The first time you come to Seoul, you will definitely be surprised because you do not know how to travel in Seoul because it is mainly traveled by public transport such as subway, bus and taxi is quite expensive. The subway (metro) system in Seoul is quite dense and convenient, often allocated very close to famous places in Korea, so traveling by subway is still the optimal traveling option in Seoul. However, each station has many exit gates towards to different travel directions and quite far apart. Therefore, if you go to the wrong train station or go to the wrong exit gate, you will have to spend a lot of time, money and effort to return. Below, we will give you some useful tips for your journey to Seoul smoothy. So, how to get around Seoul Korea? Let’s check out our suggested 5 cheapest, easiest, and best way to get around seoul and from Seoul to other destinations in Korea as below.
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Of course, to use the support applications, Internet is required already. Remember to buy 3G/4G Sim Card or pocket wifi device in advance! You can easily and quickly buy Sim card and pick up it at Incheon airport; or received at home or wifi transmitter device receive at Incheon Airport by the link as below.
Link to buy 3G/4G Sim Card: Prepaid SIM Card/4G Data SIM Card (KR Airport Pick Up) for South Korea (Unlimited Data).
In addition, to travel by metro and bus, you should own a T-money card because single tickets sold at vending ticket machines at each subway station cost more than swipe by “T-money card” and also take longer to buy. You can order the card before departure date about 2-3 days and receive the card right in your country! The price will be about ~$1 cheaper/card compared to buying at convenience stores in Korea!
Link to buy T-Money Card: Klook Tmoney Card Pick Up and Delivery (ICN/TW/MY/TH/PH).
Best way to get around Seoul: Getting from Incheon airport to Seoul city center
There are many options for you to move from the airport to the city center as follows.
Using the T-money card to take the train to central Seoul
The Korean government set up a specialized train route to travel between Incheon Airport and downtown Seoul, passing through major stations such as Magongnaru, Digital Media City, Hongik Univ, Gongdeok and the last station is Seoul Station.
At the airport, follow the signs that leads to the metro station going into the city center, use your T-money card to passing the control gate. The travel time from the airport to the Seoul station is about 50 minutes, costing about 4.150 KRW. You should scan the map first to see which hotel is closest to your train station to get off the right station!
Note: The subway starts operating from 5:30am and the last train of the day departs at 12pm. Please note this thing, especially if you take the night flight to arrange your time to go to the airport in time!
Take the Limousine bus from Incheon Airport to central Seoul
If you enjoy sightseeing on the way from Incheon Airport to central Seoul, you also can choose to take the Limousine bus! There are many routes if traveling by this vehicle. You can refer here for more information on the operating time of the bus and the routes to choose accordingly!
20% off, link to book here: KAL Limousine Bus Ticket for Seoul.
How to get around Seoul Korea? Getting around Seoul with Naver Map application
Travel by subway
Naver Map fully updated the details of places in Korea, details to every small alley, every exit at each train station is on which side of the road! Very detail! Google Map did not update such details so the first day in Korea, I used Google Map to find way, I went to the wrong exit, then I have to walking backwards that make me so tired!
Many hotels in Korea do not update their location information on Google Map, you will easily find the case of not finding the address you want to go or finding the hotel name but go around forever if using Google Map… In general, you should not use Google Map in Korea. But don’t worry, Naver Map has English support so you can use it, please rest assured! Using Naver Map is similar to Google Map. Here I “practice” an example of using Naver Map to travel in Seoul with the main means of the subway for you to easily visualize.
Getting from Gyeongbokgung Palace to Hongdae Street.
Gyeongbokgung Palace is quite large with 4 sides in 4 different roads. When using, you just choose to locate your current location and follow the instructions on the Map because Naver Map details to each alley so do not worry, hihi.
For example, I am standing at the main entrance gate of Gyeongbokgung. After entering the departure and arrival spots, you select the public transportation icon and the screen will appear as follows. Naver Map also shows the estimated moving cost for your journey!
See general information on the direction of travel: Take the purple line from Gwanghwamun station to Chungjeongno station, change to the green line, go to Hongik Univ station.
Enlarge the map of the distance walk to Gwanghwamun Station. You will see we need to go straight and get off at door 2.
Because each station has 2 waiting platforms for the train moving in opposite directions, the next step when getting off the train station is to determine the direction of the sign you need to follow to get to the right waiting platform. Minimize your Naver Map, you’ll find yourself heading towards Seodaemun Station (purple circle) – Chungjeongno (purple and green circle).
The circles represent the train line: At Chungjeongno station, you can continue take the purple line or change to the green line, Seodaemun station has only one green line. In theory, you need to look for a sign called Seodaemun Station and follow the arrow. However, signage usually will not show the names of all stations but only a few large stations. At that time, you need to see on the map to know what station names in the same direction you need to go and make sure the last station name of the Line in that direction can be displayed on the sign. In this example, you drag the map towards Seodaemun, you will see the last station in this direction of the Purple Line is Banghwa.
So if there are no Seodaemun station name on the signs, just go follow Banghwa direction. Getting to the right waiting platform, get on the train and observe the name of the station to get down to the right station, that’s done!
Similar to the “formula” above, you can apply to continue take the Green Line. So you can travel in Seoul “professional” like a local already!
Traveling by bus
Continuing with the above example, click on the “Bus 9” section, you can see the options to go by bus. The first option with the number “273” is the option to go completely by bus in 25 minutes to getting to Hongdae. The most basic and easily distinguishable difference between subway and buses is the number. The subway line consists of only 1 digit corresponding to a color, while the bus number consists of 2-4 characters, or all numbers, or letters and numbers.
Alternatively, another more convenient way to take a bus in Seoul you can also consider, that is travel by Hop-On Hop-Off Bus around the city. Buses are designed to route through famous places in Seoul. Buy tickets by the time package (24 hours, 48 hours …) and choose the route with the specific destinations you want to visit, so just get on the bus and go around! For more information on Bus Hop-On Hop-Off, operating hours, routes you can refer to here!
Best way to get around Seoul: Getting to other cities from Seoul
From Seoul, you can travel to other provinces/cities like Busan, Daegu, Gyeongju, and Jeonju by train with the Korail Pass. Korail Pass allows you to take Korean railway lines unlimited during the validity of the card. Book Korail Pass here, print tickets received from your email and bring your passport to redeem tickets at any KTX ticket counter (at Incheon Airport, Seoul Station, Busan Station, Daegu Station, Gyeongju Station, Jeonju Station, etc.).
Link to buy Korail Pass: [SALE] Instant Ticket! Korea Rail Pass (KR PASS) 2/3/4/5Days.
Do you feel confident when moving in Seoul with these guides? Let’s bring the suitcase with the travel tips in Seoul that are shared as above, so you can freely to explore the land of kimchi like a true Seouler! Happy traveling!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in and from Seoul you can refer to
- Private Incheon International Airport Transfers (ICN) for Seoul
- Private Incheon Airport Transfers (ICN) for Seoul
- Incheon International Airport (ICN) Limousine Bus Transfers for Seoul (Gangnam District)
- Klook Exclusive Seoul 5 Day Pass
- Discover Seoul Pass (BTS Edition Available)
- [SALE] Instant Ticket! Korea Rail Pass (KR PASS) 2/3/4/5 Days to travel around the cities in Korea
- Private Incheon Airport (ICN) and Gimpo Airport (GMP) Transfers for Seoul by S.A Tour
- Everland Private Car Charter with Admission Ticket by Wondertrip
- KAL Limousine Bus Ticket for Seoul
- [Limited Offer] AREX Incheon Airport Express Train One Way Ticket in Seoul
- Bukchon Oneday Hanbok Rental Experience (4/24 Hrs)
- Nami Island, Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm, and Gangchon Rail Bike Day Tour from Seoul
- Seoul City Sightseeing Bus (Downtown Palace Namsan Course/Seoul Panorama Course)
- [Limited Offer] Incheon International Airport (ICN) Luggage Services (Between Airport and Hotel) by Safex
- 4G Prepaid SIM Card (SK Airports Pick Up) for South Korea
- [SALE] South Korea 4G Pocket WiFi (KR Airports Pick Up) from KT Olleh
- 4G WiFi (MY Airport Pick Up) for South Korea (Unlimited Data)
- 4G Portable WiFi for South Korea from Uroaming (Unlimited Data)
Are you looking for more Seoul travel guide and top things to do in Seoul: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Seoul travel blog — The fullest Seoul travel guide blog for a wonderful budget trip to Seoul for the first time.