Korean Public Transportation

The Ultimate Guide to Korean Public Transportation for Foreigners

Are you planning a trip to Korea? Traveling by Korean public transportation is the best way to enhance your travel experience. From buses to subways and taxis, Korean public transportation is fast and convenient. Plus, using public transportation saves you money and allows you to experience everyday life like a local. However, you might feel overwhelmed by the unfamiliar public transportation system in a foreign country. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Let’s start the ultimate guide to mastering Korean public transportation for foreigners! This is part 24 in a series of articles in The Expat’s Complete Guide to Living in Korea.

Bus and Subway

Transportation Card, the Essential for Korean Public Transportation

To use buses and subways in Korea, you need a transportation card. You can pay in cash, but having a transportation card makes your journey much more convenient. The most common cards are T-money and Cashbee. You can easily purchase them at convenience stores, subway stations, or bus terminals. The card deposit is 4,000 won(Between 4,000 and 6,000 won, depending on card type), and you can charge the card with the amount you want. If your balance is low, you can recharge anytime. Don’t worry about any remaining balance; you can get a refund for the deposit and the remaining balance when you return the card after your trip.

Korean Public Transportation

There’s also a Daily Pass for foreigners. Called the Mpass, it’s a time-ticket transportation pass that allows you to ride up to 20 times per day on public transportation such as the Seoul Subway, Seoul Bus, and Incheon Airport Railroad. Prices by day are as follows


Various Buses Differentiated by Colors, How to Ride Them?

When you stand at a bus stop, you’ll notice buses in different colors. Korean buses are color-coded according to their route types. First, remember the blue bus. It’s called a trunk bus and runs on major roads, covering long distances. Green buses are branch buses. They travel to smaller streets in neighborhoods compared to blue buses. Red buses are express buses connecting cities and towns over long distances. Yellow buses are circular buses that loop around key points. Just remembering the bus colors will make your travel much easier.

Korean Bus

Remember the boarding rules, too. Generally, you get on through the front door and get off through the rear door. Tap your transportation card when you board and press the bell when you want to get off. Easy, right?

From Line 1 to Line 9, Mastering the Convenient Subway System

There’s an easy way to navigate Seoul’s complex subway system. Seoul has subway lines from Line 1 to Line 9. Each line has a designated color and number, making it easy to visually distinguish them. Look for the subway map at the station. It’s written in multiple languages, so you can easily find your destination even in unfamiliar places. No more worries about getting lost! The announcements inside the train also inform you of the next station and transfer points. They provide information not only in Korean but also in English, Chinese, and Japanese, so you won’t miss a thing. Enjoy your journey comfortably inside the train.

Korean Subway


How to Safely and Smartly Take a Taxi

Are there places hard to reach by bus or subway? In that case, taking a taxi is the best choice. Korean taxis are divided into orange, white, and gray. In Seoul, orange taxis are the most common. When you take a taxi, make sure to check the meter. Korea doesn’t have a negotiated fare system. The base fare is 3,800 won, and there’s a late-night surcharge. Keep in mind that additional charges apply if there’s traffic congestion.

Know the safety rules for taxis, too. Fastening your seatbelt is a must! Tell the driver your exact destination, and ask them to take main roads if possible. You can also pay by card, so no worries if you don’t have cash.

Conveniently Call a Taxi with Kakao T Taxi App

Is it hard to hail a taxi on the street? Try using the Kakao T Taxi smartphone application. Kakao T Taxi is a taxi-hailing app serviced by Kakao. Just input your pickup location and destination, and it matches you with the nearest available taxi. It also shows you the driver’s information and estimated fare in advance, giving you extra peace of mind. No more worries about getting lost in unfamiliar places. Move around comfortably and safely with Kakao T Taxi.

Kakao T

Tips for Using Public Transportation

No More Worries about Finding Your Way with Kakao Map and Naver Map

Is finding your way in an unfamiliar city daunting? In Korea, there are reliable navigation companions. They are Kakao Map and Naver Map. With these apps, you can go anywhere using public transportation. Just input your destination, and they’ll show you the fastest public transportation route from your starting point to your destination. They provide accurate arrival times by reflecting real-time traffic information. Put aside your worries about getting lost. Just follow the app’s guidance.

Naver Map Kakao Map

Enjoying Korea Travel Freely with Public Transportation

You’ve learned the know-how of Korean public transportation, from buses and subways to taxis. Remember, you can move freely anywhere with a single transportation card. The color-coded buses and smart subway system will double the joy of your travel. Don’t forget the safe and convenient ways to use taxis. When you’re stuck finding your way, turn on Kakao Map and Naver Map. Now, unfamiliar streets won’t frighten you, right?

Move around freely with Korean public transportation and savor the charm of traveling. From busy morning commute scenes to vibrant streets, you can glimpse locals’ daily lives through buses and subways. Explore places you want to visit freely by taxi. The exciting journey that public transportation offers will be a memorable experience with no regrets. We’re rooting for you to have a wonderful trip to Korea!

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