Transportation in South Korea
ON THE GO
Traveling by plane
Korean Air (KE) (Internet: www.koreanair.com) and Asiana Airlines (OZ) (Internet: http://us.flyasiana.com) regularly connect Seoul with all major cities in the country as well as Cheju-do Island.
On the way by car / bus
Half of the streets are paved. All major cities are connected by excellent highways. The main route is the 428 km long Seoul – Pusan highway. However, secondary roads and country roads are often in poor condition. Street signs mostly also in English.
Rental cars are available in major cities. Due to the different traffic rules, driving in Korea is a matter of practice; For a start, we recommend cars with a driver. For more information, contact the Korea Car Rental Union (Tel: (2) 533 25 03).
Taxis are inexpensive and one of the best modes of transport in Korea according to youremailverifier. There are taxi ranks in every major city. Taxis can also be called on the street. More and more taxi drivers speak English. Between 00.00-04.00 a surcharge of 20% will be charged. There are specially marked taxis in Seoul whose drivers speak English, among other things. The fare is 20% above the normal price.
Bus: The regular and express buses are also inexpensive, but regular buses are often overcrowded. The air-conditioned express long-distance buses are comfortable and connect the larger cities. Tour bus providers such as K-Shuttle (www.K-shuttle.com) offer guided bus tours in luxurious limousine buses and with English-speaking tour guides. Regional bus routes run between smaller towns and villages.
Documents: International driver’s license, which must be at least one year old. Minimum age: 22 years.
Traveling in the city
Buses are the main means of urban transport. In Seoul there is a subway (Internet: www.seoulsubway.co.kr/), suburban trains, a well-developed bus network and water taxis that take tourists to the sights. Public transport is often overcrowded at peak times. Underground stations and ticket offices are also labeled in English, and announcements are multilingual. Tickets for the underground can also be bought from the machine. Taxis are available.
Daegu also has a subway (Internet: www.daegusubway.co.kr/source/eng/).
On the go by train
The Korail State Railroad (Internet: www.korail.go.kr) trains connect all major towns. You can get to your destination quickly by train and avoid traffic jams, especially on public holidays. Train information in English is available from the Korail telephone hotline (+82) 15 99 77 77 (dial “1” for English) daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The high-speed train Korea Train eXpress (KTX) (Internet: http://ktx.korail.go.kr/eng/) reaches a top speed of 300 km / h. The KTXdrives in just 2 hours 40 minutes on the Gyeongbu route from Seoul via Daejeon to Busan in the south. On the Honam route he travels from Seoul via Nonsan to Mokpo in the southwest (travel time: 2 hours 58 minutes).
A high-speed train runs between Seoul (Sinsangbong Station) and Chuncheon, which takes 1.5 hours to get there, and an express train that only stops at important stations (travel time: 1 hour 20 minutes). In Seoul, the route is directly connected to the subway network.
Super express trains run on the following routes: Seoul – Mokp’o, Seoul – Pusan, Seoul – Chongju – Yosu, Seoul – Inchon and Seoul – Onyang (2nd class only). The Mugunghwa Express is an InterCity Express train. Some trains have dining cars and air conditioning.
Family compartments are available on some trains for which you pay a surcharge. Most of the signs at train stations are in English; Timetables are also available in English.
DMZ trains run between Seoul and Dorasan.
The Central Inland Region Tour Train operates two routes through the mountainous regions of Chungcheongbuk-do, Gangwon-do and Gyeongsangbuk-do. The O-Train runs four times a day in just under five hours from Seoul to Jecheon, Yeongju, Taebaek and back. The V-Train takes one hour and ten minutes to travel from Buncheon to Cheolam.
Note on rail travel
Discounts: Children under 6 years travel free, from 6-12 years at half price.
The KR Pass, which allows you to travel anywhere in South Korea by train, is offered to foreign tourists and business travelers. The KR Pass is valid for 3, 5, 7 or 10 days and is available in three versions: As a Normal Pass for children between 6 and 12 years of age and for adults, as a Saver Pass for groups of 2-5 people and as a Youth Pass for Schoolchildren and students between the ages of 13 and 25 who have an international student ID. In South Korea, the authorization certificates for the KR Pass are exchanged at the train stations in Seoul, Yeongdeungpo, Daejeon, Dongdaegu, Busan, Gyeongju and Gwangju as well as at Incheon International Airport.
Out and about by ship
River boat connections between Pusan and Mokpo twice a day.
A hovercraft runs five times a day between Yosu and Pusan and there is a daily ferry between Pusan and Cheju-do.
Car ferry connections: There is a high-speed car ferry connection (“Hanil Blue Narae”) operated by Hanil Express twice a day between the islands of Wando and Jeju (Internet: www.hanilexpress.co.kr, www.wando.go.kr. Travel time: 1 hour. 40 min.).
A ride on the hovercraft through the Hallyosudo Marine Park is particularly delightful; Excursions are also offered on the Hangang River, which cuts through Seoul.