Transportation Card 교통카드
Main article: T-Money
Seoul and other most other major cities have "transportation cards" (gyotong kadeu 교통카드). Having just one allows you to take city buses (시내버스), neighborhood buses (마을버스), and the subway (지하철). Instead of having to pay with cash every time you use one of these methods of transportation, you can pay even without taking the card out of your wallet.
These cards may be purchased from the street vendors at certain bus stops, the subway station ticket office, or at advertised banks. The cost of the card itself is 2,000won and then the card can be charged with amounts of 5,000won, 10,000won, 20,000won, 30,000won, and 50,000won. The places that sell the cards should be able to recharge (재충전) them for you. Using the cards is simple. Just swipe it against the special terminal devices at subway gates or the front door to buses. The device reads your card and charges you accordingly. Using them and you also receive a small discount on the use of public transportation.
Main article: Buses
Buses are, along with the subway, the most used form of public transportation. People use inter-city buses (시내버스) and outer-city/long-distance (시외버스/고속버스) because they go everywhere and they are fairly cheap.
There are four kinds of city buses,
- Neighborhood buses (maeul bus 마을버스)
- Regular buses (ilban bus 일반버스)
- Seated buses (jwaseok bus 좌석버스)
- First-class seated buses (gogeub jwaseok bus 고급좌석버스)
Get on using the front door, and pay as you get on by putting cash or a ticket (승차권) in the fare box. Tickets area sold in stores located near bus stops at places selling tickets on the street. In large cities, most people use the previously mentioned "transportation cards," which you pay with by simply touching it against the sensing device. If you pay with large bills you may not get enough change in return, so have the right fare ready ahead of time.
As of July, 2004, the Seoul city bus is divided into Blue Line, Green Line, Red Line, and Yellow Line.
- Blue buses operate on major roads, usually intermediate to long distance within Seoul and serve more than two districts
- Green buses operate on lines within one district of Seoul, carrying passengers to transfer points
- Red buses are express buses connecting Seoul with suburban areas. The service is rapid and comfortable, but there is no transfer discount.
- Yellow buses travel in a closed circle only within major district areas of Seoul.
Fare for Seoul city bus is as follows (based on adult fare):
- Neighborhood bus (maeul bus 마을버스: Yellow Line): (550won/500won)
- Regular bus (ilban bus 일반버스: Blue and Green Line): (900won/800won)
- Seated bus (jwaseok bus 좌석버스: Red Line): (1500won/1400won)
When you want to get off, press one of the bell buttons on the wall or ceiling to inform the driver that you intend to get out the back door at the next stop. When there is only one door to the bus, as is the case for "seated buses," everyone getting on and off uses the same door.
Neighborhood buses (마을버스), regular buses (일반버스), and seated buses (좌석버스) generally operate from 4:30am to 11:30pm. High-class seated buses (고급좌석버스) usually run until 2am. There will be differences here according to your area, so you will need to check. Line numbers are written on the front of the bus and
near the door, and there is a description of the bus line in Korean on the wall inside. Because there is no English, you may not be able to know about your destination. One way to avoid a frustrating situation might be to write the name of the place where you need to get off, and ask to be told when you approach the
Main article: Taxis
Regular Taxis 일반택시
Taxis are one of the first things people look for upon arriving in Korea. Fares are relatively inexpensive, and most can seat five people, including the driver. There are taxi stops by major roadsides, but if you signal with your hand you can catch one almost anywhere. When a taxi is available, there will be a red light that goes on in front of the front passenger seat and a light on the roof should light up as well, making
the taxis you may take easy to identify. Those that say "Free Interpretation" provide telephone service to an operator who will connect you to an interpreter. Not all taxis have telephones, so knowing simple Korean or the surroundings of the area you are going to is a good idea.
As of January 2003, the basic fare (기본요금) for regular taxis in Seoul is 1,600won. There will be differences according to city or province. Fare increases are calculated by both distance and time. This means that time is counted as you wait at stop lights, for example. After midnight fare starts at 20% more than the daytime basic fare. If you go beyond city or provincial borders, there will also be extra fare
In Korea, it is not uncommon for people to share the same regular taxi. Usually the driver will ask if it is alright with you if they drive someone else as well, but sometimes they may not seek your approval. While Koreans are generally understanding about this when people are headed in the same direction, but if
you are in a particular hurry or do not wish to have someone else hire the same taxi, make your wishes known to the driver.
Deluxe Taxis 모범택시
Deluxe taxis (mobeom taxi 모범택시) can be identified by their black color and yellow cap lights. They offer free telephone service and other conveniences. They provide receipts, and you may pay with your credit card. They share the same taxi stands as regular taxis (일반택시). Deluxe taxis are most easily seen at airports, major hotels, major tourists sites, and train and bus terminals.
As is the case with many regular taxis, these deluxe taxis have signs saying "Free Interpretation," meaning that they can connect you with an interpreter over the telephone is so needed. If there is a sign saying "Visitors Guide English," it means the driver himself speaks English and can provide you with information.
As of January 2003, basic fare for deluxe taxis is 4,000won, with the fare rising with distance traveled and time. Unlike regular taxis, however, there is no increase in basic fare after midnight, and under no conditions will they take additional passengers along the way.
Call Taxis 콜택시
It is possible to call the type of taxi you want and have it pick you up at your desired location. Such taxis are called "call taxis" (kol taxi 콜택시). Foreigners who do not speak Korean may call a taxi driven by someone who speaks one of several different languages. In Seoul, call 3431-5100. Call taxis require that you pay a certain amount more than whatever the taxi meter states as your fare. Each taxi company is different in this regard, so be sure to check this before having one
come to you. There are call taxis in provincial areas as well.
There are subways in the major cities of Seoul, Busan, Daegu, and Incheon.
The fastest way to get around the crowded city is by subway, and it is an inexpensive means of public
transportation. If you quickly give into taking a taxi because you don't know how to get where you're going, you have to be prepared to pay large fares because of the traffic congestion.
Regionally speaking, the subway systems easiest for foreign tourists to use are the ones in Seoul and Busan. They connect you quickly to government and other public offices, cultural sites, shopping centers, airports, bus terminals, and more. Speakers on the train announce the stops in Korean and English, and each line on the subway map is drawn in a unique color for quick identification, making it easy even for people who have just arrived in Korea to use.
In January 2003, subways operate from 6am to 11pm. For Seoul, the fare for the first sector is 600won, after which point the fare is more for the outskirts of the city and beyond. Tickets (승차권) may be purchased in the subway station at the ticket window (매표소) or from the automated ticket machines nearby.
There are different kinds of tickets; regular tickets (보통권), prepaid tickets (정액권), and "transportation cards" (교통카드). Regular and prepaid tickets may be purchased at the ticket window or ticket machines. Regular tickets may be used only once, to the destination you purchase one for. Prepaid tickets are sold 5,000won, 10,000won, and 20,000won amounts. Even if you have used your prepaid ticket up to the point where there is only 100won left, not usually enough to take the subway, you are still allowed to use it for one more ride.
"Transportation cards" may be purchased at the ticket window or at transportation card recharging stations
near major bus stops.
Subway maps are available where subway tickets are sold. Detailed information about station surroundings, connecting buses, operating hours, and each station may be obtained by going to the subway's [www.websubway.co.kr homepage].
There are four kinds of trains in Korea, the Saemaeul (새마을호), the Mugunghwa (무궁화호), and KTX.
If you expect to take any trains during weekends or holidays, you will need to make reservations or you
may not be able to get on at all.
Tickets are sold in station ticket windows and at travel agencies. In stations, the fares for each destination are written on the wall near the ticket window. Passengers are admitted to the platform around generally five to ten minutes before the train departs. At this time a station worker will open the ticket gates and inspect each ticket to make sure the time, destination, and platform are correct. Tickets are either for specified seating or have no specified seat. Find the seat that corresponds to your ticket if the seat is specified. Show your ticket to the train worker while riding on the train, and be sure to store it well because you will be asked to surrender your ticket upon arrival at your destination, as you exit the ticket gates.
Types of Trains 기차의 종류
Main article: KTX
The Saemaeul is the 2nd fastest and the most comfortable of trains with the services such as public telephones and special areas for the use of notebook computers.
Most common people in Korea take the Mugunghwa. Not only does the Mugungwha have the most city connections, but it is less expensive than the Saemaeul and more frequent, making it the easiest to take.
Special Trains 특별열차
These are tourist trains. The Korea National Railroad operates seasonal train connections to major tourist areas around the country. This is the way to go if you wish to make friends and have a peaceful trip.
Rail Membership: Registration and Use 철도회원 등록 및 이용
Being issued a rail membership card (철도회원카드) makes things convenient if you are going to take the train frequently. Doing so allows you to make reservations over the internet, and you get a discount as well. You may apply at a nearby train station by showing your Alien Registration Card (외국인등록증) and a 20,000won deposit. The membership card should arrive approximately a week later. When you receive it, you must register the card yourself with the Korea National Railroad (1544-7788, www.barota.com). The reserving of tickets may be done by going directly to a nearby station or over the telephone. The Korea National Railroad may be contacted at 1544-7788 or in English at 1544-1188.
The Korea National Railroad's homepage has information about domestic travel using the rail system, theme travel, as well as about places of interest near stations around the country. Look through the information available before departing on your trip.
Air Travel 비행기
International Air Travel 국제 항공여행
There are currently four international airports in Korea: Incheon, Gimhae, Cheongju, and
Jeju. Korea's gateway to the world is Incheon International Airport, located on Incheon's [[Yeongjong
Island]]. Here the world's famous air carriers connect travelers to cities in North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia with around 800 direct flights every week. Korea has aviation agreements with 74 countries.
Incheon International Airport has ground connections to major hotels and important areas of Seoul by limousine (리무진) and seated bus (좌석버스). There are also direct inter-city direct buses (시외직행버스) to cities in Gyeonggi Province as well as limited parts of Gangwon and the Chungcheong provinces. Call 032-741-0104 to ask for the telephone numbers of air carriers at Incheon.
Information about the airport including carriers, flights, facilities, ground transportation, departure procedures, and other questions may be found at www.airport.or.kr.
Domestic Air Travel 국내 항공여행
The domestic air carriers Korean Air and Asiana Airlines serve 17 cities with regular flights: Seoul, Busan, Jeju, Daegu, Sokcho, Gwangju, Jinju, Wonju, Cheongju, Yeosu, Ulsan, Mokpo, Gunsan, Gangneung, Yecheon, Pohang, and Yangyang. Seoul's domestic airport is Gimpo Airport (www.gimpo.airport.co.kr), and is well connected to major areas and hotels in Seoul by subway, regular bus (시내버스), and seated bus (좌석버스).
Car Rentals 차 렌트
Rates range from between 40,000won and 300,000won daily, depending on the type of vehicle. There are several conditions that must be met before renting an automobile. There are rental agencies in most cities, and you may find them by asking at tourist information counters (관광안내소). To rent a car you must:
- Have at least one year driving experience.
- Have an international or Korean driver's license.
- Be of at least 21 years of age.
- Have a valid passport.
Obtaining a Driver's License 운전면허 취득
Anyone desiring to operate a motor vehicle must have a driver's license issued by their regional police agency. Type 2 is for passenger vehicles and therefore sufficient. Obtaining one requires passing the driver's license test (운전면허시험). Passing the test requires you know the relevant laws and regulations and be able to drive. Learning these things at a driving school (자동차운전전문학원) makes it possible to acquire the qualifications for acquiring a license. The test consists of a written examination (필기시험), an on-site test of skills (기능시험), and a driving test (도로주행시험). Registering with a driving school has its advantages since the school will file the paperwork needed to take the test, but this also makes things more
- Test qualifications (응시자격) : People over the age of 18 with no reason for disqualification.
- Achievement test (학과시험) : Proof of residence in the stated area (거주지확인서), passport or Proof of Alien Registration Card (외국인등록증명서), and two "half name card" portrait photographs (반명함사진), fee of W9,000.
- Skills test (기능시험) : Proof of residence in the stated area, passport or Proof of Alien Registration Card, test application form (응시원서), and fee of 13,000won.
- Driving Test (도로주행시험) : Proof of residence in the stated area, passport or Proof of Alien Registration Card, and fee of 15,000won.
International Driving Permit 국제운전면허
International driving permits are a form of driver's license based on the regulations of international agreements on road transportation. People with international driving permits issued overseas are valid in Korea if within one year of the date the permit is issued. They do not authorize you to drive commercial vehicles, and you may only drive vehicle types specified in the permit.
You will be prohibited from driving under an international driving permit if you refuse or fail a road check, or cause an accident, either intentionally or by fault.
Obtaining a Korean License Based on Foreign License 외국면허증의 국내면허증 갱신
As long as you pass an aptitude test (적성검사) you may be issued a Korean driver's license equivalent to the types of vehicles you are permitted to operate according to your foreign-issued license. Bring the following documents and fees to a driving testing area (운전면허시험장), and apply after passing the physical
examination (신체검사). There are driving testing areas in Seoul and 26 major cities around the country.
- Your foreign driver's license (original document).
- A notarized translation (번역공증) of the stated contents of your foreign driver's license, unless the license is written in English. Be sure to include the date the foreign license was issued and the period of its validity.
- Passport valid at the time the foreign driver's license was issued or proof of entry and exit (출입국에 관한 사실증명서) issued by Immigration.
- Your Alien Registration Card
- Fee of 10,000won.
- Traffic regulations must be observed in downtown areas where the road is crowded and there are a lot of automobiles, so that everyone drives safely.
- In Korea, automobiles drive to the right even though pedestrians walk to the left.
- Everyone in the driver's seat and front passenger must wear seatbelts, and operators of motorcycles and scooters must wear helmets.
- Korean traffic regulations are strict, and if violated may lead you to have your license suspended or be fined between 20,000won and 60,000won.
- If a traffic accident occurs call 112 or the nearest police station or police box to request assistance in dealing with the accident.
Driving Test Phone Numbers 전국운전면허 시험장 전화번호
Driving Test Site