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6 Best Places to Retire in South Korea

If you are planning to retire in one of the countries in Asia, then our list of 6 best places to retire in South Korea is something that could interest you!

South Korea is a country on the southern half of the Korean peninsula and it is surrounded by the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. Its first neighbor is North Korea, and two of them have a long history. Both of the countries were under the Chinese and Japanese rule for a long period of time. They were unified until the end of the World War II, when Cairo Declaration was signed. From then, North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and South Korea (Republic of Korea), are not in good political relations, mainly as a cause of the Cold War which influenced divisions all around the world.

6 Best Places to Retire in South Korea

Sean Pavone/

Besides long history and complicated political situation, South Korea has a growing economy mostly thanks to the production of high-tech industrial goods. Moreover, even though Korean is the main language and Japanese is broadly used, they are widely open to learning English as well. The name “Korea” originates from Goryeo, which was the name of the dynasty established by General Wang Geon in AD 918. Goryeo means “high and clear”, which refers to many beautiful mountains with its highest point being Halla-san at 6,398 feet. Halla-san is also an extinct volcano. The climate in this country is considered temperate with the highest average of 85.1˚F. It has an excellent transportation system and sometimes taxi is even cheaper than public transport. With more than 3000 little islands in the south of the country, South Korea is very interesting for traveling and exploring.

Once you are retired, all of the mentioned above could be of great significance. You wouldn’t want live in a place with extremely high or low temperatures nor you would like to be in deserted surroundings with nothing interesting to see. What’s more, if you are one of the technology gurus or businessmen you would want to know that this country has some of the world’s fastest internet connections and one of the world’s most advanced mobile phone networks. However, if you are interested in other places in Asia, you should also check our list of 10 Best Places to Retire in Thailand.

The first step in our methodology for ranking the best places to retire in South Korea was to check Nomad List‘s suggestions for best cities to live in South Korea. This search engine collects over 100,000 data points on over 1,000 cities around the world. After that, we checked each of the city that Nomad List suggested on Numbeo database. We first ranked the best locations according to each of these three key factors: cost of living (that represents monthly costs for a local, who is living cheap, renting outside the center of the city, and preparing their own food), air quality, and safety (crime rate). Then the final ranking was developed by calculating the average score for each city based on those three categories. The lowest number of pollution index means that air quality is better, and the lower number of crime index refers to a greater safety.  Score numbers go from 1 to 5, whereas the number closer to 1 indicates that city is better for retirement purposes. However, for those cities which average turned out to be the same, we gave priority to the one with the cheaper cost of living. Let’s start with our list of best places to retire in South Korea! 

6. Gwangju

Score: 5

Cost of living: $795

Pollution index: 70.11

Crime index: 28.65

In Gwangju, you can find a cappuccino for 3.69$, and a pint of beer (0.5L) for even less – 3.21$. The climate here is mild and warm, in general. There is a significant rainfall throughout one year, and even in the driest month, it could also rain.

6 Best Places to Retire in South Korea

5. Seoul

Score: 3.6

Cost of living: $1,186

Pollution index: 37.93

Crime index: 26.25

We are continuing our list of best places to retire in South Korea with Seoul that, as the capital of South Korea, is known as the business and cultural center of the country. Probably because of its big industrial zone, the air quality is not at a high level and they have a major problem of air pollution. Seoul has a humid continental climate, which means that summers are generally hot with an average of 84.2˚F, whereas winter temperatures could go below 26.6˚F. Traffic safety is ranked very high, and crime rate low. When it comes to safety when walking alone during the day and during the night it is almost the same.

6 Best Places to Retire in South Korea

Sean Pavone/

4. Jeju

Score: 3.6

Cost of living: $657

Pollution index: 64.18

Crime index: 63.65

Jeju Island, the next on our list of best places to retire in South Korea, also known as Jejudo, had one more name before the year 2000 – Cheju-do. It is the largest island on the coast of the Korean Peninsula. Even though it is very beautiful, it is not very safe. The crime index is very high in Jeju, and safety of walking alone in the night is 60% lower than in Seoul. The most common problems that this city is dealing with are robberies, corruption, and bribery. The highest temperature could go up to 84.2˚F and the lowest around 37.4˚F.

6 Best Places to Retire in South Korea

 3. Daegu

Score: 3

Cost of living: $767

Pollution index: 67.06

Crime index: 19.25

Comparing to Seoul, Daegu as the South Korea’s third largest city, is ranked even higher in safety. Its climate doesn’t differ much from Seoul, nor the quality of air. This city also offers many beautiful parks among which you can find one of the most popular theme parks for English speaking people, E World. All in all, it is definitely one of the best places to retire in South Korea.

6 Best Places to Retire in South Korea

 2. Daejeon

Score: 2.6

Cost of living: $885

Pollution index: 45.43

Crime index: 10.02

If the level of crime is a prevailing factor in choosing a place to retire in South Korea, than Daejeon, the number two on our list of best places to retire in South Korea is the perfect city for you! Its crime rate is among the lowest ones in the whole country, whereas safety of walking during the day is 100%. Daejeon has a monsoon-influenced climate. The temperature in January could go up to 30.2˚F, whereas in August the average is 78.8˚F.

6 Best Places to Retire in South Korea

1. Busan

Score: 2.6

Cost of living: $767

Pollution index: 49.92

Crime index: 24.31

On the first place on our list of best places to retire in South Korea is Busan. The town in which the level of crime rate is low and safety of walking during both day and night highly ranked. Located on the southeast of the Korean Peninsula, Busan has a cooler version of a humid subtropical climate which means that extremely high or low temperatures are rare. It is the second most populous city, after Seoul, with 3.6 million people.

6 Best Places to Retire in South Korea