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I assume most tourists going to Seoul will get from the Incheon Airport to Seoul via hotel shuttle or KAL Airport Limousine (buses operated by KAL). You can also take the Airport Railroad. It's a new railroad line being built to connect the Incheon Airport with Seoul. It will eventually be extended all the way to Seoul City Hall station.
Taking railroad in Seoul is fastest way to move about so if you are comfortable with the subway system, I recommend this railroad.
Updated Aug 13, 2010
The subway system in Seoul can be intimating to non-subway commuters like me. But anyone who's used any subway system should find it pretty easy to use. All signs and ticket vending machines are in Korean and English. Announcements are made in Korean and English also. Note that there are no ticket booth where you buy a ticket from a clerk. All tickets are sold from ticket vending machines. Most people use what's card T-card but you can buy one-time use ticket from the vending machines. You can follow direction in English to buy your tickets from the vending machine.
If you are planning on using the subway system in Seoul, spend some time on this interactive guide: http://www.smrt.co.kr/Train/Subwaymap/Eng/Subwaymap.jsp
It's a really useful guide to the subway system. Follow the steps below to get oriented.
-Pick your language at top.
-Than click on the different subway 'lines' which are 1 - 9, Incheon, Bundang, Jungang, Airport Railroad, and Gyeonggui. All these are separate subway lines. They are interconnected via what's called Transfer Areas (aks stations).
-You can find out what subways to take to go from point A to point B.
-Click on 'Total'.
-On the map, click on one subway station to select Departing Station. Click on another station to select Arrival Station.
-The guide will tell you how much it will cost, how long and where to transfer. So to go from the Incheon International Airport to the Express Bus Terminal, you'd take the Airport Railroad and also Line 9. You will need to transfer once (from Airport Railroad to Line 9) at the Gimpo International Airport. The entire trip will take 86 minutes and cost 4700 won for an adult.
-That's it. Now you can move around the city like a local!
Btw, large subway maps are installed at all subway stations.
Updated Aug 13, 2010
I highly recommend Seoul City Tour Bus for getting around Seoul to see the popular tourist sites. If you have 1 or 2 full days to spend in Seoul, you should definitely take advantage of Seoul City Tour Bus. Getting around Seoul using the subway can be a bit of challenge for the uninitiated foreigners, so the City Tour Bus is the best choice for getting to tourist destinations in Seoul.
Closed on Mondays
Cost and how to get ticket: 6,000 KWN to 12,000 KWN for a one-day pass depending on the course. Teens and younger get discounts. I took the bus with the City Circulation Course all-day pass which cost 10,000 KWN. If you are paying with a Credit Card, you MUST purchase the ticket at the Seoul City Tour Bus Ticketbox, which is at Gwanghwamun Station only. If you are paying with cash or T-Money card (South Korean mass transit card), you can purchase it on the bus when you first board. I strongly recommend just paying with cash on the bus so that you can start the Seoul City Tour bus from anywhere. The City Tour Bus stops at some of the hotels also.
Condition of Bus: Bus is equipped with good AC system which was great during the hot June I was there. At each seat you will find a headphone. Using the headphone you can hear short introductions to the destinations the bus will stop at.
What to expect on bus: Each bus has a driver (obviously) and a female guide who sells tickets (if you didn't buy one already) and announces the next stop. As the guide announces the stop, she also announces when the following buses will be arriving at that stop. She would say (both in English and Japanese) something like the next buses will be arriving at 25 min and 55 min of the hour. That means a bus will be coming at 25th min and 55th min of every hour at the stop you are about to get off. They do that in order to help the tourists time their stay at a particular attraction. I was on 2 different buses (different driver and guide) and the guides all spoke conversational English and Japanese. I would recommend sitting on the right side of the bus so you can look down into the sidewalks.
Picking destinations: There are lots of stops you can check out using the City Tour Bus. If you need help with picking where to stop, go to | http://en.seoulcitybus.com | CYBER TOUR | GO Cyber Tour. In the pop up window, go to Courses. At bottom of the pop up window, you will see a list of stops. Click on one and you will see a small window that will show a small picture and short info. Click on Details, highlighted in the attached photo. Now you will see a detailed info of that particular stop. Go through the stops and pick ones you want to visit. It's really useful and efficient way to pick destinations that you want to check out.
Courses (2 day and 2 night):
There are 4 different courses with different times and buses. The bus will only stop if a tourist is waiting at a stop to board or a passenger has indicated he/she would like to get off at the next stop. The guide will announce next stop and ask if anyone will be getting off at next stop.
1. City Circulation Course has 26 stops. I actually think just riding around the city on this bus might be a thing to do if you are tired of walking.
2. CheongGye/Palace Course is a condensed version of City Circulation Course with 13 stops at better known tourist destinations such as the Korean Palaces and the CheongGyeChun (CheongGye Stream). The Korean War Memorial is NOT included in this course, unfortunately.
3. 1-story Bus Night course
4. 2-story Bus Night course. I believe this 2-story night course is non-stop tour and doesn't stop at any destination.
Updated Aug 13, 2010
I took the high speed KTX train from Seoul to Busan. Efficient and comfortable with reasonable prices. It travels at speeds of up to 300 kph. You can book on their website up to two months in advance. Don't worry if your credit card is not charged straight away. They don't charge until you actually collect the tickets. Just bring your web receipt to a rail station once you are in Korea to collect them.
Updated Apr 4, 2010
You can book your train tix in advanced online and in English. Helpful if you going to be traveling during a holiday. what's more, you see schedules and prices. Very helpful even if your not going to make a booking.
one word of warning, the site does not function correctly with Mozilla. I had to use IE to make my booking. I actually had to d/l a something from the website to get it to work.
All in all, it made my transport around the country hassle free.
As for price and travel time, you can't beat the KTX. I highly recommend using it.
Written Jan 4, 2010
KTX is South Korea's high-speed railway system, which many find it a convenient and affordable way of traveling around Korea. Its slightly cheaper to take buses, but for longer distances (such as Busan to Seoul or vice versa) it may be worth it to save time by taking the train. You can reserve tickets online, or by going in person to any given train station. The cost of a 1 way ticket from Seoul to Busan is about $50 USD, and a return ticket is around $100. The trains go to many other cities, such as Daegu and Incheon.
To find out where the train stations are near you, you can check the link below - it's the official site for KTX and can be viewed in Korean or English. Click on "booking" and then "book online" in order to check routes, timetables and prices.
Written Jan 3, 2010
Phone: (82) 42-482-6568
I've owned a car in Korea for over three years now. While I feel perfectly comfortable on the roads here, I will offer a few words of advice.
First ask yourself if you have ever driven in a foreign country. Korea has similar rules to the West, but there are a few idiosyncrasies to them. However, having rules and following them are two different issues. Korean roads are not as safe as western countries and may take some time to getting used to the natural ebb and flow of the traffic and their disregard for certain laws (red lights, pedestrians, turning from middle lanes, etc. come to mind first).
I have driven in all corners of Korea and try to avoid driving in Seoul. It is a zoo of streets and if you are not familiar with them, it is nearly impossible to drive safely and navigate at the same time. Street signs are extremely difficult for foreigners to use since the naming schemes and directional postings are either difficult to read or counter intuitive for westerners.
I do drive in Daegu and Busan too, but again that's only because I know these cities and can drive by landmarks rather easily there.
If all you are doing is visiting these main cities, then I would highly recommend staying on a bus/train. The rental cost of a car here is expensive ($60/day plus expensive fuel prices!), so you can easily afford a few taxis and walk away with savings. Taxi's are relatively cheap. And particularly in Seoul, the metro is by far the best since it gets you everywhere and the maps are always available in English.
If you want to venture out of the cities and tour the country, I would rent a car for only those days you plan to be out of the urban areas.
Updated Jan 3, 2010
Buses were easy to use. Pay the driver on entry. We paid a flat rate of 1000won per person per trip. No idea if this is correct. It was the price of our first journey and we just stuck to it. We were never asked for more or given change so assume it was OK. Subway stations will indicate where bus stops are located. One strange thing was the front of the buses indicated the stop they were arriving at rather than the destination, so it helps if you know the number and destination in advance.
Written Oct 31, 2009
The subway in Pusan is very user friendly. The ticket machines have an English language option. A day ticket cost 3,500 won. Stations are sign posted in English. There are 3 subway lines and interchanging is easy and straight forward. Download a map off the internet before you go and you cannot go wrong. Exits list sights and bus routes in English.
Written Oct 31, 2009
if you are to get to Pusan city from Incheon airport, I suggest you these options
1.International Tax ( www.intltaxi.co,kr )
it cost you about 450,000won ( 1USD = 1,300won )
you can contact directly to +82-1644-2255
driver understand English, card accepted, 9-seater large taxi available.
Desk located between Exit8 and Exit9 in Arrival Lobby
2.Limousine bus + Taxi
Take a limousinebus on 20:30 at 1st Floor 10C platform
it cost you 40,900won, takes 5hours
Then from Pusan take a taxi to Commodore it takes 50mins, cost you around
Hope you can enjoy Korea!
Written Aug 29, 2009
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