Need a hand getting around the bustling streets of Seoul?
Public transportation isn’t necessarily the first thing that pops into our heads when we’re preparing for a trip. How come we never fail to plan what to eat or what to do but what about HOW to get around? In most places, you’ll have to take public transport to get to and fro. However, if that’s not the case, you’ll be busy looking up which buses or trains to take as you go through your carefully planned itinerary. Seoul is no exception.
With the myriad of sights and delicacies Seoul has to offer, it would be a shame to miss out on any of them.
So, keep your eyes wide open as we go through A Complete Guide to Public Transportation in Seoul which we, at Trazy, have prepared just for you and will have you cruising through the streets of Seoul like a pro in no time!
Before You Get Started: Travel Passes
There are actually quite a handful of different travel passes, each one catering to the specific needs of the individual traveler. If you’re contemplating over which one to get, don’t fret, as Trazy is here to save the day! With the right pass, getting by on public transportation in Seoul will be a piece of cake.
Check out our detailed guide to finding the right travel pass for yourself here!
|T-money (Standard)||M-Pass||Korea Tour Card||Discover Seoul Pass|
|Price||2,500 won~500,000 won||15,000~64,500 won||4,000 won~500,000 won||39,900~70,000 won|
|Point of Sale||Trazy.com, Convenience stores, Subway stations, T-money Town, Myeong-dong Tourist Information Center||Seoul Station Tmoney Town|
(1F Seoul City Tower near Seoul Station)
|Convenience stores, Card vending machines at Incheon Intl’ Airport T1 /Gimpo Intl’ Airport/Seoul Station (Airport Railroad Line)/Subway stations (Line 1~4), In-flight purchases (Jeju Airlines), Affiliated banks within airport||Trazy.com, Online & Myeongdong Tourist Information Center, Dongdaemun Seoul City Tour Bus, Hongdae Tourist Information Center, Dongdaemun Tourist Information Center, Seoul Tourism Plaza Tourist Information Center|
No expiration date
|Transportation (Up to 20 rides a day)|
*Cannot be used to pay for taxis and may not be accepted at convenience stores.
*KRW 3,000 discount after 5pm!
Discounts on Shopping, Duty-Free, Food, Tourist Attractions, Entertainment
No expiration date
(+ Mobile Card available)
|Transportation: T-money, 1 free ride for Airport Express Train (AREX), Seoul Public Bike (Ttareungi), 1 free ride for Airport Bus (Limousine)|
Free admission to more than 50 & discount benefits to more than 100 attractions
(+Mobile Pass available)
Consisting of 22 lines in total, Seoul has one of the most extensive networks yet convenient urban railway systems in the world, serving regions beyond the center. Operating from as early as 4 in the morning to as late as 1 at night, it is one of the most efficient ways to travel around the city, getting you where you need to be when you want to be. Fares are also relatively cheap starting at a base fare of around 1,400 won (1 USD) with a discount of 100 won for T-money users!
*Due to price inflations, base fare for public transportation will be increase. From the original base fare of 1,250 won, an extra 300 won for subways (+ 150 won from Oct 7th, +150 won next year), an extra 300 won for buses from Aug 12th.
However, that’s not all. What puts Seoul Metropolitan Subway a cut above the rest is the fully air-conditioned trains which are all equipped with wireless internet connection. How awesome is that! What’s more, announcements, subway maps, and most of the information throughout the stations and trains are provided in, not only Korean but also English, Chinese, and Japanese. So, if you’re even a tiny bit discouraged by the possibility of getting lost during your travel, there’s no need to worry. Public transportation in Seoul has never been so easy before!
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Though the Subway system in Korea may seem somewhat “perfect”, just remember that it is, nonetheless, prone to the massive hordes of people that the peak hours entail. The widely-used term ‘Jiok-cheol’, which literally translates into ‘Hell Train’, refers to when the subway is completely packed with commuters, usually 7 to 9 in the morning and 6 to 7 in the evening.
*You can download apps such as Subway Korea, KakaoMetro, and Korean Subway to get real-time departure and arrival times.
**Read up on our 9 Essential Apps for Your Trip to Korea blog!
The public bus system in Seoul is well-developed, connecting every corner of Seoul with hundreds of routes running throughout the city, and like the subway, they start operating from the early hours of the morning until late at night. Moreover, you’ll have no problem spotting the bus you have to take as they are easily discernible by their color, each one of them is color-coded according to the area they serve. They sure do make public transportation in Seoul easy for almost anyone!
In general, buses are categorized according to whether they are General, Rapid, and Local buses. Let’s take a quick glance at the different types of buses in Seoul!
***Remember to tap your card when getting off the bus stop! Otherwise, additional fees will be charged!
However, if you’re new to Seoul and not sure of where to go, why not buy an all-in-one Seoul City Tour Bus Ticket. Available in English, Mandarin, and Japanese, sit back and relax as we take you around to the must-visit destinations that Seoul has to offer! There’s also the Yellow Double-Decker Seoul City Tour Bus which will take you on either the Traditional Culture Course or Hangang/Jamsil Course to see the major destinations in Seoul!
Transportation in Seoul is generally cheap and taxis are no exception to this. What’s more, it has now become easier than ever to hail a cab, without having to flail your arms around wildly.
If Uber is the trend everywhere else, in Korea we have Kakao Taxi and T-map Taxi which are the top 2 transportation service apps. Many Koreans use these apps as they are very reliable and can prevent taxi drivers from ripping you off. Both apps are very similar in terms of function and design. However, we recommend Kakao Taxi to anyone who is planning on taking a cab in Seoul as it is available in not only Korean but also English and Japanese for foreign users!
The base fare for a normal taxi is only 4,800 won (3.50 USD), so taking one, especially when traveling in a group, is a smart choice. Nonetheless, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a taxi. Prices are sure to go up steeply when it comes to long-distance trips such as taking a ride from the airport to the city center. So, if you’re looking to take a cab from the airport with all your heavy luggage, why not book Incheon/Gimpo Airport – Seoul Private Van Transfer (24/7) or Incheon/Gimpo Airport – Main Cities in Gyeonggi-do Private Van Transfer (24/7), including Suwon, Pyeongtaek, Bundang, Goyang, Hanam, Dongtan, Hwaseong, and Gunsan! You can choose between either a sedan or a van depending on the number of passengers.
If you need a private transfer service from Incheon Airport, Gimpo Airport, or Seoul to Gapyeong, Chuncheon, Gangneung, Suwon, Jeonju, or Sokcho, check out this hassle-free intercity private van transfer service.
Bicycles are another mode of transportation a lot of people make use of in Seoul. Though Seoul may not be known for being a bike-friendly city, with the Han River flowing through the heart of the city, there are many parks along the riverside that bikes paths and are great for cycling.
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Seoul Bike, an unmanned bike rental system managed by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, has, in fact, more than 1,500 rental stations located throughout the city for people to use at their own convenience. Moreover, you can get a 1-day rental for just a mere 1,000 won and what’s more, services are provided in English, Chinese and Japanese!
There’s even better news for those who’ve purchased the Discover Seoul Pass. In addition to the many benefits, this pass already offers, a 1-day Seoul Bike voucher is included. Just get your 8-digit rental number from the Discover Seoul Pass website and you’re off on your bicycle adventures!
However, if you’re up for a more interactive cycling experience, join us on a Seoul Bike Tour and get a taste of what Seoul has to offer.
Check out the different Seoul Bike Tours we have lined up for every type of traveler out there:
Are you ready to roam the streets of Seoul like a pro? Discover the city through public transportation in Seoul! Find out more about traveling around Korea on Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop.
T-money Official Site
Korea Tour Card Official Site
Discover Seoul Pass Official Site
Bus by SANTRI ICON from the Noun Project
Bus by Juliette Design from the Noun Project