I was searching for information on where to exchange foreign currency, or where to find money changers in Seoul before my trip but information was limited, so I thought I’d post my own experiences here.
Unlike in Singapore where there are plenty of money changers, there is no such “gathering” of money changers in Japan. There’s the odd one here and there, but without the healthy competition you get from a sizeable mass, the rates are really quite crappy.
Besides, I also read that it is best to exchange for won within Korea itself, because outside of Korea, the value of won drops quite significantly.
Based on the above information, we bravely marched to Haneda Airport WITHOUT A SINGLE WON.
Haha, but we are not completely out of our minds (yet). We exchanged 100,000 won at Haneda Airport, just in case we’re super unlucky and all the money changers closed down at Gimpo Airport or something. That way, we would still have enough money to make it to town.
So where’s the best place?
After traveling to various tourist spots around Seoul over 10 days, I found that the best place to exchange money in Seoul is at Myeongdong.
There are many, many, MANY money changers in Myeongdong spread out across many streets and they are super easy to spot.
They have pretty competitive rates, but there is still slight fluctuation among the money exchangers. You can walk around and compare the rates, but after combing the area (twice! on two different days), I found that generally, this street offers the best rates:
Dunno what building this is I’ve been told this is the Chinese embassy, and lots of police line its walls guarding it, so you will definitely know you are on the right street when you come to it. The money changers face these high walls. It’s also super safe to change money there since you have free police protection haha.
EDIT 9/22: Because I’m so often asked what street this is, I actually went touring this area via Google street view and found the street.
TADAH. If you look at it via street view, you might notice that the buildings on the right look slightly different. That’s because Google took the image in 2009. But if you look carefully, the background buildings (Lotte and the other “A” building) are the same. Long story short: This is the street you want.
And yes, I actually spent good time and effort to playing detective to hunt this down, so I hope people appreciate it lol.
What currencies do they accept?
The safest ones are major currencies like USD, EUR, JPY and RMB. You will see these currency symbols on signboards everywhere.
But there are also many money exchangers that take a variety of other currencies not listed.
So even if your currency is not listed, just ask! Most of the time they will accept it. I had like £80 and they accepted it too!
Do they accept _[insert currency]_?
So many people have asked me this.
If it’s not listed in the photo above, and not one of the currencies I exchanged (JPY, SGD, £), then I really cannot say for sure.
There’s a good chance they would, but my guess is as good as yours.
Are the rates really better in Korea?
Yes, I would say so!
I exchanged both JPY and SGD on March 28.
According to the historical data on xe.com, the rates for these 2 currencies on that day were:
The rates I got from Myeongdong that day were:
- JPY: 10.44
- SGD: 840
This means that for every 1 yen I sold, I received 10.44 won.
Similarly, for every SGD $1 I sold, I received 840 won.
Note that this is not even taking into account the fact that rates on xe.com are usually unrealistic i.e. You will never get those good rates that xe.com projects from money changers!
So, yes. Definitely cheaper for me to exchange money in Seoul than in Japan!
How about other places?
Apart from Myeongdong, we only exchanged money at Dongdaemun, because we were in a shopping frenzy and got really low on won. We changed a minimal amount though, because the rates were not as good as Myeongdong’s.
I think I spotted a total of 2 money changers in Dongdaemun, so exchange your money there only if you’re really desperate (like we were).
The money exchanger presence is close to non-existent in Insadong or Itaewon though. I don’t even recall spotting any.
Well, hopefully this will be helpful to someone! :)
For other Seoul posts, check out the master post!
hi… I’m going to Seoul this weekend and I plan to change money there. If you don’t mind, can you give me the direction and the name of the money changer that you go? Thank you
Sorry, I don’t remember the name nor the exact location. Myeongdong is not a big place, and if you locate the big building in the picture above, you will find the row of money changers!
Even if you don’t find the same street, there are still many money changers scattered all around Myeongdong, and you can do a quick comparison to see which one gives you the best rate.
Enjoy your trip!
Thanks a lot!
I’m in Seoul right now and I needed this information asap.
You’re welcome! Glad you found it helpful :)
Thank you so much for your information. By the way, may I know which station I have to drop off? If I drop at Myungdong station and walk around that area, will I be able to find the mentioned place?
Yup, Myeongdong station is the closest station! Just walk around and you’ll find many money changers :)
Hello! What about the exit number?
Thanks so much for the detailed blog!! I really appreciate it! I will be traveling to Tokyo in a few days and will be going to Seoul afterwards. Would you also suggest that I exchange the currency in Japan?
Thanks for reading! I’m glad you found it helpful :)
Actually, no. Money changers are few and far between in Tokyo, and the rates are not competitive, so it would probably be better for you to exchange yen before you arrive in Japan.
If you are afraid of carrying too much cash, you might want to check with your banks to see if they offer withdrawal from ATMs in Japan with no processing fee. I know that certain cards from some countries can withdraw money for free in Japan.
An alternative is to pay for some purchases with a credit card. Although many places are cash-based, most restaurants and major department stores, malls, etc. accept cards :)
Hope this helps!
Tokyo and Seoul together… you lucky, lucky girl!
Hi! Thanks for the informative post.
I heard from a friend that rates at the airport are pretty good as well. Do you remember the rates rates in the airport compared to myeongdong?
Sorry, I didn’t see the rates at the airport!
I was wondering if there are money exchange places where we can change Canadian dollars into Korean won?
I’m almost certain you will be able to do so at Myeongdong :)
Hi Rin, can you recommend a travel agency in Tokyo? Would like to book package for 3 nights to Seoul. will be in Tokyo around october. Thanks.
I don’t use travel agencies when traveling! I like to plan my own trip so I book the tickets, accommodation, etc all on my own :)
If you really need a travel agency, H.I.S is pretty big in Japan. I’ve never used them before though, so I can’t vouch for how good they are. (Incidentally, they have a 3D Seoul package on the front page now!)
Thank you Rin.
[…] Exchange money at Myeongdong […]
Thank You for this awesome page! I am going to Korea in two days time and I have no idea where else to exchange my dollars. This simply answered my questions :)
Glad this helped! :)
Enjoy your trip!
[…] quite proud about it LOL First result on google leh! (if you’re curious, this this and this are some of my posts that gets the most hits from […]
I am going to Seoul soon. Wish to know is there any landmark near by the picture you capture for the place to change money?
I’ve updated the post with a map. Hope it helps!
hi rin !
im going to seoul this week, any recommended money changer in singapore ?
im going to find the place you mentioned above tho hehe
When in Singapore, I usually exchange money at Raffles Place. The second floor of The Arcade has many money changers, so you can shop around for rates a little, although they’re pretty competitive :) Best to go on weekdays though. That area is practically a ghost town on weekends.
thanks for the super useful info!!
will be going in dec… any hotel recommendation?
You’re welcome :) I stayed in an air bnb apartment instead of a hotel, so I’m not sure if that’s up your alley.
Do you know when they open until?
Not sure about the exact opening hours, but I think there was one night whereby I was there around 9 or 10+ and they were still open.
Will be travelling to Seoul coming January, wanted to know either SGD are widely acceptable on all money changer around Seoul. It would be a hassle and I would lose some money if I exchange it from SGD – USD – KRW.
Hello, if you go to the place in this post (Myeongdong), then yes, SGD is widely accepted at money changers in this area. Don’t lose money on exchange rates and save it for food or shopping instead!
Thank you Rin! Appreciate all of your “hard” work while visiting Seoul. Will arrive there Nov 29th 2014.
You’re welcome! And the hard work was AFTER visiting Seoul, not while visiting ;)
It’s the 29th today! Enjoy your stay!
Thank you thank you! Your Seoul posts are super duper useful and I’m planning so many of my activities just from reading the posts.
Hello Shirley, you’re more than welcome! Glad you found them useful :D
Hi there! thank you for your informative post! i was wondering.. like in your post, the rate for USD is $1 for 1070 won. When you make the exchange, do you actually get the 1070 won or is it less than that because of transaction fees and whatnot?
Hello! Yes, you get the amount as stated on the board! No hidden fees or anything like that :)
I would just like to ask if Philippine peso is also widely accepted there?
Hello XP, I didn’t keep an eye out for Philippine Pesos, but I don’t think that would be a problem because they are very international! Besides, if one shop rejects you, there are literally a dozen other shops you can try :)
Let us know your experience! It would be super helpful to other people from Philippines!
Hii!! Really glad I chanced upon your page, its been very helpful so far in my planning for my trip to Seoul.
Thank you so much for your kind advices!
Just wanted to ask if you know roughly what time the money changers open?
Hi Brenda, glad to have helped! :)
I’m not exactly sure what time they open, but 11am onwards should be a pretty safe bet. If you really need one early in the morning, the 7-11 at Myeongdong (which is open 24 hours) has money exchange services too.
Hope this helps!
hi, tnx for the post) How about prices in inchon airport? Are they different than in myondong?
Hi, I didn’t travel via Inchon Airport, so I have no idea! But if I had to venture a guess, I’d say that airport rates are usually not as competitive.
Its called 大信换钱两题替 and it’s right opposite the big building, which is the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China!
HI Rin ^^
Thanks for your informative post! It made me consider exchanging my money in seoul :) I’m from switzerland and we don’t use euro so i’m a little bit worried they might won’t accept swiss francs(CHF) since I didn’t saw it on the picture you took from the display.
Is there a chance they still accept currencies which are not on the display? Or should I bring Euro?
Thanks in advance!
You’re welcome :)
Yup, they do accept currencies that are not on display. I exchanged pounds (which is not listed on the board) for won on my trip too. You can just ask the money changer if they accept CHF and if they say yes, ask them what the rate is. If you’re not satisfied with the rate, just try another stall!
would you suggest i bring USD or SGP to change when in seoul?
Hello, if you’re from Singapore, then SGD is perfectly fine!
Thanks for the heads up, Rin! Lived in Japan 5 years, but first time going to Korea, plan to track this place down tomorrow :)
Glad my post helped! Have a great trip! :)
Hi Rin! ^^ Thank you for your post & useful info! But I still have some questions here >_< I'm from Malaysia, I will travel to Seoul on September, and then I don't know whether I should bring my own MYR and exchange it once I arrive Korea, or exchange USD/KRW in Malaysia first then bring it to Korea? If I exchange my money in Malaysia, which one is better? USD or KRW? Thanks in advance ^^
You’re welcome! ^^
Hmm, if I were you, I’d change a bit of KRW in Malaysia (at least enough to cover transportation from the airport to the money changer) and then change the rest of MYR to KRW in Seoul. Changing to USD will result in a double FX loss, so I wouldn’t do that, especially since money changers in Seoul are very international and I don’t foresee a problem with MYR. (that’s basically the same thing as what I did above)
That’s just what I would do :) Do whatever you’re most comfortable with!
Do you think they would exchange canadian dollars?
I’m pretty sure they would!
Thanks for the tip! Just came across your website that found this handy information! brilliant!
My friend also suggested me to exchange at banks, have you ever tried?
I’ve never exchanged at banks because they generally have poorer rates. But I remember seeing some banks in Myeongdong, so you can check them out too for reference :)
Hi Rin! I stumbled on this page and you don’t know how much I appreciate the information. I have a question for you though do you think I should bring the money in cash? I’m exchanging usd to krw and I’m not sure if they can take it directly from my us bank account in Korea. Please let me know thanks so much!
I’m always happy to know that this post helped someone! :)
For us, we brought cash there to exchange it to won. If you prefer not to do that, this link might be of more help than me haha.
Have a good trip!
Thanks Rin! I heading to Seoul from the 4th-14th of August and can’t find good rate for Won in London for love nor money.
Incidentally, if you’re ever in London and want to change money, Queensway is the street for you. You get a number of currency exchange places tucked into shops. Most offer better rates than high street type exchange establishments. But there are two in particular that are good. One is is tucked into Queensway Market about 40-50 metres from Queensway station. As you walk past it there’s a ramp inside taking you to a slightly elevated level in which the currency exchange lies. The other and the best one is called Altaif and it’s about 10 metres from Queensway underground. It’s run by an Iraqi guy in what is practically a white box.
The only caveat is that they’re good if you want more popular (from their point of view) currencies. To make comparisons with others on the same day, I had checked Google’s currency converter. It was approximately 1,816 Won to £1.The guy at Altaif had about 200,000 Won which he gave to me for about a 0.1% fee, 1,800 Won to £1. This was because couldn’t get rid of it. The guy at Queensway market quoted me a rate that was still around 1%, £1 to 1,790 Won. The only problem was he didn’t have any Won and was unlikely to get any. My bank offered me a rate of 1,640. The best high street exchange place offered me a rate of 1,660.
So I’d say if you’re coming to London and want to use it as a base from which to travel around and a as a result want Euros, Krona, Dollars etc, Queensway is the street for you.
Hi Cyrus! Thanks for the very detailed info! I’ve been to London before but didn’t need to change money then. Will file this away for future reference :)
I hope you enjoy your upcoming Seoul trip!
if you have 200,000 won, it would be good for a few days.
If you are willing to bring GBP, I recommend you to visit Seoul station (train station). There are two commercial banks’ branch and they only specialise on foreign currency exchange, As they have the best rate for the most currencies, there always are tons of people trying to buy and sell currencies there so you may have to wait, but you would get more Korean won than anywhere else (since GBP isn’t as popular as US dollar or Japanese yen, you wouldn’t get a good rate in Myeongdong)
If you are willing to do what I just mentioned, enter Seoul station, and there is a IBK (industrial bank Korea) branch on the far left, and there is another branch (it’s a Woori bank branch) two floors down, (you can take the escalator near IBK)
The rate difference isn’t huge between those two banks, and as I said above, there are so many people, so you can visit both banks and use the one that has fewer people. As a foreigner, you could exchange up to 900 USD worth of foreign currency (i.e. buy or sell 900 dollar worth of currency). Don’t forget to bring your passport. To reduce the volume of cash you are carrying, you may want to bring 50 pound notes. (it is not a big deal what type of notes you bring, but it has to be English note. Scottish, Nothern Irish etc. notes are not accepted even though they are Sterling notes, also avoid to bring too worn notes, they won’t say anything, but they prefer clean and crispy notes. If the banknote is torn or too dirty, they may refuse to accept it.)
I hope this helps!
The Red Building is the Chinese Embassy. Since Seoul is becoming a melting pot and being an attractive place for foreigners, there are currency exchange shops at places that foreigners visit. Some places are, Myeongdong (definitely) Namdaemun, Dongdaemun and Itaewon, and among those places, the one you visited is known for the best rate. Since they offer a good rate for buying currencies, a lot of Korean who are planning on a trip to overseas go there to get some foreign currencies.
The major currencies they take are USD, JPY, CNY, and some places welcome HKD and TWD. You can sell/buy these currencies at good rate because they can re-sale it to other customer who need those currencies. Other currencies such as Euro, Canadian, Aussie or British Pound, they would still accept it, but since they may have to make a trip to the bank to sell it, they may offer you a not-so-good rate. (Yet, SGD is getting common, so you don’t need to exchange SGD to USD)
Speaking of airport, there are some branches of local banks, however you would get the worst exchange rate, so if you could, avoid it! (Rates at those currency exchange places and airport may differ by 50 won per dollar (about 5 US cent/dollar), but those airport branches have better rates than overseas, so if you are worried, maybe you’d want to exchange small amount of money at the airport when you arrive. (it means, the rate at the Korean airport is better than that of Haneda airport.. taking an example from this story) BUT, since those branches are not opening 24/7, if you are landing too late, you may want to buy Korean currency before you leave your country. Also you can withdraw Korean won using your credit cards. The rate isn;t that bad, so you may use your card to get some Korean cash at the airport after landing!
Thanks for this!
You’re welcome! :)
i am sya from indonesia.
i will visit seoul on november and i bring SGD in s$1000 bills.
i want to exchange my money only s$500 with using S$1000, is it possible? will that money changer accept and return my another s$500 still in SGD? thank you rin :)
I’ve never done that before so I cannot say for sure. I think it really depends on the money changer and whether they have notes in the currency you want.
I would advise to not expect change and give them the exact amount you want to exchange instead.
Can i bring my philippine peso to exchange for korean won instead of usd
All the best
I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think that it will be an issue.
Hi runnel have you exchange ur peso to won in Korea?
Is there any applicable taxes?
Nope, no taxes to exchange money here.
Im leaving for Seoul next week. Great to come across your post!
So basically i change about SGD500 locally and the rest SGD in Myeongdong right. No need to change to USD all?
Glad it was of help! In the post, I shared that I exchanged both Japanese yen and SGD, so yes, SGD is fine. No need to change to USD.
Will they accpet Won too ? i need to change it for my trip to the Philippines .
Haha, for those who want to know, the building on the right with the red Chinese Gate is the 韓國漢城華僑小學 (Seoul Chinese Primary School).
Can I change Turkish Lira to Korean Won in Seoul?
I have no korean won. What do you suggest to me. Should i exchange money TL- USD-WON ?
Hi Rain, I have no experience with Turkish Lira so I cannot advise. Changing to USD first is playing it safe, but it will incur additional costs, so you’ll have to decide if you want to do that.
Thank you very much for sharing this. I will visit Seoul on Thursday and I have prepared USD first, as I heard buying USD here (Philippines) and changing it in Seoul afterwards would be better.
Good thing you mentioned that Myeongdong has many than Dongdaemun ‘coz my plan is to look at Dongdaemum first.. hihihi..
Thank you again and have a great day!
You’re welcome and glad it was of help! Have a good trip!
– Rin ;)
Can you also change your USD to Yen as well here? I will be visiting korea first so I will be exchanging to won. The week after I’m going to Japan so I will also need to exchange for Yen. Are the rates just as good?
Unfortunately I can’t advise on USD > Yen because I didn’t make this specific currency exchange.
Do you know where the best place might be to change USD to Yen in Japan then?
So would I be able to easily exchange British pounds in Korea, or better off converting to dollars before I get there?
In the post:
“Even if your currency is not listed, just ask! Most of the time they will accept it. I had like £80 and they accepted it too!”
What is the current exchange rate for usd> won?
I know it’s more about seoul than japan but there actually is a place in Tokyo where you can change currenies for almost nothing.
There’s a full street of them in shinjuku, I cannot exactly point it but it is directly on the side of Shinjuku station.
Thank you. Your post is the top searched in Google for “money exchange myeongdong”. Were in Seoul now and this post is very helpful.
Glad to know that 2 years on, this post is still of help :)
Have a great stay in Seoul!
I also just used your info and exchanged some money here. Thanks :)
By the way, the building with red gate and guards is the Embassy of China (PRC).
Great to know that! And thanks for the info :)
Just did a search for “best advice for changing yen to won” and this popped up number 7. However, this was absolutely the best source of information and incredibly helpful. Thank you so much!! All of your hard work a few years ago has helped hundreds if not thousands of people. I am going to relate your info to future travelers as well. Truly, thank you!
You’re most welcome! I was in a similar situation before so I’m really happy that my information is helping others now :)
I was just wondering are there transaction fees when exchanging in Myeongdong at those money exchanging shops?
Thank you :)
Hi Chris, nope, there are no transaction fees. At least not the ones I went to (and I just went early this month :)
Are there transaction fees at Myeongdong’s exchange shops?
Hi Leo, there are no fees for exchanging money, at least none at those I visited.
Hi Rin i will visiting Seoul next and do you think they will accept canadian money in Myeongdong?
Hi Ronald, there’s a high chance they would.
I just saw on the Money Exchange picture that there are only Euros, Dollars and asian currencies to exchange.
Do you know that, can I change in Myeongdong also British pound and Swiss franc?
Thank you for your reply
Your question is already answered in my post above :)
[…] Source 1 and Source 2 […]
Hi there, great post, even 3+ years on! I’m heading to Seoul for the first time on Friday (it’s Tuesday where I am now) and I’m looking into whether to exchange wons before or after I travel. Most people recommend exchanging in Korea so that’s what I’m going to do. One question I didn’t get answered though, is if you can use credit cards (in particular MasterCard) to exchange money at these bureau de changes you mentioned in Myeongdong? If you didn’t use payment cards yourself, did you notice anyone else using it or saw a card machine that was visible? Also while I’m American, I’m based in Norway so my cards are Norway issued. Do you think they will exchange Norwegian kroners? I hope you see this question! Thanks for your reply.
Hello! I may be mistaken, but I don’t believe you’ll be able to exchange money using credit cards at these shops. I didn’t use them, nor did I observe anyone else use them. If you prefer not to carry so much cash to Korea, you can withdraw money from your card in Korean won via ATMs though, but of course the exchange rate will not be as favorable.
Hi Rin! I hope you can give advise. Do you know if it’s cheaper to exchange large amount of usd at exchange store in myeongdong or from the reputation bank like woori? I heard that you can negotiate the rate with a bigger bill like $100, is that true? Thank you in advance
Hi, I’ve never exchanged at a bank before so I can’t say for sure. But my impression is that banks give slightly poorer rates than exchange stores. Feel free to compare before making the exchange.
And rather than negotiating a higher rate, I think it’s more like they give you the advertised rate for bigger bills, and lower rates for smaller bills. But again, check with them before handing them the money :)
Hi Rin :) Thanks for this super informative post ^^ I am also living in Japan and will visit Seoul next week for the long weekend. Can you please advice me which is better? Should I exchangez my yen first to usd to get higher rates before changing it to won in Myeongdong or just directly exchange yen to won? Thanks in advance for the answer
Hi Joma, personally I would exchange yen to won directly.
hihi. chanced upon your blog. i am heading to Seoul and will be staying Myeongdong.
i am from Singapore and will like to know whether shall i change SGD to WON at raffles money changers or just go to Myeongdong to change SGD to WON? will the rate be better this way?
Some ppl says its better to change in SG, while some says its better to change in Seoul. i am on the fence, and tommorow i am flying to Seoul already.. hehe. hope u can reply me soon.