If you do not rely on taxis or cars you will most probably use Seoul's subway system which is very easy to use. All lines have different colours, all station names are in English, Hangul and Hanja and every station has a number starting with the number of the line. Trains operate roughly between 5:30 am and midnight, frequency during day time is usually 5-10 minutes.
Have a map (or the app) of the subway system with you as sometimes a station on the way instead of the final station is given as direction of the railway. It also helps for general orientation as maps are not everywhere at the stations, the locals use the app. Also try to avoid changing lines in Noryangjin as the various platforms for line 1 can be confusing. As line 1 has several branches, be sure you are on the right train. Other lines are generally easier to use. Suburban trains which are part of the system (like AREX to Incheon Airport) can be used as subways. There is also not price difference between "normal" and "express" trains on line 9. However be aware that Metro Line 9 is privately run and that they may implement a supplementary charge in the future.
You can buy single tickets for which you have to pay a deposit of 500 won. This deposit is given back when you return the ticket at the end of the journey. However, travelling with T Money card is recommended. This card is available from every convenience store (2500 won) and saves you at least 100 won on every single trip. But it is also easier to use as you do not have to claim the card deposit at the end of every journey. Furthermore, you can use that card to pay in many other public transport systems of the country as well as many convenience stores. Standard fare is 1250 won for trips less than 10 km, 100 won are added for each subsequent 5 km. Changing between lines is free - except for changes at infamous Noryangjin station.
All info and prices as of 2015.
The buses are an easy and cheap way to get around Seoul... if you can figure out the system. Normally buses cost only 700 Won. If you don't speak Hangul, many list the major stops in English on the side of the bus. Bus 82 goes from Itaewon to Myeongdong and Bus 23 runs between Itaewon and City Hall.
Even though we did not rent a car, it was hard to see or find a gasoline station in town. Eventually, I did spot one and this photo will help you spot what they might look like. This one also had a "mini mart".
From the airport i took the so clled limousine bus. I say so called because it's just a bus, definitly nothing luxurious or extra confortable. The bus number I took is 6015 and the price is 10000 wong. You can buy the ticket at arrival hall in the airport, there ask the number of bus you need to take for the area where you have to go to.
Once you re out look for the column with your bus number . A suggestion for the bus company: add a led screen advertising the stops as the voice that calls them has a low volume and once someone arrives for the first time in Korea may have some difficulties in understanding the pronunce. When you take the bus on the way back, just know that you buy ticket on the bus and you do not book the seat, so if the bus is full you wait for the next one that usually arrives after 20 minutes.
The subway is the most convenient mode of transport in going around Busan or in Seoul and in Gyeonggi-do areas.
It is operated from 530am-1am. Currently there are 4 subway lines operating around Busan.
You won't get lost since the stations are labeled in Korean, English and Chinese and numbered as well. Single fare costs 1,000KW and depend on the distance you wish to travel.
By the time we arrived in Busan, I thought that the T-money card and the disposable transportation card look the same. I was about to buy the T-money thinking that it looks like the Octopus card of Hong Kong... I inquired about the T-money with the lady in the store even though we had a hard time communicating since she can't easily speak English. Luckily, one of the subway's staff was on the floor, she became the answer to all of my questions!
I then realized, the T-money Card is not literally a "card" like what I imagined.
So what happened was, I bought this T-money card (the lady said that I may choose the mini mirror or the mickey mouse shaped card) for 7000KW then recharged it using the self-service charger in the subway by another 10,000KW. Yes, you are right! The T-money card and the balance are sold separately!
The T-money card is a rechargeable transportation card and varies in sizes/shapes.
The term rechargeable means that you can "reload" amount of the money you have in your card, after numerous deductions of fares you had within the day so you can be able to use it all over again. You can "recharge" the T-money card in any convenience stores/subway stations. The
T-money card used in Busan can also be used in Seoul.
It can also be used in riding buses, paying entrance fees in museums, cultural facilities, palaces, etc.
The only disadvantage in using the T-money card is that you can't have any refund of the remaining balance in it unlike (again) in using the Octopus card. So just always check the amount you have in your card so you can only recharge it with the appropriate amount you need while staying in the country.
How To Use: place the T-money card in the card reader as you get on a bus or subway and it will beep indicating your current balance after the fare was deducted.
When traveling Free & Easy in Seoul, the bus & subway concession card called "T money "comes in handy. You can buy the "T money" easily at any GS25, family mart and other convenience stores. The cost of the card (non refundable) is $2500won. You can top it up at any amount above $1000won.
There is a concession (for instance, a discount of $100won per subway trip etc) when you use the T-Money on buses or subways. But it's actually the convenience it gives us that really matters.
When using the card on buses, you have to tap it when you board the bus and tap on the machine again when you alight.
If you need to get a refund for the remaining top up amount in your T-Money card before you leave Seoul, you may go to their convenience store GS25 for the refund.
The cost is 7,000 won for round trip ride to seoul tower in nam san mountain and it is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and there is a shuttle bus going to chunguro station (the nearest subway to Nam San for 1000 won per trip). The Namsan Cable Car is located on the north side of Namsan Mountain and is accessible by way of Soya-gil Rood. Parking is available at the cable car entrance and there are small stands there to offer rest and refreshments. It is open every day from 9:30 A.M. to 10:30 P.M. Tickets are sold on the third floor.
Address is: Hwaehyun-dong 1-ga, Seoul, South Korea 100-501
The Seoul Subway System is operated by three organizations : Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, and Korea Railroad. Seoul Metro is responsible for line 1,2,3 and 4, while Korea Railroad Operates extensions of these line s on the national railway. Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation is reponsible for line 5,6,7 and 8. Subway trains operate at intervals of 2.5 to 6 minutes during the morning and evening rush hours, and at intervals of 4 to 12 minutes during the non-rush hours.
Standard tickets can be purchased at either Automated Ticket Vending Machine or the ticket office. Your fares could vary depending on your destination station. A map showing the subway lines and cost per stop from the starting point of the station in which you are standing can be found on the wall near the ticket sellers booth and/or the ticket vending machines. The base price is 900 won (discounted to W800 for those using a smart card called T-money). 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.
As been asked many times on this forum, what is the best way to get to Seoul from IIA? Buses from Incheon International Airport to Seoul operate on 10-15 minute intervals during the flight operation hours. As the subway between IIA and Seoul is currently under construction, the most convenient and cheapest way to get to Seoul is Limousine Bus. Deluxe Limousine Bus tickets to Seoul cost 12,000-13,000 won, Standard Limousine Bus tickets cost 7,500-8,000 won. Tickets can be purchased at the Transportation Information Counter near the exits No. 2, 4, 9, 13 on the arrival floor (1st floor) or at the bus stops themselves. Which bus you take depends on the part of the city you are going to. Don't worry, the places are written on the buses in English as well as Korean. Here is a list of the buses, where they go, and which exit in the airport to head for to catch them:
I have driven in a lot of countries, but Korea is definately one of the worst. If it weren't for the enormous volume of traffic, the lack of respect for the rules of the road, and the random no-notice construction, the highways would be fine. The narrow roads in town, along with the park-anywhere policy, and the lack of traffic law enforcement makes the towns and cities even worse.
If you happen to get in a minor accident, the best bet is to negotiate a quick settlement with the other drivers before the police arrive--even if there is no damage--otherwise the person at fault will be fined by the police...
Travelling with metro is very easy and efficient at Seoul.. We have stayed at Yeongdong Jasmil area and in order to travel to Downtown seoul we have used the metro.
The Koreans names at first seems very difficult to understand, but one very good thing is that each subway station has a number and you can easily catch the stops via their numbers...
There are 8 main lines and they have 8 different color codes.. If you are in the City hall, that is the first stop of line 2.. So the number of the station is 201.. And all stations has first number as their line code and later the stop number...
The subway system in Seoul is one of the best we have used, and that includes New York City and London, England.
The subway is easy to navigate as signs are posted in Korean and English. I guess that makes it easy if you read Korean and/or English. None the less, if reading the signs doesn't work the friendly citizens of Korea are very willing to help. More than once my wife and I would stop to look at a map and a helpful native would quickly ask if we needed directions.
Not only are the numbered and colored lines easy to navigate but the system itself was extremely clean, cool (we where visiting in July), and timely.
A classy system for a classy city.