Seoul Subway System
Getting around Seoul, an enormous city, is reasonably easy, due to the great public transport system, especially the Subway System.
The Seoul Subway System is excellent, with 9 main lines and 9 other lines. There’s English-language signage in the trains and in the stations, so foreigners can fairly easily figure it out. In addition, each line has a number and a color so it’s quite easy to follow directions and transfers. Every station has a name and a number and it’s possible to follow your route on the English-language subway map.
To get around it’s best to buy a T-money card, or City Pass card, which you can use on buses, the subway and taxis.
They are available at most convenience stores and at all subway stations. You have to buy the card for 3,000 won and then load it with any amount you want, and re-load later. We bought ours at the subway station near Seoul National University and reloaded them there too. The first time, our Korean hosts showed us how to use the rather bewildering ticket machines but after that we could cope on our own, as most instructions are also in English. Prices start at 1,150 won per journey and rarely go above 2,000 won, even though many of the trips we took were very long and often required multiple transfers.
Once you’ve figured out where you want to go, you enter through the turnstile and tap your T-money card. At the end of the journey you tap out again and the correct amount is deducted from the total on your card.
Most subway carriages don’t have rows of seats, as we are accustomed to in the west. Rather, there are long benches on either side of the carriage and a big open space in the center, to accommodate more people. And, the trains sure do get very crowed! Trains are spotless; some have stainless steel seats along the sides, which I imagine is easier to clean.
All stations have good public toilets and many have shopping centers too.
A marvelous system!