The Seoul subway system is very extensive and offer a convenient way to move around the city as almost all parts of the city has sub-way stations. In fact, the subway stations are like underground cities with shops, eateries etc.
Nowadays, it is easier to travel by sub-way in Seoul because there is English language (probably after the World Cup 2002 in Seoul). A map of the Seoul subway lines is in the weblink below.
At first sight it seems complicated to move around, but then is like another world metro line system.
Between metro lines you have to walk long distances.
very crowded but we can move easily.
The Seoul metro is like a another living city, underground.
Basically, all or most of the tourist destinations and interesting places are all connected through the subway or metro system. It is easily and more efficient to take a subway and tour around seoul for a foreigner than to gather your courage and take the buses.
At each subway station, there will be a ticketing counter, the entrance and exit gates (beware, don't get in through the exit gates and vice versa) and a few Automatic Vending Machines (ATVMs). For those who are travelling to and fro often, or for most of the time on your holiday, it's better to get a card than to buy the tickets for the current journey (which is going to cost you much more than the travelling card). The travelling card's called a "T-money" card and you can get it from the ATVM too.
And at every station, they got the number, the line colour and the map of the location.
When you are waiting for the trains, be careful not to go to the wrong place or the train that goes to the opposite direction. Usually there will be the transit map and big signs of the current stop in korean/english/chinese and number, the last and next stop's information (depending on which way the train is coming from. E.g. If the train's coming from your left, then the last stop's usually placed on the left of the current stop on the wall and the next stop would be on the right. It sounds confusing but once you're there and taken a couple of the rides, it'll be not much of a problem to you.)
Another thing I'd like to point out:
The heating-system in the subway is fuming hot. Be prepared to wear your clothes in layers, so as it gets warmer in the subway, you can just take off your coat.
Everything else that you need or want to know is on the web.
Very easy to get around on the subway. Went all the way up to Bosan and down to Pyeongtak. Very inexpensive. All signs are in Korean & English. Very clean. Bathrooms @ every stop. Everyone behaves with a common courtesy of: a man giving up a seat for a woman; anyone giving up a seat for someone older or elderly; giving up a seat to a mother with young kids, etc. No one is rude. Saw many young kids (ages 8-13) riding without adults (who, by the way, were also courteous). People subdued and quiet (except for foreingers).
the computation for subway fares are:
basic fare : up tp 10 km : 900 won
Between 10km and 40km : additional 100won per 5km
Over 40km : Additional per 5km 100won per 10km
A color-coded system, as well as a numerical system are used for routing. All station entrances, platforms and destinations are color-coded and clearly marked in English. Large subway maps are posted at each station and in each subway car. Although many foreign residents refer to each line by color (i.e. orange line or blue line), locals go by the numbers (orange = line 3, while blue may be line 3 or line 1). Each station has a number code (Seoul Station is 426 meaning line 4 stop 26).
You can buy a magnetized yellow ticket at a vending machine or ticket window at any subway stop. Validate the ticket by inserting it and picking it up as you go through the turnstile; make sure you keep it unbent or uncrumpled for use at the destination turnstile that will retain one-way tickets. Stand in line for boarding and board quickly. Stops are announced in Korean and English; markings on the subway map inside each car generally indicate which side the doors open for exiting at each station. In general, subway trains operate at intervals of two and a half to three minutes during the morning and evening rush hours and at intervals of four to six minutes during the non-rush hours. Depending on the line, trains begin running between 5:40 and 6:00 to stop between 22:30 and 23:00.
Among world cities, Seoul has one of the most extensive subway facilities. The city is conveniently linked by subways, taxis and buses. The subways, though a little more complicated than that of Singapore's due to the size of Seoul, are the best mode of transport to get you around the city. The web of subway lines connecting every corner of Seoul and the surrounding area allows you to have a peek at the life of Seoulites in a low cost and convenient way. The subway is not just a means of transportation but another tool to help make your life is Seoul more enjoyable.
All lines are color-coded, and when you are armed with just a map of Seoul, you should be able find your way around the tourist attractions. In addition, all signs are provided in English as well, and announcements on the trains are also made in English.
Seoul offers a very extensive and pervasive subway system.
You can literally get anywhere in Seoul by subway (or close enough to walk) to where you need to go. Currently under construction is an extention to go through to the airport in Incheon.
Station and transfer signs are in Korean, English, and a few in Japanese as well.
Price starts at 1,000 Won for up to a 10km trip, and goes up 100 Won every 5km after.
You can purchase an electronic transit pass (T-money or U-pass) at convenience stores or banks, and have them charged up at the stations. They give you a discounted fare when riding both subway and bus systems.
Click on the link below to go to a large fullscreen map.
The first trains start up at approximately 5:30ish, depending on the line.
Last trains run untill approximately 12:15 on weekends, and 1:30 on weekdays.
*BE WARNED!* If you are on the last train when it stops and you are not yet at your needed stop, you will have to exit the station and take a cab to where you need to go.
Check out this subway guide! It really helped me a lot in planning my trips since this guide will tell you the quickest route, the transfer points and ticket prices! All you have to do is click on your point of origin and your desired destination!
Though Seoul is pretty cheap place compared to most of Europe. The subway is also, though due to the long distances you need to travel prices seem rather high with about 800W for a single ride. When buying tickets consider buying a so called "credit card". You can put any amount of money on this card and pay with it in bus/subway and also some stores. It's good value and gives you a discount on the subway which you will depend on anyways as all the sights are distant from each other.
Everything is very well arranged though and completely fit for Korean standards with gas masks at every station and on the metro you can often find beggars with a small radio playing Korean music and salesmen. Since I was there in november they were all trying to sell handgloves for the comming winter.
The network is extensive and bilingual (except for messages when trains aren't cancelled/delayed). There are 9 lines covering the whole city and plenty of transferpoints. Most stations are named in Korean, English, and have a number. They start with the number of the line and then the number of the station. Arrows indicate the next station and the previous station, so you always know if you are heading the right way. Watch out with transferring though, it can happen you are on the wrong side of the tracks and need to change tracks, sometimes you have to pass the touniquettes and pay for an additional ride. Transfer stations never have this problem.
And if you can't manage to get around with it, just ask someone because Koreans are extemely helpfull (it can get even annoying sometimes as they tend to take your hand and just drag you around to somewhere you don't need to be).
Seoul subway is easy way to get around. All signs are in English and you can get anywhere you want to go. I'd buy a metro card and put $$ on it to save time lining up for tickets. It only costs about 800W each trip.. little more for longer hauls. If you're a group short distances are cheaper in taxi... but if there's alot of traffic- it might not be worth it.
The subway is the cheapest and usually easiest way to get around Seoul. There are eight subway lines, some, like Line 1, stretch from one hour north of the city center to one hour south of the city. Cost is 700 Won (~US$0.50) for trips within the city and the most expensive rides to the far ends of the subway are only 1300 Won. You can either pay at the ticket counter or use the automated ticket machines. The machines are easy -- just look at the subway map above the machines for the price at the stop you want, press the button for that amount, and put your money in the machine. You can also buy a 10,000 or 20,000 Won multi-use ticket and get 10% free (i.e. pay 10,000 Won for 11,000 Won worth of subway use).
Almost 4 million people use lines 1-4 daily, I couldn't find ridership stats for the entire system.
Seoul Metro (서울메트로) operates most of lines 1, 2, 3, and 4 and Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation 서울특별시도시철도공사 (SMRT) operates lines 5, 6, 7, and 8. Korail (한국철도공사) operates parts of Lines 1, 3 and 4 along with the Bundang Line.
Line 9 is under construction and will run along the southern edge of the Han River, connecting Gimpo Airport, Youido, and Gangnam in phase one (2008), then continuing further east along the river for phase two. Another line is being built to connect the Bundang Line in the southeast edge of the city to Yongin, home of the very popular Everland Amusement Park. And probably the best news for us international travelers is the rail line to the airport will be complete to Gimpo Airport in 2007 and all the way to Seoul Station by 2010.
tAKIN the train is a must!! hahha to see the chaos the many faces of the Koreans!! sometimes they have like tv in there to watch fun commercials. lol. you can go anywhere using the train. very inexpensive and convenient. it can be a lil crowded during rush hours but again the ride is not too too long. just make sure if you are out late you have to catch the train before 11pm. I think thats when the last train ends.
-at the end of the bus thats where the senior citizens so the ajusshi and ajumas sit.
-Its good to offer your seat to the elders and to a pregnant woman.
Seoul is NOT some backward, Third World city. In fact, its subway system compares quite favorably with those of London, Paris, or Washington. It's extremely fast, reliable, and easy to use (all signs are in Korean and English). And the price is next to nothing. Of course, it can be very crowded, especially during the afternoon rush hour.
So don't bother driving in this city; it's far more hazardous and troublesome, especially to a foreign visitor. The subway goes almost everywhere.
Using the subways in Seoul is really easy. Get a subway map in English and you'll have no problem getting around. You can get to most places for 900 Won and from one end of Seoul to the other for 1300 Won. You can sit anywhere except for at the end of each car which is where seats are reserved for the elderly and handicapped. One Korean custom to keep in mind. If you are a man or a young student/adult and have a seat in a crowded car and see an elderly person standing, it is of good gesture to offer your seat to the elderly person.
No worries about language here as the signs are in native Hangeul and English. Fortunately the trains are not packed like sardines during after work hours like in other big cities like e.g. Tokyo.
Changing metro lines is a breeze! if you want to get to the other line just follow the arrows and the colour code on the walls! It's even along the walls of the staircases.. Refer to Photo 1.
To check if you're on the right track.. just look at the signs for the train's direction of travel! Refer to Photo 2.
Tip: Some stations have clustered entrances/exits that are not accessbile to each other, so it would be good if you know exactly which Entrance number you are heading to before you make the exit with the ticket.
Tip2: One station i remembered did not have crossovers in the train platform area, so check before entering with the ticket as to which direction of travel you are heading to.
Tip3: Almost everyone buys their tickets from the man from the counter, and not from the automated machines. Most of the time it's faster and more convenient if you only have notes.
One last thing, do not throw the ticket!! You'll need it for every exit out of the system..