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Public transport in Seoul

Public transport in Seoul

Old Jan 27, 16, 12:15 pm
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Public transport in Seoul

On Feb. 27, I will have a 13-hour daytime layover for a plane change in Seoul (Incheon Airport). I plan to take the fast train into Seoul Station early in the morning and then get around by public transport and taxi before taking the train back to Incheon late that afternoon to make my connection. I would like to know if the subways, buses and taxis accept credit cards or US dollars, or do I need to get Korean money (which I would rather not do as I will be there for only a few hours). How about quick-serve restaurants? And I would like to know if the major tourist attractions are close enough to Seoul Station to walk or take public transport, or would I be better off with a 3-4 hour tour? Thanks for any help.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 4:10 pm
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I can't remember if a lot of the places took credit cards so I'll leave that to others to answer. However, I don't recall US dollars being easily accepted in a lot of places though.

Caution with the taxis that a lot of the drivers don't speak English. I think I read there are "international" designated taxis which ensures the driver speaks English. Even with google maps showing our requested destination on the phone, it was an adventure getting to where we wanted to go, particularly if we didn't nail the pronunciation of the neighbourhood.

Short answer is that you'd probably want to do a combo of walking and the subways (and maybe taxis) depending on where you want to go. I'd probably suggest identifying what you to see in Seoul from a site like wikitravel that can give you an overview of Seoul and then map the points of interest on google maps (subway lines are shown) to better analyze the how to get to each site.

There're a lot of points to consider whether or not Seoul Station is central enough to the major tourist attractions. It's probably like a 2.5km walk from Seoul Station to Gyeongbokgung Palace. I'm not sure if I'd consider the walks from attraction to attraction to typically pleasant with the traffic. Also, the streets are not in a grid formation for easy navigation. There's probably enough to see, do, and eat an an expanded area between Seoul Station and Gyeongbokgung Palace but if there might be a few neighbourhoods and attractions further out that might interest you. Some of the subway routes to the attractions further out sometimes seem to take a while to get to and a taxi might be a more efficient option if time is of the essence.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 7:57 am
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Subway stations have kiosks that take credit cards.
Get limousine bus round trip, I think it's less than $30 US (US16 per one way)
Most marked taxis can take credit cards. You don't need taxis to move around in Seoul.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 9:49 am
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I agree with the advice to plot out what you want to see on a map and then figure out what combination of walking and subway will get you around.

Seoul Station puts you within easy walking distance of the reconstructed Namdaemun gate (the original was burned by a vandal) and Namdaemun market, which is kind of downscale, but fun to walk around in. (I was surprised at the number of stalls selling socks.)

Note, however, that the streets around Seoul Station can be a bit confusing, given the huge bus plaza. Maps are your friends, since there is no rhyme or reason to the street layout.

My Korean is minimal, so I planned my cab trips carefully. For example, I knew that I would need to take cab rides to my reserved hotels, so I printed out their locations on the Korean-language maps on their websites.

If you figure out that you are going to be running around Seoul on a lot of subway trips, it may even be worth your while to buy a T-Money card, which is a transit debit card.
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Old Jan 30, 16, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by srk123 View Post
On Feb. 27, I will have a 13-hour daytime layover for a plane change in Seoul (Incheon Airport). I plan to take the fast train into Seoul Station early in the morning and then get around by public transport and taxi before taking the train back to Incheon late that afternoon to make my connection. I would like to know if the subways, buses and taxis accept credit cards or US dollars, or do I need to get Korean money (which I would rather not do as I will be there for only a few hours). How about quick-serve restaurants? And I would like to know if the major tourist attractions are close enough to Seoul Station to walk or take public transport, or would I be better off with a 3-4 hour tour? Thanks for any help.
Taxis can take credit cards too. I recommend Deoksugung palace near City Hall. A traditional palace experience, a lot of history, some eateries and much closer to Seoul station than Gyeongbukgung.
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Old Jan 30, 16, 12:59 pm
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T-Money Cards Available for Purchase at ICN?

We always get the local transit cards wherever we go. Just wondering if the T-Money cards are available for purchase upon arrival to ICN and can it be used on the Limo Buses heading into to town?
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Old Jan 30, 16, 1:06 pm
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Instead of assuming that you'll take the train to Seoul Station, I'd consider the airport limo bus stops too. For example, there's very frequent (every 15-20 minutes) service to the Westin Chosun which is very centrally located for lots of tourist things.

Going to Seoul very early in the morning avoids traffic issues, but there might be more reason to take the train if you're going back to the airport in rush hour.

The train stops in a university area, IIRC a couple stops before Seoul Station. This could be an interesting and relaxing area to explore, but if this is your first visit, I'd suggest heading for the main tourist attractions that are near the Westin.
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Old Jan 31, 16, 4:50 pm
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Just came back from Seoul. You can buy an express ticket to Seoul Station using a credit card, but any other part of the public transport system is cash only.

Every single taxi in Seoul takes credit cards. Most taxi drivers only understand minimal english, but if you're going to major attractions they will understand in English. For anything else, I would recommend having the destination saved on your phone in Korean so you can show it to the taxi driver.
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Old Feb 1, 16, 12:14 am
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Originally Posted by teemuflyer View Post
We always get the local transit cards wherever we go. Just wondering if the T-Money cards are available for purchase upon arrival to ICN and can it be used on the Limo Buses heading into to town?
You can buy T-Money cards at convenience stores in the airport, or at the machines near the train gates.

You used to not be able to use T-Money cards on the limo busses, but I believe you are able to now.
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Old Feb 1, 16, 1:28 am
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If you spend the day in Jongro (also spellend Jongno-- it's a pronunciation thing), it is extremely walkable. You can take a taxi from Seoul Station (huge line of official taxis in rank out front) up to Gyeongbokgung Palace. From there, you can walk over to Bukchon Village and Insadong. Jongno is an office neighborhood, so it's very busy for a good city feel. In Jongno, there is also Gwangjang Market where you can eat a ton of food. After that, you can walk down to Myeongdong and hit makeup stores etc. From Myeongdong, grab another taxi to Seoul Station. As stated, ALL taxis take credit cards, so you wouldn't need cash for that... BUT you will need cash for some tourist attractions and the market restaurants.

You won't need any buses or subways outside of getting to/from the airport. Also, I would take the train over the bus. The train is GUARANTEED to be traffic free, which is crucial on a short layover.
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Old Feb 1, 16, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by jamescho View Post

You used to not be able to use T-Money cards on the limo busses, but I believe you are able to now.
On the brown limo buses you can. I'm not sure about the KE limos.
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Old Feb 2, 16, 7:17 pm
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Originally Posted by skchin View Post
On the brown limo buses you can. I'm not sure about the KE limos.
I was going to say, I've been using my T-Money cards on Limo buses since my first ride on one in 2008, including the red/white ones to other provinces. But I've never taken a KE bus.

Although T-Money does not offer a discount on Limos, so buying a paper ticket at the kiosk does not cost anything extra, and they take credit cards.
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Old Feb 2, 16, 8:02 pm
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I usually default to Google Maps when traveling and this isn't very useful in Seoul, as they have basic plots but not much for navigation and POI compared to Daum and Naver maps.

If you have access to internet while walking around, you may want to try Bing, Daum, or Naver
http://10wontips.blogspot.com/2015/0...aver-daum.html
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Old Feb 5, 16, 2:16 pm
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Originally Posted by skchin View Post
On the brown limo buses you can. I'm not sure about the KE limos.
You can use it on the KE limo buses as well.
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Old Feb 15, 16, 4:09 am
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From what I'm reading, are T-Money Card only purchasable/reloadable by cash?
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