Seoul: How to Get Around + General Tips

by - November 18, 2016

Welcome to my last and final post about Seoul!

Transportation was probably one of the easiest aspects about traveling in Seoul because the subway system is fairly organized and almost always on time!

My biggest tip to you is to download the Kakao metro app. IT IS THE BEST. I'm not exaggerating. It tells you exactly what stop to get off at, which train you need to take, where to transfer, and even which carts to get on. Even if you don't use it for that, the app also has the subway map right on the main page, which you can refer to at any time.

Many places are within walking distance even though they seem far on the subway map. If you can, I recommend walking. It's a great way to get exercise and save a little on train fare. My mom and I walked from Insadong to Jonggak near the Cheonggyecheon Stream and then all the way back to Myeongdong. We were able to explore more areas than if we had taken the train!

BUY A TRAIN CARD. Seriously. You'll be able to avoid buying single tickets every time you need a ride. You can keep the card as a souvenir at the end of your trip or return it at the machine for a deposit.

Here are some general tips that might make your life easier while you're in Seoul:

* Weekends are a nightmare. If you like being surrounded by a buttload of people, then this might not be as big of a problem. However, I'm a homebug. Personal space is necessary. But you won't get it here, especially on the weekends. People have no awareness for personal space. You'll get pushed around in the subway and on the streets. No one really apologizes for it; don't take offense!

* Public trash cans don't seem to be a thing here. This becomes very evident when you've purchased ice cream or other portable foods and find that you can't dispose of it when you're done. Carry an extra plastic bag just in case. Some places have trash cans where there are food stalls and food stall owners will typically take your trash for you when you're done eating the street food. I've stopped by convenience stores before to throw stuff away so that's also another option.

* If you are exchanging money, it's better to do it in the city than at the airport. Myeongdong has a ton of money exchange stalls so keep your eye out for the ones with the best rate.

* Depending where you are staying in Seoul, a taxi can be very convenient. Yes, it's pricier than taking the airport limousine or even the train. But if you have luggages to carry around and you've just gotten off a long flight, a taxi can be much more comfortable. We took the international taxi so they spoke English, which was great. It was a flat rate based on region. You can split the cost with others so it's not TOO expensive. Plus, there's less stress from not having to lug your suitcases on the subway.

* Find a hotel or Airbnb near a supermarket if possible, if you plan on cooking or just want better food selections. I loved being near Emart during my first visit and was devastated on having to rely on convenience stores in my second trip. Food is less expensive at supermarkets compared to convenience stores. If you do end up going to a supermarket nearby, remember to use a 100 won coin to access the shopping carts. Don't worry; you'll get it back when you return the cart.

* Beware of scooters!!! I can't tell you how many times I almost died because they snuck up behind me in alleys.

* Don't forget that many businesses operate above the first floor. You might miss out on something great if you only keep your eyes straight ahead.

* Need to pee? Most subway stations have restrooms. It's just plain awesome.

I hope you enjoyed this mini series of posts. Let me know if you plan on visiting Seoul and where you end up going!

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