Best tips and tricks for navigating around South Korea

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Hey you! How are you doing? I hope you are doing well. :) I know most of us are all home right now and traveling anywhere seems so far away. However, I felt that it was a good time to share my travel experiences from South Korea. We won't be trapped forever and this might just be your travel destination for when this disgusting virus goes away. I wanted to start by getting you acquainted with how to get around while you are in South Korea. If you speak and know the language, you are at an advantage, however, you won't be a lost cause if you don't (like me) you will be just fine. TRUST! 

Traveling by Subway:

Download the Naver Map. While Google Maps is what we may be used to, Naver is much more accurate when navigating South Korea. It honestly makes it so easy to travel. 

Download Subway Korea
I know there are so many subway lines and it could be a little overwhelming but the train system is so convenient. Navigating in South Korea can be super intimidating and confusing especially if it's your first time (I literally sweat rivers every time I went anywhere alone.) However, this map is super handy. It lets you know where the closet subway entrances are, what time the trains are leaving, lets you map out your route so you know exactly where to get off, and lets you know whether or not you need to make transfers. This app even lets you know your ETA. PLUS it also works offline... amazing right? It makes traveling + life so much easier. 

Traveling by Train City to City:
Click here for Korean Train Travel  Blog by Japan Visitor :) I wanted to share all my info but this is just so well written and explained. My experience was awesome, My cousin Natalia who I traveled with twice to South Korea is fluent in Korean so traveling with her was the best! She is such a GEM! Our friend from Korea, Green was also kind enough to help us book our tickets for the KTX train. These trains where how we were able to travel all around Korea (literally). Some rides were long, others were short, but despite my heavy luggage (which I will talk about on another blog) the ride/seats are so comfortable and beautiful. Plus Koreans don't talk in public transportation so you can fall asleep even if you are a light sleeper like me. :)  For more info click here -> 
Here is a snapshot of my map of all the places we visited! So many more but they are smaller towns that don't show up on the zoomed out version of the map. 

Traveling by Bus within the city and city to city :
I know what you may be thinking.. public transportation... on a bus? YES!!! Traveling in Korea is amazing... it's 110% not like it is in the States. It is so clean, and doesn't smell bad, AT ALL! I was very impressed.  Watch this video to learn a little more! The Seoul Express Bus Terminal and the Central City Terminal (both in Seoul) are the gateways to bus routes that connect most of the country. Remember: If you get lost or are confused talk to a local and ask if they speak English... IF you don't speak Korean. The Koreans are always so kind and helpful as well as they love practicing their English every chance they get so don't be shy :D 

Traveling by Taxi:

Kakao Taxi
This won't be the first time you hear that Korea's public transportation is WORLD CLASS. It is honestly freaking amazing... I wish that we adapted this in the states. So, there are times where you won't be able to travel by bus nor train especially early in the morning and late at night. KakoTaxi will be your best friend when nothing else is around. If you get stuck or confused don't be afraid to approach a local to ask questions you will find that many of the younger Koreans actually know a good amount of English. Most taxi drivers don't speak English so I suggest learning how to say I don't speak Korean after greating them. Watch this video for help :) 

Traveling by foot: 

I definitely love big cities. I love being able to walk everywhere because it is both convenient and healthy. We probably walked 10k-20k steps a day! My apple watch was giving me all the fitness rewards! It was awesome! Korea is kinda like NYC... the city that never sleeps... literally. Except it is so much safer and cleaner and again... doesn't smell bad! I love it so much because there are so many young people everywhere so a part of me always felt so safe. It definitely took me a while to adjust to how safe it is in Korea especially with all the CCTVS everywhere because of how life is everywhere else but again... it felt so great to feel so comfortable on the other side of the world. There are so many shops and markets to enjoy. You can use the Naver app to get around on foot too! 

How to pay for public transportation 

T-Money is a prepaid transit card, meaning you “recharge” your card before use. I had bad luck sometimes where I did swipe my card right and i'd get stuck so I would end up embarrassed every time but it's okay Koreans came to rescue me. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! Anyhow, these cards can be charged with amounts from W1,000 up to W90,000 at any subway station via the automatic recharging machines (English instructions are on each machine), and at many convenience stores. If you are a BTS fan... you might luck out and find the perfect T-Money Card!

How to communicate with everyone in Korea and with your family back home. 

Download KakaoTalk. As Korea's messaging app of choice, KakaoTalk is an absolute must-have for anyone traveling here. I used this to communicate with family in the States as well as with my friends in Korea. 

How to communicate when in South Korea 

  • Download the Naver Dictionary and Translation applications. Helps out so much! :D 

I hope all this information truly helps you start prepping for you trip to South Korea! I know it will be some time until then, but it's always fun to learn and educate ourselves before going anywhere... and truth be told, planning trips is so fun and relaxing! There are so many more blogs to come so stick around!
xO JazzExploring 

All my photos were edited using my presets, shop them here. 

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