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Cost of Living in Gwangju

Understanding the the cost of living in Gwangju helps a newcomer what to expect when it comes to apartment or house hunting, grocery shopping, transportation, dining out, utilities and more.
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Category Details Cost
Apartment Rentals 1-bedroom apartment in city center ?500,000 – ?700,000 per month
1-bedroom apartment outside city center ?300,000 – ?500,000 per month
Apartment Purchases Price per square meter in city center ?3,000,000 – ?5,000,000
Price per square meter outside city center ?2,000,000 – ?3,500,000
Transportation One-way ticket (local transport) ?1,250
Monthly pass (regular price) ?55,000
Taxi start (normal tariff) ?3,000
Gasoline (1 liter) ?1,500
Groceries Milk (1 liter) ?2,000
Loaf of fresh white bread (500g) ?2,500
Rice (1kg) ?4,000
Chicken breasts (1kg) ?10,000
Restaurants Meal at an inexpensive restaurant ?7,000
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant ?40,000
Fast food meal (e.g. McDonald’s) ?6,000
Utilities Basic utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for 85m2 apartment ?150,000 – ?200,000 per month
Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) ?30,000 per month
Mobile phone (1 minute of prepaid mobile tariff, no discounts or plans) ?200
Private School Tuition Preschool (or kindergarten) tuition, full day, private ?5,000,000 – ?15,000,000 per year
Elementary school tuition, private ?10,000,000 – ?20,000,000 per year
Middle school tuition, private ?15,000,000 – ?25,000,000 per year
High school tuition, private ?20,000,000 – ?30,000,000 per year
Please note that the costs provided are approximate and may vary depending on various factors such as location, time of the year, and individual preferences. It is always recommended to research and compare prices before making any decisions.

Monthly Budget for Retirees in Gwangju

“The cost of living in Gwangju is relatively affordable compared to other major cities in South Korea like Seoul or Busan. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is moderately priced, while it is significantly cheaper in the outskirts. The cost of utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling, and water is also reasonable. Groceries in Gwangju are quite affordable, with local markets offering fresh produce at lower prices. Eating out at inexpensive restaurants or street food stalls is also quite cheap. However, dining at mid-range to high-end restaurants can be more expensive. Public transportation in Gwangju is very affordable, with buses and subway fares being quite low. Taxis are also reasonably priced, especially when compared to other major cities. Healthcare in Gwangju is of high quality and is relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to countries like the United States. However, it’s important to note that prices can vary depending on whether you’re using public or private healthcare services. Overall, the cost of living in Gwangju is manageable and offers a good quality of life, especially for those earning a local salary. However, it’s always important to consider personal lifestyle and spending habits when calculating living costs,” said one expat living in Gwangju.

Can I live in Gwangju on $1,500 a month?

“I’ve been living in Gwangju for a while now, and I can tell you that it’s definitely possible to live comfortably on $1,500 a month, but you’ll have to make some sacrifices. First, you’ll need to find an affordable place to live. I recommend looking for a one-room apartment or officetel in neighborhoods like Pungam-dong, Sangmu-dong, or Ssangchon-dong. These areas are more affordable compared to pricier neighborhoods like Chonnam University area or Yangrim-dong.Next, you’ll need to be mindful of your spending on food and entertainment. Eating out can be quite affordable if you stick to local Korean restaurants, but if you’re craving Western food, it can get expensive. I suggest learning to cook some of your favorite dishes at home to save money. Also, take advantage of the local markets for fresh produce and groceries.For transportation, the public transit system in Gwangju is quite affordable and efficient. You can save money by using buses and the subway instead of taxis. If you need a car, consider buying a used one or sharing with a friend.When it comes to entertainment, there are plenty of free or low-cost activities to enjoy in Gwangju. You can visit the numerous parks, museums, and cultural centers, or attend local festivals and events. If you’re into nightlife, you might have to cut back on going out to bars and clubs, as they can be quite expensive.In terms of healthcare, the national health insurance system in Korea is quite affordable, but you might want to consider getting additional private insurance for more comprehensive coverage.Lastly, if you’re planning to travel outside of Gwangju, you’ll need to budget for that as well. Domestic travel within Korea can be quite affordable if you take buses or trains, but international travel can be pricey.Overall, living on $1,500 a month in Gwangju is doable, but you’ll need to be mindful of your spending and make some sacrifices. By choosing an affordable neighborhood, cooking at home, and taking advantage of free or low-cost activities, you can live comfortably and enjoy your time in this vibrant city,” commented an expat living in Gwangju.

Can I live in Gwangju on $3,500 a month?

“I’ve been living in Gwangju for a few years now, and I can tell you that it’s definitely possible to live comfortably on $3,000 a month, even if you’re used to modern amenities. However, you might have to make a few sacrifices to make it work. For example, you might not be able to afford a luxurious apartment in the most expensive neighborhoods, but there are plenty of affordable options in other areas.When it comes to housing, I’d recommend looking into neighborhoods like Pungam-dong, Sangmu-dong, or Chipyeong-dong. These areas are more affordable, but still offer a good quality of life and access to modern amenities. On the other hand, you might want to avoid more expensive neighborhoods like Yangrim-dong or Ssangchon-dong, as the cost of living there can be quite high.In terms of transportation, Gwangju has a pretty good public transportation system, so you can save money by using buses and the subway instead of relying on taxis or owning a car. Plus, the city is quite walkable, so you can save even more by walking or biking to nearby destinations.Eating out can be quite affordable in Gwangju, especially if you stick to local Korean restaurants and street food. However, if you’re craving Western food or more upscale dining options, you might have to budget a bit more for that. Groceries can also be relatively affordable, especially if you shop at local markets and avoid imported goods.As for entertainment and leisure activities, there are plenty of affordable options in Gwangju. You can visit local parks, museums, and cultural centers for free or at a low cost, and there are also plenty of affordable cafes and bars to hang out in. However, if you’re into more expensive hobbies or want to travel frequently, you might have to cut back on those activities to make your budget work.Overall, living in Gwangju on $3,000 a month is definitely doable, but you’ll have to be mindful of your spending and make some sacrifices in terms of housing and lifestyle choices. But in my experience, the city has a lot to offer and can be a great place to live even on a budget,” said one expat living in Gwangju.

Can I live in Gwangju on $5,000 a month?

“I’ve been living in Gwangju for a few years now, and I can tell you that it’s definitely possible to live comfortably on $5,000 a month, even if you’re used to modern amenities. In fact, you might not have to make too many sacrifices at all. Gwangju is a pretty affordable city compared to Seoul or Busan, so your money will go further here.When it comes to housing, you’ll want to avoid the more expensive neighborhoods like Pungam-dong and Sangmu-dong, as they tend to have higher rent prices. Instead, consider looking for an apartment in more affordable areas like Seo-gu or Nam-gu. You can find a decent one or two-bedroom apartment in these neighborhoods for around $500 to $800 a month, depending on the size and location.As for transportation, the public transit system in Gwangju is quite good, with buses and a subway system that can get you around the city easily and affordably. A monthly transit pass will only set you back about $50, so you won’t have to worry about spending too much on transportation.When it comes to food, eating out can be quite affordable in Gwangju, especially if you stick to local Korean restaurants. You can easily find meals for under $10, and even cheaper if you go for street food or kimbap shops. Of course, if you prefer to cook at home, groceries are also reasonably priced, and you can find most of the ingredients you’ll need at local markets or supermarkets.For entertainment, there are plenty of affordable options in Gwangju as well. You can catch a movie for around $8, visit museums and galleries for just a few dollars, or enjoy the city’s many parks and outdoor spaces for free. There are also plenty of cafes, bars, and clubs where you can socialize and have a good time without breaking the bank.Overall, I think you’ll find that living in Gwangju on $5,000 a month is not only doable but also quite comfortable. You might have to make a few small adjustments to your lifestyle, like choosing a more affordable neighborhood or eating out less often, but you’ll still be able to enjoy a high quality of life and all the modern amenities you’re used to,” commented an expat living in Gwangju.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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