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Transportation

Since Korea is not that huge like Canada and USA, all Korean cities and towns do have very good transportation system such as subway, bus, taxi, train. But, for westerners, of course, they do prefer subway system since it’s very easy to follow direction and all sign is in Korean as well as in English, too. Driving a car is not very good since there’s a lot of horrible traffic and driver’s bad driving manners. If you’re only planning to stay for 1 year in Korea, We recommend you to travel by taking bus, taxi and subway then there’ll be not that big inconvenience at all.

Subway
Currently, there’re subway systems in Seoul, Busan, Daegu, GwangJu and Daejeon.
http://www.smrt.co.kr/Train/Subwaymap/Eng/Subwaymap.jsp (Seoul subway map) : 14 lines
http://www.subway.busan.kr/english/03/01_01.php (Busan subway map) : 3 lines
http://www.dtro.or.kr (Daegu subway map) : 2 lines
http://www.gwangjusubway.co.kr (Gwang Ju subway) : 1 line
Especially, Seoul metropolitan subway system covers Seoul City as well as some of big satellite cities in Gyeonggi Do Province such as Bundang, Ilsan, Uijeong Bu, Ansan, Anyang, Bucheon, Incheon, Gimpo, etc. Therefore, even though you’re not located in Seoul City, it’s easy to take a subway and go around the satellite cities.

How to use subway:
http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TR/TR_EN_5_1_4.jsp

Air
Korea has two different airlines - Asiana and Korean Air (KAL). Both airlines offer international and domestic service. And there’re 5 Intl. Airport and 9 domestic airports. For more information, see below:
http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/GK/GK_EN_2_2_1.jsp
http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TR/TR_EN_5_1_1.jsp
If you want to travel in Korea, we recommend you to take bus or train. Korea’s such a small country so that it’ll take no later than 6~8 hours from Seoul to end of the land by bus or car. Businessmen or frequent user usually use domestic airline and most Korean do take airline to go to Jeju Island. (http://welcome.jeju.go.kr/)

Bus
All major Korean cities are connected by divided expressway. All highways are toll highways. For more detailed information, check this out!
http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TR/TR_EN_5_1_3_1_1.jsp

All big cities to small towns do have bus system but it’s very hard to get to know where to get on and get off and which number should take for westerners.
Unfortunately, there’s no bus map in English version on-line.
But. If you have any questions about bus system, weather, restaurants, hotel, etc in English?
Call 1330 and press number 2 for English service!!
(It’s running under Korean National Tourism Organization (KNTO))
It’s not answering machine system. As soon as you press button number 2, operator will answer your phone and do their best to answer your question!! (it’s available 24 hours/ 7 days) Their service is better than expected and try to help you the best.
Also, if you have anyone who can translate in Korean for you, check this out !
http://www.buspia.co.kr/
Once you click starting point and destination point, they’ll show all bus numbers and where to go.

From Gyeonggi Do Province to Seoul:
If you’re living in Bundang, Ilsan, Anyang, Suwon, Incheon in Gyeonggi Do province, you should ask a Korean friend about a bus line to get into Seoul City. Mostly there’s very quick express bus to go mid of Seoul City. Especially, from Ilsan, there’s quick bus line to Hong Ik University area or Jong Ro and it takes only 40min. Also, from Bundang, there’s quick bus line to Gwang Hwa Moon, Gangnam, Jong Ro, Seoul Train Station and it takes about 30min~1 hour. This way, you don’t have to transfer subways several times and don’t have to go around the city to get your destination. Unfortunately, there’s no detailed guideline for this bus schedule in English but pretty sure all Koreans might know about this information.
Don’t be shy!! Ask them which bus they use to get to Seoul!

Taxi
Taxis are cheap and abundant but here’re a few things you should be careful.

1) Make sure when you get on taxi, they have to turn on meter system. Some bad drivers just start to drive without meter after noticing that you’re foreigner, this way, you have to say ‘ Meter, Pliz’ (pointing at meter machine right next to driver’s seat) then they’ll turn on the meter system. (this case is very rare, though)

2) Most taxies are yellow, grey, silver colors and it’s quite cheaper than Canada, USA, Japan taxies. However, there’s a deluxe taxi, which is considerably expensive, and it’s in black-color with yellow sign on the top. These taxis are worth taking for shorter distances, to imprecise addresses that may require explanation in English. Or, for girls, if you have to take a taxi very late night for short distance, it’s worth taking it! (Deluxe taxi drivers are much gentle and has good personality!)

Regular Taxi 2300 won / 2km (100 won/ 144 m)
Deluxe Taxi 4500 won / 2km (200 won/ 164m)

Rail & KTX(Korea Train Express = High Speed Express)
A high-speed express train (*KTX) linking Seoul, Daejon, Daegu, GwangJu and Busan opened in April, 2004. This train travel at up to 300km/h and saved travel time from Seoul to Busan by more than half.
takes about two and half an hour. Fare is about US$40~50 for one way so that it can be little expensive than regular trains but, it’s for sure to save a lot of traveling time.

For more information,

Train Operation Schedule
http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TR/TR_EN_5_1_2.jsp
Korean National Railway
http://www.korail.go.kr/

Quick comparison

Seoul-Busan Time Fare
KTX 2 h 45 min. 45,000 won
Regular (Saemaul) 4 h 20 min. 37,000 won
Regular (mugunghwa) 5 h 30 min. 25,000 won

Public transportation: Other sources

Drive your Car
Korean Car: Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo, SsangYong, KIA
You can get yourself a good Korean car, too. Getting around in town and cities, sometimes, can be frustrating, though. So, be prepared for traffic jams, road works, one-way road, narrow streets, parking lot shortage and lots of traffic lights. (Also, a lot of tollbooth for highways)

Do I have to get a Korean Driver’s License to drive in Korea?
After one year driving in Korea you’re supposed to get a Korean driver’s license. Your intl. Driver’s license will work within 1 year in Korea, though.

What’re the road rules?
1. Drive on the right side (driver’s seat is on left)
2. Buckle up! (Drivers and front seat passengers are required to fasten their seatbelts)
3. You must not use cell phone while you’re driving
4. Don’t speed up! A lot of speed guns are around (mostly, in a hidden place)
If you over speed, you’ll get a ticket and it cost about 30,000won ~ 50,000won at once

In Korea, Gas is very expensive it’s currently about 1,700won/ 1 Liter.
For example, A person has Sonata Motel (made by Hyundai) and it’s 2000cc. To fill out this car with full gas, it costs about 80,000 won at once.

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