Everyone always complains about how expensive life is in Singapore. I felt like that was true, until I came to Seoul. Most food items at normal restaurants cost about 5k~7k won, and with the exchange rate included, that means a normal meal costs about $6~$9. If we were to spend that kind of money in Singapore, it meant getting better food every meal (such as hipster cafe food, or food from specialized restaurants). In fact it is considered normal to spend 15k per meal.
However, there are some things in Seoul that are considered way cheap compared to Singapore. Here are some tips for anyone who might want to visit Seoul in the future.
1) Gimbap at Convenience stores
Honestly… EVERYTHING at Convinience stores is expensive. Snacks, daily items,food etc… But the one thing that is really competitive is their Gimbaps. They come in many flavors, and usually only cost 800~1200 wn. Thats about a $1~$1.50! Because it is rice, it fills you up without spending much. Sometimes if I have no time or do not feel like eating much, I get a gimbap as my meal. (basically replacement for 80 cents beehoon back in singapore!)
2) Contact Lenses
Korea sells contact lenses REALLY cheaply. Usually, there is a “1+1 promotion” (that never ends). This means you get two pairs of lenses for the price of one! The cheapest range is usually 10k won, which means one pair of lenses are only 5k! that is about 6~7 dollars! Usually, these lenses are monthly pairs, and they are really natural looking and suited to Asian eyes. I find that the 10K range ight not t=be that comfortable, but the 20K range are pretty good.
Honestly, the cheapness depends. There is a flat rate for 1250 won for a certain number of stations, but the further you go, the more expensive it will be, However usually these add ons are not very expensive. a simple half hour trip (think tampines to city hall) costs only 1450, and other train rides to the country side that take 1-2 hours might only add on 500 to 1000won. this makes the subway very worth taking. The taxis here in seoul are considerably cheaper as well, and it is very worth to take it if you have four people to split the bill with.
There are many cosmetics shops from various brands, and in many shopping and town areas, they are everywhere, even comparable to convenience stores. They usually have promotions (that never end, again) and the most worth it items are usually the face masks. They always have a 10+10 promotion, which means 20 masks cost about 10k won! Each masks costs about 50 cents, and you could afford to put a mask everyday! Even talking about thier makeup, it is very varied and there are always latest items at afforable and competitive prices.
While the clothes in Korea cannot be considered cheap compared to places like Thailand, it is always super trendy, widely available, and the quality is extremely wroth the price that you pay for! Tops usually go for about 5k, and bottoms go for about 10k! Given the good quality, ‘made in Korea” label, and the fact that i is trendy, i would say the price makes it super cheap!
So here are the top five things I consider to be really cheap as compared to Singapore. If anyone ever has a chance to visit Korea, I would be glad if you found these tips helpful to you!