You will find that the subway is the most efficient way to get around the city. The subway system has grown significantly over the years since the inauguration of line 1 in 1974. With eleven lines connecting various parts of the city, Seoulites can often travel to their desired destination without the use of buses or taxi. Seoul Metro is quite easy to use since the lines are color-coded and each station is labeled with a three-digit code. The first digit refers to the line and the last two digits indicate the station number. For example, Myeong-dong station is 424, meaning stop number 24 on line 4. You might also notice that some of the subway trains and platform designs differ slightly as Seoul’s public transit system is
run by three organizations: the Seoul Metropolitan Subway Corporation, the Korean National Railroad and the Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation. The subway operation hours are from 5:30 to approximately 24:00. The estimated travel time between subway stations are 2~3 minutes. The schedule can vary depending on the line so remember to make note of the schedule in advance.
Subway payment methods
Several ticket purchasing options are available for the Seoul Metro. The most obvious is the ticket bought at the ticket window or at automated machines which dispenses tickets. These tickets include one-time tickets and prepaid tickets. When purchasing your ticket, it is important to clearly state your destination.
● Line 1 (Navy Blue)
The first line built in Seoul, the main purpose of line 1 is to connect the southwestern cities with northeast city of Uijeongbu through Seoul.
● Line 2 (Green)
The only circular line of the Seoul Metro, it crosses all the major stops around the heart of the city. Many of the entertainment, shopping and other tourist destinations are located near this line
● Line 3 (Orange)
The orange line connects the northwest area to the southeast area, perpendicularly crossing the center of the city.
● Line 4 (Blue)
Commuters residing in the northeast or southwest areas of Seoul use line 4 to reach central Seoul.
● Line 5 (Purple)
Makes stops at Gimpo Airport and Yeouido, an island known as a business/residential island on the Hangang River.
● Line 6 (Brown)
Connects the northwest to the northeast parts of Seoul, passing through central Seoul in the process.
● Line 7 (Olive)
The olive line supplements line 4, connecting the southwest and northeast areas of the city.
● Line 8 (Pink)
The shortest line, it was built to provide commuters access to the southeast area.
Notable cultural and historical stops are on this
● Bundang Line (Yellow)
Bundang Line was created to accommodate the growing population in the satellite city south of Gangnam.
● Incheon Line 1 (Ultramarine)
A line connecting north and southern parts of Incheon city.
● Central Line (Turquoise)
The central line connects the center with northeastern parts of Seoul.
To avoid confusion and to speed up the entire process, it may be more convenient to purchase a pre-paid transportation card or T-Money card. You can recharge these cards by simply giving the person behind the ticket window your card and the amount you wish to recharge your card with. Those of you here for a longer stay may want to opt for the credit-based transportation cards. These cards include credit cards, debit cards or e-cards. The total fare amount is accumulated and at the end of the month, it is billed to you alongwith your other transactions. Subway fares start at 900 won and can cost up to 1,500 won depending on your destination. However, an average travelwithin Seoul will cost between 900 to 1,000 won. Not only are T-Money cards convenient, it’ll save you 100 won for each trip. T-Money cards can be purchased at ticket windows or at your local convenience stores (Family Mart, Buy the Way, GS25, 7-eleven).
- Basic fare: - up to 10km: 1,000won (cash)/ 900 won (T-Money card)
- Additional fare - extra fare charged for every 5km traveled
Preferential ticket, group purchase ticket
-One-time tickets are valid for 3 hours after check-in
- Pre-paid tickets include a 10% fare bonus. Even when the amount remaining on the ticket is less than the basic fare, the ticket will still cover another ride.
Lost and Found Centers
Each line on the Seoul Metro operates its own lost and found center. The lost items are collected at the very last stop and brought to the corresponding lost and found center. If you forgot an item on a subway car, do not panic. Make your way to the subway office or ticket window and give the transit officers on duty details such as the number of the car you left your belongings in. If possible, the officers will signal for the lost item to be retrieved from the car. Another method is to check one of the Lost and Found Centers at following stops.
SeoulMetro Lost&Found Center
Lines 1&2: City Hall Station (Tel. 02-6110-1122)
Lines 3&4: Chungmuro Station (Tel. 02-6110-3344)
SeoulMetropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation Lost&Found Center
Lines 5&8: Wangshimni Station (Tel. 02-6311-6765, 6768)
Lines 6&7: TaereungIpgu Station (Tel. 02-6311-6766~7)
KORAIL Lost&Found Center
Line 1: Guro Station (Tel. 02-869-0089)
Line 1: Seongbuk Station (Tel. 02-917-7445)
Line 1: Byeongjeom Station (Tel. 031-234-7788)
Line 2: Seolleung Station (Tel. 02-568-7715)
Line 3: Daegok Station (Tel. 031-965-8516)
Line 4: Ansan Station (Tel. 031-491-7790)
IncheonRapid TransitCorporation Lost&FoundCenter
Bupyeonggucheong(District Office) Station (Tel. 032-451-3650)
Airport Railroad Lost&Found Center (AREX)
Gimpo Airport (Tel. 032-745-7777)
Public Transit Transfer System
Using T-Money cards are convenient and can save you some money. For example, if you need to transfer buses, the base fare remains the same if the total distance traveled is less than 10km. An increase 100 won is added to the fare for every addition 5km.
Simply swipe your transportation card on the reader by the rear exit of the bus. You can transfer up to four times and the transfers must be done within 30 minutes of exiting a bus. If you transfer from bus to subway a small discount of 50 won will be deducted from the fare.
Subway Crime Unit 112
Crimes such as sexual harassment and pick-pocketing can be reported to the 112 police hotline. You can alsomake the report in person at the corresponding subway station office or one of 22 crime unit officers patrolling various stops on the Seoul Metro. The head crime unit office is located atWangshimni Station, Tel. 02-2218-0898.
When planning a trip to regional cities, airplanes and trains are good options but an express bus is also an excellent hassle freeway to travel around the country. There are four bus terminals in Seoul: Dong Seoul, Sang Bong,Nambu and Seoul Terminal. You do not have tomake reservations in advance to get tickets and since there is an abundance of buses for each route, a little wait will get you comfortably seated on the next bus. Express buses come in two types: ilban and udeung. While udeung buses cost a little more, they are more comfortable with a row of single seats to the left and double seats on the right. This provides much more leg room for those long rides.
You need to prepare and research a few things before making your way to one of the four bus terminals. It is imperative that you find out which terminal offers routes to the destination of your choice. For example, not all terminals will offer routes to Mokpo, Jeollanamdo.
The best way to search bus schedules and make reservations is through www.kobus.co.kr [K, E] or www.easyticket.co.kr [K].
Although reservations are not necessary, many commuters take trips to their hometowns on major holidays or long weekends.
It is good to make reservations in advance to avoid waiting in a crowded terminal.
To make reservations by phone, call the Express Bus Terminal (Gyeongbu Line) at 1588-6900 [K] or the Express Bus Terminal (Honam Line) at 1544-5551 [K] between 9:00 and 16:30. You may cancel reservations up to two days prior to the departure date, and all last minute cancellations will result in a penalty.
Trains and Planes
Several options exist for those looking to travel to regional cities from Seoul. Although express buses are one option, it’s always better to use trains or flights for domestic travel.
Three types of trains exist in Korea: KTX, Samaeul and Mugunhwa. The introduction of KTX in 2004 has made life easier for travel to regional cities. These high-speed trains travel at 300 km/h and have 20 cars with 935 seats in total. The special section has 127 seats with three per section while the general section has 808 seats with four per section. Standees are also allowed on the KTX as use of the train has steadily increased since its induction in 2004.
Samaeul trains are the next fastest way to travel, 146 147 Transportation Living in Seoul taking Seoulites to Busan in 4 1/2 hours. These trains are roomier and do not have standing tickets available. Samaeul trains stop at all major cities and were the fastest trains before the introduction of KTX. These trains can be easily distinguished by their blue, green and yellow color. The length the train can vary from five to twelve cars.
Mugunghwa trains, named after the national flower of Korea are the slowest and the least comfortable of the group. Standees are allowed and the seating arrangements are not as spacious as the Samaeul train. Mugunhwa
trains were commonly used prior to 2004 and are still widely used since they make many stops not serviced by KTX or Samaeul trains.
Two major airlines, Korean Air (KAL) and Asiana Airlines, as well as several smaller airlines, serve domestic flight routes. Gimpo Airport is the base of all domestic flights with daily flights to Gwangju, Gunsan, Busan, Yangyang, Yeosu/Suncheon, Ulsan, Jeju, Jinju/Sacheon, and Pohang. Visit gimpo.airport.co.kr [K, E, J, C] for flight and terminal information in English. Tickets for KAL can be reserved online at www.koreanair.com [K, E, J, C, D, F] or over the phone at 1588-2001, and Asiana Airlines tickets can be reserved online at www.flyasiana.com/english [K, E, J, C] or over the phone at 1588-8000. Purchases can be made directly at one of the stations, or reservations can be made with the amount paid in full at the airport.
When considering domestic flights or train rides, it is important to check the calendar for national holidays. The two major holidays in Korea are Chuseok in September and the Lunar New Year in February when people often make their way to their ancestral hometowns for family gatherings. They are the equivalent to hectic transportation schedules around Chistmas or Thanksgiving overseas. Try to avoid travels on major holidays and if it’s absolutely necessary, plan ahead and book you tickets early.