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How To Use The Subway In Korea

If Korea is on your list of places to see (and it should be!) you’ll need to know how to use the subway system to get around as it is the most convenient and cheap mode of travel. The subway stretches almost the entire peninsula from north to south, and cost is very low. I love the subway. I can get lost nearly anywhere in Korea, and all I have to do is find my way to the subway and I can get back, no problem.

How to get a ticket

First, you will need to buy a T-Money Card or Token. The T-Money Card can be purchased at every subway station, while tokens can be purchased at most gas stations. In order to do this you will simply (After changing  to your desired language)

  1. Select “Single Journey Ticket”
  2. Choose your destination
  3. Choose quantity of tickets
  4. Input your Korean Won into the machine.
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These are the machines you will be using.

After doing this you will proceed to the platform. There are signs that will point you in the right direction. You will notice that the different subway routes all have a number and color associated with them. So just follow that to the correct platform. Once you’re there, you will see names along the top of the doorways and an arrow depicting direction of travel. These will be the more popular stops. So, if you don’t see your stop, look on the map in the direction you want to go and see if one of the names at the platform is in the same direction as your stop. A great tool to consider is the Subway App. (iPhone, Android) This free app has a subway map, routes, A to B selection capabilities, as well as transit times! It’s the best app I’ve found so far, and is easy to use.

subway_map

How to read the map

      You may have to zoom in, but you will notice as I mentioned earlier, each color is a different subway line, and all have numbers attached to them. Each dot on the line is a stop. So, if you are at the Incheon stop on the dark blue line, which is line 1 (bottom left) and you want to go to Jemulpo; you would get on and wait until three stops later. They announce in English what stop it is too.  The swirls you see where two lines intersect means you can transfer to a different line at that stop.  Now, lets say instead that you want to go to Incheon Nat’l Univ of Education on line 4. You would take line one up to Bupyeong (which is a transfer stop) and then find your way to line 4 via the signs. Get on in the direction of Incheon Nat’l Univ of Education and you would get off on your fifth stop. Not too hard right?

     Once you’ve made it to your stop, you can recycle your T-Money Card and get 500 Won back. If you would rather not have to get a card every time you take the subway, the tokens are reusable. You can load whatever amount you want on them, and use them over and over. Subways do not run 24/7 here. They run until 12am, and start back up at 0530am. The subway can get very crowded during peak transit times, so don’t be offended if people are pushing you in all directions to get on. It’s just part of the culture here in Korea. Thanks for reading, and remember sharing is caring!

 

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