Seoul on a budget: Taking the subway
It rained the whole day last Thursday but that didn’t stop me from going out. I was craving for “buchimge” or korean pancake and one of the best places where I had it before is in Gwangjang Market. I could’ve made it myself but I wanted something really good. As it was raining, I preferred to take the subway rather than get wet waiting for the bus.
Subway fare is 1,000 won for the first 10 kilometers. Using a transportation card (T-money or U-pass) saves one 100 won. The subway is the more efficient way to travel in Seoul, but there are times when I just take the bus for convenience.
Taking the subway shouldn’t be intimidating even for first time tourists to Korea. There are English signs and just using common sense will get you where you want to go 🙂 If there’s one thing I had a problem with before (like six years ago), it was buying tickets at the counter. I couldn’t pronounce Korean well that time and sometimes I needed to point to the handy map, which you can get from a lot of places, where I was going before the ticket clerk could understand me. Also, some stations have similar sounding names like “Sinchon” and “Sincheon” which are really far from each other. That’s why it’s really wiser to have your own transportation card so you won’t need to talk to the clerk when purchasing a ticket. 😀 With a transportation card, you won’t need to pay additionally when you transfer to a bus within 30 minutes. You can also use the card to pay for taxi fare, and it makes a good souvenir too.
On my second day in Korea, my husband taught me how to take the subway. On my third day, I took the subway by myself. On my fifth day, I traveled to the province alone by express bus. There are English signs in Korea and the people are helpful. Majority don’t speak English though, so in case you get lost and need assistance just call BBB at 1588-5644 (if you have a cellphone) or you can call me. 😀
^^ Here’s the entrance to a subway (underground). There are a few stations that are elevated (like in the Philippines.)
^^ The subway map, usually near a ticket counter, shows how much is the fare from the point of origin to the destination. There are more than 10 subway lines differentiated by number and color (line 1 is dark blue, line 2 is green, line 3 is orange, line 4 is blue, line 5 is purple, line 6 is brown and so on.) You can transfer from one line to another when you see the “taeguk” symbol (“yin yang”).
^^ Ticket vending machines. Starting this year, paper tickets will be gradually replaced by (reusable) plastic cards.
^^ Train information for commuters. It’s only in Korean though but it gives you an idea where the incoming train is.
^^ Exit signs are written in both English and Korean.
^^ The neighborhood map is quite useful as it tells you approximately how long you’ll have to walk and which exit to take to your destination.
^^ Sliding doors are meant to prevent suicidal people from jumping on the tracks.