A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Istanbul vs. Seoul for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Istanbul or Seoul?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Istanbul or Seoul, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Istanbul

Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus and is split between Europe and Asia. It truly is a city where east meets west. Istanbul is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey, and also the most populous city. The sites are countless and there's something for everybody, whether you're interested in art, music, food, or adventure. You can pass many days exploring both the residential and commercial pockets of this city. Much of the appeal is hidden away along back alleys or within corner shops.

Seoul

With a population of more than 11 million, Seoul is easily the largest city in South Korea. It is also the financial, political, and cultural capital of the country and has much to offer open minded travelers. It is often overlooked by travelers who instead head to Tokyo or Shanghai, but Seoul has a wide range of cultural experiences, food options, and historical sights. Seoul is a city of contrasts with ancient traditions, flashy technology, religious temples and a modern youth culture. It is also more affordable than many of the other Asian metropolis' to which it is often compared. If you're looking for an interesting and different experience that is a little off the tourist trail, Seoul can definitely offer that opportunity.

Which city is cheaper, Seoul or Istanbul?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Istanbul is $54, while the average daily cost in Seoul is $94. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Istanbul and Seoul in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in Istanbul is about $66 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

Seoul's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $94. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $47.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Istanbul $33
    Seoul $47
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Istanbul $66
    Seoul $94

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Istanbul is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $3.17 per person, per day, on local transportation in Istanbul.

The average price of local transportation around Seoul is $13 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Istanbul $3.17
    Seoul $13
Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Ferry
    $0.19
  • Local Bus
    $0.20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul Airport Transfer / Private Airport Transfer: $3.73
  • Istanbul Airports Transfer: $6.22
  • istanbul airport cheapest vip transfer by private car: $14
  • Safe Airport transfer service in istanbul: $16
  • Private Airport Transfer Arrival or Departure in Istanbul: $17
  • Sabiha Airport Arrival Or Departure Hotel Transfer: $17
  • PRIVATE DEPARTURE TRANSFER - Istanbul European Side To Istanbul New Airport: $18
  • Istanbul New Airport Private Transfer: $18
  • New Istanbul Airport Private Transfer: $18
  • İstanbul Private Airport Transfer: $19
  • Istanbul Airport Arrival Or Departure Hotel Transfer: $19
  • One Way Istanbul Airport Transfer to SultanAhmet: $22

Typical Local Transportation prices in Seoul

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Seoul:


  • Subway Card
    $3.96
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $5.54
  • Metro Ride
    $1.07
  • Seoul City Pass Plus
    $7.91

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Seoul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Seoul:

  • Everland Theme Park Private Transfer: $16
  • Private Airport Transfer: Gimpo International Airport (GMP) to Seoul: $31
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Seoul to Gimpo International Airport (GMP): $31
  • Private Airport Transfer: Seoul to Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN): $41
  • Airport Private Transfer: Seoul to Incheon Int'l Airport: $46
  • Private Airport Transfer: Gimpo Airport to Seoul City (1-6 pax): $65
  • Private Airport Transfer: Seoul City - Gimpo Airport (1-6 pax): $67
  • Private Airport Transfer : Seoul to Gimpo/Gimpo to Seoul (up to 7pax): $68
  • Private transfer in Korea along with a wide range of cars (3~28pax): $75
  • Private Transfer to Airport : Seoul to Incheon Airport ( up to 7pax): $79
  • Private Airport Transfer: Seoul City to Incheon Airport (1-6 pax): $85
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Gimpo International Airport to Seoul Hotels: $90

Is it cheaper to fly into Istanbul or Seoul?

Prices for flights to both Seoul and Istanbul change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food

On average, meal and food prices in Istanbul cost around $14 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $5.60.

While meal prices in Seoul can vary, the average travelers spends about $26 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Seoul should cost around $10 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Seoul is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Istanbul $14
    Seoul $26
Typical Food prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Juice
    $0.13
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.04
  • Dessert
    $0.57
  • Pastries
    $0.10

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Istanbul.

  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $29
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise Show: $30
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Inc. Dinner and Belly Dance Show with Hotel Transfer: $34
  • Alaturca Ottoman Dramatic Stage Show & Dinner Cruise ( Non - Alcoholic ): $35
  • Bosphorus Dinner & Show Cruise (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus: $38
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise with Sema Ceremony: $40

Typical Food prices in Seoul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Seoul are as follows:


  • Rice with Kimchi & Bacon
    $4.75
  • Waffle
    $0.79
  • Dippin' Dots
    $1.58
  • Chicken Fried Rice
    $4.35
  • Chicken Stick
    $1.58
  • Drinking Yoghurt & Mi Chew
    $1.50
  • Lunch Buffet
    $4.75
  • Donut
    $0.79
  • Mushroom Burger
    $4.11
  • Green Tea Ice Cream
    $2.61
  • Udon & Sushi
    $5.54
  • Fresh Burger
    $3.80
  • Soba Noodles Lunch
    $3.56
  • Bibimbap Lunch
    $3.96
  • Fried Rice
    $4.35
  • Vietnamese Dinner
    $7.51
  • Breakfast and Coffee for 2
    $7.51
  • Donut
    $1.98

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Seoul

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Seoul.

  • Night Market Food Tour: $48
  • Traditional Korean Cooking Class (Kimchi) & market tour with chef Joungy: $51
  • Korean Cooking Class with Full-Course Meal & Local Market Tour: $56
  • Small-Group Korean Cooking Class in Seoul: $56
  • Traditional Cooking Experience in Korean Style House in Seoul: $58
  • Secret of Banchan (side dish) cooking!: $61
  • Traditional Korean cooking class and market visit in Seoul: $62
  • Private 3-Hour Korean Cooking Class in Seoul: $68
  • Local Flavors of Seoul at Night: Street Food Tour: $70
  • Eat like a local! Most authentic Seoul food tour: $79
  • Historic Jongro District Authentic Food Tour in Seoul: $81
  • Gwangjang Market Food Tour including Lunch: $82

Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Istanbul typically cost an average of $20 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Seoul's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $23 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Istanbul $20
    Seoul $23
Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $1.35
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $1.35
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $0.67
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $2.02

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Istanbul are as follows:

  • Just Hagia Sophia Tour /Skip The Lines: $8.71
  • VR Dervish Experience: $10
  • Museum of Illusions Istanbul Ticket: $11
  • Piri Self-Guided Audio Tour: Istanbul, Historical Peninsula: $11
  • Old City Insider Walking Tour: $11
  • Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App: $11
  • Basilica Cistern VIP Tickets: $12
  • Vip Ticket For Hagi̇a Sophi̇a: $12
  • Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque&Hippodrome Guided Tours Everyday /No que / No line!: $12
  • Istanbul LEGOLAND Discovery Center Entrance Ticket: $14
  • SEA LIFE Istanbul Entry Ticket: $14
  • Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour: $14

Typical Entertainment prices in Seoul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Seoul are as follows:


  • Palace Tickets
    $6.33
  • Movie Ticket
    $6.33
  • Kimchi Museum
    $2.37

Tours and Activities in Seoul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Seoul are as follows:

  • Royal Seoul Private Tour: Zombie City Exploration Game: $3.72
  • National Museum of Korea Private Tour: Seoul Exploration Game: $3.72
  • Alternative Uncover the city's alternative culture on an audio tour: $5.00
  • The Dark Side of Seoul Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $6.22
  • Changdeokgung Palace Hanbok Rental Experience in Seoul: $7.00
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace Hanbok Rental Experience in Seoul: $7.00
  • N Seoul Tower Ticket Combos in Seoul: $7.01
  • Premium Hanbok Experience in Hanboknam Gyeongbok Palace Branch: $7.18
  • Poopooland Discount Ticket at Insa-dong: $8.00
  • Dynamic Maze Discount Ticket Insa-dong: $8.83
  • [Extremely popular Chuncheon trip] Nami Island X Gangchon Railbike One Day Tour: $9.30
  • Alive Museum Discount Ticket at Insa-dong: $9.50

Alcohol

The average person spends about $4.85 on alcoholic beverages in Istanbul per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

The average person spends about $11 on alcoholic beverages in Seoul per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Istanbul $4.85
    Seoul $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul: $427

Sample the Local Flavors in Seoul

Also in Seoul, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Seoul Pub Crawl and Party with Free Shots: $24
  • Pub Crawl and Party at City's Best Bars and Clubs: $25
  • 3-Hour Small Group Korean Pub Crawl + Food Tasting in Hongdae: $86


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Istanbul and Seoul, we can see that Seoul is more expensive. And not only is Istanbul much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Istanbul is in Europe and Seoul is in Asia, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. So, traveling to Istanbul would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Istanbul and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Seoul would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Seoul than you might in Istanbul.

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Istanbul vs. Seoul Travel Comparison

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