Seoul Subway, Bus, Taxi, Traffic and Maps App

Seoul Subway, Bus, Taxi, Traffic and Maps App

Seoul is a city with heavy traffic. It is important for travelers to choose the right mode of transportation because traffic jam is more extensive than in previous years.

Your best option is a subway that offers free Wi-Fi, and the next one will be a bus. And, in the case of taxi, it is desirable to use it when moving to the area where it is difficult to go by subway or bus.

Rush Hour in Seoul

Generally, during weekdays, 7:30 am to 9:00 am and 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm are regarded as rush hour. However, there are quite a few traffic jam areas outside of the rush hour, and even on Saturdays, there is heavy traffic in many areas throughout the afternoon. Therefore, it is a good idea to check traffic information in real time through map apps and then select the appropriate transportation method.

Maps App

seoul maps app

In Korea, NAVER or KAKAO MAP app can be convenient. Both apps allow you to change the language in the settings, and NAVER supports Chinese and Japanese in addition to English. 

The screenshot above was taken on Saturday. In other words, it can be seen that traffic at 11 o’clock on Saturday is severe in some areas. If you zoom in on the map, you can see the traffic situation on the small road in real time.

Transpotation Card

The card labeled “T-Money” is a transportation card and you can use it on subways, buses and taxis. Also, when you change between subways and buses, or when you change between normal buses, if you change within 30 minutes, the fare will be free or only small amount (about 100 won) will be added.

The amount of the card is 3,000 ~ 4,000 won depending on the type of affiliation. And you can purchase and recharge from the subway and most 24-hour convenience stores.

Seoul subway t-money vending machine
T-Money card vending machine. Only installed in some stations

Korea Tour Card (4,000 Won)

It may be better for travelers to purchase this card (2016-2018). You can use it as a transportation card by recharging it, and at the same time you can get a discount by showing this card to various affiliates. The place of purchase is the same as the T-Money card.

Korea Tour Card

Seoul Subway

The Seoul subway (lines 1 to 9) covers the whole of Seoul and is connected to outer railways such as Incheon and Suwon.

seoul subway view 1

Inside of station of subway line 9 of slack time. When it comes to rush hour, people are so crowded that it is difficult to walk. And most of the subway stations have screen doors, so there is not much train noise.

seoul subway train view 2
Inside the train. The interior of the train varies slightly depending on the subway line, but all offer free Wi-Fi.

◊ Download English Subway Map (, pdf, 6.5M)

◊ Seoul Subway Fare
–  Base rate: 1,250 won (10Km), 
 An additional 100 won for every 5km.

If you install KAKAO Metro app, you can easily check station information, arrival time, and more.

Tips. Station number

Seoul subway station number uses 3 digits. For example, 311 means station 11 of line 3. In case of Line 2, which is a circular line, 201 is the city hall and there are 243 and 202 stations to the left and right. This means that there are 43 stations on Line 2. In addition, because the station number is displayed on the walls and columns, it is convenient to check the station number where you will get off.

Seoul Bus

Some cities, including Seoul, have a lane (usually 7: 00-21: 00, weekdays) for buses only. Therefore, buses are more advantageous than taxis when traffic is heavy.

Seoul bus station 1

Above photo shows the shape of a typical bus stop. It has a bus stop name and ID, a bus route map, and an electronic board that shows the bus number and wait time in minutes.

Seoul buses

Most buses have green, blue, and red colors. Red buses connect to the cities around Seoul, and Green and Blue operate mainly in Seoul.

◊ How to get on and off the bus
After getting on the bus through the right door, touch the card to the card reader. When you get off, touch the card to the reader, then lower it to the center door.

◊ Seoul Bus Fare
–  Red: 2,300 won
–  Blue/Green: 1,200 won
–  2-digit bus (eg 03, 11): 1,100 won
    : short distance, green or yellow
–  Based on the card, cash is 100 won more expensive. 

◊ Late-night Bus
Subway and public buses are not easy to use after midnight. So late-night buses run from midnight to around 4 am. There are eight routes in Seoul, and you can easily check them using the bus app or the maps app.

Tips. Check bus stop using maps app

The number of buses that tell you the next stop in a foreign language has increased, but it is still not enough. So, let’s take a look at how to check using the Naver Maps app.

◊ Example: City Hall → Gangnam Station

Seoul Maps App 2

Screen 1.
The first way is to take bus 472 and change to 471. And the bus will arrive in City Hall Plaza bus station in 4 minutes. Select the first method (49min).
Screen 2. 
Scroll with orange arrow direction.

Seoul Maps App 3

Screen 3.
You can check the bus stop information on where to get on and off. Now, touch the bus number.
Screen 4. 
Vehicle number 1479 is expected to arrive. Now, you can refresh the screen constantly to check where the 1479 is. However, because GPS can also cause errors, please find other ways too.

Seoul Taxi

Seoul taxies

Most of the taxis in Seoul are regular (or standard) taxis, and the colors are orange or silver. Deluxe taxis are slightly wider than regular taxis, and jumbo taxis are usually found at the airport.

◊ Seoul Taxi Fare
B: Basic, D: Distance & Time Fee
A. Regular

–  B: 3,000 won (2km)
–  D: 100 won (per 142m or 35 sec)
–  Late-night surcharge: 20%

B. Delux, Jumbo 
–  B: 5,000 won (3km)
–  D: 200 won (per 164m or 39 sec)
–  No surcharge

** The price is based on June 2018, and a price increase of around 20% may occur in the second half. And most of Seoul taxi supports the payment of the card.

◊ How to catch a taxi
– Taxi station
– You can also shake your hand on the roadside.
– Use the Kakao Taxi App (no UBER)

1. Check traffic conditions first with the Maps app.
2. You can also check the best route and estimated taxi fare (Regular) that reflect traffic conditions in the Maps app. If the taxi driver charges the wrong amount, show the screen.
3. Nightlife areas such as Hongdae, Itaewon, Jongno and Gangnam are difficult to catch a taxi at night.
4. When you need Uber, use the Kakao taxi app. Similar to Über and easy to use.

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