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!
- Seoul travel tips — 4 useful tips to visit Seoul on a budget
- Where to stay in Seoul? — 15+ top hotels in Seoul & best hotels in Seoul
- Seoul travel blog — The fullest Seoul travel guide blog first-timers
- Gangnam nightlife — 10 top & best bars in Gangnam, Seoul
- Where to eat street food in Seoul? — 9+ famous, must eat places & best food market in Seoul
Budget for Seoul trip: Looking for cheap place to stay in Seoul
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 to find.
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.
Seoul travel tips: Use public transportation like locals
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Travel to Seoul on a budget: Enjoy street food and Korean local eateries
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Donkasu (돈가스): Minced pork, battered and deep fried. People sprinkle on small meatballs with some sauce and served it with a bowl of rice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Odeng (오뎅): Fish cake skewers. Very famous in Korea.
Twigim (튀김): This dish is quite similar to Japanese Tempura with sliced potatoes, eggs, dumplings, squid … breaded and deep fried.
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.
Hotteok (호떡): Very cute Korean pancakes, lovely and fun to eat.