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- Posted:Friday, July 8, 2011
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Budget transportation tips for Seoul, South Korea
Say hello to our guest blogger Juno! Juno hails from Seoul in South Korea and is the author of the popular blog Runaway Juno. She describes herself as ‘A travel blogger who designs the world’. You can follow her on Twitter at @RunawayJuno and also on facebook.
Getting around a new city can be confusing and expensive at times. Seoul is a huge city to navigate, but after reading these transportation tips you will hopefully find the city easier to get around and save some money too!
The Seoul bus system can be confusing at first but it is very easy once you get used to the system. Seoul City have put a lot of effort into improving this bus system. Every bus stop has a map and some of them have a time notification system that is displayed on an electric board.
One of the best tips for using the Seoul bus system is to buy a transit card. You can find them in any convenience store in Seoul. This transit card is rechargeable and it is the best option as it offers a discount when you transfer to another bus or subway. Transfer discounts can be a huge money saver if you plan to wander around the city a lot.
The Seoul Metro is huge! It started as a simple four line system but now it has expanded to nine lines and many more lines for the outer city. It is the Seoul Metro but it also covers the Gyeonggi province and parts of the Gangwon province too. Today the Seoul subway is one of the most convenient transportation systems for both short and long distance travel in the city. Seoul’s subway system is fairly regular and runs to schedule. Traffic is a big problem when it comes to travelling around Seoul and other parts of the country; however using the subway is the best solution to this problem. Also, remember you can use your transit card on the subway and it offers transfer discounts.
If you are planning to travel further away from Seoul, the train is another great option, especially if you want to avoid the traffic. The traffic leaving Seoul is the busiest in the country but if you take the train you don’t have to worry about that. A great tip for saving money is use a red eye train. If you are going down the south of the country take a red eye train. These trains leave at night and you will be at your destination early in the morning. It also means you will not need any accommodation as you travel overnight. The train seats are relatively comfortable to sleep on and if it doesn’t bother the person behind you, then push your seat back to help you sleep! It’s the perfect transportation for budget travellers.
If you are in a hurry, KTX (Korea Train Express) will be your friend as it travels at 300 km per hour! KTX is expensive, but you can save up to 40% if you get 4 people together to buy a booth. So find wandering travellers with backpacks and save your bucks!
Long distance bus
Long distance bus is really well developed in Korea - it goes everywhere and frequently operates during the day. Traffic can be a problem but the bus runs in bus lanes, so you get to feel the joy of driving past all the traffic on the highway! When you take a long distance bus there are rest stop breaks. The food on offer at rest stops is not the best, but it’s cheap and convenient. Long distance buses can be more efficient than the train depending on the destination. Due to all the mountains in Korea, some places are impossible to go with the train, like the Gangwon province. Also, remember there are no bathrooms on the bus in Korea so bear this in mind for your long distance trip.
South Korea is not big. You can get to anywhere in the country within an hour by flight. This means of transport can be a huge time saver. In general, airplane travel is the most expensive transportation, however, due to the price competition between KTX (Korea Train Express) and the airlines, now many airlines offer good discounts. For example, at the time of writing this a flight to Jeju Island is down to 20,000won (20 USD) - depending on the departure time. Normally it costs 100,000 won (100 USD). If you plan your flights to leave early in the morning or late in the evening then you will often find airplane travel cheaper than the bus!
Thanks to Juno for this great post on budget transportation tips for Seoul, South Korea.