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

Should you visit Seoul or Ulaanbaatar?

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 Ulaanbaatar can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Seoul or Ulaanbaatar?

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 $89, while the average daily cost in Ulaanbaatar is $20. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Seoul and Ulaanbaatar in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Seoul $45
    Ulaanbaatar $9.50
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Seoul $90
    Ulaanbaatar $19
Compare Hotels in Seoul and Ulaanbaatar

Looking for a hotel in Seoul or Ulaanbaatar? 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 Ulaanbaatar


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 Ulaanbaatar Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Seoul $13
    Ulaanbaatar $2.34
Typical Local Transportation prices in Seoul

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


  • Subway Card
    $3.75
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $5.24
  • Metro Ride
    $1.01
  • Seoul City Pass Plus
    $7.49

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Seoul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Seoul:

  • (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
  • Incheon Airport ⇄ Seoul Private Van Transfers (Up to 7 or 13 pax): $105

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Seoul $25
    Ulaanbaatar $7.20
Typical Food prices in Seoul

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


  • Rice with Kimchi & Bacon
    $4.49
  • Waffle
    $0.75
  • Dippin' Dots
    $1.50
  • Chicken Fried Rice
    $4.12
  • Chicken Stick
    $1.50
  • Drinking Yoghurt & Mi Chew
    $1.42
  • Lunch Buffet
    $4.49
  • Donut
    $0.75
  • Mushroom Burger
    $3.89
  • Green Tea Ice Cream
    $2.47
  • Udon & Sushi
    $5.24
  • Fresh Burger
    $3.60
  • Soba Noodles Lunch
    $3.37
  • Bibimbap Lunch
    $3.75
  • Fried Rice
    $4.12
  • Vietnamese Dinner
    $7.12
  • Breakfast and Coffee for 2
    $7.12
  • Donut
    $1.87

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

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Seoul $22
    Ulaanbaatar $3.56
Typical Entertainment prices in Seoul

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


  • Palace Tickets
    $5.99
  • Movie Ticket
    $5.99
  • Kimchi Museum
    $2.25

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

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
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Seoul $9.98
    Ulaanbaatar $3.08

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 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.

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Seoul vs. Ulaanbaatar Travel Comparison

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