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Move Over Tokyo! Travelers Are Opting For A More Affordable Escape In These 2 Asian Cities

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Tokyo, Japan is exploding in popularity with travelers this year, but these two other Asian cities offer a more affordable escape.

Japan has been setting tourism records, with yet another month of over 3 million visitors, putting the Asian nation on track for a record number of tourists in 2024.

Taipei Taiwan

Most of those visitors flock to Tokyo, Japan's vibrant capital city.

One reason Tokyo has seen so many visitors this year is because the yen is at an all-time low right now, making a trip to Japan more affordable for many visitors.

However, even with the weakened currency, Tokyo still remains a pricy destination.

Neon lights in Tokyo

Meanwhile, Seoul and Taipei are two alternative Asian capitals that are growing in popularity because they are cheaper than Tokyo while offering a similar experience for travelers.

Here's why you should consider a trip to one of these awesome Asian cities this year:

Why Visit Seoul?

Seoul, South Korea is a great alternative to Tokyo.

It has a lot of the same things that make Tokyo such a fascinating destination, including an electric big-city energy, an amazing food scene, unique shopping, and cool cultural and historical sites.

Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul

But Seoul is a uniquely South Korean destination. It's the home of K-pop, K-beauty, and plenty of other K-trends that have now caught on in the Western world.

This is part of why Seoul is growing rapidly in popularity with international visitors.

When it comes to things to do in Seoul, cultural attractions like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeok Palace, and Bukchon Haok Village top the list. You can also experience a little bit of South Korea's natural beauty at Bukhansan National Park.

Seoul is especially popular for its shopping, dining, and nightlife. You can't miss going out for Korean barbecue followed by a night of partying in Itaewon or Hongdae while you're in Seoul.

Colorful billboards on the street of Seoul at night

What Are The Costs?

The average cost of a hotel in Tokyo is around $150 a night, but the average price for a hotel in Seoul is just $110 a night, a significant savings.

Food in Seoul tends to be around 20% cheaper than in Tokyo, so going out to eat is easier on the wallet.

Around a dozen cities in the U.S. have nonstop flights to Seoul, and they're comparable to the cost of nonstop flights to Tokyo from U.S. cities.

Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, South Korea

Why Visit Taipei?

Taipei, Taiwan is another awesome destination to consider instead of Tokyo this year.

Located on a large island off the coast of mainland China, Taiwan is an independent country that is still claimed (by China) to be a part of China.

Taipei, the vibrant capital city, is a modern metropolis surrounded by lush mountains.

Taipei skyline at night

One of the top things to do in Taipei is hike Elephant Mountain, which offers amazing views of the city. Other tourist attractions include Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, the National Palace Museum, and Taipei 101, the city's tallest skyscraper with an observation deck on top.

Taipei is also an awesome destination for foodies and there are so many delicious things to try. (This is also where bubble tea was invented in the 1980s!)

What Are The Costs?

The average cost of a hotel in Taipei is $125 per night, so it's also significantly cheaper than Tokyo.

Colorful street in Taipei

Similarly, food prices in Taipei are quite affordable — you can spend an average of $16 a day eating out, compared to $37 a day in Tokyo.

Flights to Taipei can be a little pricier than Tokyo and Seoul because there aren't as many nonstop flights from the U.S. yet, although airlines are launching new routes to Taipei.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Monday 27th of May 2024

Nope! Taipie is not Tokyo. There's no comparison. There's nothing quite like Tokyo. Taipie feels rural compared to Tokyo! Loo


Saturday 25th of May 2024

Imagine if someone said visit Lisbon instead of London or Madrid instead of Paris. These are completely different countries with completely different cultures. The only commonality is that they are in Asia. They are not interchangeable.


Tuesday 28th of May 2024

@SCY121, I appreciate you sharing your feedback.

I was not trying to suggest any of these cities are interchangeable - I mentioned how uniquely South Korean Seoul feels, and how Taipei has an interesting mix of a big city atmosphere with nature close by.

The point of this article was just to highlight more affordable, alternative city destinations in East Asia that are slightly less touristed than Tokyo.

I actually would suggest visiting Lisbon instead of London or Paris - obviously, they're all very different, but Lisbon IS comparatively cheaper if someone is looking for a city break in Europe.


Sunday 26th of May 2024

@SCY121, Right? This article doubled down on insults as the author only introduces those destinations as ”cheap“.