04 September 2011

Taking Seoul Metro

Like other big cities, traveling around Seoul is very easy with public transportation, especially with its massive Metro/Subway system. There are about 15 lines of train operated in Seoul and its urban area (more complicated than Singapore), including Airport Railroad from/to Incheon and Gimpo Airports. I always check the map, price, timetable and direction from one station to another station from this site.

Getting to downtown Seoul from Incheon Airport by train is the cheapest mode, depends on the destination but usually will not be above 5,000 Won. However I haven't taken Airport Railroad from/to Incheon before. When I first time arrived here, I was being picked up by a taxi to my home. Taxi from Incheon Airport to downtown Seoul would take about 60,000-75,000 Won. Other alternative is using airport bus about 8,000 Won, and (I heard) it's also convenient.

When using public transportation around Seoul, we can purchase a single trip ticket in vending machine in any train stations, or paying cash directly to the driver in the bus. Or we can purchase a card/token that can be recharged anytime, it's called T-Money. We can buy it in vending machines in train stations and in any convenience stores. On my first day, I bought the card in Family Mart, one of famous convenience stores here. it cost 2,500 Won without credit. Ten days later, I lost it (T_T) and bought a new card from a vending machine in the train station, cost 3,000 Won. More expensive, but the package comes with some discount coupons for restaurants, tourist places, etc.


The unique part is, instead of card we can buy T-Money in form of (cute) token which can be attached easily to our personal belongings like keys, phones, bags, etc. It costs more expensive tho, about 5,000 Won from vending machine. Maybe if I lost my T-Money card again one day, I will buy the token one.

So far I've only taken bus once, so I will write more about the train. The train and stations are not as clean as MRT in Singapore, but they are clean enough. People may eat and drink inside the train and stations, no fines haha. There are not so many escalators in the stations, only stairs, stairs and stairs. Hope I will become slim after few months living here.

Elevators are only meant for old and needy people. I never saw young people taking elevator, as well as seats for elderly. Every section of trains, there are 6 seats for elderly in the corner. Even though the seats are empty, and there are no needy person inside the train, those seats are never taken by young people. Once I sat there, I got strange looks from people around. I directly made a tiring face as I really needed that seat... well I was really tired at that time :P However since then, I never take those seats again.

I think most stations here are not well designed. If I went to a wrong platform in the same station, I need to cross the train lines using stairs. In Sinchon station today it's even worse. I already tapped my T-Money card to go inside the station, but then realized I got into the platform that directs to Ewha Woman University. I supposed to go towards Hongik University. It's the same line in the same station, but different direction. I couldn't find the way to cross to the other direction without going out first. So I tapped my T-Money card to go out and came inside again from the other direction. It charged my card for one single trip, for nothing :|

Okay that's it for now. Hope I can write here more often.


  1. You can actually ask the conductor who maims the subway station to let you cone out by the side gate to reenter the other side without having to tap in and out ^^

  2. @Pebs
    No staff was around the gate. That's one of the lacks of Seoul Subway: not all the gates have a staff.
    My Korean friend sometimes experienced this also: tap in, realize wrong direction, tap out, go to other direction and tap in again.

  3. Experiencing all means of transportation is cool. You get to know different adventures from each ride. When you have to travel far from the airport, it is good to rent an airport bus for more convenience and be more relaxed in your trip. new york limo