Prices in South Korea

Before travelling to Korea I was looking for a lot of practical information, among others about prices. I was wondering if it’s expensive there and I was terrified after reading articles that confirmed my concern. It turned out that South Korea is not a cheap destination. During my stay there I changed my mind a bit. Check why 🙂

The currency used in Korea is won (KRW). 1 euro equals around 1,334 won and this is the currency rate I will use to present prices. I will also divide the article into sections so it’s easier to show the cost of travelling to Korea.

Food

One of the first thing you will see when you start reading about prices in Korea is how much fruit cost. You look at the prices and start thinking how is that even possible that somewhere on the planet 1 kg of apples costs 5.20 euro and for oranges you have to pay 4.5 euro. During my stay there I tried to write down prices of different products. Let’s start with prices of products from a supermarket in the center of Suwon:

Noodles (depends on the size and type): 700 – 1,500 KRW (0.52  – 1.13 euro)

Spaghetti pasta – 2,500 – 3,200 KRW (1.88 – 2.4 euro)

Cornflakes 300-500 g – 4,500 – 9,000 KRW (3.38 – 6.75 euro)

Milk 0.5 l – 1,500 KRW (1.13 euro)

Milk 1 l – 2,650 KRW (1.99 euro)

Almond milk 1 l – 3,600 KRW (2.7 euro)

Yoghurt Activia (320 g) – 1,700 – 3,150 KRW (1.28 – 2.36 euro)

Cheese 230 g – 7,900 – 11,000 KRW (5.93 – 8.25 euro)

Sliced cheese 400 g – 6,800 KRW (5.1 euro)

Olives 280 g – 10,500 KRW (7.88 euro)

Eggs 10/15 pieces – 3,900/4,900 KRW (2.93/3.68 euro)

A sweet roll – 1,300 KRW (0.97 euro)

Kefir 0.5 l – 4,300 KRW (3.22 euro)

Grapeseed oil 900 ml – 5,200 – 10,900 KRW (3.9 – 8.18 euro)

Beverages

Instant coffee 100 g – from 6,200 KRW (4.65 euro)

Instant coffee 175 g – from 9,900 KRW (7.42 euro)

Can of iced coffee 240 ml – 700 KRW (0.5 euro)

Lipton tea 10 bags – 3,800 KRW (2.85 euro)

Korean tea 15 bags – from 4,100 KRW (3.07 euro)

Coca Cola 1.5 l – 1,880 KRW (1.41 euro)

Coca Cola 355 ml – 1,260 KRW (0.95 euro)

Coca Cola 250 ml – 850 KRW (0.64 euro)

Pepsi 2 l – 2,980 KRW (2.24 euro)

Soju 360 ml – 1,180 – 1,370 KRW (0.89 – 1.03 euro)

Arizona Iced Tea 680 ml – 2,850 KRW (2.14 euro)

Juice 2,5 l – from 4,800 KRW (3.6 euro)

Juice 1,5 l – 2,300 – 3,600 KRW (1.73 – 2.7 euro)

Juice 330 ml – 990 – 1,500 KRW (0.74 – 1.12 euro)

Water 2 l – from 850 KRW (0.64 euro) (but you don’t have to buy it, you can find free water alsmot everywhere)

Aloe vera drink 1.5 l – 2,000 – 3,200 KRW (1.5 – 2.4 euro)

Fanta 1.5 l – 2,400 KRW (1.8 euro)

Sweets

Oreo cookies 100 g – 1,000 KRW (0.75 euro)

Cake bars 210 g – 2,000 KRW (1.5 euro)

Chocolate cookies 120 g – 3,000 KRW (2.25 euro)

Packet of brownie (12 pieces) – 4,600 KRW (3,45 euro)

Chips 90 g – 1,000 – 1,300 KRW (0.75 – 0.98 euro)

Pringles chips 110 g – 1,980 – 2,800 KRW (1.48 – 2.1 euro)

Packet of 12 mini KitKat (136 g) – 4,400 KRW (3.3 euro)

Kinder chocolate (8 bars) – 2,500 KRW (1.88 euro)

M&Ms 40 g – 1,000 KRW (0.75 euro)

Dairy products and sweets are expensive in Korea. Actually there are not many local products of this type so most of them are imported. The same thing happens with many kinds of fruit. But it’s not that bad. First of all, prices depend on what and where we buy. As always during travels, it’s advisable to eat local food, it’s much cheaper. In Korea it doesn’t make much sense to cook on your own because eating out is not so expensive.

Restaurant and cafés

You can have lunch in a restaurant for 10,000 won (7.5 euro) and for 15,000 (11.25 euro) you will get really a proper meal. Portions are big so it’s a good idea to eat with someone. For a meal with seafood and roasted duck for two people in Seoul near Deoksugung Palace I paid 27,000 won (20 euro). Meals in restaurants also have many accompaniments. You will always get free water with your food.

Roasted duck and octopus. Two meals for 4 people.

Prices of coffee in cafés vary a lot. In Suwon I bought coffee (300 ml) in some places for 2000 KRW (1.5 euro). In Seoul prices ranged from 2,500 to 5,000 KRW (1.88 – 3.75 euro) depending on a place.

If it comes to other products, donuts prices in Dunkin Donuts start from 1,000 KRW (0.75 euro) and a portion of local ice-cream in Myeong-dong, perfect for 2-3 people, costs 9,000-15,000 KRW (6.75 – 11.25 euro).

Local ice-cream

Street food

Very popular and very diverse. In Myeong-dong, a popular shop[ping district, it’s usually 5,000 KRW (3.75 euro) for any street food. You can get a portion of chicken, fried shrimps, a pancake, fried beef and many other delicious things. In less popular districts it’s going to be cheaper. For a sweet roll with a fried egg near Deoksugung Palace you will pay 2,000 KRW (1.5 euro) and for five cookies filled with beans near Jogyesa Temple: 1,000 KRW (0.75 euro). It’s also cheaper outside the capital. In Suwon you can get a big pancake for 3,400 KRW (2.55 euro).

Street food
Street food

Transport

Public transport in Korea has really high standard. It’s not expensive especially if we take into account the quality.

A single ticket form Incheon airport to Suwon (an hour and a half trip) – 12,000 KRW (9 euro)

Metro ticket (one way, allows you to get to a selected metro dtation) – 1,250 (0.94 euro)

Plane tickets – I didn’t manage to go to Jeju but plane tickets for the weekend at the end of October from Seoul to Jeju cost 94.5 – 118 euro and I didn’t check them much time in advance.

Souvenirs

Souvenirs’ prices are also affordable. Here are examples of souvenirs I bought on Insadong:

Mug – 9,000 KRW (6.75 euro)

Magnet – 2,000 KRW (1.5 euro)

Set of chopstick – 5,000 – 6,000 KRW (3.75 – 4.5 euro)

Postcard – 1,000 KRW (0.75 euro)

Stamp to Europe – 700 KRW (0.52 euro)

Bookmark – 2,000 KRW (1.5 euro)

Sightseeing

A big advantage of Korea are cheap tickets to the msot important tourist attractions. Some of them are even free of charge:

Entrance ticket to Deoksugung Palace – 1,000 KRW (0.75 euro)

Ticket to Changedok Palace + visiting Secret Garden with a guide  – 3,000 + 5,000 KRW (2.25 + 3.75 euro)

Moomin exposition in Arts Center – 13,000 KRW  (9.75 euro)

Clothes and cosmetics

I have already mentioned in the summary of my trip that Korea is a perfect place for shopping. Shops with cosmetics make lots of discounts so you can buy stuff with a really good price. The same goes for clothes and accessories. I didn’t really buy much cosmetic and clothes but I can give you some examples:

Lip tint – 8,000 KRW (6 euro)

Hand cream (2x 30ml) – 5,600 (4.2 euro)

Face mask – 1,000 KRW (0.75 euro), set of 20: 10,000 KRW (7,5 euro)

Socks – 1,000 KRW (0.75 euro)

Bags and backpacks – around 10,000 KRW (7.5 euro) (this is how much my backpack with a map cost)

It’s not a joke 🙂 In Korea you can buy socks with possibly all characters from cartoon movies. they are also warm and comfortable!
A backpack with a map. It may not be the best quality but it was to beautiful to not to buy it 🙂

Is South Korea expensive? Yes. However there are also things with affordable prices. Entrance tickets to tourist attractions are not expensive and many of them are even free of charge. Souvenirs (maybe apart from postcards) have good prices. You can also find cosmetics and clothes in a good offer. All in all, Korea is not that bad if it comes to travelling cost 🙂

 

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