Transportation in South Korea – A Complete Guide
Korea is one of the few countries where the public transportation system is extensively well developed and maintained. So much so that you can get to pretty much any part of the country using public transportation. Seoul, especially, is known to have one of the world’s best and most complicated metro line systems.
As someone new to Korea, it could be hard to get around the country using public transportation if you are unfamiliar with the transportation system of the country and are not fluent in Korea. Follow along the information in the article to know everything about the public transportation systems in Korea.
There are several ways you can get around the country or the city you are staying in.
- City Buses
To travel inside a city, buses are the most comfortable way to commute in most major cities in Korea. Buses in Korea are colored based on the routes they take. For example: Blue buses run longer distances inside the city whereas green buses run a shorter distance and stop at more remote places in the city. There are also red buses that only stop at particular bus stops and travel from the city to the outer suburban regions. Usually buses in Korea cease operation in late nights (although Seoul has a limited night bus service) and the last bus timings depend on each bus therefore it is always recommended to research bus timings before going out for the night.
- Intercity Buses
There are also privately operated intercity buses that take the highway roads in Korea to transport passengers from one city to another. These buses can be found at the city’s big bus terminals and are usually more expensive than what it would cost you to travel in city buses.
2. Metro/Subway Trains
Currently, there are subway systems in five significant cities in Korea: the Seoul Metropolitan Area, which comprises Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, and Incheon; and Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, and Daejeon. Seoul is popular for having one of the world’s most extensive and well planned subway systems. If you are in a major city, subways are arguably the ones that both Koreans and foreign tourists prefer the most as a practical mode of transportation. The subway fares differ for each subway system in Korea therefore you must check out the subway fares of the city that you are in. You can check of the fare prices using this website: Subways : VisitKorea Subways
Taking a taxi should by far be the most comfortable and quickest mode of transportation, especially if you are a tourist visiting Korea. You can hail a taxi at a taxi stand, or call an empty one on the road or through apps like Kakaotaxi. Korean taxis have a digital board on the top right corner that indicates whether the taxi is taken or not. Taxis that are currently occupied do not have anything displayed while taxis that are unoccupied display “빈차” in red. Taxis also sometimes display “예약” in blue if it is reserved by someone else. You can usually find taxis on the road at any hour of the day and taxi fares can also differ from city to city. You can check out the current taxi fares using the this link: Korea Taxis : VisitKorea Korea Taxis
4. KTX and other trains
The fastest way to get around Korea other than taking flights would be to take the KTX trains which are the fastest trains in Korea with an average speed of 305 km/h. There are also other regular trains such as the ITX and Mugunghwa. KTX fares are usually more expensive than the regular trains and you can find and book tickets for trains directly at the train station of the city at the help desk or from a kiosk. Alternatively, you can also book tickets from the Korail app which is available in both Korean and English.
For most of the transportation methods in Korea such as taking the buses or subway, you require a t-money card. You can buy t-money cards at your nearest convenience stores and the subway stations. Read Everything you need to know about T-money card to know more.