Navigating the buzzing city of Seoul can be intimidating for first time visitors. However, with its extensive transportation system, ranked among the best in the world, getting around is surprisingly doable.
This guide will provide you with handy details about the different modes of transport, such as the metro, buses, taxis and bikes to make your travel adventures in Seoul as easy as possible. Get ready to discover Seoul like a local!
Public transport in Seoul
The metro is the fastest and most affordable option to get around Seoul, South Korea.
Metro: The fastest and most affordable option
The metro is the top choice to get around Seoul. It’s fast and cheap. With 22 subway lines and 302 stops, it covers all parts of the city. You can walk from most popular places to a station in ten minutes or less.
It’s best to buy a T-Money card when you arrive in Seoul. This is a convenient travel card that you can top up. One place where you can buy this card is at convenience stores, such as 7Eleven.
You can use a T-Money card on the subway, bus, and taxi rides too! You can buy a standard card or you can buy a card with a special layout such as the one above.
A T-Money card typically costs 3000 Korean Won for a standard one and 5000 Korean Won for a different layout. At the convenience store you can tell them how much you would like them to put on the travel card.
The metro runs from early morning until around 23:00 o’clock. It’s one of the best ways to get around Seoul, as it’s very clean, affordable and safe.
Download the app Subway Korea to navigate the subway in an easier way. Important: Some stations have 12 different exits. Look at an online map such as KakaoMap to see which exit is the closest to where you want to go.
As mentioned earlier, the subway is very affordable. A one way trip on the subway will cost you around 1250 Korean won, which is less than 90 euro cents.
I would recommend topping up your T-Money card with 10000 to 15000 won per week that you’re staying here.
So if you’re staying here for two weeks and you’re planning on using the subway a lot, put around 20000-25000 Korean won on your T-money card. In this way, you’ll always have enough money on your metro card.
Tip: Keep in mind that the subway closes around 23:00 PM. After this time, it’s best to hail a taxi via a taxi app.
Buses: Convenient for exploring the city
Buses in Seoul are a convenient and affordable way to explore the city. With an extensive network of bus routes, you can easily reach popular tourist spots and neighborhoods. The buses are clean, comfortable, and most of them are equipped with air conditioning.
Plus, they run frequently and have designated stops along the route, making it easy to hop on and off wherever you need to go. It’s possible to pay for your bus fare with your T-Money card. The T-Money card is also accepted on the subway and in most taxis.
So if you want to see more of Seoul at your own pace, hopping on a bus is a great option!
Taxis: Available anytime, day or night
Taxis in Seoul are a convenient way to get around anytime, day or night. They are readily available throughout the city and can be hailed easily on the street or through taxi apps like Kakao Taxi and T-map Taxi.
When the light of the taxi is red it’s available, when it’s green it’s not available and when it’s blue it means it’s reserved. This is confusing, but it’s true, so remember it’s the opposite of what you would think.
While taxis can be more expensive than public transportation, they offer a comfortable and direct way to reach your destination without dealing with crowded buses or navigating unfamiliar subway routes.
Whether you’re heading back to your hotel late at night or need a quick ride to a specific location, taxis in Seoul are always there for you.
Tip: If you want to hail a taxi via Kakao Taxi app (Kakao T), you first have to download Kakaotalk to create a Kakao Id (this is like Korean WhatsApp).
Exploring Seoul by bicycle
Another option to discover all that Seoul has to offer is to rent a bike. Explore Seoul on two wheels by taking advantage of the city’s bike sharing programs and rental options.
There are scenic cycling routes and trails that allow you to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of Seoul at your own pace.
Bike sharing programs and rental options
To explore Seoul in a fun and eco-friendly way, you can take advantage of the city’s bike sharing programs and rental options. These services allow you to rent a bicycle for a certain period of time and ride it around the city at your own pace.
It’s a great way to enjoy the sights and sounds of Seoul while staying active. Some popular bike sharing programs include Dongbu Bike and Ttareungyi, which have stations conveniently located throughout the city.
Rental options are also available from various shops and companies, where you can choose from different types of bicycles depending on your preference. So hop on a bike and pedal your way through Seoul!
Seoul offers a variety of cycling routes and trails for those who prefer exploring the city on two wheels.
There are also dedicated cycling routes that take you through scenic parks and along the Han River. Cycling along the Han-river is one of the best things to do in Seoul. The cycling paths are well-maintained and safe.
With Seoul’s beautiful scenery and bike-friendly infrastructure, cycling is a fun way to see the sights while getting some exercise at the same time.
To drive or not to drive?
Driving in Seoul is not recommended due to traffic congestion and limited parking, hence public transportation is a better alternative for getting around the city.
Traffic congestion and limited parking
Driving in Seoul is not recommended because of the busy traffic. The city is known for its busy streets, especially during peak hours, which result in long delays.
Additionally, finding a parking spot can be challenging and expensive, especially in popular areas. It’s much more convenient to use the efficient public transportation system or explore the city on foot to avoid these kind of issues.
Public transportation as a better alternative
Getting around Seoul using public transportation is a much better alternative than driving. The city’s extensive network of subways and buses are fast, affordable, and convenient for exploring different parts of the city.
With 22 subway lines and 302 stops, the metro is the fastest way to travel in Seoul. It also offers a rechargeable T-money card. This can be used for subway, bus, and taxi fares, making it easy to get around without having to worry about carrying cash.
Plus, the subway system is very clean and safe. So leave your car behind and take advantage of Seoul’s efficient public transportation system instead!
Accessibility in transportation in Seoul
Seoul offers wheelchair-accessible options and assistance for individuals with disabilities to ensure that everyone can easily navigate the city’s transportation system.
Seoul offers wheelchair-accessible options for people with disabilities. The subway system provides elevators and ramps at most stations, making it easier for wheelchair users to navigate.
Buses also have designated spaces for wheelchairs, allowing everyone to travel comfortably. In addition, many taxis in Seoul are equipped with ramps or lifts, ensuring accessibility for all passengers.
Public transportation in Seoul strives to be inclusive and provide convenient options for people with disabilities.
Assistance for individuals with disabilities
Seoul provides assistance for individuals with disabilities to ensure their smooth transportation around the city.
There are designated spaces on buses and trains for people with mobility issues, elderly people and pregnant women. You will recognize them by their red color.
It’s frowned upon to sit here if you don’t fall into these categories, even if the seats are empty, so keep this in mind.
Exploring Seoul on foot
Walking in Seoul is not only a preferred way to travel, but also one of the best ways to experience the city’s vibrant atmosphere and explore its hidden gems.
Seoul is known for its safe and pedestrian-friendly streets, making it a great city to explore on foot. The sidewalks are well-maintained and spacious, so you can easily wander around Seoul and take in its sights.
Crosswalks are clearly marked and traffic signals make it easy to navigate busy intersections.
Plus, there are designated pedestrian zones in popular areas like Myeongdong and Hongdae, where cars are restricted from entering during certain times of the day.
So whether you’re strolling through shopping districts or enjoying a relaxing walk along the Han River, you can feel confident that Seoul’s streets prioritize your safety as a pedestrian.
From buzzing markets to beautiful parks, there’s so much to see and experience just by strolling through the city.
When to walk and when not to walk?
Do keep in mind that you can explore certain neighborhoods on foot, but that it will be difficult to walk from one part of the city to another part.
You’ll need to use the subway to get to a different area in the city. From here, you can explore on foot again.
For example: It will take around two hours to walk from the traditional Bukchon Hanok Village to trendy Hongdae, so this isn’t really doable.
However, it will for instance take 20 minutes to walk from Bukchon Hanok Village to beautiful Gyeongbokgung Palace, so this is possible.
Make sure to put on some comfortable shoes, as you’ll be walking a lot in Seoul.
Tip: Keep in mind that most walking routes aren’t available on Google Maps, so use the Korean KakaoMap for this. This is one of the best apps to use in Korea as a foreigner.
Getting around Seoul in South Korea is easy with its efficient and reliable public transportation system. The subway, buses, and taxis are the top choices for getting from place to place in this vibrant city.
Don’t forget to buy a T-Money card when you arrive in Seoul, to make traveling a lot easier for you.
With extensive routes and convenient travel cards like T-money, exploring Seoul has never been more accessible.
Enjoy the clean and safe streets of Seoul as you navigate through its interesting neighborhoods and iconic sights.
Away with Danae
See more South Korea travel content here:
- Suseongdong Valley: A Hidden Gem in Seoul
- 7 Reasons Why Seoul Is Really Worth Visiting
- Hongdae, Seoul: The Ultimate Guide
- Gwangjwang Market, Seoul: A Foodie’s Paradise
- Dongmyo Flea Market: The Best Thrifting in Seoul
- Bukchon Hanok Village: Is It Really Worth Visiting?
- Myeongdong Street, Seoul: The Ultimate Guide
- Hi Jun Guesthouse in Hongdae: What It’s Like Staying Here