There is no two ways about it, the Seoul Subway system will do your head in if you are a foreigner. Heck, I’m certain it would get the locals confused too. The Seoul Subway system is congested and looks all over the place, especially if a tourist. Oh and good luck asking for assistance from the staff when you get lost.
Imagine this, 19 subway lines, 19 different numbers or letter codes and 19 different colour codes. Sounds confusing right. It is. To put it bluntly, even when travelling a short distance, you may need to get on at point A, get off next stop, transfer to another train, to only reach your destination at point B the very next stop. Transferring to different trains is common in Seoul.
As complicated as it seems, it really is not all gloom and doom. If you get the hang of it, the Seoul Subway system works a treat and the best part is the trains run constantly. So if you miss one train, you’ll only need to wait a few minutes for the next one.
- The most important thing to do first is to download the Seoul Metro Subway Map and Route app. It is a life saver. It’s all in English, it’s comprehensively detailed, colour coded and you can set your trip from departure to arrival. Getting the app will solve about 90% of your problems.
- As mentioned previously, you need to get use to the colour and number codes. Every train station is well represented with the appropriate numbers and colours. Your map on the app will help with this.
- Perhaps this third point is most important of all, especially if you don’t want to get in trouble with the law. You need to purchase the T-money card (transit Smart Card). They available to purchase in the machines at every Subway station and yes, there is an English option. Make sure you top your card up with credit when needed.
- Once on the train and on the right destination line. Listen out for the recording voice overs who sensationally announce each upcoming station in some style with some bubbly tunes. The voice overs are recorded in a few languages and English is one of them.
- Not an important point, but one I will add anyway. The trains are crowded and good luck getting a seat. At times you will get a shove from those commuters hurrying to get off the train before the doors closer.
Now nothing beats experience, but I hope this blog can give you a little help to conquer the subway system. Good luck ad happy travelling.