A South Korean flag attached to a lamp post in the city Bucheon

Best Places to Live in South Korea | A City for Every Kind of Life

South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea, is a beautiful country in eastern Asia to live in with a lot to offer to anyone who decides to live there. No matter where you stay in South Korea, you will have access to a high standard of living. This is great since it gives you quite a few choices of cities to move to but can make picking the perfect one a little troublesome.

If you want to know which place will suit you and tick everything off your list, then read on and find your ideal city.

Best Places to Live in South Korea for…

  1. Expats: Seoul
  2. English Speakers: Busan
  3. Digital Nomads: Daegu
  4. Solo Travelers: Incheon
  5. Couples: Jeju City
  6. Groups: Daejeon

Top 10 Places to Live in South Korea

1. Seoul

Best City for ExpatsSeoul city skyline with a purple sunset in the background

Cost of Living: $$$

The capital of South Korea, Seoul, is the best choice for expats. If you are always on the move and enjoy partying, then Seoul is perfect. At any given moment, there is an event going on in this city. Whether you enjoy going to concerts, festivals, bars, or hikes through the mountains, you will be able to find something to enjoy.

Tip: Learn some basic Korean phrases as English is not widely spoken throughout Seoul.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats & Groups

Pros:

  • Large expat community
  • Amazing nightlife
  • Wide variety of food

Cons:

  • High cost of living
  • Bustling city
  • Icy winters

2. Busan

Best City for English SpeakersBusan city in the distance surrounded by forest and the sea behind the city

Cost of Living: $$

A great combination of urban and laidback lifestyle, Busan is an excellent choice for you if you find Seoul overwhelming. Busan has a warmer winter than Seoul and beautiful beaches to go along with that; it is perfect for those who love the outdoors. There is a large expat community in this city which helps when you are trying to grow accustomed to a new country.

Tip: Save money by skipping restaurants and eating amazing street food instead.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, English Speakers, Groups & Couples

Pros:

  • Large expat community
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Incredible seafood

Cons:

  • Western food can be expensive
  • International flights are limited

3. Daejeon

Best City for GroupsDaejeon city and mountains reflected on the river

Cost of Living: $$

Daejeon is known as the city of science and is great for those who want to live in a large city that isn’t too busy. It is a lot more relaxed than both Seoul and Busan but still has many things to do to keep you entertained.

Tip: The Korean high-speed bullet train only takes 50 minutes to get to Seoul from Daejeon.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups, English Speakers & Solo travelers

Pros:

  • Easy access to the rest of South Korea
  • Great hiking trails
  • Large expat population

Cons:

  • Can run out of things to do
  • Very cold winters

4. Incheon

Best City for Solo TravelersWooden tables outside a café and a road in Incheon city with buildings surrounding it

Cost of Living: $$

Incheon is home to the largest international airport in South Korea which makes traveling incredibly easy. The cost of living in Incheon is cheaper than in Seoul, and it is not as busy or congested. Incheon has lovely islands dotted around its coastline for day trips when you want to escape the city.

Tip: You can use the subway from Incheon to Seoul for 1800 to 2000 won(1 to 2 USD)

Who Would Like to Live There: Solo travelers & Expats

Pros:

  • Traveling internationally is easy
  • Quick access to Seoul
  • Wide variety of food

Cons:

  • Not many English speakers
  • Intense work culture
  • Very cold winters

5. Jeju City

Best City for CouplesView from a hillside of the beach and Jeju City in the far distance

Cost of Living: $

Jeju City, located on Jeju island, is incredibly beautiful and an amazing place with many tourist attractions. It has warm weather and beautiful beaches with many outdoor activities to take advantage of. If you want to feel like you’re on a permanent holiday, then Jeju City is where you should settle.

Tip: Purchase a bicycle as cycling is a great way to get around the city.

Who Would Like to Live There: Couples & Digital Nomads

Pros:

  • Beautiful beaches
  • Affordable to live in
  • Many fun things to do

Cons:

  • Living on an island can feel isolating
  • Small expat community
  • The city is small

6. Gwangju

Best City for Cultural EnthusiastsThe city skyline of Gwanju as the sun sets in the background

Cost of Living: $

Gwangju may be smaller than previously mentioned cities, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself in this city. There are many activities, and Gwanju has a great mix of cultural and modern things to do.

Tip: Be sure to visit the Asia Culture Center to learn more about South Korea’s history.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats & Groups

Pros:

  • Affordable to live in
  • Easy to get around
  • Cultural experience

Cons:

  • Not the best nightlife compared to other cities
  • Lack of Western food

7. Daegu

Best City for Digital NomadsDaegu city skyline reflected in the Suseong Lake with wooden walking bridge on the lake

Cost of Living: $$

The third-largest city in South Korea, Daegu, is home to magical cafes and local markets to explore. It offers several restaurants and bars, with many having a western and international influence. Daegu also has a great nightlife scene to keep you entertained and beautiful mountains and parks to take advantage of.

Tip: You can visit Busan for its lovely beaches fairly easily by train for 7500 to 22 600 won(6 to 18 USD).

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital Nomads, Expats & Couples

Pros:

  • Lovey food markets
  • Affordable to live in
  • Vibrant nightlife

Cons:

  • Conservative city
  • A small expat community
  • Sweltering summers

8. Suwon

Best City for History EnthusiastsHwaseong Fortress in with a lake in front of it in Suwon City in South Korea

Cost of Living: $$

Less than 20 miles away from Seoul, Suwon is perfect if you want the option of a fast-paced life without actually living it every day. It’s filled with many historical sites and rich in culture while also being the home of Samsung’s flagship factory.

Tip: Try the famous Suwon galbi that originated in this city (marinated Korean-style short rib).

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, Solo travelers & Groups

Pros:

  • Close to Seoul
  • Slow nightlife
  • Escape the fast-paced city life

Cons:

  • Possibility of cultural barrier
  • Not many activities
  • Very cold winters

9. Jeonju

Best City for Food LoversSunset view over Hanok Village in Jeonju city South Korea

Cost of Living: $$

Jeonju may not be as exciting as many of the cities listed above, but it’s where you will want to immerse yourself in South Korea’s culture and tradition. Not only will you have the chance to truly experience South Korea, but it is also home to a magical food scene and was named an Asia Culture Center in 2012.

Tip: Try the famous Korean dish Bibimbap in its birthplace Jeonju.

Who Would Like to Live There: English Speakers, Solo travelers & Couples

Pros:

  • Incredible food scene
  • Many amazing cafes
  • Wide variety of food

Cons:

  • Nightlife isn’t very exciting
  • Lack of access to Western food
  • Getting accustomed to the lifestyle may be difficult

10. Ulsan

Best City for Beach LoversSun rising in Ulsan South Korea over the sea, rock formations and a bridge to a rock formation

Cost of Living: $$

Ulsan is a seaside city famed for its long stretches of sandy beaches. This city is home to large industrial facilities, but it still has many parks and a large green belt that makes up for it. It has many restaurants and bars to enjoy with a lively nightlife. With lovely weather most of the year, the beaches are a must-see, and there are tons of trails to explore if you are into hiking.

Tip: Be sure to visit the Deungeok hot springs nearby for a relaxing experience.

Who Would Like to Live There: English Speakers & Groups

Pros:

  • Close to Busan
  • Great public transport
  • Large entertainment district

Cons:

  • Industrial facilities can be an eyesore
  • Pollution in certain areas can be bad
  • Finding western food can be difficult

FAQs

1. Is It Safe in South Korea?

It is incredibly safe in South Korea, but you should keep an eye out for petty crime.

2. What Currency Do They Use in South Korea?

They use the South Korean Won.

3. What Language Do They Speak in South Korea?

Locals speak Korean in South Korea and English is not widely spoken.

4. How to Travel Around South Korea?

There are a number of ways to travel around South Korea, including buses, trains, cars, planes, ferries, motorbikes, and taxis.

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