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Sunday, 15 April 2007

Seoul Public Transportation Guide: For Bus Lovers

When we first arrived in Seoul to teach English it took us a couple of weeks to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the city and the subway. When you spend all your time traveling underground from station to station, it's hard to get a visual grasp on areas of the city. As for taking the bus, so far we've used it to go to Costco, Joongdong (for BBQ purposes), and City Hall. Why haven't we taken the bus more you ask? Well, for starters all the bus stops are in Korean. My Hangul is mediocre (if you can even call it that) at best so taking a bus will result in us ending up in some far off place.

Taking the subway is interesting at times, but when it's jam packed it can be uncomfortable. Unless it's the during the blazing heat in the summer, the air conditioning is not turned on so there is a lack of ventilation. Trust me, it gets extremely hot and stinky when the subway car is packed to the brim and everybody is breathing heavily. That's normal though and you will have to learn to live with it. I do enjoy the subway as it's a fast, economical, and efficient means of transportation. Signs are in English and when you encounter a transfer line, just follow the colors on the wall to reach the next line. It's so easy that even I can do it (and my sense of direction is non-existent)!

Through a friend from work I recently discovered the Seoul Public Transportation Guide (okay, so maybe I'm nine months too late). If you already know about this, that's great--keep on reading anyway. If you haven't heard about this, it will make your life a lot easier. This website is the ultimate resource to plan your transportation needs to get anywhere in the city. It's detailed and extremely easy to use. You click on your "departure point" and your "destination point" and it will give the exact information you need for your trip: travel time, fare, route distance, a view of the route, and even walking distances. It literally helps you get from A to B with the greatest of ease. One thing, is that the website only works with Internet Explorer (like all websites in South Korea). If you are using Firefox, I'd recommend you picking up the IE Tab extension if you haven't already.

Here is a little screen shot of what my options are if I wanted to travel from Omokgyo to Yeouido (I'm almost cherry blossom'd out). Like I said, it's very clear and easy to use. Can you point and click with your mouse? If you can, then you will be able to use this map:

Visit the Seoul Public Transportation Guide.

Taking the bus can be quite enjoyable. Fight your way to a window seat, enjoy the view of the city, breathe in some yellow dust, and call it a day. If you like to take the subway that's great too. Maybe you'll run into a buddy of mine one day. This is most likely caused by the overconsumption of soju:


Dave said...

I was intrigued by the name of your blog, so I surfed over, thinking I would find a site with kimchi recipes. But was I suprised in a great way! I'm impressed with your blog and will return to keep up with your life in Seoul.

The Travel Guy
Budget Airline Ticket

Jon Allen said...

I love using the buses. Sadly with a Mac I cannot use that site, but I know how good it is.

I've memorised most of the route numbers round Yeouido and it is always very satisfying to get the right bus and get off at the right stop.

Gary said...

The site is so easy to use I am very impressed with it. Have you considered Parallels for Mac?


SP said...

Thanks for sharing this! I leave for Seoul to study abroad at the Ewha Womans University this saturday...and coming from the small (in comparison) college town of University of Wisconsin Madison, I rarely ever use public transportation that is anywhere near the same level as the ones used in seoul. and to add with that i have a poor sense of direction too, so this will really help. thanks again!

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