As part of my South Korea 2016 travel tips, this time, let’s talk about the transportation in Korea, particularly in Seoul.
I have been to Seoul 3 times, and the trains and subways are my best friends. To be honest, I haven’t mastered the art of riding the trains, nor do I know the difference between subway and train (I know in Japan there’s a difference, like on land or underneath it, or that in London they’re called Tube or Train, not subway because that’s a restaurant HAHA). In Manila, we only have Rail that goes on and under land. Anyway, Seoul pretty much have the best transportation system among the countries I’ve been at. Not that there are many, but a lot of people who have been to Seoul would probably say the same. Every nook and cranny of the city is accessible by train, if not, then by bus.
Warning: Huge picture size ahead.
These are very efficient modes of transport and make travelling the city so much less stressful. However, I am not a master of memorizing station names and stuff like that, so I get a little help from this very trustworthy app: Jihachul.
I used this when I first went to Seoul. It was definitely useful, so I used it again on my subsequent trips to the city. And it never failed me.
With Jihachul, you can see how to transfer train lines, how many stations you need to pass by, and which coach you should be in for the quickest transfer. I definitely found the last one useful especially when rushing to the next train (yes, my sister and I learned to rush with Seoulites on our third day, during my second visit. HAHA).
Once you open the downloaded app, it will ask you to select your language, and the city you want to explore. For this post, let’s use English as the language, and Seoul as the city. As you can see, you can also use this for Busan, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwanju – the four other mega cities of Korea. But I haven’t been to these places yet. Maybe next time I visit.
Then it will ask you to download the latest timetable and the data for using the app.
So. How do you use this app? This will be relatively easy once you get used to it, but of course, baby steps. I’m only going to show you the basic of the app since it will be up to you how you’ll maximize it.
On the image below, you can see the part of the subway map of Seoul (it won’t load as landscape in my Samsung phone, but it does in iPad).
Locate the station you need to go to. If the Line number is indicated, there’s a legend at the bottom left. Trace the color to look for your station.
Or if you can’t find the station name, but knows how to spell it (because come on, sometimes the way Korean is spoken is not the same as the Romanized spelling), you can click on that train icon, and some other icons will pop up, including Search.
Let’s try out the app now. Say you’ll be coming from Incheon International Airport. Click the station and select Depart from.
Then look for your next station, for example Hongik University. Click on the station, and select Arrive at.
It will show you how long the trip will be, how much the fare is, if there are transfers, which lines to go to, train schedule on weekdays, weekends, and holidays, and details on the last train.
Since Hongik University has a direct train line from Incheon, let’s try another route.
From Hongik University, let’s go to the station of Yes 24 Live Hall, which is at Gwangnaru station at Line 5, the purple line (insert TVXQ’s Purple Line~).
Go click on Hongik University, select Depart from, then trace along Line 5. Before the river, there is the Gwangnaru station. Click on that and select Arrive at.
As you can see, you need to transfer at least once.
Go to Details, you’ll see that you need to transfer at Wangsimni. It also indicates here that you can transfer faster if you use the 6th car, 1st door. If you’re on the platform, look for 6-1 on the floor. That’s where the 6th car, 1st door will stop. This usually means that this door will stop at the escalator or stairs to transfer to the other line.
It’s also indicated that transfer is about 5 minutes on foot (for me, this is more like 10 minutes… so.. it means it’s kinda far).
You also have an option for Fewest transfer, but in this case, it’s just the same route.
That’s it! Was that easy enough?
If it’s your first time using trains in general, the signs above your head will show you the stops for a certain train line. Be sure to read those and see if the direction you’re supposed to be at passes through those. You can also check on the line’s last stop to see if you’re on the right direction. The last stop are almost always shown so that’s a good indication of the direction.
If you have other questions, leave them on the comments below!
PS. This is not a sponsored post.