So, in the video above we talked about a few of the basics when it comes to comparing the cost of living in South Korea compared to living in Toronto, Canada. Overall, we found that subways, buses, taxis, eating out, and buying basic clothing is cheaper here in South Korea, while fresh produce and coffee are significantly more expensive here. There are a couple of other things we didn’t mention in our video, however:

Renting Apartments: Definitely, from our experiences, rent is significantly more expensive here in Korea. We’re not even talking about regular monthly rent here. The only apartment we had in Canada wasn’t in Toronto, but in Windsor. We paid roughly $450 a month for it. Yes, Windsor is significantly cheaper than Toronto. We’ll agree to that. Our friends living in Toronto, though, have apartments comparably sized to ours here in Bucheon, South Korea. They pay between $1200 and $1400 a month. Our apartment, we pay 900,000 won a month for. Yes, that is cheaper, BUT THERE IS A HUUUUGE DIFFERENCE: in Korea, you can’t just go out and “rent” an apartment. You have to put down something called “key money,” which is pretty much a ridiculously large deposit. Our apartment required a deposit of 20 THOUSAND DOLLARS. Yep. Just the deposit. Sounds ridiculous, I know! Supposedly it’s because it’s much harder to evict people in Korea if they don’t pay their rent, so renters are safer with large deposits down. When you leave your apartment, you get your deposit back, though, so that’s good. Just getting that 20 grand outright is prohibitive for a lot of people.

Also, we’re living in Bucheon, which isn’t Seoul. Why aren’t we living in Seoul? Because Seoul is insanely expensive. We looked into the Hongdae area for apartments. Found some half to a third the size of our current apartment. They wanted the same sized key deposit, but they wanted to charge 1,500,000 won a month instead. OH HELL! We’ve looked into apartments in the Gangnam area: really tiny apartments will set you back 2,000,000 won a month. FFFUUUUU. So, yeah. Renting is expensive.

Now, if you’re teaching in Korea, your schools usually cover the key money and the rent for you, so HUZZAH! That’s great. We’re not sure what it’s like for students. Anyone here a student in Korea? Let us know in the comments what it’s like.

Electronics: I remember, before we came to Korea, we thought that we’d have the most tech-ed out apartment out there. Everything would be Samsung or LG goodness: TVs everywhere, robot vaccuums, robot fridges, robot toilets. IT WOULD BE GLORIOUS! It’s not glorious. It turns out, supposedly, that the cheapest electronics you can get are from North America, even with products that are originally from Japan and Korea. Don’t freaking ask me why. All I know is that I’ve seen similar products in from Japan and Korea much cheaper in Canada. Why is that? I’d think that, without having to ship the product halfway around the world, that you’d save a buck or two. Nope. More expensive here. That sucks.

Coffee: OHMAIGAT! It’s not cheap here at all. Ever. You’ll find Americanos starting at roughly 4,000 won. You won’t find drip coffees. A Tim Horton’s double double for under a couple of bucks…GLORIOUS! Here, not glorious. Espresso based drinks are all the rage here. If you want a coffee that just got pushed through a drip machine: good luck with that. They’ve got “hand-drip” coffee, in which they make it for you by hand, and it’s delicious, but it’s, like, 5,000-6,000 won. AYYYYYYYY!!! So, yeah. We spend a lot of money every month on coffee. It’s so expensive here!

I’m not sure what else to add to the list. Food, coffee, clothing, transportation, electronics, housing. What else do people spend money on regularly? I’m sure if someone mentions it I’ll be like “OH! HOW’D I FORGET THAT?!?!” For now, though, I think we covered most of the bases.

Long story short, even though these things mentioned in the blog post are more expensive than what we’re used to in Canada, we still find that, on a Teacher’s salary, you’re able to save a significant portion of your earnings, since regular day-to-day stuff is not expensive, and also because your rent is covered by your schools. Yeah!

  1. vipbanaangel

    I SOOO want to live in S.korea but the key money makes me terrified D;
    Luckily, if everything goes as planned I will be having my friends as roommates and split the costs^^
    I really want to live in an officetel though because THEY’RE ADORABLE *^* Question is how many can live in it without getting on each others nerves xD

  2. The reason why electronics is more expensive in South Korea has to do with economics, and what they call dumping. Asian companies can make the products cheaper than US market, so they flood foreign markets with their products even if they lose money on each one. And then they make the money up with domestic markets, because at home they have no competition.

  3. It’s really unfortunate that coffee is so expensive! Can you get decent french presses over there to make coffee at home or is that something I should pack?

  4. I was curious about health insurance or how much it would be if you had to go to a doctor or hospital. Are prescription medication as expensive there as it is in America?

  5. I think it’s more expensive in Seoul than Jakarta.The fare for taxi in Jakarta is start from RP 5000,- (500won) and you can pay the busway transport only for Rp 3500 (350won) and the mineral water in Seoul is so expensive, for 600ml you have to pay 700won (Rp 7000 > price for 2000ml mineral water in Indonesia)

  6. Utilities and internet cost?? plz

  7. Korea is awesome compared to San Francisco. Public transportation in Korea is AMAZING in comparison. And I totally gear that the club gear is cheap :)

  8. It cost me more then that to live in Sydney. Coffee here cost equivalent to 6000-7000 won for a large coffee. I’ve once paid near 12000 won.

    My ‘Key Money’ is roughly 2 700 000. This will get deducted if the property is damage.

    I pay 500 000 won a week for my 2 bedroom apartment out in the west, 1 hour from the city. It’s close to a station which makes it easier to travel.

    Seoul is sounding mighty cheap right now.

  9. I’m in high school now, but I’m probably going to want to study abroad or maybe even live in Korea in the future. Here’s what I plan to do: Ask my mom to send me chargers and my family in India to send me cheap mangos (it wouldn’t spoil before it got to Korea, right?)

  10. is it expensive to import pc items to eouropa?

  11. What about cell phone prices (to buy initially and then the monthly cost)?

    • phone prices are basically about the same in any country, but i think a new law here makes foreigners have to buy their phone fully paid with cash. no credit cards, no anything and that kinda sucks. as for the monthly cost usually people will just register their bank account and the company will deduct the monthly cost automatically. the price range is so wide, but almost every people i know use the 30.000-35.000 ones. that usually covers free text, a limited amount of free calls, and around 500-800mb 4G data usage. omg this is so late lol

  12. Wow! I was thinking of after a while being a teacher or a translator for a company there in South Korea but I’m still thinking on what should I do if you can tell me anything at all that would be great I’m making everything possible to go to the US to study Korean and stuff and I already know English and Spanish so I think that’s a really big advantage. Love your videos keep on doing sucj a great work :D

  13. with just one job is it affordable to live in Korea, I mean are you straped paycheck to paycheck, or do the jobs there pay enough, depending on the job?

  14. Are kpop albums cheap in korea? Here its roughly $20-40 for an album depending (in stores)

  15. sorry for sendig you a msg about it T_T” i was just spamming, didn’t see that you spoke about that topic uhuh~

  16. How about utilities e.g. water, electricity, a/c, heating, internet, cable, etc. included in most apartments? Paid for separately?

  17. What about hotels… is there some place cheap in seoul for a week?

  18. Wow , your living expenses in Korea sounds more cheaper than Singapore .

  19. This really helps quite a bit. I’m planning to teach in Korea after college so finding out bit by bit about living expenses is really helpful. c:

  20. It’s possible electronics cost more due to manufacturing:

    Samsung: Creates products in Korea (better labor) ahead of market for their own country and is out at full price and labored in same country>
    USA wants it but at a lower price due to economy and asks it to be produced in China or Mexico. By this time, the product is dated and Samsung probably has a new one out

    Result: Cheaper prices in N. America

  21. I have a question related to expenses in Korea. What are the price ranges for internet and cell phone bills. Are they paid monthly, are there contracts involved, or is it pay as you go? Also how much would one pay for the cell phone device (a smart phone) and for the internet modem?

  22. Since you guys are moving to seoul now, how much was the key money for your new apartment and how much is your rent if you don’t mind me asking?

  23. How is it with jobs? Is it easy to get a job in Korea or not? Or just averege? And starting your own company then? Is it easy to get a job as a language teacher? I really want to know this since i’m determined to move to S.Korea! :D

  24. In London it costs £4.30 for a one way fair within one zone and at the most £7.50 if you go though nine zones (only two stops are that far out usually the most you will travel though is six which makes it £5.30) but this goes down a lot to minimum £2 and maximum £6.40 if you get an Oyster card.

    It’s pretty steep pricing if you have to pay the full adult fair. :(

  25. It is so unbelievably ridiculously expensive on the tramways here in Miami, FL… The two-way one-time tickets are like $4 per ticket. It’s soooo bad.. If you’re traveling with 3 or 4 people, it can easily be about $12-$16 just to get to one place and come back for the group.

    Your videos really make me hopeful that I could move to S. Korea one day! Thanks Simon & Martina. Always ever so helpful. And oh Meemers.. Why so adowwable. <3

    Maybe you guys could start a Sink Cat trend.. Dethrone Ceiling Cat.. After all, Meemers is a doctor.. Dr. Sink Cat ftw. :P

  26. Daaaaang the rent is expensive!

  27. You haven’t mentionned your expenses for phone bills and Internet/wi-fi bills. South Korea has the fastest Internet in the world I believe, but does that make it cheaper or more expensive than what you’re used to in North America?

  28. I live in Washington State, U.S. and I gotta say that it seems some of the prices for things like coffee in S. Korea are the same prices here :) I could deal with coffee for 4,000 won lol It’s almost $6 for 20 oz. here! On the other hand, $20,000 is a HUGE key deposit! Here we have deposit but they are equal to first and last month’s rent and a security deposit which is usually half of a month’s rent. Our deposit’s are usually somewhere around $2,700! Note to self: If I ever move to S.Korea…Be a teacher :)

  29. is it hard to find job in there? I’m planning to work there when i graduated, which is like in 3 years i think… and i don’t know how the work environment is like in Korea.

  30. quick comment, if you go to Gangnam in 설날 or 추석 (the big national holidays when you’re supposed to spend time with your family), it has the least people/cars you can imagine. Seriously, I saw less than 5 cars in the street. The road from COEX to Gangman (which is supposed to be one of the most crowded streets) has no cars. As you guys won’t be as royal to the Korean national holidays, it’ll be a new/special experience to see a quiet and car-less Gangnam. (I think it’ll probably be similar in other places which should be crowded, but I can’t say for sure cuz I’ve only been to Gangnam at these specific times)

  31. Expensive, not expensive… It really depends on the annual salary you make, no? How does it compares?

  32. TL:DR question I guess: Can y’all make a ‘How to Dance K-Pop Style 2012′ video? I didn’t find one for last year. Please, please don’t miss this year’s too!!!!! :)

  33. i had a question Simon and Martina ^^ apparently im only 15 (going on16) and in my family, my dad teaches us to plan for our futures and what to do, and since im going into my sophmore year, im really thinking about my career. I already have money saved in the bank to take a trip to Seoul once i graduate highschool. But for college, my older sister plans on moving to korea to teach spanish as a elective, and i hope to go to a college that will let me study abroad their. Im already learning the language for a while now, but i wanted to go to college to go abroad to learn the language fluently and possibly live their, but i dont think i could make it as a teacher. I was hoping in majoring in phototagraphy and Korean as a minor, but i wanted to do it abroad their. Is that even possible?
    Not only that, i wanted to live their even after finishing school, and once i finish obviously the school wont cover my expencises and where i’ll be living. So i was wondering, how was the billing?? Is is more expensive compared to when u lived in Canada? (im from wisconsin U.S.A and ur expences u had in canada sounds very similar to what we have in our home) so i wanted to compare to see if it was much more expensive, as far as i know the renting is WAY DIFFERENT XD but i was wondering like electric/water/etc bills were like???
    please let me know? thank u so much and take care ^^

  34. i had a question Simon and Martina ^^ apparently im only 15 (going on16) and in my family, my dad teaches us to plan for our futures and what to do, and since im going into my sophmore year, im really thinking about my career. I already have money saved in the bank to take a trip to Seoul once i graduate highschool. But for college, my older sister plans on moving to korea to teach spanish as a elective, and i hope to go to a college that will let me study abroad their. Im already learning the language for a while now, but i wanted to go to college to go abroad to learn the language fluently and possibly live their, but i dont think i could make it as a teacher. I was hoping in majoring in phototagraphy and Korean as a minor, but i wanted to  do it abroad their. Is that even possible?
    Not only that, i wanted to live their even after finishing school, and once i finish obviously the school wont cover my expencises and where i’ll be living. So i was wondering, how was the billing?? Is is more expensive compared to when u lived in Canada? (im from wisconsin U.S.A and ur expences u had in canada sounds very similar to what we have in our home) so i wanted to compare to see if it was much more expensive, as far as i know the renting is WAY DIFFERENT XD but i was wondering like electric/water/etc bills were like???
    please let me know? thank u so much and take care ^^

  35. wow great post. and how about expenses like electricity, water usage, heating? Ahh so good for the native speakers, they can easily find jobs in Korea. I have a TEFL degree but I am not a native speaker of English so Korean schools would never employ me :( sucks when you want to live in Asia :(

  36. If you would like to experience horrible and expensive public transportation, try SEPTA (South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority). It mainly serves the Philadelphia Area. The buses and trains are always late and the above ground trains are ridiculously expensive unless you are using a monthly commuter pass. They only come once per hour and a one way ticket from my university to the city center cost me $6 and the trip was less than 10 miles. There are also only two subway lines in the city. Luckily, I live in Japan now where the public transit is super efficient, although a tad expensive. I just think of it as paying for quality.

  37. Seems like things are pretty cheap over in Korea. I had a friend who went to Korea for two weeks and ended up over-spending by a lot (she ended up buying everything she saw) because of the cheap prices there especially the electronics and accessories. I’m surprised the produce are expensive given that they grow them in Korea. But then produce is really expensive in a lot of places.

  38. i heard buying a house is really expensive in Korea. Is it a good idea to invest in a house or are most people stuck with renting for the rest of their lives?

  39. Aside from fruits and veggies I can only imagine how cheap it is. And the coffee, drip coffee here (Finland) is usually 2-3 € and special coffees like lattes and espressos are 5-6€ (7000 won) and up, hell, even those would be cheap, lattes are mostly 7€ (9700 won) here.

    I was in London where a pack of 5 sock pairs cost £2!! That’s rougly 3500 won, in Finland those are 9700 won ON SALE. Most basic everyday clothing was cheap there, tops and t-shirts £2-3, you won’t find them below 10,000 won here. As a northern European, everywhere is cheap, even Central Europe (food) and America has generally especially cheap… well, everything. I should stop spending money here and just travel and hoard.

  40. Hmm, price-wise, Seoul sure does sound a lot like San Francisco, where I lived for a decade.

    About the electronics:
    I’m pretty sure the reason why Korean/Japanese products are expensive there is because they were made in Korea & Japan. Products that are exported then re-imported back into the country are NOT made in Korea or Japan, hence the manufacturing prices are cheaper, which trickles down to the consumer as cheaper retail prices. For example, if you buy a Samsung product in Singapore or Hong Kong, the retailer will give you a choice of one made in Korea, or one made in Malaysia/Vietnam/China. The price difference is incredible, and the quality also slightly differs. Another reason could be that domestic consumers are charged a tax that is not tagged onto the exported products (since tagging would increase the price overseas and inhibit spending). Domestic taxation helps the GDP and the overall economy.

    Hope that helps. :-)

  41. I’ve lived in Japan before, and believe me it is super expensive. Living in Korea is much cheaper and I think you get more for your money here. My friends have asked me this same questions millions of times and my answer has been the same as Simon and Martina’s.

  42. I’m not sure if this is a TL:DR, but it is something I have been curious about for a LONG time. I notice behind you is your stove/burners, but underneath it…what is that? It “looks” like a washing machine (looks just like my washing machine), but that would be odd to have it in the kitchen, especially under your stove…so is it your oven? Which if it is, then that is freaky to have a round door oven! Curious minds want to know. Well, at least THIS curious mind. 

  43. TL:DR question what’s the most embarrassing mistakes you have done since you moved to Korea?

  44. USE INTERNET SHOPING !! that’s the most practical way to buy things in Korea.
    you can buy almost everything and receive them in 2 days, in addition, delivery charge is only about 2 dollors.
    If you buys expensive things like 20 dollors, you don’t need to pay delivery charge in many cases.

  45. Hi! My TL:DR question i would be: why is you guys move to korea?? And how did you live there the first weeks? Did you live in a hotel before you moved to an apartment or what did you do?

  46. I am going to study in Seoul in just one month from now and be there for 2years or so. So I was planing to buy a new laptop, phone and so on in Korea. But not if is not cheaper in Korea then I might as well buy it here in Sweden instead. So my question is; Do anyone know if is worth it to buy here in Sweden or in Korea?

  47. You talked about what things cost, but I’d really like a basis of comparison. That is, what is the income per month for most people? Yeah the items might be cheap, but are people making enough money there for them to consider it cheap too?

  48.  We took one extra week before orientation ourselves, just to be on the safe side. We were a little familiar with the food and culture, but not the language (dumb… I know :P ). I did learn enough Hangul on the spot to read signs and such, but still had no vocabulary, so it wasn’t easy.

    If you try to find a place to stay outside big Seoul, expect to do a lot of hand waving to get understood. I’d also say you’re better off writing down things in English as they will have a much easier time understanding that way. :)

    • *EDIT*: I tried to search on websites before leaving Canada, but it was all in Korean :) I did recruit help from a Korean friend but even then, most places you have to go in person or call to get any information, which wasn’t doable for me until I was there, obviously :P

  49. I am retired military,so I have access to the comminsary and PX in the american military bases, I was wondering if ti woud be cheaper to go grocery shoping there for produce and stuff?  I do understand that not everyone has access to it.  I hope that someone that has access to it in Korea coud answer this question, I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks for this TL:DR it was great.

  50. I would like to ask for TL;DR

    How safe is Korea? Like in terms of theives, robbery, crimes, etc. Is it safe for a person to walk down the street at night?

  51. Can you explain the new KMRB internet censorship for videos, and what you think this means to Kpop? What do you guys think about it?

  52. its hard to focus on the video because Meemers is popping up everywhere. Irresistible cuteness!

  53. Is the average salary lower than in the US or canada as the cost of living is lower? How are the taxes?

  54. Is the average salary lower than in canada and the us as the cost of living is lower?

  55. Korean electronics are more expensive maybe because it’s of better quality, goods shipped to other places are somehow weaker in function

  56. I live in DC and the metro is SO expensive (metro/subway whatever you want to call it) 

    There are two different prices on our metro, the rush hour price and the every other other time price. During rush hour it’s SO expensive, to go four stops ONE WAY it’s 3/4 dollars, even not during rush hour it still adds up. If you actually need to change lines and go a decent distance you can end up spending 7 dollars! 
    Taxi’s in DC are crazy too, for a 10/15 minute taxi ride it’s 25-30 dollars not including tip. *sigh*

  57. I have been watching your videos for HOURS!.. i do mean hours what i would like to know is that you guys say you guys used to workout alot .. what i would like to know is what is it like in a korean gym? what are the differences that you see compared to what you are used to in canada or the states.. since we are so close together ya know?

  58. What do Koreans think about interracial dating? 

  59. Ive been looking at meemers the whole time.

  60. Hi! Can you do a TLDR on the Korean Age system? I’ve been really confused about that, because what i’ve been told is that your age in Korea is twice the age you are in North America, but then some people say its just a year older…..WHATS THE BIG IDEA O.O

  61. I’m definitely going to be giving ESL a try after my graduation in 2 years, and something I’m worried about is mandatory fees. How does taxes/ electric/ water/ etc. bills compare between Korea and America? Also, how much is things like vaccines and misc. doctor things? (Sorry my question is super boring! >.<)

    My biggest worry for when I go to Korea is devoting almost all my monthly (weekly? not sure what payment schedule ESL teachers get) paycheck to mandatory fees I have limited control over. :(

  62. I now have a new appreciation for mangoes. They’re my favorite fruit and I eat them all the time when they’re in season xD

  63. For the cheap stuff, like clothes and shoes I guess, do you guys usually haggle? I’ve been to China and I know you do that kind of stuff in subway stores/flea markets, but my mother just told me you can do that in shopping malls or like everywhere in fact…-.- But of course that’s China so how is it in Korea?

  64. hi guys!!! i have a question- how common is it to run into celebrities on the street? for example you met Gae-in on the street right? just wondering~

  65. Hong Kong!!! My usual subway/underground fare is like, $0.4 USD, 2km on a taxi is $2.2 USD, you can eat a whole dinner for around $10 USD. Apart from the price of realty, life can be gloriously cheap here.

  66. Woah! Thats so cheap! Bus fare here is $2.50 for a single trip (oneway) for a student. An adult single trip is $4.90. So 90cents is like sooo cheap! While 10 single trips = 1 multi trip which are 31.90 (adult) or 15.90/10.50 (student).

  67. I went to Korea last month and I really appreciated their subway system! I’m from Thailand, we have skytrain in Bangkok and the price is okay (25 baht, almost $1), but it doesn’t go all over the places like in Korea. And, I’m studying in England, had a chance to stay in London during my school breaks and even though their subway is quite nice but the price is mega expensiveeeeee! It’s around 3.xx pounds for single. (that’s probably like $5) and because London underground is quite old so it’s far too small for all the customers they have.

    And fruits! I thought when I was there we just went to the place that sells expensive fruits! (we went to Lotte Mart near Seoul Station) I have no idea that it’s generally expensive. I was craving fruits so bad when I was in Korea and I just couldnt bring myself to buy them (since I was there just for a month) and I kept thinking to myself that I will be able to eat loads when I get home in Thailand so I just spent money on a few bananas and apples. But yeah, fruits was really really expensive there :/

  68. What about books and CDs? Can you get the same prices for the North American stuff just in the korean version or is it more expensive and as you guys talked about the books shops where you could get English books. Are they super expensive?


  70. I’m living in Korea, It’s really interesting story to hear prices from another view! actually I’m not living Seoul, I’m live Daegu near Busan area. Every Friday, I’m taking KTX to go to Seoul for studying english. compare the two cities, Seoul is insanly EXPENSIVE!!

    Each city has each tranportaion fee. for example Daegu pay for transportation, 1100won not add money for distence. Food isn’t expensive. We have lot of street food and cheap stores around. If you go to the near university, you can see a lot of food is cheaper than another area.
    Food- compare than America, we have limited foods and comes from another country that means expensive. But we have our own food, seasonal. Also we don’t have to pay for tip or taxes comonly. compare than America, stores give us half size meal. therefore we don’t need to box to take left meal. It’s enough to eat all. smaller than America, cheeper then.
    Coffee- when I was visit Callifornia 6 month ago, coffee is cheaper than Korea. But we usally enjoy Latte or fruit juice or yogurt…not just coffee.. I was disappointed even starbucks has only one latte.. :-( Tazo? I can’t remember.. anyway we also feel that coffee shop in here is expensive but some personal shop isn’t expensive..not brand shop..I think why coffee shop is expensive that we enjoy the chat in the cafe with friends, we developed cafe culture, going to expensive.
    If you search more, you can find more cheeper things. Thanks for posting :-) 

    • Ah~~ I’m moving to Daegu in November to teach English! ^^
      How much does it cost to travel to Seoul by KTX? I have lots of friends in Seoul, so I will want to visit sometimes~! ^^

      At Starbucks in America, not all the available drinks are listed on the menu~ The baristas can make any drink special for you~! You can order a latte with any special flavor you want! ^^

      •  Oh~ I noticed haha may be next time, I will order more thoughtfully :)
        I have a tips for you taking KTX. First, take a train at weekdays because it is cheap! and then, bording 자유석 which means free seat! they don’t give you which seat you have to seat down, BUT you can seat LAST container just for Free seats. or you can seat it at conecting aisle of two containers, you can easily see the two seats. If there’s no people seat down, then you can seat it hahah.
        On weekend there’s no seat for 자유석. It has lots of people using that, they will give you general seats. :-( or if the every seats are sold out, you can get the 입석 which means taking by standing on. Terrible!! but if you line up fast, you can seat on the conecting aisle of two containers. :-)

        If you go to the DongDaegu station, you can find the lots of the machine for bording. I think that there will be possible to using english version. I saw lots of forigners taking KTX. That means you can do that also.  :-)

        If you want to more information, go to http://www.korail.com will help you ^^

  71. What about the costs of pets/pet items? (Along with this question – is there much variety in the types of foods you can buy for your pets? i.e. in North America, there’s the grocery store nasty pet food, good pet food, grain-free pet food, allergy pet food, raw pet food, etc…)
    And is it hard to find pet-friendly housing? Are there pet deposits with key deposits?

  72. Houses are expensive, gas price is high, clothing is expensive, and fresh produce is much more expensive than North America. Not to be rude but your comparison is totally off and not well-conducted because you’re looking only looking at very low quality stuff. Trust me, I’ve  lived my entire life there until I came to the states six years ago.

    • Well, they’re not exactly researchers in the area of prices, so it’s not that we take whatever they say as the be-all-and-end-all. That’s what the comments are for – for other people to share their own experiences. How about you tell us your comparisons, in a well-conducted manner? :)

  73. I was wondering if you knew the difference in pricing for like renting a “one room” or an apartment from the different areas. I know Seoul is the most expensive, so what’s the cheapest?

  74. Public transportation costs are getting hiked up all the time in the US, and usually to try to offset the budget cuts being made by the states. I used to live in the bay area of California, which is the general area around San Francisco and my daily transportation/commute cost for just using the train to get to my campus was $12.70 for a round trip ticket. Granted, I lived sort of far away (1.5hrs driving time, 3hrs public transportation time) from my campus, but I know friends who had to pay nearly as much despite living closer because they had to transfer from one bus line to another to get to campus. And costs were going up throughout the four years I commuted, too.

  75. Heeeey i live in Montreal and guess what? an adult pays like 2.79 cents haha, but im a student so i pay like 1.50 per ticket MUAHAHAHHA

  76. I live in Shanghai and I have to say that out of all East Asia, China is the cheapest. Full meals from actual family restaurants don’t cost more than $2 (and I mean like a full plate of delicious Chinese food). Even McD’s and KFC are around $3 for a meal instead of $5. Produce is AWESOMELY cheap: you can get a watermelon for about $1.50. Not joking. But there is also the same issue of it only being seasonal. This spring when strawberries were in season I was buying around 2kg of strawberries for $1.
    And don’t get me started on the public transportation: Buses for 20cents, Metro starts at 50cents and will never hit more than $1. Taxis start at $2 and for an hour drive it won’t cost more than $10 (but that is in Shanghai, not like an hour road trip outside the city). Even the rickshaws and scooters will only charge $2 for anything within 5km.
    And the clothing…I have bought so much clothing that I don’t think I have room anymore. Like Martina said, the quality maybe cheap, but I have honed my skills and can find really good quality clothing for around $5. Coats and things that need more fabric maybe be around $10-15, but I never spend more than $10 on an item. (Shoes are also super cheap, but they may fall apart). Of course brand name is more expensive in China because of the import tax, but that is why China had fake markets – get brand name stuff for 1/3 the price!
    I love China. Too bad I’m moving to Japan in a month. I’m gonna have price shock so bad (but I already bought all my fun stuff in China, so I just need to worry about feeding myself)

  77.   that sounds totally awesome! what exchange program did you go through? Was your food covered in the rent or something else? because that sounds fantastic! what was the building/room called? I’m in my second year of university in Regina and I would LOVE to do a semester in Korea. :)

  78. Toronto is one of the most expensive places to live in Canada actually, well in Ontario at least :/

  79. What I’d like to know is whether it’s worth going through the TESOL program? I know you get paid a little more when you teach abroad… but is it really that much of a difference from what you’re regularly paid? The TESOL program I want to go through costs about $4,000-6,000 for 9 months. >.< I just don't know whether it's really worth it or not. Help!! D: Will I be able to live comfortably as a teacher on the standard salary in Korea? Or is the TESOL program something worth investing in?

  80.  Maybe it’s Canada but i live in the states and i pay WAYYYY  more for rent. My deposit was i think 500 dollars plus i pay 900 for rent. I think it’s where i live but the coffee in the cafes and such are just as expensive like $6 for a special coffee.

  81. You guys pay

    900,000.00 KRW a month which is about almost $800 in USD, How big is your apartment? and is the monthly payment worth what ever size? and if you haven’t already, House tutorial?

  82. I was in Seoul as a student not long ago but since I lived in the dorms the rent was rather cheap for me, about 170$ a month. I know some people that lived in a hasukjib though and the rent was something about 400~500$ which is ridicoulously expensive, regarding the fact that most of the rooms are tiny and some don’t even have real windows. And of course there’s a high deposit, too. I guess whether you share an apartment or you live in a goshiwon or hasukjib or whatever, even if you can somehow manage to pay the rent the problem is always the deposit. It seems to be rather impossible for the average student to pay the deposit unless your parents give you the money.
    Besides the rent I noticed that most of the everday life things are really cheap compared to Europe, especially transportation and eating out (the same goes for clothing if you shop in the Ehwa area or at Forever 21 and so on and also the K-Pop CDs I bought were like half the price a CD would cost here) while milk products and some fruits are insanely expensive. o__o During the time I was there I actually saved a lot of money while all the Chinese people I got to know always emphasized how expensive even the food at Kimbab Cheonguk was in comparison to China ^^;

  83. Ergh so jealous when I hear these Asian subway systems. Living in Ausfailia and usually you spend around 3 AUD (ONE WAY) and the ticket system is so crap as well – yep in Australia we still use paper tickets!!! Even in Sydney!!! And the trains aren’t even new/awesome/high class. Everything is more expensive in Australia.

  84. Wow I thought it would be cheaper in Korea I guess I was wrong lol maybe I was thinking about the food category lol

  85. OMG. I feel so LUCKY being Malaysian now. Everything is so freaking cheap here. EVERYTHING. Trains (1.20 USD from my place to KL = 10 stations away!), a fulfilling set of McD =2.30 USD, Korean food is also cheap (from 5 USD per set. We get unlimited BBQ buffet for only 12$), coffee/tea is affordable too, since some are homegrown, Starbucks cost 3.5$ (so my friend drinks there every single day), shopping is oh so heavenly here too (the only country that I find cheaper than ours is Indonesia, Thailand, but the quality may vary), house rent depends. My parents rent out their property alot & price ranges from 130 – 480/month, depending on locations. 130 is for a bungalow in suburban area, whereas 480 is for a 3-bedroom serviced apartment in the hearts of KL. Electronic goods are very affordable too, much cheaper than Korea (I went there last year). And the best thing here is the petrol is one the cheapest (0.7/litre – so for a full tank I usually pay 16USD). That’s why I drive around every where. I dun even mind going to the next by state just to do my facial (!) if it is good lol. It is a bit weird for me when I was force to use only subways when I was in Japan and Korea. For concert tickets, I must say they are pretty affordable since I find myself going to pretty much ALL concert that ever there is. Sometimes we get free concert too sponsored by the government! e.g. on Youth Day (Super Junior, UKISS, TeenTop, etc). But the funny thing is Kpop concert cost MORE than other international artists like Simple Plan, Avenged 7X, FarEastMovement, Christina Perry, etc. I am now broke after buying BigBang VIP ticket for the ALIVE concert :(. Another thing is AIRASIA. Because of the freaking cheap flight tickets, I find myself going places so often with my own student pocket saving. Every year, I at least traveled 3 times be it in or outside the country, which is awesome. Heck, I even go to Korea on a yearly basis now lol.

    THANK YOU for making this article. I feel so grateful to call myself a PROUD MALAYSIAN.

  86. how much do you bank in Korea? Do you still have a bank in Canada?

  87. How are the prices of internet/cable/cell phones in Korea in comparison to Canada? Is there a lot of competition between companies, therefore lower prices? It seems like here in Canada, when it comes to these things… you’re paying so much for so little options/slow speeds.

    • i think canada and the us have the highest priced cell phone services.
      The new company wind that is available in canada, had to up their prices from what they have in europe, bc canada wouldn’t allow the same stuff as eu. Which is complete crap, bc in eu its soo cheap to have a phone, and it always includes caller id and you NEVER pay if someone calls you.
      TT.TT Canada is ripping us off so bad.

  88. vancouver is $3.75 for the sky train. and the transfer is only good for 90 min.. 

  89. the bus in Saskatoon is $3.10 for adult’s it’s ridiculous that’s why i hate the bus here

  90. I will be in Korea next year for my studies, so this video is really helpful ! (this one, and many others by the way. You two do a wonderful job together !!)  I wonder if cellphones are really expensive in Korea. Smartphones are ridiculously expensive in France, so I was looking forward buying a Samsung smartphone there (because mine won’t be of any use there anyway, it’s locked &c) Has anyone bought a cellphone in S.Korea ? How much did it cost you ?

    Also, when it comes to go see a doctor… Is there a nurse in Korean Universities too ? Because I’m planning to bring with me toooons of pills, in case it would be to expensive to buy medicine there (I’m not really used to cold winters, so I’m pretty sure I’ll catch a cold even in November !)

    Anyway, thanks a lot for your videos ! It helps a lot !

    • I found both prescription and nonprescription medications to be a lot cheaper there. 

      The dermatologist gave me a prescription for a cream, and I was so worried it would cost a ton (like in the U.S.).  But the pharmacist brought it out and announced the price at 2,000 won.  I couldn’t hep laughing out loud!  I definitely worried for nothing!

      Koreans take a different approach to cold medicine, however, so you might want to bring your favorite one with you.  They always gave me overly powerful cold medicine that knocked me out.  

      • The cold medicine that I bought cured me in like 2 hours. It’s like one minute you feel like you’re going to die and after taking the medicine you feel better than you ever did before. xD

  91. Seems like things balance out. It depends on an family’s occupation and salary though, as you said, it’s good for a teacher, but for folks that aren’t teaching it can be hard.

    Can you guys do a video about how to get treated for injuries in Korea? Like about healthcare, the costs, and little things like is there someone who speaks English? A lot of people want to travel internationally, but they don’t really think about what would happen if they get hurt.

  92. How about utilities? Like water and electricity?

  93. Hey guys. Okay [a] Love you guys and [b] Eventhough I HATE cats,I love yours…but I dont like..want it..or anything.
    And [c] Thanks for this cuz Im planning to study in Seoul and probably like..live and die there so I want to know what are the prices for buying an apartment in like Gangnam or Cheondamdong. Like just for myself. Nothing too big. I heard that renting is more expensive than buying? Sounds ridiculous…but what do you think?

  94. Thanks for sharing!

    I’ve been wondering about the medical expenses in Korea. Both human and pet medical expenses. 

  95.  im sorry it really seem Korea is more expensive rent is low but with
    deposit .. it would be ridiculously high. Also, i need my fruits and
    veggies so that would make it expensive for me. i usually am more vegan
    then meat eater .. i eat very little meat.. also i a electronic freak.. i
    have a tablet laptop lots of game stations and my bf is a photographer
    we have lots of video making things as well… among other cook tech
    thingys lol. also i live in Hawaii which i smaller then Korea.. and i
    still drove! it takes to long to go places! car makes it faster if there
    no traffic!  i rather live Hawaii then Korea renting a condo would be
    cheaper compare the giving away 20000 dollars as a gratuity pay geez..
    lol  no offense to anyone! I am just stating a opinion ppl have dif
    values and ideals depending on where you lived! i think i would just visit! i wonder how much is to rent a place for vacation or hotel cost/

  96. Martina~! do you have any specific streets, shops or shopping malls to recommend for ladies that are considered plus size in korea? taking myself as an example, i’m singaporean, chinese but is 176cm tall and has the athlete-like build. i’m so looking fw to shopping for adorable clothes and shoes. but your videos got me quite disappointed :(

  97. Is having a pet expensive in Korea? Like vet bills and toys and food expenses? :)

  98. Well. I’m sold. Now: Who wants to give me a plane ticket? ^^

  99. do koreans have middle names ??

    • Not usually.  There’s a family name (which is usually one syllable) and a given name (which is usually two syllables). 

    • Koreans usually don’t have middle names… if we’re in america, then we have our English name, use our Korean name as our middle name, and then our last name… or people just use their Korean name as their first name. so… usually, no :)

  100.  if rent so cheap and the deposit is so much… way even pay rent if you dont get your deposit.. back sound kinda fishy to me!

  101. I agree with Windsor being cheaper than Toronto. We just moved from Toronto and we got a house 3x the size of our old house for only 20,000 more. But there’s not much ‘ethnic’ stores like in Toronto…which sucks for my family. :/

  102. if rent so cheap and the deposit is so much… way even pay rent if you dont your deposit.. back sound kinda fishy to me!



  105. How about animals? Is owning animals expensive in Korea? Health/dental care

  106. . “Just getting that 20 grand outright is prohibitive for a lot of people.” what da heck does that mean?

    •  That most people can’t get $20,000 in cash set aside solely for a renter’s deposit, which prevents (or prohibits) them from being able to rent an apartment.

  107. lol speaking of Gangnam, “apartments in the Gangnam area” 오빤 강남스타일!! by the way i sprained my left ankle while dancing to that….. it was not fun…..

  108. hayiey buck.. i think everywhere is cheaper than UK except for japan.. dont know why but i have looked up flats up there and apts. in japan.. ridiculous… im sorry you guys pay so much..

  109. Even though I live in Mexico that’s probably cheaper than Canada, I think Korea is cheap xD

  110. I live in UK, which is more expensive than US/ Canada in most things, so I’d expect S.Korea to be mega cheap for me!

  111. I live in Chicago and our transportation system, while covers the whole city, sucks! First because it’s getting pricier. One ride costs $2.25! Whether I get on a train or a bus. We got these re-loadable cards which means it’s a bit cheaper. You get three rides for 2.25 but you gotta use them within two hours which sometimes it sucks because there’s traffic and construction. There’s a saying here that says there’s two seasons in Chicago, Winter and construction. But anyway, when I used to go to high school I used to pay $1 which is discount price for students. And cab rides forget about it. Took one and wasn’t even 5 minutes and it cost $15! And I love veggies I can’t imagine not being able to have them and eat them often right now the stores are full of watermelons, kudos to you guys for handling it. The one thing I can’t really afford is Mexican peaches. It costs $3 a pound or for less than half a kilogram. Everything seems to be getting expensive since there’s extreme droughts here, everything seems to go bad.

  112. hey martina
    since i don’t know where else to post this; i’ve been wondering why you stopped doing videos about k-dramas?  i enjoyed watching the ones about flower boy ramyun shop or protect the boss. so i really hope that we’ll get to see some drama revies wor what-to-look-out-for kind of videos in the future :)

  113. I live fairly close to Washington DC. When I say fairly I mean about 45 minutes from the closest metro stop and if we were to drive into the city (oh god never ever) it would be another 30-45 minutes.
    The metro rides there are a few dollars for round trip. I think a 30 min ride from our first stop at Shady Grove outside of the city to the inner area of Washinton DC touristy area (Smithsonian stop) is about 5.25 US dollars. It’s another .25 to .50 dollars per stop after that but you are only charged for you first entry and exit then your next entry an exit. So, of you feel like having a super silly time and jumping from one line to another for no reason, you will only be cheated if you leave the whole metro station, not the train itself.
    It’s rather convient and affordable! Once or twice a month I will go to DC to make say trips to museums, events, or just to spend the day waking around memorials and people watch. It’s lovely.

    Apartments are shocking expensive for where I live. Even though I live fairly close to large cities, you think apartments would be fairly affordable… Nope. They cheapest of cheap in the rough parts of town cost about $650-$800 per month for one bedroom. To get an apartment in the safer areas of town it costs $800-$1000 for a one or two bedroom. These pricey also do not include electrcity, water, phone, internet, car bills, and all that other fun stuff. You end up finding yourself with 3 or 4 other people living in a two bedroom because you are all poor college kids with low wage jobs trying to make ends meet or still living at home with parents.

  114. Woww~ Your apartment rental is really cheap when you lived in Windsor, here in Minnesota from what I can tell you, it’s kinda expansive to rent an apartment in the cities. Like the cheapest rental you can get is 500 hundred a month but that place is filled with mice and cockroaches, so disgusting. Then there is a 2 room rental that would cost you around 700-800 hundred a month! So considering that 1200 hundred is cheap in some rural areas in other states, with that money you could rent out a decent 2-3 bedroom apartment per month! Lol, love this TLDR ,it was interesting. :D

  115. Begging your pardon, but I am just so unbelievably cute-d out by random Dr Meemersworth-furry butt-photo-bombing during the video. <3 

  116. I was just wondering what costs are like for hygiene products? So like shampoo, soap, hair products, etc. Because I know some of those things can get really expensive here in Canada.

  117. Wow, nice info. IMO, to compare the living cost in two places, we should consider also about the MINIMUM WAGE. So, my QUESTION is how much is the national minimum wage in Korea. I heard that the minimum wage in Korea is quite high if we compare to other Asian countries, since the price for housing is so expensive. 

    For the expensive fruit case, there are some reasons about it. FIRST. Since Korea is subtropical country their agriculture more or less depends on greenhouse but unfortunately their greenhouse system is not working well. Though they use the same facilities an maintenance with some succeed countries the productivity still low. My university even make it as internship project! It takes place at Guangsu.  (geek!! my bad)SECOND, I guess, people in Korea love to make fruit as precious gift. In Japan, watermelon (and melon) is a precious gift. That’s why they grow watermelon in shapes: cubic, heart, etc to make it more precious and nice to be wrapped up. And since it is a precious gift, the price is soaring up high. 

  118. The bus here in Venezuela is ridiculously cheap but the drivers will drive away as soon as they see a sudent because they have a discount and if they let a lot of students get in they loose the money so you can see the students running after the bus and jumping at the doors (the drivers always leave the doors open)

  119. when i go grocery shopping i start at the 99 cent store :D

  120. Applesauce 21

    In the Uk, bus tickets are a minimum or £1.40 for the smallest distance, £3.10 for a day pass. You can easily spend a fiver getting into town and back. And I had Ramen today, and it cost me £9. Taxis are about £10 for 2 miles. Normal meal out will put you pack £10-20 for a nice main course, plus a tip. However, a packet of like, 10 apples is £1

  121. Korea IS expensive. Key money just to get a house (normally around $10,000 down to get a place), name brands clothes double the price,cars double the price, domestic products (Samsung, Hyundai, Kia) more expensive, hard alcohol more expensive (often double the price), electronics more expensive, fruits and vegetables all more expensive. Did I mention Seoul is usually ranked in the top 5 for cost of living in the world?
    Cheap: public transportation, taxis, soju.

  122. Well, one thing you guys haven’t considered is location (you guys meaning commenters, not eat your kimchi).  I was an expat in korea for a year working for an international company.  I lived near the COEX.  things are ridiculously expensive. alternately, my wife is from near bucheon and things are much much cheaper.  for example.  getting my shirt altered near where I lived, 30 bucks.  getting my shirt altered where she lived, 10 bucks.  when you are in seoul, you will pay more for everything.  there is no 1500 won kimbap in gangnam.  there is no cheap underground shopping.  everything is more expensive.  period.  the cabs are the same price as elsewhere in the seoul metro area, but the fact that traffic is triple will triple your price.  If you are coming to seoul to hang out near hong dae and itaewon and shinchon, you probably won’t spend to much.  but if you’re staying in a nicer part of town where the nice restaurants, hotels, lounges, etc are, be prepared to spend megabucks.  luckily i had an expense account for meals and my company paid for my housing, which was a luxury hotel.  but if i was on my own, i wouldn’t have been able to live like i did. 

  123. Well, one thing you guys haven’t considered is location (you guys meaning commenters, not eat your kimchi).  I was an expat in korea for a year working for an international company.  I lived near the COEX.  things are ridiculously expensive. alternately, my wife is from near bucheon and things are much much cheaper.  for example.  getting my shirt altered near where I lived, 30 bucks.  getting my shirt altered where she lived, 10 bucks.  when you are in seoul, you will pay more for everything.  there is no 1500 won kimbap in gangnam.  there is no cheap underground shopping.  everything is more expensive.  period.  the cabs are the same price as elsewhere in the seoul metro area, but the fact that traffic is triple will triple your price.  If you are coming to seoul to hang out near hong dae and itaewon and shinchon, you probably won’t spend to much.  but if you’re staying in a nicer part of town where the nice restaurants, hotels, lounges, etc are, be prepared to spend megabucks.  luckily i had an expense account for meals and my company paid for my housing, which was a luxury hotel.  but if i was on my own, i wouldn’t have been able to live like i did. 

  124. Also the cost on fruits are high because i thnk that it is suppost to be luxiry (however you spell that)

  125. Actually for me Korea is expensive, compared to Mexico, specially food, milk, meat, fruits OH MY GOD SUN, IT’S SO EXPENSIVE OVER THERE! like here in Mexico we have a BUNCH of different and tasty fruits and they’re really cheap! like during mango season you can buy one mango for like 50 cents of dollar, WHICH I LOVE because mangoes are my favorite fruit! and I really want to go to live to South Korea but seriously speaking I think not being able to eat a variety of fruit everyday is going to be hard D:

  126. Thank god i’m planning to teach in korea with another close friend who also plans on doing that to so hopefully NO KEY DEPOSIT FOR MEH >:D

  127. Actually I thought that the expensive place to live was either New York of Los Angeles. I live near the Hollywood area and apartments are starting at $1200 a (studio size). Gas is the most expensive in the country $3.89, plus the fast food chains are making the food expensive and the food a little smaller. Long live the dollar menu!

  128. So I suppose If you’re opening a business, its easier to open a small business in Canada?

  129. How much did it cost for you guys to fully move to Korea? With the plane cost, moving cost, ect. 

  130. I know as a student, schooling is a lot cheaper from what I’ve seen. Going for a year, including dorm payments, is cheaper than a whole semester at my school in America. Which I was surprised about, because I had heard from some Korean friends that elementary and high school were very expensive. I had assumed universities would be as well.

  131. I think i’m planning to go to korea… ahem if money allows me. Are albums cheaper over in korea? Bcoz, an album in stores here costs around 30 dollars, and online is around 20 dollars. None the less… I must save up!!!!! 

  132. I live in the Sacramento area in California and id say the rent for a 2 bed apartment in Seoul (certain areas) is comparable to a 4 bed house in Sacramento. Of course this is with the exception of things like utilities and cable/internet blah blah blah.. Im paying a little over $500 a month just on rent and utilities with 3 other roomates in a 5 bed home. 

  133. KATHyphenTUN

    What about the price of korean phone plans?

  134. The cost of living for a student at KAIST, Daejeon is around KRW 600,000 per semester.

  135. hmm I know this is a bit “off-topic” but you send renting in Seoul is pretty much EXPENSIVE!! :P BUT ive heard that with hotels its the opposite and that they are really really cheap ? Is that true ?! 

  136. Man! It’s costs $7 PER PERSON just to ride the bus downtown which isnt so far away (car distance). It’s ridiculous here in North America. ;(

    • My midwest town doesn’t offer public transit and the only taxi is operational only when the driver wants to drive.  I either spend a couple hours walking or drive my car–which I try to avoid since gas can be expensive at times.

  137. As a vegan, I can tell I’m going to be pretty broke… Even if I do stay in the dorms…

  138. What are medical expenses to live there? I know Martina has been sick and messed her ankle up once. How much was that? 

  139. TL;DR- what’s the deal with Korean age vs. North American age, because in Korea isn’t a person considered 2 years older than their actual birth age? How does it work and have you guys experienced any confusion from it?

    • KOREAN AGE VS WESTERN AGE: Koreans are considered to be one-year old at birth and, traditionally, on the next Lunar New Year, the newborn along with all other Koreans, ages one year. So if someone is born in December and Lunar New Year is in February, he/she would be one in December and then two in February. This is why you often hear Koreans respond to the “How old are you?’ question with “36 Korean-age, 35 Western-age”. http://www.korea4expats.com/article-people-culture.html

      • If i’m not wrong most korean would tell the year they were born instead of age since it’s quite confusing.

        Yup korean age are 1 year older than western age

        •  Unfortunately a lot of Koreans will tell you their Korean age even when they are well aware that other people may not understand the difference between international age and Korean age. I’ve had to ask them to clarify what their international age is by asking what year they were born many many times.

    •  Basically they consider age by year and ignore the month you’re born in which makes everyone born in the same year the same age instead of the Western 6 month or split off. Everyone ages on New Years – lunar new year. The nine months you spend in the womb is rounded up to a year. Also every thing Elizabeth Mefford said. It’s just the age people consider you though. Legally you’re the same age as the people in the Western Hemisphere. It’s like this even though you’re considered by everyone to be 20, but in Western age to be 19 you wouldn’t be allowed to drink as laws take in account the age you would be by your birth certificate which would be your legal age. Sorry, if I confused you more. 

  140. Wayy cheaper than living in NYC.

  141. When I went to SK last year I noticed that western food (fast food and restaurant food) was alot more expensive than korean food. Mum and I shared a huge korean meal (and had food left over) for about 10,000 won. Can’t remember what it was but it had dukkbokki in it and was cooked on the table between us, YUM! 
    Went to a coffee shop and had a hot chocolate and a muffin for me and it cost about 10,000 won. Mum had a cappuccino and a muffin and it cost her about the same.

  142. I think the prices are alright.I am from Singapore and is living in Singapore.I don’t know about rents but I doubt it’s cheap though.The coffee price is similar to that of Singapore’s as well.I guess Korea is quite similar to SG in this terms then..

  143. When i lived in toronto i paid 1,500 for a one bedroom in downtown …. now I live in kuwait..AND ITS GLORIOUS for transportation only foreigners use taxis and buses. We dont have subways. Everyone has and NEEDS a car gas is said to be the cheapest here I pay 10$ for a week’s rides (Im always out). As for produce since mostly everything is imported its expensive (8-10 of african mangos is around 10$) but not to us since our salaries are high.. a college student gets 715$ a month.. a 3 bedroom apartment is around 1,070 to 1,600 for electronics I just got a samsung LEd 40inch tv for 497$ not sure if that’s expensive but its cheap here for fast food a large Big Mac meal costs 6$ and McDonald’s is the cheapest fast food here.. for coffee a regular plain frappicino is.. around 8% for clothes a good pair of jeans from New look cost 46$ so I shop outside kuwait.. FYI we dont have taxes. School and college are free and even medical care so I think Korea is cheaper but kuwait gives a lot more

  144. How is the TV culture about foreign shows? Are the non-korean channels and their shows as watched/popular as the korean ones?

  145. I almost started crying when I read about the apartment renting prices… Then I read about how the school you usually work for will pay the deposit and rent for you and relaxed a little. I want to be an English teacher in Korea as well, so I hope the school I work for does so or it’s not gonna be pretty~

    The coffee, I’m honestly not surprised by the prices at all, yeah it’s a little but more expensive, but it’s a really ridiculous amount here in North America as well~ Unless you go to like Mcdonald’s and buy the dollar stuff~ Here from what I’ve seen it ranges from 3-5 dollars depending on what you get and size wise and where~ When you buy it in like the bag to make it yourself, depending on the brand, it ranges a lot higher.

  146. Does Korea have those monthly bus passes? Those that let you pay a certain amount each month and you can use your card for bus,subways, and (sometimes trains) for an unlimited number of times until the month is over.

    I live in South Sore/Brossard, which is a little bit further from Montreal (Canada) and my monthly bus pass is 93,50$ for both cities. South Sore buses charges you 3,20$CAD (for children and adults) each time and you don’t get a ticket so you would have to pay another 3,20$ if you change bus. SO EXPENSIVE.

    Then heading on for gas, it’s up from 134.4 to 144.9 cents/L nowadays. Crazy!

    Food wise, in general we pay 15% taxes, and we have to give 15% tips also, so our bill will be our total + 30%. That’s expensive……

    • i think so. i remember an EYK video about these cute phone key chain things that worked for the bus. cant remember the name of the video but im sure if you dig through the archives you will find it. im surprised they didnt put that on their playlist.

    • I have the same question. We have that here in Vancouver. Transportation is great bc for $90 (adults), $46.50 (children and seniors), and $30 (for university students) you can take the skytrain (subway), the seabus (boat), and the bus as many times as you like. 

      Gas is CRAZY expensive, but heck, people drive to Seattle for that. 

      Produce is okay here but rent and living costs are insane. Depending on where you live, houses nowadays range from $800,000 to half 2 million. And that’s for a regular house, not a mansion. 

      • At least those are houses. I just saw an apartment for around $14 million LOL oh god… But it’s NYC so oh well.

        Lucky, 30$ for university students. I’m stuck paying $100+ for my metrocard.

  147. What about salary? (is my english good…?) I mean if you have a…. “basic” work (?) will you earn enough money to live pretty well… ?

  148. What about health care? What do you do if you’re hurt/sick enough to need an ER or urgent care? Here in Las Vegas it costs me around $1000-$2000 to go to the ER even with private insurance. A trip to the regular doctor to get antibiotics for the flu would cost me about $30 because I have insurance, without insurance it would be maybe $200-300. Insurance is about that much per month! But I have kids so it’s necessary. I have no idea how the health system in South Korea works. What about utilities? Do those usually get included in rent? Water, power, trash pickup, natural gas? Here these utilities all together cost maybe $400/500. Of course most of that is power because of the A/C! That can be as much as $300 by itself in the summer, but in winter goes down to around $70. And of course the very necessary internet connection? I have super duper ultra highspeed cable for $70 per month. I’m really curious because I plan to stay in Korea for a while when my kids are older, if I can swing a job there. I’ll be visiting in the next year but only for a few days.

    • Oh yeah maybe when I come to Seoul I’ll bring youse some COFFEEZ Martina! :) By the way, noticed you’ve been sick a lot… it wouldn’t be… something that happens every morning… for a couple of months… would it????? *wink wink*

    • I hope someone answers with more up-to-date info on this, cause mine is old.  But I’ll still share.  I lived in Korea 9 years ago.  

      Without insurance, my costs were as follows.  Doctor visits for sickness costed me $15-30 each.  A couple of visits to a dermatologist costed $40 each (for a laser procedure).  A trip to the emergency room for food poisoning costed $75.  

  149. The prices you mentioned are very similar….$6 coffee in singapore is about right especialy if you go to starbucks but you can get a cup of coffee for $1 if you go to a food court and in a small portion. As for trains, same as Singapore, with about $3 for adult as maximum fare. Taxi’s are way more expensive due to high car related taxes in Singapore. A taxi right for about 15-20 mins(no jam) will cost about $15-$20 without road-using-taxes and other charges. Owning a car is even more expensive. With a toyota going at about $90,000 min. This is again due to high taxes. (you have to buy a certificate called COE which allow you to buy a car, cheapest one is currently $74000) Food is relatively ok, at about $2 at cheapest. Tech is a big issue in Singapore. Most phones are bought on plans and other stuff like tvs are bought on installments. so you dont really feel the impact. So yeah living in Singapore is quite expensive. (Mostly due to taxes, all figures in SGD. 1SGD=1.2USD.)

  150. Australia is expensive… and Sydney is really expensive. Koreans I know, who are here on working holiday visas, complain about prices constantly. But for me, it’s just how things are. I didn’t find Japan particularly expensive because Sydney is so expensive anyway. I really enjoy the things that are cheaper in Korea- eating out, public transport, taxis, clothes. I am conscious about saving up for the deposit for renting in Korea though, when we move there for a few years… Renting is ridiculously expensive in Sydney but the bond isn’t a large amount in comparison.

  151. The price of coffee in Korea is actually standard for the UK, haha. 4000 won = £2.40, which is standard price for the UK haha.

  152. Hi Simon and Martina. So I was living in China for 6 months, and in China you do a lot of bartering for things like clothes, shoes etc. Do you barter at all in Korea?

    • I never experienced bartering in Korea.  

      But bargaining (is that what you really meant?) is expected at the traditional market and could be tried in some independent shops.  No bargaining in chain stores.  

      •  Bartering (or “haggling”) would be asking for a lower price than what’s listed. usually this is done in small independent shops and not chain stores. i believe you both are talking about the same thing, though a “bargain” where I’m from (Canada) is usually just something “on sale” or that’s a “good deal”.

        In another one of their videos, Simon and Martina explain a Korean phrase that essentially means “a little lower please”, which you might say once or twice at certain shops, but that’s it. It’s not exactly bartering like you might do at a garage sale here in Canada, but it’s similar.

  153. seems like most of the stuff that are cheap here in thailand are cheap in korea as well. EXCEPT for rent…maybe?. i spent roughly 200$ on rent for a tiny one bedroom one bath for a place in downtown bangkok. and an apartment about the size that you are living would be 350$+. and usually the deposit fee is just double the rent.

    seems like if i can afford rent, it is a small price to pay to live in korea, where it has the world’s fastest internet! and bbq~ yumm

  154. Why would you even go near an Americano?! OR DRIP COFFEE?!

    A lot of North Americans still have a lot to learn about coffee, especially those who drink Starbuck’s ash water.

  155. Electronics are exported at a lower price to North America so that they can undercut other people’s prices. They can charge a lower price in America where people will buy it because it is cheap , and then charge a higher price at home where they can put tariffs on other countries gear so that their markets are safe at home, that way they make up for the lost cash when they sell domestically. At least according to my history classes that is what Japan did post WWII when they were trying to grow their GDP, and well do now I think too. I am guessing it is the same for Korea although I can’t be sure.

  156. but what happened when you stopped working at the schools? did you have to pay the key money then or not? :)

  157. I wish I can send you mangoes…

  158. Great video. How about health care? Like a routine doctor visit, or even going to the emergency room? I know there’s a video of Martina at the hospital when her foot (or leg?) got injured but I don’t remember if you mentioned the cost.

  159. What’s the expenses like caring for pets? You guys mentioned before that not a lot of people had pets, except for now. Is there a difference in food, vet, grooming prices?

  160. I’m a New Zealander, but I study in Costa Rica, and there are definitely some similarities between Costa Rican prices and Korean prices (NZ prices are equivalent to Australia or maybe the U.S). Costa Rican taxis and buses are cheap (but not as cheap as in Korea), about 70 cents a bus ride and 20 minutes in a taxi can be haggled down to $14 if you’re lucky. Clothes also follow the same rule of ‘cheap price, cheap quality’, though the clothes aren’t nearly as cute as in Korea. There is a HUGE difference though when it comes to produce and coffee! In Costa Rica coffee is very cheap (it’s grown locally), incredibly easy to find in all forms and really quite delicious. Produce is also amazingly cheap since a lot is grown locally all year round. Yay the tropics! I can get a mango for about 60 cents, and a coconut for about 50 cents. A kilo (2.2 pounds) of strawberries is 2 bucks. Toiletries and imported goods are more expensive though.

  161. I actually found that, at least if you aren’t terribly specific about brands, that electronics can be reasonably well priced; My blow dryer was $20 and my straightener was around $30. But that’s only small electronics; haven’t needed to buy anything huge since getting here in Feb.

  162. have you guys heard of “Dumping (pricing policy)” in economics ? It occurs when manufacturers export a product to another country at a price either below the price charged in its home market, or in quantities that cannot be explained through normal market competition. Japanese and Korean electronic manufacturers are wellknown for that policy. I hope this explains the expensive Samsung prices :)

  163. My friend is actually in Korea right now. :)
    She told me that the expenses for medical stuff are also cheap. If you need to go to the doctors, you can just walk in, no appointment necessary. The price charged is also cheap compared to what you have to pay in the US.
    Glasses and contacts are also cheap in S.Korea. Eye exams are like half the price that you would pay in the US. I pay about $100 for an eye exam, covered by my insurance. My glasses usually cost me about $200 even with some of the cost covered by what benefits I have left from my insurance. Then I have to wait about 1-2 weeks to receive my glasses. -.- In Korea, my friend said that she walked in, got an eye exam for about $30, ordered her frame and lenses for about $50-$60 total, and got her glasses in about an hour. Soooo jealous.

    • Woah, where are you at in the US?  I live in S. Illinois and only pay at most $60 for an eye exam without insurance covering any of it.  My glasses are expensive but I have multiple eye issues but I only paid $350 and that was for frames that bend and special lenses.  

      • I’m from Wisconsin, and eye exams for me are about ~$90, with insurance. I don’t bother getting glasses in store, though. I go get my frames & special effects online for much, much cheaper… my current glasses are $15 and are still in very good shape (read: not destroyed from constant sitting on them [accidentally] >>’)!

    • When I went for a visit 2 years ago, I got an eye exam and glasses.  Glasses are way cheaper there.  The only place even remotely comparable in the U.S. is the new online company Warby Parker.  

      But if you plan to get glasses in Korea, I might suggest getting your exam in your country then bringing your prescription form to the eyeglass store in Korea.  I had trouble communicating with the person giving the exam.  Had my Korean-speaking husband not been there, I’m not sure the exam would have been accurate.  

  164. Hello Simon and Martina!

    I just moved to the Seoul-ish area about 3 weeks ago, so I’m just starting to plan trips outside of Seoul. I’ve heard that you can travel from Seoul to Busan for around $20 (it takes about 5 hrs, yeah?). Have you found this to be true? What railways would you recommend?

    Thank you!!

  165. Do you guys like coffee brands like Pilon or Bustelo?

  166. The avocado thing cracks me up! I refuse to pay more than one dollar for avocados here in America and they sometimes go on sale 2 for $1.00.

    Also, thanks for the link to aliensdayout.com! I LOVE her blog!

  167. For a TL:DR or even just a small post i’d like to know what you guys feel about the new online laws for MVs that are going into place this week.

  168. It always surprises me to hear how much avocado’s are outside of SoCal.  I get  them for free when I “borrow” them from the neighbors tree… other then that, it’s not uncommon to get some Hass for 50 cents each, although I can get them for cheaper during farmers markets since I live near a lot of the growers.  Most expensive I’ve seen them is 2 for one, usually because it’s off season :o

  169. well I’m from sydney and what you’ve seen seems to be relatively super cheap compared to here. since I’m coming to korea for a holiday at the end of the year, I was worried i wouldn’t have enough money and had to live of shin ramyun but looking the korean fast food stuff, i may just get some nutriiton over there. I also heard though that taxis sometimes will not take you because you’re catching it on the wrong side of the street which i found strange because in sydney, they don’t care where u are catching it from since it’s your loss if it takes longer but apparently in south korea taxi drivers dont care about money?!

  170. I still think without a doubt that living in a place like Bucheon (about an hour’s ride away from Seoul) is much cheaper than living in a metropolitan city like Sydney. If you count the monetary charges for a train (subway)/bus ride here in Sydney, a one way ticket costs 2.10$ (sometimes even more) and the charges can go much, much steeper if you don’t have concession. 

    I’m a student in Sydney and I live approximately 30 minutes train ride from the city and it costs me 4.60$ to and fro (2.30$ for a single ride) Uni and home. And this is on concession. If I’m a full time worker and paying for a train ride, sometimes it can get up to 8$ for a ticket. (The ticketing system is different in Sydney, I guess – each station is owned by a different government party so the prices vary. 

    In terms of apartments, when I was living in an apartment by myself (2 room, lounge/kitchen/dining and balcony included), it was 380$/week, so in a month I would have to pay 1520$AUD per month. And It’s pretty cheap considering the size of the apartment too. Coffee might be cheap here, but you have to find the good places for them. I’m guessing it’s almost the same everywhere. I think it’s safe to say that not all Gloria Jean’s or cafe’s in Sydney serve fantastic coffee. In terms of electronics, don’t even get me started. When 3G first became widespread in Sydney, all the phone companies were lapping up on it and overcharging for mobile phone plans. Even til now – I think Telstra is the phone company that offers 4G and even so, you’d probably have to sell an eyeball to be able to afford their price. 

    I guess all in all, I still think Korea is a pretty affordable place to live, especially since food and clothing are much more cheaper. And not to mention that shopping can go past 5PM (that’s always a plus for me).

    • OAO wow!! $380per wk? Wouldn’t it be more cheaper to live in the campus? My friend is at yes camobellyown and it only cost get $180per wk

      • For where I lived back then (Miranda, the Shire) it was considered quite cheap living by 380$/week. Since it’s relatively an ‘all right’ distance into the city, 380$/week is normal. 

        Seeing as Campbelltown is quite a drive out (nearly 2 hours drive/1 hour and a bit train ride), it would make sense that the rent there is cheaper. The government wants an urban sprawl to happen because it’s over-populated in the CBD. 

        That’s why it costs so much to live smack bang in the middle of it, cos firstly; rent is going to kill you unless you can afford it, and food is quite expensive too, unless you buy fresh produce.

        Living on campus isn’t that cheap unless you’re looking for shoddy accomodation. I have friends who pay 380$/week and they only get a ROOM. Like not even their own toilet or balcony or kitchen. It’s all shared and he gets a room. Like a tiny room with a tiny window and just enough space for a shelf, table, single bed and a small cupboard to keep his clothes. It’s horrendous. I’ve seen it and it’s terrible.

        Higher end standards for accomodation depends as well. Renting on campus would mean extra fees for the maintenance as well as security etc. 

        However, owning and renting are two different issues though. I know that land in Australia is definitely cheaper. 

  171. I think Korean health care is extremely affordable compared
    to America. I would move to Korea just for Korea’s affordable health care.  

  172. Why do you not just grow your vegetables, fruits take awhile but can be done. I have lots of container gardening at my apartments. Really easy once you get into it, you don’t need a lot of room, just creativity. 

  173. My brain is refusing to wake up. I forgot where we are to post questions…I am sure someone will point it out to me soon. 

    Question: If you where a travel agency, where are the places you would recommend for a 7 day vacation in Korea. To get what Korea means through their culture. 

    BTW really like the informative videos you do….I plan to take a trip in September 2013 so I am already making an itinerary. Weird question..are there laundromats? hostel vs hotel. AHHH so many questions….

  174. On the note of foreign products being more expensive, in New York, I’ve noticed it’s the same. Imported electronics, or usually things in general (besides apparently kpop things, and cosplay :/) that are imported are cheaper. You’d think tariffs would make them more expensive, but 3 years ago I got a Dell laptop for about 650$, while this year I got a Toshiba laptop to replace the Dell for about $400…

  175. Where did you buy that mango?
    Haha my friend and me were talking (She’s from Korea, I don’t know where) She said she *Heard* (weird she doesn’t know…) mangos were 3000 won~~~ I dunno xD 

  176. I’m interested in the price of telecommunication (phones and internet providers), as well as electricity and water bills.

  177. Hmm.. It’s more expensive in Norway, but WOAH, what an expensive mango O__O

  178. So, I would like to use this opportunity to encourage people to go to Southeast Asia!! Cheap food!! Cheap clothes!! Cheap rent!! Cheap transport!! Cheap everything!! Also lots of kpop concerts and merch everywhere (if that’s what you’re after)!!!
    Rich, vibrant culture!!! Pickpockets!!! Friendly people~!! Dirty beaches!! Pretty girls!! Relaxed rules!! Lovely weather!!
    YEAH!!! (^o^)/

  179. is subway in Korea safe? or is it like New York? 

  180. I weep for Melbourne’s transport system. It’s inefficient, old-fashioned and dreadfully expensive. Here, we’re charged by zones. Zone 1 in inner suburban + CBD, zone 2 is outer suburban (so most of yer average folks. CBD & inner suburbs are for fancy, rich people.. or students renting in the city) and zone 3 which is leading out to the country. Not many people need zone 3 tickets for obvious reasons. As a student, the x1 daily concession fare (already rather pricey) for zone 1 only is a bit over $3. For zone 1+2 (yes, there’s a fare price for the 2 zones combined..) is about $5.50. If you aren’t a student, full-fare is about…. double the price of student fares. Trains aren’t so bad, but bus and (especially) tram services are frequently late. :|


    The idea of under-a-dollar transport heaven is like heaven to me. ;-;

    • You know, Melbourne public transport is probably the best in Australia – although you can’t compare with Asian megacities, obviously. It may seem expensive, but hey, everything here is expensive :D
      The system is actually really good with fairly punctual trains and buses and trams, the option of using metcards or Myki, planning where to go very efficiently with the metlink journey planner, etc…wait till you go to Queensland where you have to drive practically everywhere. You’ll miss Melbourne’s trains then (as I do now T_T)

      • I suppose so, but I rather dislike the Myki system. It really isn’t working for us in Melbourne..  :| The systems keep running into ruts.. It’s annoying.. but I guess the bonus is that when the machines aren’t working, I can get away way with a couple of free rides home.  :D

        Australia really needs to fix their poor energy consumption habits though..  u__u (especially considering the number of people per capita and how much carbon we are producing!!) We’ve had this 2 day politics program going at school and the whole idea of the carbon tax has been going through my head… UGH. The big issue is that although we are still a young country, we’ve already engraved some pretty darn lazy habits and luxurious ideals into our lifestyles. (The Great Australian Dream anybody??) It’s so difficult to change our infrastructure now that we started off with hopes of everybody having massive pieces of quarter acre land in Melbourne… We can’t exactly start knocking down people’s property and building lots of apartment blocks like in asian mega-cities can we? :<

  181. <—American English teacher in Seoul

    Itaewon….. creeper central….. Never liked that area. But Hongdae is a lot of fun.Also… saw a watermelon for 30,000W today. About $30. No joke.

  182. In Brussels (I don’t know how it is for the rest of Belgium but I think it’s similar) you pay per trip (like one-way). It’s like 2.50 euros. But there’s a student subscription for 204 euros for one full year in which you can use every metro and bus. For non-students it’s +/- 450 euros.

  183. Hey!

    I did a student exchange in South Korea in Fall 2010. It was amazing and yes, mostly everything that I needed was cheaper. I was there with my girlfriend at the time. I went to Inha and her to Yonsei so we decided to live in between and settled on Bucheon!

    We ended up living at the Samsung living tel 2 blocks away from the Bucheon station. We had to rent 2 rooms though, both because we couldn’t share a room (customs? ) and they were too small anyways. Since it was a room and not an apartment, we didn’t have any key money to pay.

    It was also pretty cheap, considering how close it was to the metro station and all they offered! Since we were staying for more than 3 months, we got a rebate of about 10%. I think the final price was about 300$ a month. This included the room (each with a private washroom & shower), television, internet access (Ethernet jack & cable), unlimited eggs, kimchi and sticky rice (even allowed to make a lunch and bring it out), unlimited washing, a roof terrace and a small training room with a treadmill, pull-up/sit-up bars and weights.

    As for produce, I never really bought any at the E-Mart (or other large stores) because of the prohibitive price. I did become a regular at a few local places though, especially an old man who would setup his cart near the living tel and give me deals on some seasonal produce.

    Ah, for coffee, I found a few nice places near where we lived and also on campus my Korean friends showed me a few well hidden shops. One of them would make amazing caramel macchiatos for about 2500 Won! The only thing I can say that applied everywhere I have been is this : do what the locals do :)

    Oh, and I was deeply disappointed by the electronics and their costs too! Even just getting a regular charger for some stuff we brought over was in the range of 15-20$ for a non-official one and over 30$ for an official one in a department store! I have to say though that at the Samsung Living Tel, everything there was produced by Samsung :P

    I miss Korean street food!!! There’s none in Montréal! :(


    P.-S.: Thank you for all your videos! We spent most of the 2010 Summer watching those to learn more about South Korea to help prepare ourselves!

    • Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It’s quite useful! :)

    • Hello! Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m going to yonsei in February 2013 and I would like to know if it’s better (and cheaper) to live in a separate room like you did or in the university dorms?

      •  I think the university dorms (in my case, Inha) would’ve been about as cheap but possibly more convenient.

        The sad part about that would have been to be surrounded by international students instead of Koreans. I got to experience life in a part of Bucheon (near Bucheon station) where I’ve only ever seen 2-3 other non-Koreans in over 4 months. It was very much different that what you will be exposed to if you leave in a dorm.

        So my main concern was not money in my case but experiencing the day-to-day culture as much as possible. Making friends and going out with Korean students living in the same Living Tel was amazing and something that would’ve never happen at my university dorms.

        But yes, there’s a good chance it would be cheaper to live at dorms unless you are lucky (like we were) or speak a good Korean (to get good deals).

    • A fellow Montréal-er! Just have a question for you if that’s okay! What Student Exchange program did you use? I plan on studying in Korea as well, I’m just not sure the best way to go about it…

      Thank you for the post! :)

      • I’m sorry for the delay in responding, I’ve been away from the computer for a few days :)

        The procedure is can vary quite a bit depending on which university you are at currently. I have information about Concordia University and Université de Montréal (and maybe some about ÉTS from a friend).

        I could definitely give you more details about the general procedure though. Some stuff is common to all students in Québec (especially getting 70% of your icket payed by the government :P )

        • :O I’m from Montreal too and studying at concordia! :D There’s this
          summer program of 3 weeks I want to try out next summer at the Inha
          University http://summer.inha.ac.kr/program/program.aspx

          I’d like to know more about the procedures. I didn’t even know that the
          government could pay 70% of the ticket. Do you have more info on how to
          apply for that?

          Merci! :)

        • Details would be much appreciated if you don’t mind! :) Need all the help I can get!

        • Primrose Everbloom


          I’m a student from University of Montreal. I wonder if you can share your information about Student Exchange Program at my university.

          But if it’s too much troubles, can you just please tell me where can I learn more information on my own? like where I should head to or to whom should I talk. I’m a new student this year so I don’t know much about my own university >~<

          And it would be great if you give some hints about the special offer from the government too!

          Hope you would reply soon!!
          Thank you! ^O^

    • thanks for sharing! very helpful!

    • That sounds like an ideal setup for a student.  I spent some months in a couple of different studio apartments (called “one room” in Konglish). 

      The first was somewhat similar to what you described. It was a decent sized room furnished with a twin bed and mini-fridge; it had a normal little bathroom as well but no cooking facilities. No food was provided.  I paid about 300 but that didn’t include the gas (I think it was gas) for the heat.  That proved to be a terrible mistake because it was an inefficient building; it costed me $300 for a month’s heat in winter, despite keeping the temp low.  

      My next place was a brand new building where my room was smaller but there was a kitchenette for cooking.  I liked it a lot better.  Though I ordered much of my food from Kimbap Chunguk, sometimes you just need to have a grilled cheese!

      My Korean friends explained that stores like E-Mart aren’t viewed as the primary place to get produce.  That position belongs to the cheaper fruit shops and stands.  They said produce at E-Mart is just for convenience.  So I bought a lot of my fruit from a tiny shop nearby.  Now I dream about those 3,000 won sacks of mandarins from street sellers!

    •  that sounds totally awesome! what exchange program did you go through? Was your feed covered by the university or covered in the rent or something else? because that sounds awesome! what was the building/room called? I’m in my second year of university in Regina and I would LOVE to do a semester in Korea. :)

      •   that sounds totally awesome! what exchange program did you go through? Was your food covered in the rent or something else? because that sounds fantastic! what was the building/room called? I’m in my second year of university in Regina and I would LOVE to do a semester in Korea. :)

      • The exchange program was from a special agreement between my university and Inha university.

        As for what was covered, well, my provincial government gave me a monthly bursary and paid 1000$ for my plane ticket. That was expected and I had also saved some money from my internship during the summer before the exchange just to be on the safe side.

        But, a week before leaving for Korea, I also learned that the Korean government was going to give me a monthly bursary too! That was just amazing :)

        The place I stayed in is called Samsung Living Tel (삼성리빙텔). I still have the business card of the place at home, so I can scan it and give that to you is you want :)

    • heii…

      thanks for sharing…

      and i would like to ask you how about living cost at seoul? is there any Samsung living tel 2 over there?? or is it possible to live at Bucheon but study at seoul?? much detailed really appreciate…. I do really need it… thanks thanks… :) :)

    • heii…

      thanks for sharing…

      and i would like to ask you how about living cost at seoul? is there any Samsung living tel 2 over there?? or is it possible to live at Bucheon but study at seoul?? much detailed really appreciate…. I do really need it… thanks thanks… :) :)

  184. OHMYGOD. When you told the price about food, I was like o_________________o Nope seriously, prices are so cheap. & I live in Europe so I have to put $ into € and dollars are cheaper so… It’s almost done (except the story of the mango lmfao) But when tou spoke about restaurant with loads of meat and all, that’s the price of a fast food restaurant omfg. Life in France is so expensive, tired of that. :(

    Sorry, I’m pretty sure that nobody will understand what I wanted to say… é_è (why the fuck did I born in a not-english speaking country ?)

  185. I thought that maybe I could compare what you guys would say in this video with life in Osaka since I was there last year, but it seems that Osaka was much more expensive. Sometimes food is ridiculously expensive and clothes…. you really can’t get cheap clothes as frequently as Seoul. Shoes can be cheap in some places though.

    The rent is just as bad as you described it with deposits and such. In fact, sometimes they call it deposit but you don’t get your money back (I was quite frustrated with them over this matter as it was a fairly large amount of money). I also noticed that electronics in general aren’t cheaper over there, which was bizarre but I was lucky enough to not have to buy anything besides a hair straightener for a good 64000yen which was cheap compared.

    Unfortunately transportation is also ridiculously expensive in Osaka besides it being crazy. There’s metro and trains and various trains owned by different companies so you have to be very careful with tickets. My monthly metro card covering only the distance from my station to my works station was over 100euro and about twice the price of my rent. When I visited Seoul for vacations everything seemed so cheap. ;w; Wrong impression after Japan, but the subway system was too glorious. :D

    Thank you for making this video!! It’s super helpful.

  186. I guess if I were to stay in Korea I should just take up a English-teaching position for a while so i don’t have to pay rent hehe

  187. I just arrived in Seoul a few weeks ago and one thing that all my fellow teachers told me is that it is a lot cheaper to eat out than it is to buy groceries and it’s really true. In the States eating out for two was at least 25 dollars, here it is maybe 15,000. I had delicious galbi with a friend for 12,000 and we got the meat, seaweed soup, daenjang tang, kimchi, marinated onions, salad and rice, we both left feeling really full needless to say.

  188. I’ve been to Korea & I’m planning a trip to Japan soon. & just judging from the research about the Japan rail system – Korea beats it hands down. I find it less confusing, plus it is sooo cheap! I remember putting in about 15,000 won that lasted me travelling to & fro from many places for more than a week!

    & like what you said about the clothes – I almost died shopping there. With so many 5000 & 10,000 won clothing, I literally filled my bags with them. Definitely much cheaper than Singapore (where I’m from).

  189. Dont know if this has been commented yet, but the seoul subway changed their base fare from 900 to 1050 won. Just thought I’d throw that out for everybody! You guys were WAY off!

    • WHhhhhhuuuuTTT!!! When did this happen?! We just paid to get on the bus recently and it was still 900! Maybe Bucheon is different then parts of Seoul? I know the intracity buses also cost more due to the distance that they travel.  Ohmehgawd!

      • buses depend on how far they were going. I know the bus we usually took from yonsei to sinchon station was only 750, but buses that went to other areas cost more. The subway fee is 1050, but if u just got off of a bus it is discounted so that u only pay 1050 total – for the bus and the subway, if u haven’t gone over the base distance

  190. I went to Korea last June for a 6-day holiday visit and I went bancrupt!!! ahahahaha! Korea is pretty expensive compared
    Let me share to you some of the cheap stuff I got:

    SHIN RAMYEON – 2 packs for 5000 won (5 noodles/pack)
    Cosmetics!! (Etude,Tony Moly, Misha, etc)
    > Nail polish from 1000-2000 won
    >Face pack for 1000 won
    >Skin and Lotion for less than 15000 won
    > Chibi socks for 1000 won

    …AND everything else is expensive! ahahhaha! Not really but those are the only stuff I remember so far~ and yeah! I got this North Face bag for 110000 won! That’s a pretty good price considering I went to both HK and Macau and did not find this bag :(
    I hope this helps :)

  191. Dr. Meemersworth lazer-eye-attack pewpew!!

  192. When and where did you live in Windsor?? :O I’m ecstatic that I might have lived in the same city for a long period of time without knowing that I’d be eventually religiously following your blog many years later.

    Very informative post today. As a Canadian from the same area, these comparisons are the best possible. Out of curiosity, do you know anything about minimum wage, entertainment (clubs, karaoke, museums, attractions, etc…), or tuition in Korea?

  193. How about cell phones? I’m sure the price of the actual phone is stupid, but what about service? Like if one were to want data and all that ish

    •  Good question!  Our cellphones are pretty cheap.  My iPhone sets me back roughly 33,000 won a month or so.  I pay an extra 10,000 won a month to have the 4G Egg, which we did a video about for a TL;DR before.  Basically, super speeds everywhere, no data cap (or, if there is, we’ve never hit it, even though we’re piggies for data).


  194. Do you have a favorite brand of coffee that you could make at home? if so, what kinds?
    Also, more important, do you have a coffee maker at your place and what kind is it?

    cause all you have to do is ask for coffee and it will show up at your PO box. :D

    • *Martina jumps around violently with her hand up* OHHOHHOHH PICK ME PICK ME!!!! I’d be seriously excited for ANY coffee that showed up in my PO Box! I love coffee, grind my own beans and I have a million coffee devices! Single cup drip, french press, turkish pot for the stove, aeropress, vietnamese hand drip, oh yeah, I do it all! :D

  195. Ah… So I guess I’ll be going to Bucheon in 4 years. Okie ^^ LOL, I’m going to Korea for University and I bet I can make HanYang ^^ Y’all helped.

  196. I’m from Singapore and I went to Korea early this year. To me, food is REALLY cheap in Korea compare to Singapore. Shopping, it really depends on where you go. But then variety wise, Korea > Singapore. Transportation is about the same in Singapore but yes, taxi. I like the fact that even if you take a taxi during peak hours, they won’t charge you extra like how taxis in Singapore does. Yeah conclusion is I won’t mind living there too. ;)

  197. just for a train to the other side of wellington in nz its $4.50
    for 5 min taxi ride you’re looking at $10 ( if you live on the edge of town thats pretty much what you pay)
    its $30 from where I live to the airport which is about a 20 min drive.
    avocados cost about $3 in New Zealand

  198. “…Gangna-” OOPA~N GANGNAM STYLE ! !

  199. I see a tiny fluffy thing at 2:04 on the table near Martina !!!!! Doctor…. Flemebotebo?
    She’s so fluffy I’m gonna die :”D !!!

  200. … I’m poor D’:
    Look like I won’t be able to afford studying in Korea .

  201. I’m going to Korea as a student, so I hope things are really not expensive :(

    • mee too, which uni are you going 2?

    • I went to Yonsei for a summer, things aren’t too bad. If you stick with Korean food it will be cheap, once you start trying to eat a little home cooking it gets more expensive. Fruit is ridic…like Simon and Martina were being nice, it’s always too expensive! I got so desperate I spent 4 bucks for an orange once. There were like 5 dollar little canned grapes omg. Oh and salad is expensive, don’t ask me why, I think it might be because they don’t eat it much. But other than that you’ll love it! Transportation is cheap. But name brand things are overpriced in Korea for some reason like they said. Funny thing: When I came back to America all I ate was fruit and salads for like a week lol. But Korea’s great, you’ll love it!

  202. Funny for you to discuss this, as I was just talking about it the other day. My friends went to S.Korea over the holidays, and they were telling me how the prices weren’t all that different from Australia, which I found unbelievable. I’d always thought of South Korea as the cheaper version of Japa – AARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!
    WHO STABBED ME???!!!! I knew I shouldn’t have bandmouthed KoreeeeEEeeEEee………..
    *DIES* x_X


    • Um, that’s odd. When we went to Japan, things were ridiculously more expensive there. Taxis are unusably expensive unless you’re farting gold on a regular basis (and not just once a week goldfarts. You need more than that). And the ramen cost 10 bucks a pop. In Korea, Ramen’s a buck fifty.

      • Aaah ok. Note: I posted that before I watched the video/read the blog.
        I think I understand why my friends said Korea was equally expensive – they were after the electronics. Which you said was more expensive, right? I think I’ll stick with HK for electronics in that case – no tax ftw!!!
        You say the rent is expsensive, but it’s more or less the same as here…and I think petrol is pretty much the same worldwide unless it’s subsidised by the government (that would be my main concern, being a car junkie).

        But yes. Japan takes the cake for being pricey. Holy cranberries. Doesn’t matter if it’s food, rent, transport, clothes, electronics, books, entertainment – almost everything was more expensive than Australia, or any other country I’ve been to, for that matter. And they had the same issue as Korea with the pricey produce. And dairy products. Sigh. :(

      • JAPAN IS SO EXPENSIVE!!!! >~< At times I ask myself, why did I turn down the offer in Korea… but then again, I LOVE JAPAN and have been studying the language. So I guess I am getting something from it… I mean besides debt (my first pay check is not until the end of the month and we have a 2 week vacation starting Sunday…. credit and debt cards… T_T)

      • JAPAN.. it is said that it’s a really beautiful country, but really expensive… waaaah my wallet will never make it… T____________T i hope to save, at least, for Korea. they say Jeju’s awesome.. have you been there, simon and martina? how about doing a WANK there someday? ^^

      • Japan seems to cost about the same as Sydney for most things, but Sydney’s expensive because minimum wage here is ridiculously high, so…

      • For me, Japan was about the same as living in Victoria, BC, Canada, but our cost of living is stupidly high for Canada.

      • Hmm maybe it also depends where in Japan you are? I was in Kobe for 3 weeks and I found that the transport was really expensive! (Though trains in England are by faaaaaar the most expensive ever, unless you book tickets online in advance), but the food, mobile phones, clothes, cinema etc. was a lot cheaper than Holland/ England. Well… maybe you pay the same for food, but the portions are a lot bigger, so I consider that cheaper. CD’s were almost 2x as much as in Holland, but they tend to have more songs on it as well. Maybe if I would live in Japan it would turn out to be more expensive than England/ Holland, but for a holiday I found it was a lot cheaper than back home :)

      • That really sucks. If you go to the country side of Japan, you can get an amazing bowl of ramen for 400 yen. Delicious and cheap! 

      • Ramen… costs at least $12 in St. Marks in NYC. /sigh.

        • Why? WHY?! Why cant my fellow Ramen lovers enjoy the Ramen like I do?! It costs anywhere from 49-79 cents in Washington State :) Lol I feel special but….very sad for you at the same time…T.T I’m so sorry…

        • Ruoxin Mushroom

          i feel you.. I feel you….. anything tagged with japanese or korean brands are literally 10 times the price in NYC!!!!

        • You guys should go to Terikawa Ramen on 23rd and Lex. It’s around 10 dollars for a huge bowl of ramen. I know, two dollars isn’t a huge difference, but the food is amazing and the service is fantastic.

      • In Washington, Ramens literately like 49-79 cents! Lol So when you say $10.00 or even $1.50 I’m like “You make me go insane, This gives me so much pain, I’m not buying Ramen anywhere eeeeeelllllsssssse.” ^o^

        • Samantha White

          Yeah, but you’re talking about cup ramen or the pre-packaged kind, aren’t you? I’m in Bothell, near Seattle, and there’s no restaurant/street vendor quality ramen for cheaper than 5 or 6 bucks. I think you must be talking about the kind you have to add hot water to, which isn’t what the others are talking about.

      • You are missing an essential point! Korean Ramen in Korea and Japaense Ramen in Japan are totally different from each other!

        Korean Ramen sold in a bistro in Korea is made out of a pack of instant ramen which you can get easily from any super market and is not a proper meal at all. Japanese Ramen sold in a Ramenya (Ramen restaurant) in Japan is made out of home-made noodles and a variety of fresh ingredients like vegetables and pork and therefore is a proper meal.

        To put it in a nutshell:

        - Ramen means INSTANT noodles for Korean people

        - Korean Ramen = INSTANT noodles (around US$3~3.5 AVERAGE)
        * You can get a PROPER Ramen dish of noodles (I am talking about Japanese Ramen since we don’t have real or proper Korean Ramen) in Korea at around US$6~10 AVERAGE

        - Ramen means a PROPERLY cooked Ramen dish of noodles for Japaense people

        - Japanese Ramen = a PROPER Ramen dish of noodles (around US$4~6 AVERAGE)

        * There are some places offering Ramen at around US$7~9 in Japan which is considered unnecessarily overpriced among Japanese people

        * They also have INSTANT noodles in Japan and they don’t offer INSTANT noodles in a restaurant or any sort of eating place. It is solely sold for a home cooking purpose only.

      • The prices between South Korea and Japan came to almost even since around 2001. They go up and down depending on exchange rates between Korean Won and Japanese Yen. It’s been more expensive in Japan until very recent due to its strong yen for like 5 years. However, there are things that never change. Public transport, eating out, confectionery, cigarette, electricity, entrance fees to tourist spots including amusement parks, CD, haircut, going to cinema are almost always more expensive in Japan while meat, cheese, butter, raw fish, wine, beer, tea, luxury items, fragrance, fees to private educational institute, automobile, buying a house, gasoline, leisure fees are almost always more expensive in Korea. Prices of the vegetable, fruit, coffee, staying in a hotel, home appliance, clothes, bag, university tuition are almost always the same between Korea and Japan.

    • Korea was gonna be my back-up if Japan was too expensive D: (but I wanna teach so…hm). Ah well, I’m just gonna go and enjoy my 90c/per kg watermelons…

    • I think ur friends are wrong, i am aussie and i found everything wayyyyyy cheaper. Australia is also more expensive than Canada too, so if Simon and Martina found this stuff cheaper than Canada, it’d be even cheaper than Australia!

    • I always thought Japan was much more expensive, especially when it came to electronics..simply because when I was buying my 2ne1 CD’s, the Korean versions were like 10~11$. Now, a simple Japanese CD (no photobook or anything special, literally just a CD case) would have cost me about 45$. 

    • Your from the aus? me too ^^

    • Japan is sometimes expensive, sometimes cheap in New Zealand dollars. I have friends who lived there, so when I went to visit, I was so surprised that Sheraton Disney is affordable for a student like me. I also ate at good restaurants there in Japan and all of the food expenses are within my budget surprisingly (I thought I would’ve to cook or eat instant noodles the whole 2 1/2 weeks I was there).

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