Urbanites and k-pop lovers will feel at home in Seoul. While it is, technically, the most expensive destination in Korea, there are still plenty of cheap eats and local haunts to keep the cost of living lower, so it is still possible to save as much as in other cities.
There are about 10 million people, about a third of the size of megacities in China and Japan, and the public transit is just as great. You can take the subway district to district in less than 30 minutes. It is also easy to meet other expats at language classes, noraebang (singing rooms), or sports bar trivia nights. If you like to club, you can dance your heart out.
Jeju is also on the expensive side within the country and with a narrower range of food, retail, and other lifestyle choices.
Life here will be slow-paced, but gorgeous. It is somewhat removed from the bustle of the rest of the country, though national and international tourists visit year-round. The ferry to the mainland takes about 13 hours overnight and the flight a little under one hour. It’s best to book flights well in advance as they sell out or go up in price.
This is an ideal destination for someone who wants the culture and savings potential, without the urban youth culture, perhaps ideal for the mature and graceful.
If you’ve always wanted to live in Miami beach, Busan may be your cheaper alternative, granted with a lot more modesty.
It is also a love match with seafood connoisseurs as you can find most things in the ocean barbequed somewhere nearby. There are also a large number or Jimjibangs or spas. So if you fancy some fancy treatments, you can get a wonderful scrub down. Bonus points if you feel alright with nudity, as some of the Jimjibangs ask you to leave clothes behind.
Busan does see crowds in the Summer, but having it all year may make you feel generous in beach-sharing.
Okay, so Pohang is pretty small. The city has just over half a million people. It will not feel quite like the other destinations. However, if you are looking for intimacy and ease, or a quieter year of saving up or studying, it is a great choice.
The weather is quite temperate and it stays a bit warmer in Winter than other locations. It is also just a short bus trip to Busan and boasts its own local waterfalls for excursions. Pohang is cheap and relaxed, so ideal for the less manic.