house.
A traditional Hanok wooden house. | budget for seoul trip
tips for visiting seoul
Seoul has a lot of comfortable and clean accommodations and the price is quite soft. | travel to seoul on a budget

Seoul travel tips: Use public transportation like locals

Subway

seoul subway train
Seoul subway

According to my Seoul budget trip (Seoul travel budget, travel to Seoul on a budget), first you need to have a card called T-money. With this card, you can use the bus and subway system of Seoul. Using T-money card will be convenient, fares are more economical than paying cash for each different journey. You can buy T-money card at stations or convenience stores like GS25, CU, 7-Eleven, Mini Stop, With Me or Buy The Way.

T-Money card with lovely Line character.
T-Money card with lovely Line character.
Transportation Cards
T-money transportation card

An interesting fact about the Seoul subway system is that it not only operates in Seoul, but also extends its network to other provinces such as Incheon, Gyeonggi Province, Chungnam Province and Gangwon Province. At the end of your trip, do not forget to return the T-money card to get a refund for the remaining balance on the card or other expenses of this card. Note some these tips for visiting Seoul!

inside seoul subway train
Inside Seoul subway train
Seoul Subway Metro Map English Version
Seoul Subway Metro Map English Version

Taxi

Taxi seoul
Taxi Seoul

Taxis may sound expensive, but in Korea the price is very affordable, surprisingly right? However, during the rush hours, taking a taxi seems to be an unwise decision on crowded roads, so many cars lined up in a long row. You should use taxi when you missed the last bus or subway to return to your hotel.

Bus

Shopping District Korea
Exterior of Seoul Express Bus Terminal

Another saving alternative is traveling by bus. In Seoul, there are many luxury buses, the fare is a bit higher but the bus stops at fewer points, is much more comfortable, quiet as taxi. In addition, there are many standard buses on the streets of Seoul, the fares also quite cheap. The bus is very convenient and significantly saves travel costs, but to traveling by bus, you must be prepared and skilled in viewing the map and schedule.

bus seoul
Modern buses
Seoul_Buses
Seoul Buses

AREX

arex_express_line_train- best way to travel to central seoul1
AREX Express Train

Finally in my Korean travel experience to travel to Seoul on a budget, I will suggest on how to travel from your hotel to the airport. The most popular and reasonable option is by AREX (Airport Railroad). AREX is a train that connects Seoul and Gimpo International Airport or Incheon International Airport quickly and cheaply.

Seoul Station - Transfer to Seoul Subway Line 1 and 4 from AREX line
Seoul Station – Transfer to Seoul Subway Line 1 and 4 from AREX line
arex_express_line_train- best way to travel to central seoul
Inside AREX train.

There are two types of trains: Express Train is a non-stop train to Seoul and All Stop Train is a train that will stop at 10 stations along the way. The price of the All Stop Train is usually a bit softer than the Express Train.

arex korea
| seoul on a budget
AREX train from Incheon Airport to Seoul center
AREX train from Incheon Airport to Seoul center

Read more: Airport to Seoul centre — How to get from Gimpo & Incheon airport to Seoul?

Travel to Seoul on a budget: Enjoy street food and Korean local eateries

Namdaemun Market korean street food (1)
Extremely attractive snacks waiting for you to “pick”.

The street food in Seoul is very affordable and taste great if you know where to eat. A tip to save money and travel to Seoul on a budget is to find local eateries and restaurants in residential areas. You know, the Korean grandmothers and mothers are the ones who cook these dishes, both friendly and truly local taste, both know about Korean life and culture and, importantly, the price is always soft, very soft.

seoul night market best night market in seoul blog.
Seoul street food at night
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Myeongdong street food
Namdaemun Market korean street food (1)
The Korean street toast with the inside is seafood, kimchi and egg covered outside.
seoul street food 1231
Octopus, sundae, sticky rice cake… at Myeongdong.
grilled lobster,myeongdong food blog,myeongdong food guide,myeongdong must eat,what to eat in myeongdong (1)
Grilled lobster

Sometimes, you come across small eateries that you do not know but are transmitted by tourists. That are eateries, food stalls, restaurants with only 10 to 15 tables serving customers. On average, a meal at these eateries is only about $3-$6/dish. In addition, the main dishes also come with side dishes, snacks, drinks that can be added, completely free without any tips. Some dishes you definitely to try:

seoul Hangaram,best street food area in seoul,where to eat korean street food in seoul,where to eat street food in seoul (1)
Korean cuisine
A delicious barbecue meal at a Korean family restaurant.
A delicious barbecue meal at a Korean family restaurant.

Dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥): The rice is scooped into a hot stone bowl, mixed with vegetables, eggs and some sauces. Simply, it is a divine mixed rice that saves us in our endless hunger. Koreans often scoop a big spoon of rice and eat it deliciously.

bibimbap seoul
Korean mixed rice.
bibimbap in Jeonju
| seoul travel tips

Sundubu jjigae (순두부 찌개): A hot soup consisting of young tofu, pepper sauce, spicy chili powder, clams, eggs and some other spices and vegetables. All are put in a bowl of stone then boiling, fragrant as soon as it is brought to the table. Each bowl of such soup usually comes with a bowl of white rice.

Sundubu-jjigae (Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Stew) (1)
| is seoul expensive to visit
Sundubu-jjigae (Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Stew) (1)
Sundubu-jjigae (Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Stew)

Kimchi mandu (김치 만두): Fermented Kimchi Dumplings. A dish called out usually has 10 small dumplings, dipped in soy sauce, mixed with vinegar and spicy chili. Each person eating 10 pieces is full.

Kimchi mandu
A portion of steamed dumpling on the plate is both fragrant and soft.

Chamchi kimchi bokkeumbap (참치 김치 볶음밥): Kimchi Fried Rice, pretty and deliciously fried mixed rice dish including chili, tuna, stir-fried kimchi, seaweed and an omelet on top.

Chamchi kimchi bokkeumbap
Kimchi Fried Rice

Donkasu (돈가스): Minced pork, battered and deep fried. People sprinkle on small meatballs with some sauce and served it with a bowl of rice.

Donkasu
This portion will help you regain energy for your long trip.

Mandu guk (만두국): Can be understood simply as a rice cake soup or dumpling soup. Broth with chives, eggs, seaweed, slices of beef and dumplings delicious.

Mandu guk
Mandu guk | seoul budget trip

Omurice (오므라이스): Korean omelette rice is very popular with diners. The rice is fried with a little seasoning and then wrapped outside is a very soft and thin omelette layer, sprinkled with a little red tomato sauce. The dish is simple but extremely attractive.

Omurice seoul
Korean Omurice

Ramyeon (라면): Ramen noodles are so famous, aren’t they? The broth is usually quite spicy, with a few more rice cakes, fish cakes, eggs or a slice of cheese covered on top, just like the Korean spicy noodle shops you often see.

Ramyeon seoul.2
Ramyeon | seoul travel budget

Your only problem when coming to Korean restaurants may be dishes on the menus is Korean language. Luckily, each dish has illustrations to make it easy for you to choose. Another way is when entering the restaurant, you can quickly see what the surrounding customers are eating to show the owner if you want to eat the same dish as them.

Samgyeopsal (Grilled pork belly BBQ) (1)
Samgyeopsal (Grilled pork belly BBQ) is a favorite dish, also the pride of Korean cuisine.
Korean-style curry rice dish.
Korean-style curry rice dish.

In addition, one of the useful tips for visiting Seoul (Seoul travel tips) to save money when travel to Seoul on a budget (Seoul travel budget, budget for Seoul trip, Seoul budget trip) and still eat comfortably, you can visit the food markets in Seoul. At food markets and night markets, you can eat comfortably with only a few US dollars, do not worry about the language barrier because when you like to eat any dish, just point at that dish or the seller can sometimes understand some English due to their daily contact with many tourists. Some famous and delicious snacks include:

dongdaemun-market night market seoul (1)
Dongdaemun market

dongdaemun-market night market seoul (1)

Gwangjang traditional food market44
Gwangjang traditional food market

Korean street food gwangjang market

Tteokbokki (떡볶이): Spicy rice cakes with a thick sauce, kimchi, fish ball and maybe even more eggs. Spicy rice cakes are often sold at street food vendors.

Korean street food tteokbokki spicy rice cake
Spicy rice cakes are sold on food stalls that you often see on Korean movies.
tteokbokki , korea1
Tteokbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes) | seoul tips
Tteokbokki in korean street food around the world
| must eat food in seoul

Odeng (오뎅): Fish cake skewers. Very famous in Korea.

Korean street food odeng fish cake
Odeng fish cake

Korean street food odeng fish cake

Twigim (튀김): This dish is quite similar to Japanese Tempura with sliced potatoes, eggs, dumplings, squid … breaded and deep fried.

Korean street food ojingeo twigim fried squid

Korean street food vegetable twigim
| seoul korea travel tips

Kimbap (김밥): Korean rice rolls are very famous. A large piece of seaweed rolls outside the rice with cucumber, spinach, carrot, pickled radish, canned tuna or slightly sweet taste beef inside. The dish is both cheap and full, truly Korean cuisine.

itaewon street food
Kimbap (Korean sushi roll) at Itaewon street, Seoul
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Kimbap | budget for seoul trip

Hotteok (호떡): Very cute Korean pancakes, lovely and fun to eat.

Hotteok cake-busan-korea3
Hotteok cake
Korean street food hotteok sweet pancake
Hotteok | seoul travel tips

Hotteok cake-busan-korea4

Continued reading…

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Living Nomads celebrates and is inspired by explorers and their passion for travel, curiosity about the world and unique points of view. Travel is eye-opening. Curious. Daring. Fun. We are here to help you travel better, cheaper & longer! Discover the art of traveling anywhere you want.

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