During my stay in Seoul, I really loved travelling via the subway. It’s very easy to understand, on time and very cheap. Plus, if you learn how to read the subway lines, it is very impossible for you to get lost.
Maybe some readers will agree with me, some will not, but I do not recommend travelling via bus. I had the misfortune of missing my bus stop just because I assumed the bus stops at every stop but unfortunately in my case, it didn’t. Maybe it was my fault but hey I assure you, use the subway instead and you will not regret it 🙂
Okay so here are a few things to remember. First, get a map with a picture of the subway line. The subway guide should look like this:
Next, look for the places you want to go to here. Just scroll down the page of the place you want to go to and take note of the 1) station and 2) the exit. It’ll be easier for you to find the place that you’re looking for as long as you know which station and exit to take 🙂
For example for Namdaemun Market, stop at the Hoehyeon station, Exit 5. Do not worry there are signs all over the station on which direction you should go to for the right exit.
Next, buy T-money. T-money can be purchased at convenience stores which you can see probably anywhere. I bought mine at GS25. You can also reload the card if your balance is running low. There are reloading machines at every station but you do not have to buy T-money to use the subway, you can just buy the single journey ticket instead. But yeah, if you plan to go around Seoul using the subway, I recommend buying T-money 🙂 Tip: if you are a big kpop fan, there is a store in Myeongdong wherein they sell T-money with faces of big kpop stars 😀 it costs 10000 won though.
For transfers, take note which station you need to stop to change lines. For example from Hongdae (green line) to Myeongdong (blue line), I start at the Hongik University station and stop at Dongdaemun History and Culture Park, and from there I walk around the station to look for the stairs/escalators which will lead me to the blue line to go to Myeongdong.
There are signs all over the station pointing to the direction on which you would walk to find the right line. It is also important to take note of the color of the station you are going to because it’ll be easier to look for the signs 😛 Just take a look at this direction pointing where line 4 is 🙂
If you are not sure which train to take, whether the one on your left or on your right, look for signs on the walls that tell which train will pass by your destination. Don’t worry about missing the train, it usually just takes around 2-5 minutes for the next train to come.
Also, if you are travelling in a group, make sure that you enter the train fast or else there is a chance that some of you would be left behind. This happened to me when I was travelling with my roommate and 2 of her friends. Me and Tam were left behind because the train doors closed fast. It is not like the MRT/LRT trains here in the Philippines that whenever someone tries to catch the door, the train doors will open so that you won’t get squished. This is just not the case in Korea.
Another tip: if you own an iPhone/iPod touch/iPad it would be best if you download the subway app for Korea. Check it out here 🙂 I’m just not sure if there is any android version of this.
Oh and another thing to remember though I am not really sure what time the last train ride is, but just to be safe, if you plan to go home using the subway, be home before 11 pm 🙂