A Travel Price Comparison for South Korea Seoul vs. Busan (Pusan) for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Seoul or Busan (Pusan)?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Seoul and Busan (Pusan) can help you decide which place is right for you.

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.

Busan (Pusan)

An important port city in South Korea, Busan is known for its beaches, mountains, and temples. With a thriving harbor, the city's main revenue comes from international shipping, although the area is quite popular with tourists from all over the globe, too. The place is bustling with sailors from around the world as well as tourists who come to enjoy the culture of this modern and dynamic city.

Which city is cheaper, Busan (Pusan) or Seoul?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Seoul is $93, while the average daily cost in Busan (Pusan) is $75. 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 Seoul and Busan (Pusan) in more detail.



Accommodation

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.

A hotel room in Busan (Pusan) is about $68 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Seoul $47
    Busan (Pusan) $34
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Seoul $94
    Busan (Pusan) $68

Local Transportation

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.

The average price of local transportation around Busan (Pusan) is $18 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.
    Seoul $13
    Busan (Pusan) $18
Typical Local Transportation prices in Seoul

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


  • Subway Card
    $3.93
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $5.50
  • Metro Ride
    $1.06
  • Seoul City Pass Plus
    $7.85

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 Seoul or Busan (Pusan)?

Prices for flights to both Busan (Pusan) and Seoul 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

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.

In Busan (Pusan) travelers spend around $22 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Seoul $26
    Busan (Pusan) $22
Typical Food prices in Seoul

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


  • Rice with Kimchi & Bacon
    $4.71
  • Waffle
    $0.79
  • Dippin' Dots
    $1.57
  • Chicken Fried Rice
    $4.32
  • Chicken Stick
    $1.57
  • Drinking Yoghurt & Mi Chew
    $1.49
  • Lunch Buffet
    $4.71
  • Donut
    $0.79
  • Mushroom Burger
    $4.08
  • Green Tea Ice Cream
    $2.59
  • Udon & Sushi
    $5.50
  • Fresh Burger
    $3.77
  • Soba Noodles Lunch
    $3.53
  • Bibimbap Lunch
    $3.93
  • Fried Rice
    $4.32
  • Vietnamese Dinner
    $7.46
  • Breakfast and Coffee for 2
    $7.46
  • Donut
    $1.96

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

Typical Food prices in Busan (Pusan)

Some typical examples of dining costs in Busan (Pusan) are as follows:


  • McDonald's
    $4.86
  • Carp Bread
    $0.79

Entertainment

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.

Busan (Pusan)'s costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $17 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.
    Seoul $23
    Busan (Pusan) $17
Typical Entertainment prices in Seoul

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


  • Palace Tickets
    $6.28
  • Movie Ticket
    $6.28
  • Kimchi Museum
    $2.36

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 $10 on alcoholic beverages in Seoul per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

The average person spends about $10 on alcoholic beverages in Busan (Pusan) per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Seoul $10
    Busan (Pusan) $10

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 Seoul and Busan (Pusan), we can see that Seoul is more expensive. And not only is Busan (Pusan) much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Busan (Pusan) would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Busan (Pusan) 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 Busan (Pusan).

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Seoul vs. Busan (Pusan) Travel Comparison

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