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

Should you visit Seoul or Busan (Pusan)?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

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.

Where Should I go: Seoul or Busan (Pusan)?

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to South Korea, The Best Adventure Tours to South Korea, The Best Cultural Tours in South Korea, and The Best Luxury Tours to South Korea.


Which place 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 $107, while the average daily cost in Busan (Pusan) is $86. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Seoul and Busan (Pusan) in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Seoul $54
    Busan (Pusan) $39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Seoul $108
    Busan (Pusan) $78
Compare Hotels in Seoul and Busan (Pusan)

Looking for a hotel in Seoul or Busan (Pusan)? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Seoul


Hotels in Busan (Pusan)


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Seoul Hotel Prices and Busan (Pusan) Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Seoul $15
    Busan (Pusan) $20
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Seoul

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


  • Subway Card
    $3.62
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $5.07
  • Metro Ride
    $0.98
  • Seoul City Pass Plus
    $7.24

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Seoul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Seoul:

  • Seoul to Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN) Departure Private Transfer: $47
  • Seoul to Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN) - Departure Private Transfer: $47
  • From Half-Day MBC Dae Jang Geum Park Transfer: $55
  • From Everland Admission Ticket with Transfer: $75
  • Airport Private Transfer : Seoul Hotel to Incheon International Airport (ICN): $78
  • Seoul Airport: Private Departure Transfer from Seoul City Center: $87
  • Private Airport Transfer : Gimpo airport to/from Seoul (1~7pax): $95
  • Private Incheon Airport Pickup Transfer to Seoul and Vice Versa: $98
  • Private Transfer To/From Incheon Airport: $99
  • Private Airport Transfer : Incheon airport to/from Seoul(~7 pax): $99
  • Incheon Airport Private Transfer between Seoul City: $100
  • Private Transfer l Airport to/from Seoul: $100

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Busan (Pusan)

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Busan (Pusan):

  • Private Transfer from Busan Cruise Port to Busan Int Airport(PUS): $70
  • Private Transfer from Busan Int Airport(PUS) to Busan Cruise Port: $70
  • Private Transfer from Busan Cruise Port to Busan city hotels: $76
  • Busan Gimhae Int Airport(PUS) to Busan - Arrival Private Transfer: $118
  • Busan to Busan Gimhae Airport (PUS) - Departure Private Transfer: $118

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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Seoul $30
    Busan (Pusan) $26
Typical Food Prices in Seoul

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


  • Rice with Kimchi & Bacon
    $4.34
  • Waffle
    $0.72
  • Dippin' Dots
    $1.45
  • Chicken Fried Rice
    $3.98
  • Chicken Stick
    $1.45
  • Drinking Yoghurt & Mi Chew
    $1.38
  • Lunch Buffet
    $4.34
  • Donut
    $0.72
  • Mushroom Burger
    $3.76
  • Green Tea Ice Cream
    $2.39
  • Udon & Sushi
    $5.07
  • Fresh Burger
    $3.48
  • Soba Noodles Lunch
    $3.26
  • Bibimbap Lunch
    $3.62
  • Fried Rice
    $3.98
  • Vietnamese Dinner
    $6.88
  • Breakfast and Coffee for 2
    $6.88
  • Donut
    $1.81

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Seoul

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

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace : Tour, dinner and coffee: $36
  • Seoul Mangwon Market Social Night Food Tour: $43
  • Namdaemun Market: the Largest Traditional Market Food Tour: $46
  • Namdaemun Market Street Food Tour: $47
  • Mangwon Market Food tour By Locals; Cheap Eats to Fancy Feast: $48
  • Mangwon Market Food tour By Locals;Cheap Eats to Fancy Feast: $53
  • Gwangjang Market Netflix Food Tour: $54
  • Guided City Wall Sunset Hike with Korean Dinner: $57
  • Seoul Seongsu dong Tour Including Lunch, Dinner, Beer, Night View: $69
  • Night Market Food Tour: $70
  • Night Market Food Tour: $72
  • K-FOOD one day cooking class: $75

Typical Food Prices in Busan (Pusan)

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


  • McDonald's
    $4.48
  • Carp Bread
    $0.72

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Busan (Pusan)

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Busan (Pusan).

  • Busan history and market food tour with local chef: $49
  • Korean cooking class in Haeundae, Busan : $95
  • Busan Seafood Tour & Dinner with Busan Oppa: $105
  • Kkakdugi(Korean radish Kimchi) Cooking class at Busan : $110
  • Enjoy tailored Korean cooking class with Ocean view at Busan: $110
  • Busan Local Food Cooking Class with Market Tour: $114

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Seoul $26
    Busan (Pusan) $20
Typical Entertainment Prices in Seoul

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


  • Palace Tickets
    $5.79
  • Movie Ticket
    $5.79
  • Kimchi Museum
    $2.17

Tours and Activities in Seoul

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

  • Changdeokgung Palace Hanbok Rental Experience in Seoul: $7.00
  • Seoul Changdeokgung Palace Hanbok Experience Hanboknam (내국인불가): $7.20
  • [NEWTRO ART TOUR] Media art museum & walking tour: $8.00
  • Seoul Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.00
  • Alive Museum Discount Ticket at Insa-dong(내국인불가): $9.70
  • [Seoul] Football Faentasium Admission Ticket (내국인 불가): $10
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Skip the Line: 63 Building Observatory + Aqua Planet 63 Combo Ticket: $11
  • Seoul Job Experience Theme Park Ticket for Kid (내국인 불가): $13
  • Dongdaemun City Tour Bus(내국인불가): $14
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace Private Half-Day Tour: $19
  • Virtual Tour of Korean Demilitarized Zone: $19

Tours and Activities in Busan (Pusan)

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Busan (Pusan) are as follows:

  • Busan Running Man Themed Activity Experience Ticket (내국인불가): $8.00
  • Fun & Informative Busan in Korea Virtual Tour : $12
  • Museum 1 Exhibition Ticket in Busan (내국인 불가): $13
  • The Way of Tea - Experience: $39
  • Full-Day Tour Unmissable things to do in Busan: $41
  • Jinhae Pink Cherry Blossom One Day Tour From Busan: $41
  • Full-Day Busan City Tour: $51
  • Romantic Jinhae Cherry Blossom Night Tour - Depart from Busan: $65
  • Old Korea Thousand History Tour of Gyeongju from Busan: $68
  • West Busan Small Group Photo Tour (Max 7): $68
  • Busan Night Small Group Photo Tour (Max 7): $68
  • East Busan Small Group Photo Tour (Max 7): $75

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Seoul $12
    Busan (Pusan) $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Seoul

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

  • Chunpoong Makgeolli Brewery Tour: $10
  • Seoul Pub Crawl by Absolute: $20
  • The Seoul Pub Crawl [official]: $21
  • Pub Crawl: $25
  • The Seoul Pub Crawl [official]: $25
  • Soju Tasting at Distillery - Story of Three Pigs: $42
  • Soju Tasting at Distillery - story of 3 pigs: $42


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).

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Seoul Expensive? and Is Busan (Pusan) Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Seoul or Busan (Pusan)?

Seoul has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Busan (Pusan). When comparing the sizes of Seoul and Busan (Pusan), keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Seoul or Busan (Pusan)?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Seoul or Busan (Pusan) in the Summer?

Both Busan (Pusan) and Seoul are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Seoul this time of year.

Seoul is around the same temperature as Busan (Pusan) in the summer. The daily temperature in Seoul averages around 26°C (78°F) in July, and Busan (Pusan) fluctuates around 25°C (77°F).

Seoul usually receives less sunshine than Busan (Pusan) during summer. Seoul gets 121 hours of sunny skies, while Busan (Pusan) receives 166 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Busan (Pusan). It's quite rainy in Seoul. In July, Seoul usually receives more rain than Busan (Pusan). Seoul gets 369 mm (14.5 in) of rain, while Busan (Pusan) receives 257 mm (10.1 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Seoul 26°C (78°F) 
    Busan (Pusan) 25°C (77°F)

Should I visit Seoul or Busan (Pusan) in the Autumn?

Both Busan (Pusan) and Seoul during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Seoul for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene.

In the autumn, Seoul is cooler than Busan (Pusan). Typically, the autumn temperatures in Seoul in October average around 15°C (59°F), and Busan (Pusan) averages at about 18°C (65°F).

In Busan (Pusan), it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Seoul. In the autumn, Seoul often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Busan (Pusan). Seoul gets 204 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Busan (Pusan) receives 202 hours of full sun.

Seoul usually gets less rain in October than Busan (Pusan). Seoul gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Busan (Pusan) receives 62 mm (2.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Seoul 15°C (59°F) 
    Busan (Pusan) 18°C (65°F)

Should I visit Seoul or Busan (Pusan) in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Seoul and Busan (Pusan). Many visitors come to Seoul in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Busan (Pusan) can be very cold during winter. Seoul can get quite cold in the winter. In January, Seoul is generally much colder than Busan (Pusan). Daily temperatures in Seoul average around -3°C (27°F), and Busan (Pusan) fluctuates around 3°C (38°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Busan (Pusan) this time of the year. Seoul usually receives less sunshine than Busan (Pusan) during winter. Seoul gets 163 hours of sunny skies, while Busan (Pusan) receives 200 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Seoul usually receives less rain than Busan (Pusan). Seoul gets 23 mm (0.9 in) of rain, while Busan (Pusan) receives 32 mm (1.3 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Seoul -3°C (27°F) 
    Busan (Pusan) 3°C (38°F)

Should I visit Seoul or Busan (Pusan) in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Seoul as well as Busan (Pusan). Most visitors come to Seoul for the activities around the city during these months.

Seoul is around the same temperature as Busan (Pusan) in the spring. The daily temperature in Seoul averages around 13°C (55°F) in April, and Busan (Pusan) fluctuates around 14°C (57°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Seoul this time of the year. In the spring, Seoul often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Busan (Pusan). Seoul gets 205 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Busan (Pusan) receives 196 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Busan (Pusan). Seoul usually gets less rain in April than Busan (Pusan). Seoul gets 94 mm (3.7 in) of rain, while Busan (Pusan) receives 148 mm (5.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Seoul 13°C (55°F) 
    Busan (Pusan) 14°C (57°F)

Typical Weather for Busan (Pusan) and Seoul

Seoul Busan (Pusan)
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -3°C (27°F) 23 mm (0.9 in) 3°C (38°F) 32 mm (1.3 in)
Feb -0°C (32°F) 25 mm (1 in) 5°C (40°F) 43 mm (1.7 in)
Mar 6°C (42°F) 47 mm (1.9 in) 9°C (48°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Apr 13°C (55°F) 94 mm (3.7 in) 14°C (57°F) 148 mm (5.8 in)
May 18°C (65°F) 92 mm (3.6 in) 18°C (65°F) 148 mm (5.8 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 134 mm (5.3 in) 21°C (70°F) 224 mm (8.8 in)
Jul 26°C (78°F) 369 mm (14.5 in) 25°C (77°F) 257 mm (10.1 in)
Aug 26°C (80°F) 294 mm (11.6 in) 27°C (80°F) 204 mm (8 in)
Sep 22°C (71°F) 169 mm (6.7 in) 23°C (73°F) 187 mm (7.4 in)
Oct 15°C (59°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 18°C (65°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Nov 8°C (46°F) 53 mm (2.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 65 mm (2.6 in)
Dec 0°C (33°F) 22 mm (0.9 in) 6°C (43°F) 24 mm (0.9 in)