Are you scared of getting lost? In a foreign country? Aren’t we all! I talked about navigating the New York City subway. It’s one of the largest in the world. Now let’s explore the Seoul subway.
I’d rate it as a 10/10 when it comes to being easy to navigate. And the cute safety videos (below) are an added bonus.
You’ve entered a Seoul subway station. Now you need to pay. Vending machines sell T-Money cards. Add money to your card and use it for the subway. Use it at 7-Eleven and other convenience stores as well. These stores also allow you to add money to your T-Money card. Many places sell cards with cute characters or kpop stars. The Korea Tour card is a similar card for tourists that offers discounts. I’ve never used it so I don’t have an opinion of it.
I made the mistake of buying so many items in convenience stores and depleting my card. Then I’d be rushing to catch a train and having to add money to my card. If you do carry cash, use that at the convenience stores when possible to avoid that. Don’t just think about the convenience.
My go-to Seoul subway lines
I have a couple go-to lines in the Seoul subway. First is the #2 green line. Many people want to visit Gangnam. Use the Gangnam station stop on this line and be in the middle of all the action. This line also takes you to the popular Coex Mall. From that line you can also transfer to the #3 orange line. This line takes you to a lot of the historical sites. Think the Gyeongbokgung palace and Bukchon Hanok Village areas. From that line you can transfer to the #1 dark blue line. This line includes the Seoul station. It’s a large hub station that was featured in the Korean drama “Tomorrow with You”.
Don’t let transferring scare you. Colored lines on the ground guide you as you transfer from one line to another. Did I mention, everything is in English! A very convenient Seoul subway line is the airport line. It takes you to the airport, just like it says in the name. If you have a ton of luggage, I’d avoid it. However, I’ve used it once or twice. It’s so convenient and very cheap.
Use an up to date Seoul subway map
They are always making changes. On my last trip, my sister and I realized we had two different versions. My map was outdated and incomplete. In a year so much can change.
It wouldn’t be a Seoul subway post without subway shopping. I bought so many amazing items from the subway. They really are never-ending underground malls in their own right. Clothes, shoes, cell phone accessories, bags, luggage, and makeup, they have it all. If you can buy it above ground, you can buy it in the Seoul subway (Incheon subway stations also have some amazing shops).
If you see something you like, go to a few other nearby shops. You will most likely find a better deal on the same identical item. Many shops use the exact same vendors. I purchased all the items below in the Seoul subway.
You will not be able to try on clothes so it’s a bit of a gamble. But most items are so inexpensive it’s not that big of an issue if they don’t fit. If you’re coming from the U.S., it’s likely the shoes will be too small. A 8.5 US/40 EU is roughly 250 in Korean sizes. That is generally the largest size you will find. Many shops don’t even go up to that size. Store owners will wave at you to go away. They’re basically telling you they don’t have your size. It might seem rude for U.S. culture, however apparently they feel they’re doing you a service and saving you time.
Don’t be afraid to wander. I spent such a great day wandering the subway on a rainy day. This led me to the Bus Terminal station. From there I found this secret department store. Don’t count those days as lost days. Remember that so many times it’s the journey, not the destination.