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

Should you visit Seoul or Ulaanbaatar?

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 Ulaanbaatar 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.

Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia's capital city. It has a population of slightly over two million people, or about sixty percent of the country's entire population. You are likely to arrive in Ulaanbaatar either by train, coming from China or Russia, or by plane. Many people use Ulaanbaatar as a stop off while doing the Transsiberian Railway. The city is a great place to organize a tour of the surrounding countryside. It's also good city to relax, so make sure you allow yourself a few days to recover from your tour, enjoy some of the great food options, and see some of the fascinating cultural sights around town.

Which city is cheaper, Ulaanbaatar or Seoul?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Seoul is $100, while the average daily cost in Ulaanbaatar is $24. 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 Ulaanbaatar in more detail.



Accommodation

Seoul's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $102. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $51.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $11. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Ulaanbaatar the cost is $22 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Seoul $51
    Ulaanbaatar $11
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Seoul $102
    Ulaanbaatar $22

Food

While meal prices in Seoul can vary, the average travelers spends about $28 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Seoul should cost around $11 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 Ulaanbaatar travelers spend around $8.68 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 $28
    Ulaanbaatar $8.68
Typical Food prices in Seoul

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


  • Rice with Kimchi & Bacon
    $5.08
  • Waffle
    $0.85
  • Dippin' Dots
    $1.69
  • Chicken Fried Rice
    $4.65
  • Chicken Stick
    $1.69
  • Drinking Yoghurt & Mi Chew
    $1.61
  • Lunch Buffet
    $5.08
  • Donut
    $0.85
  • Mushroom Burger
    $4.40
  • Green Tea Ice Cream
    $2.79
  • Udon & Sushi
    $5.92
  • Fresh Burger
    $4.06
  • Soba Noodles Lunch
    $3.81
  • Bibimbap Lunch
    $4.23
  • Fried Rice
    $4.65
  • Vietnamese Dinner
    $8.04
  • Breakfast and Coffee for 2
    $8.04
  • Donut
    $2.12

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Seoul

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

  • Jeonju Virtual Tour and Online Cooking Class with Kimchi Chef: $13
  • Mokpo Virtual Tour and Online Cooking Class with Kimchi Chef: $13
  • Gangneung Virtual Tour and Online Cooking Class with Kimchi Chef: $13
  • Andong Virtual Tour and Online Cooking Class with Kimchi Chef: $13
  • Yeot-gangjeong Making Cooking Class in Gangnam: $17
  • Incheon Sunset and Seafood Tour: $22
  • Night Market Food Tour: $48
  • Busan Jagalchi Market Tour and Korean Daily Special Dish Cooking Class: $49
  • Traditional Korean Cooking Class (Kimchi) & market tour with chef Joungy: $51
  • Korean Full-Course Meal Cooking Class at Local Home with Local Market Experience in Seoul: $52
  • Private Traditional Korean Cooking Class and Dongdaemun Market Food Tour by Janet's Cooking Studio: $52
  • Korean Cooking Class with Full-Course Meal & Local Market Tour: $56

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ulaanbaatar

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

  • Cooking Class in a Traditional Ger Home in the Suburbs of Ulaanbaatar: $50
  • Cooking famous Mongolian dumplings with local nomads: $205

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Seoul is $14 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 cost of a taxi ride in Ulaanbaatar is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $2.82 per person, per day, on local transportation in Ulaanbaatar.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Seoul $14
    Ulaanbaatar $2.82
Typical Local Transportation prices in Seoul

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


  • Subway Card
    $4.23
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $5.92
  • Metro Ride
    $1.14
  • Seoul City Pass Plus
    $8.46

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Seoul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Seoul:

  • Incheon International Airport (ICN) Limousine Bus Transfers for Seoul (Gangnam District): $12
  • (Private Transfer) From hotel / Airbnb in Seoul to Incheon International Airport: $99
  • 1- Day Private Seoul or Outskirts Tour (Round-trip transfer to your hotel): $120
  • Airport Private Transfer: Seoul to Incheon Int'l Airport: $46
  • Departure Private Transfer Seoul City to Seoul Airport ICN by Business Minivan: $123
  • Departure Private Transfer Seoul City to Seoul Airport ICN by Luxury Sedan: $123
  • Departure Private Transfer Seoul City to Seoul Airport ICN by Standard Sedan: $114
  • Everland Theme Park Private Transfer: $16
  • Everland Themepark Private Round trip Transfer + Ticket from Seoul: $115
  • Incheon Airport / Seoul ⇄ Daemyung Vivaldi Park Ski Resort Private Van Transfers: $267
  • Incheon Airport Transfer- Private Service between Airport and Seoul (1-13 pax): $200
  • Incheon Airport Transfer- Private service between Airport and Seoul (1-7 pax): $101

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ulaanbaatar

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ulaanbaatar:

  • Arrival Private Transfer Ulaanbaatar Train Station to City by Business Vehicle: $16
  • Departure Private Transfer City to Ulaanbaatar Train Stationby Business Vehicle: $16
  • Airport Transfer: $21
  • Airport Transfer Service: $25
  • Private Pickup Transfer from Chinggis Khaan Airport to Hotels in Ulaanbaatar: $27
  • Private Drop off Transfer to Chinggis Khaan Airport from Downtown Ulaanbaatar: $27
  • Ulaanbaatar Arrival Transfer: Airport to Hotel: $33
  • Ulaanbaatar Departure Transfer: Hotel to Airport: $33
  • Airport transfer service: $43
  • Transfer service to Terelj national park: $51
  • Departure Private Transfer to New Ulaanbaatar Airport UBN by Business Vehicle: $52

Is it cheaper to fly into Seoul or Ulaanbaatar?

Prices for flights to both Ulaanbaatar 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.





Entertainment

Seoul's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $25 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 and activities in Ulaanbaatar typically cost an average of $4.29 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Seoul $25
    Ulaanbaatar $4.29
Typical Entertainment prices in Seoul

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


  • Palace Tickets
    $6.77
  • Movie Ticket
    $6.77
  • Kimchi Museum
    $2.54

Tours and Activities in Seoul

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

  • Jeju Samseonghyeol Shrine Admission Ticket: $0.69
  • Mobile KOREA TOUR CARD (Tmoney): $2.19
  • Cart Riding, Horse Riding, and Maze Park Experience in Jeju Seri World : $3.45
  • Norimae Park Ticket in Jeju: $3.45
  • Jeju Camellia Hill Admission Ticket: $3.65
  • Royal Seoul Private Tour: Zombie City Exploration Game: $3.72
  • National Museum of Korea Private Tour: Seoul Exploration Game: $3.72
  • Alice in Wonderland Ticket in Jeju: $4.09
  • Alternative Uncover the city's alternative culture on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Soingook Theme Park Admission Ticket: $5.05
  • Jeju Marine Animal Museum Admission Ticket: $5.10
  • Spirited Garden Ticket in Jeju: $5.19

Tours and Activities in Ulaanbaatar

Here are a few actual costs in Ulaanbaatar for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Mongolian Food Experience: $20
  • Full-Day Private City Tour Ulaanbaatar by Taxi: $25
  • Full Day Tour of Ulaanbaatar With Museum, Black-market Cashmere Factory Store: $62
  • Khoomei Throat Singing Lesson including FREE Concert ticket: $62
  • Half-Day Modern Art Tour in Ulaanbaatar: $67
  • Ulaanbaatar City Tour: $70
  • Day Coach Tour of Aglag Buteel Monastery and Meditation Center Including Lunch: $72
  • Terelj National Park and Chingis Khan Statue a day tour: $75
  • Full-Day Ulaanbaatar Sightseeing and Shopping Tour: $76
  • Half Day Mongolia Nomadic Discovery Tour of Chinggis Khan Statue: $76
  • 1 Day City Sightseeing with Bogd Khan Winter Palace: $77
  • Genghis Khan Day Tour with Bonus Gorkhi-Terelj National Park One Day tour: $77

Alcohol

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.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Ulaanbaatar may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $3.72 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Seoul $11
    Ulaanbaatar $3.72

Sample the Local Flavors in Seoul

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

  • Absolute Busan Pub Crawl Experience in Seomyeon and Haeundae: $11
  • Absolute Seoul Pub Crawl Experience in Hongdae and Itaewon: $19
  • Seoul Pub Crawl and Party with Free Shots: $24
  • 3-Hour Small Group Korean Pub Crawl + Food Tasting in Hongdae: $86


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Seoul and Ulaanbaatar, we can see that Seoul is more expensive. And not only is Ulaanbaatar much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Ulaanbaatar would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Ulaanbaatar 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 Ulaanbaatar.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
Seoul vs. Ulaanbaatar Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.