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Currency & Spending Money (South Korea)

The currency in South Korea is the The Korean Republic won, abbreviated to KRW. Paper money comes in denominations of 1,000; 5,000; 10,000; and 50,000 won bills. Coins come in 1, 5, 10, 100, and 500 won.

Here is a reference table of approximate exchange rates (for up-to-date exchange rates, please check xe.com before you travel):

1 unit of currency Won
AU$1 864
NZ$1 804
US$1 1318

Correct as of December 2023 

We recommend that you have access to more than one source of money – bringing a combination of cash and a credit/debit card will give the most security and flexibility while travelling.

Exchanging Money

US Dollars and  Australian Dollars can be exchanged at Incheon Airport, local banks, money changers and in some hotels, provided the Australian currency is new and undamaged. ATMs are widely available in larger cities. We suggest withdrawing/exchanging your money in larger cities as facilities can be limited when travelling to smaller towns.

Spending money

Please ensure you have sufficient funds to pay for personal expenses such as drinks and snacks not included in the tour price. There are also plenty of opportunities to pick up some lovely souvenirs, so you might like to budget for this. On a two-week Classic Tour, we would recommend approximately AU$1,000 per person spending money, although this depends greatly on your individual needs.

The cost of food and drinks in South Korea can vary depending on where you are and what you are looking for. Here are some rough estimates of the cost of common food and drink items in South Korea:

  • Meal at a fast food restaurant (e.g., McDonald's): 6,000 to 8,000 KRW (7.10 to 9.50 AUD)
  • Meal at a mid-range restaurant: 12,000 to 20,000 KRW (14.20 to 23.70 AUD)
  • Meal at a high-end restaurant: 30,000 to 50,000 KRW (35.50 to 59.20 AUD)
  • Cup of coffee at a coffee shop (e.g., Starbucks): 4,000 to 6,000 KRW (4.70 to 7.10 AUD)
  • Bottle of water (500ml): 1,000 to 1,500 KRW (1.20 to 1.80 AUD)
  • Bottle of beer at a convenience store: 2,000 to 3,000 KRW (2.40 to 3.50 AUD)

It's important to note that prices can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. In general, eating at a local restaurant or street vendor will be more affordable than dining at a higher-end restaurant or café.

Plan Ahead

Be prepared with enough cash in hand. Once you have started your tour, you will quickly get a sense of how often or how much you need to exchange/withdraw money. Try not to leave this to the last minute: exchange desks can close, ATMs can run out of cash and your group could be scheduled to leave your hotel at 7am the next morning! Outside of major cities banking also becomes less reliable.