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Korea Travel Tips

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN KOREA

March 25, 2020

A shortlist of five quick tips on how to negate public transportation in South Korea.

1. Google Maps does NOT work in Korea.

Well it does but it doesn’t. You can find some businesses and restaurants on Google maps, but the navigation doesn’t work. Due to national security laws, Google Maps public transport directions are unreliable. Interested in learning what travel apps do work? Check out our list of must-download apps for South Korea!

2. Buy a T-Money card as soon as you arrive at the airport.

-The T-Money card is a reloadable card that is used for public transportation. They can be used to pay for the subway, bus, taxi, and even convenience stores and some cafes!

-You can buy a T-Money card at convenience stores or metro stations for KRW 2,500 using a credit card but need to use cash to reload the card.

3. There are priority seats at the end of train cars that are meant for those that are handicapped, pregnant, or elderly, so try your best not to sit there!

-Even if you are sitting in a non-priority seat, it’s common etiquette to give up your seat for someone that looks like they need it more than you (like the elderly).

4. The KTX high-speed rail is the quickest way to get to other cities in the public transportation world.

-Clocking in at 190 mph (305 km/h), the KTX speed rail can get you from Seoul to Busan in just over two hours. **Keep in mind that you can’t use T-Money for KTX —instead you would need to purchase a Korail Pass.

5. Do not stress about being unable to read signs in Korean…all station maps and signs show a romanized name as well as the name in Hangul (the Korean language).

-The loudspeakers even shout out information in both Korean AND English!

10 Shares
  • Reply
    Pam
    March 26, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    It’s SO GOOD to know Google Maps doesn’t work! That’s my go-to app for navigating! Ahhh so I’ll be lost in Korea all the time – I’ll plan accordingly haha. I didn’t know they had a high speed train either. definitely saving this for later – great tips!

    • Reply
      Cherrod and Matt
      April 3, 2020 at 8:41 am

      Naver map and Kakao map are two great alternatives! Feel free to ask us if you have any other questions about Korea! 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura
    March 27, 2020 at 12:25 am

    Great information to have, I’ve haven’t been to Korea yet but will be sure to use public transportation when I do. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Cherrod and Matt
      April 3, 2020 at 8:40 am

      Yes! Please share with us when you do go!

  • Reply
    Courtney
    March 27, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    Oh my gosh, I accidentally sat in the elderly section of the subway my first week in Korea. Luckily, the ajummas gave me death stares until I realized my mistake (lol). Love your blog and loved this post! 🙂

    • Reply
      Cherrod and Matt
      April 3, 2020 at 8:39 am

      Yes the ajummas will definitely let you know when they don’t like something. haha Thank you so much for your kind words!

  • Reply
    Lydia
    March 27, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    As someone who likes to travel on a budget, I’ll be sure to use these tips if I ever visit Korea as they seem so helpful!

    • Reply
      Cherrod and Matt
      April 3, 2020 at 8:39 am

      Yay! We’re so glad that you found them to be.

  • Reply
    Derek
    March 27, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    I didn’t realize that google maps was an issue in Korea, are there any alternatives to help get around? I’m relieved to know that signs are translated. Hopefully that makes it easier.

    • Reply
      Cherrod and Matt
      April 3, 2020 at 8:38 am

      There are quite a few alternatives — Naver map and Kakao map are the two we would recommend the most.

  • Reply
    alan @ morepassportstamps.com
    March 28, 2020 at 2:17 am

    i’m keen to know more about those “national security laws”??? seems a bit 1984

    ktx is definitely the way to go

    • Reply
      Cherrod and Matt
      April 3, 2020 at 8:35 am

      I know! You’ll find quite a bit of information on that with Google. 🙂

  • Reply
    Marina
    March 29, 2020 at 3:31 am

    I would love to go to South Korea someday! These tips are super useful for someone who’s never been there!

    • Reply
      Cherrod and Matt
      April 3, 2020 at 8:33 am

      Yay! We are so glad that you find them useful. 🙂

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