When you arrive in Seoul you may become overwhelmed by the constant thrum of city life, and attempting to navigate around Korea can seem really scary, but have no fear, I am here to help! You’ll be pleased to find that the Seoul subway system is complex, yet very accommodating to foreigners.
Entering the Station
*Information regarding directions to Heukseok Station can be found on the Airport Limousine Bus article in the Tourism tab.
When arriving at a subway entrance there will be stair or an escalator leading down into the station. There is also an elevator for the handicapped, elderly, or families with strollers; generally people who have problems getting on and off the escalator, going up and down stairs, or traveling with large items (bikes, strollers, etc.).
Obtaining a Transport Card
Before making your way to the tracks, you must obtain a “T-Money” (Transportation Money) card. These can be purchased from nearly any convenience store such as 7-eleven, the CU, and GS25. If you want to purchase a customized transportation card with personalized pictures of your choosing (e.g. of your favourite idol), you can do so in Hongdae as the convenience stores don’t stock much of a variety in designs.
If you use all of the money on your T-Money card, there are a few ways to recharge it. One option is to find the nearest convenience store and ask the attendant for help. However, you can only recharge in a store using cash as they will not recharge it with a credit card.
Korean: 교통카드를 충전하는 것을 도와주세요
Gyo-tong-ka-deu-leul choong-jeon-ha-neun keot-eul to-wa-joo-say-yo
English: Please help me recharge my transportation card.
You could also use the recharge machines located within the station.
These machines allow you to explore your travel options in English, Chinese, or Japanese. However, it is important to note that these machines only take cash.
To the Platform
Now that you have your T-Money card or have recharged one, you are ready to pass through the gate and find your platform! Most stations have a barrier-free gate, but some still have the traditional turnstile.
You will take your card and place it against the sensor; on the screen will appear the amount charged, and the amount remaining on the card.
Now you must find your train. Above you or along the walls you will see arrows directing you toward certain stations in two different directions. There will also be maps available showing the destination of either train. Although, I suggest you download the Korean Subway app. It allows you to download the most recent timetable, as well as set which stations you wish to depart and arrive from and will give you an estimated fee and time to travel. It will also tell you how many stations you will pass through, how many transfers you may have and information about the station! Another useful app to consider downloading is Kakao Metro; it follows the same outlines as Subway Korea!
I hope this article encourages you to explore Seoul with confidence, safe travels!
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