The Top Thing to Eat: Seoul

Written: The Top Thing Staff | July 11, 2023


Public Transportation in Seoul

Overview of Seoul's subway system

Navigating Seoul's subway system is a convenient and efficient way to get around the city. With over 300 stations and numerous lines, the subway covers most areas of Seoul, making it easy to reach your desired destination.

Seoul's subway system is known for its cleanliness, reliability, and user-friendly signage in both Korean and English. Trains are frequent and operate from around 5:30 am until midnight, so you can easily plan your day and explore the city at your own pace.

Using T-Money card for easy travel

To make your travel hassle-free, consider getting a T-Money card. This rechargeable smart card can be used on buses, subways, taxis, and even in convenience stores. By tapping your T-Money card on the entrance and exit gates of subway stations or on the card reader in buses, you can conveniently pay for your fare without the need for cash.

The T-Money card also offers discounts on transfers between different modes of transportation, making it a cost-effective option for frequent travelers. You can easily purchase T-Money cards at subway station kiosks and convenience stores, and they can be easily recharged as needed.

Bus routes and schedules in Seoul

In addition to the subway system, buses in Seoul provide an extensive network of routes that can take you to various destinations within the city. The bus system is well-organized with clear route information displayed at bus stops and inside the buses.

Seoul buses operate from early morning until late at night, offering a convenient mode of transportation for those looking to explore different neighborhoods or travel to locations not easily accessible by subway. It's important to note that bus fare must be paid in cash, so make sure to have some Korean won on hand.

Overall, Seoul's public transportation system, including the subway and buses, provides a convenient and efficient way to navigate the city. By familiarizing yourself with the subway lines, using a T-Money card, and understanding the bus routes, you can have a smooth and enjoyable travel experience in Seoul.


Exploring Seoul on Foot

Whether you're a curious traveler or simply enjoy discovering new places, exploring Seoul on foot can be a rewarding experience. This bustling city is filled with unique neighborhoods, attractions, and local gems waiting to be discovered. Lace up your walking shoes and get ready to embark on a journey through Seoul's vibrant streets!

Must-visit neighborhoods and attractions

Seoul is divided into several neighborhoods, each with its own distinct charm. Some of the must-visit neighborhoods include:

  • Myeongdong: Known for its bustling shopping streets, vibrant nightlife, and delicious street food, Myeongdong is a must-visit for both locals and visitors.
  • Bukchon Hanok Village: Immerse yourself in traditional Korean culture by exploring the narrow streets lined with traditional hanok houses.
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace: Discover the grandeur of Korean history by visiting this magnificent palace. Don't miss the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony, which takes place multiple times a day.

Walking tours and itineraries in Seoul

To make the most of your walking adventure in Seoul, consider joining a guided walking tour. These tours are a great way to learn about the city's history, culture, and hidden gems from knowledgeable local guides. You can choose from a variety of themed tours, such as food tours, historic tours, or street art tours, depending on your interests.

If you prefer to explore on your own, create a personalized itinerary based on your preferences. Take advantage of Seoul's efficient public transportation system to easily navigate between different neighborhoods and attractions.

Finding local food and shopping options while walking

While exploring Seoul on foot, you'll come across a wide array of local food and shopping options. From bustling street food stalls to trendy fashion boutiques, Seoul has something for everyone.

Stop by one of the traditional markets, such as Namdaemun Market or Gwangjang Market, to taste authentic Korean street food and shop for souvenirs. If you're looking for designer brands and high-end shopping, head to the famous Gangnam district.

As you wander through the streets, keep an eye out for hidden gems like local cafes, art galleries, and independent boutiques. These off-the-beaten-path discoveries will add a touch of authenticity to your Seoul adventure.

So, put on your walking shoes and get ready to explore Seoul's vibrant streets. You'll be amazed at the diverse and exciting experiences that await you!


Getting Around by Taxi

How to hail a taxi in Seoul

If you're looking for a convenient and reliable way to get around Seoul, taxis are a great option. Here's how to hail a taxi in the city:

  1. Look for designated taxi stands: In busy areas, you'll find designated taxi stands with lines of taxis waiting. Simply walk to the stand and wait in line for the next available taxi.

  2. Flagging down a taxi on the street: If you're not near a designated taxi stand, you can hail a taxi on the street. Stand on the side of the road with your arm out, palm facing down, to signal a taxi. It's common to see taxis with a vacant sign on the roof, indicating they're available.

  3. Use the taxi-hailing app: Another convenient option is to use the taxi-hailing apps available in Seoul, such as KakaoTaxi or T. They allow you to request a taxi directly to your location and track its arrival in real-time.

Taxi fares and payment methods

In Seoul, taxi fares are based on distance and time. The starting fare is ₩3,800 for regular taxis and ₩5,000 for deluxe taxis. Additional charges apply for late-night rides and expressway tolls.

Payment methods include cash, credit cards, and transportation cards like T-money. It's important to note that some taxis only accept cash, so it's a good idea to carry enough cash for your taxi rides.

Using ride-hailing apps in Seoul

Ride-hailing apps like KakaoTaxi and T are popular in Seoul. These apps allow you to easily request a taxi, track its location, and make cashless payments. Simply download the app, register your payment method, and enter your pick-up and drop-off locations. The app will match you with a nearby taxi driver.

Using ride-hailing apps can be particularly helpful if you don't speak Korean, as the app will display the necessary information in English. Plus, you won't need to worry about giving directions, as the app provides the driver with the exact location.

Whether you choose to hail a taxi on the street or use a ride-hailing app, taxis in Seoul are a convenient and efficient way to navigate the city. Just remember to have the necessary fare or payment method ready and enjoy your ride!


Renting a Bike in Seoul

If you're looking for an exciting and convenient way to explore Seoul, renting a bike is a great option. With an extensive network of bike paths and bike-friendly streets, the city offers a cycling experience like no other.

Bike rental services and locations

Seoul has numerous bike rental services scattered throughout the city. One popular option is the Seoul Bike system, which offers bike rentals at various stations. The system is easy to use, and you can rent a bike with just a T-Money card. Another option is private bike rental shops, which can be found near popular tourist spots and parks. These shops often provide a wider range of bicycles, including electric bikes or tandem bikes, which can be great for exploring the city with a partner or family member.

Popular cycling routes in the city

Seoul has several scenic cycling routes that cater to cyclists of all abilities. One popular route is along the Han River, which offers stunning views of the city skyline. This route is well-paved and has dedicated bike lanes, making it safe and enjoyable. Another popular route is through the historic district of Bukchon Hanok Village, where you can cycle through traditional Korean houses and experience the charm of old Seoul. For nature lovers, the Olympic Park Cycling Road offers a peaceful ride surrounded by lush greenery.

Safety tips for biking in Seoul

When biking in Seoul, it's important to prioritize safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Wear a helmet: Protect your head by wearing a helmet, especially when cycling on busy streets or unfamiliar routes.

  2. Follow traffic rules: Obey traffic signals and signs, ride in the designated bike lanes, and yield to pedestrians.

  3. Be visible: Use lights and wear reflective clothing, especially when cycling at night.

  4. Stay alert: Keep an eye on the road and be aware of your surroundings, including other cyclists and cars.

  5. Lock your bike: Use a sturdy lock to secure your bike when you need to leave it unattended.

Exploring Seoul by bike is not only a fun and eco-friendly way to get around, but it also allows you to see the city from a unique perspective. So grab a bike, follow these tips, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Seoul on two wheels!


Day Trips from Seoul

If you're visiting Seoul and want to explore beyond the city, there are plenty of exciting day trips you can take to discover the beauty and culture of South Korea. From historical sites to stunning natural landscapes, here are some popular destinations near Seoul that you should consider exploring during your stay.

Popular destinations near Seoul

  1. DMZ (Demilitarized Zone): The DMZ is a must-visit for history buffs. This unique area serves as the border between North and South Korea and offers a glimpse into the tension that still exists between the two countries.

  2. Gyeongju: Known as the “Museum Without Walls,” Gyeongju is filled with ancient temples, royal burial mounds, and historical treasures. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a fascinating insight into Korea's rich history.

  3. Nami Island: Nami Island is a picturesque island located just outside of Seoul. Known for its beautiful tree-lined paths and stunning natural scenery, it's a great place to relax and enjoy a day surrounded by nature.

Transportation options for day trips

Getting to these destinations is relatively easy thanks to South Korea's efficient transportation system. You can choose from various options, including trains, buses, and even private tours. For shorter trips to nearby attractions, such as Nami Island, a combination of subway and ferry is often the most convenient way to travel.

Recommended itineraries for day trips

To make the most of your day trips, it's a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance. Here are a few recommended itineraries:

  1. DMZ: Take a guided tour that includes visits to the Joint Security Area, the Third Tunnel, and Dora Observatory.

  2. Gyeongju: Explore the Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, and the Gyeongju National Museum.

  3. Nami Island: Spend the day walking or cycling around the island, taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying outdoor activities like zip-lining and strawberry picking.

Remember to check the opening hours and availability of attractions before you go, as some may have limited access or require advance reservations.

So get out of the city and embark on these day trips to discover the wonders of South Korea beyond Seoul!



Navigating Seoul efficiently is essential to make the most out of your trip. With a well-planned transportation strategy, you can save time, money, and energy while exploring the vibrant city. By utilizing convenient resources and understanding the transportation options available, you'll be able to navigate Seoul with confidence and ease. Remember to familiarize yourself with the subway system, use apps for directions and schedules, and take advantage of the T-money card for seamless travel. Whether you're visiting famous landmarks, trying local cuisines, or immersing yourself in the rich culture, efficient navigation will enhance your overall experience in Seoul.

Benefits of navigating Seoul efficiently

  1. Saves time: Efficient navigation allows you to avoid traffic congestion and reach your destinations promptly.

  2. Saves money: Making use of public transportation options instead of taxis or private cars can significantly reduce your transportation expenses.

  3. Less stress: Knowing how to get around and having a clear plan in mind will minimize confusion and alleviate any travel-related stress.

Useful resources for getting around Seoul

Here are some useful resources to help you navigate Seoul:

  • Subway: The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is a reliable and extensive network that connects the city's major attractions.
  • T-money card: This rechargeable transportation card can be used for various modes of transportation, including buses, subways, and taxis.
  • Mobile apps: Apps like KakaoMap and Naver Maps provide real-time navigation, public transportation information, and estimated travel times.
  • English signage: Many signs and announcements in the subway and major tourist areas are also available in English, making navigation easier for foreign visitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it necessary to learn Korean to navigate Seoul?

A: While some knowledge of Korean can be helpful, many signs and resources are available in English, and most locals are accustomed to interacting with tourists.

Q: Can I use credit cards for transportation payments?A: Credit cards are generally accepted at major transportation hubs, but having a T-money card or cash is more convenient for smaller transactions.

Q: How safe is public transportation in Seoul?A: Public transportation in Seoul is generally safe, reliable, and well-maintained. However, it's always a good idea to practice common safety precautions, such as keeping an eye on personal belongings and avoiding crowded areas during rush hours.