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Seoul travel guide










Seoul all about guide

As one of the world’s megacities, those with a population of more than 10 million people, it may come as a surprise that Seoul also has one of the world’s most efficient, clean, and easy to understand public transportation systems. Road and transportation signs are posted in Korean and English (and often Chinese or Japanese), and dozens of tourist information booths are sprinkled around the city with English-speaking guides ready to assist the bewildered traveler.

From taxis to buses, and the subway to the high-speed KTX train, here’s how to navigate your way around Seoul.

Transportation from Incheon International Airport to Downtown Seoul

The main international airport serving the Seoul National Capital Area is Incheon International Airport (IATA: ICN, ICAO: RKSI). Despite being one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, it’s also one of the easiest to navigate and boasts signs stating the average time it takes visitors to get through customs is a mere 15 minutes. (It’s true!)

Once you’ve collected your bags, you’ll need to make your way from Incheon to downtown Seoul, which is about 30 miles from the airport. Taxis and private cars are available but expensive, and most visitors opt for one of two choices; the AREX Airport Railroad or the Airport Limousine Bus.

The AREX Airport Railroad offers both all-stop and express trains, the latter of which delivers passengers to Seoul Station in the city center in approximately 40 minutes.

There are both standard and deluxe limousine buses, the main difference being the price and the number of stops, and each drops passengers at one of several popular destinations, including Myeongdong, City Hall, and Dongdaemun.

How to Ride the Seoul Metro

The subway in Seoul is fast, reliable, and safe. Here’s what you need to know.

  • The Seoul Metro is incredibly easy to navigate, and maps can be found either on a handful of smartphone apps or the old-fashioned paper variety at the information desks of larger stations. Another bonus is that all station stops are announced in Korean, English, and Chinese.

  • You’ll need to start by purchasing a ticket, which for a single journey costs 1,350 won ($1.14), plus a 500 won deposit, which is refunded when you return the ticket in a refund machine at any station. The price goes down to 1,250 won if you use your own refillable card such as a T-Money, Cashbee or Korea Tour Card, which can be purchased at convenience stores, and topped up at any subway ticket machine. These rechargeable cards can be used on taxis, subways, and buses, and must be topped up with cash only.

  • The Seoul Metro operates from approximately 5:30 a.m. to midnight and is considered an extremely safe option any time of the day or night.

  • Peak times can be very crowded, but fortunately, the trains are air-conditioned during the hot summer months.

  • It’s considered very impolite in Korean culture if you don’t give up your seat to a person older than you who is standing.

  • Many stations are stair-access only, so check the Seoul Metro website for accessible travel options if necessary.

Download a map of the Seoul Metro before making your trip. And for more information from bike storage, to which stations are accessible by elevator, visit the Seoul Metro website.


Navigating through bus systems in a foreign city always seems daunting at first, but figuring out Seoul city buses is relatively simple. For one, they’re color-coded by the type of destination. For example, blue buses travel on major roads for long distances; green buses go between major transfer points like subway stations. Each stop has a screen that displays the bus numbers and the minutes until the next bus arrives, and information is generally written in English and Korean.

Bus fares can be paid in cash or with a transportation card. If you do use the transportation card, be sure to tap it both when you board and exit the bus.


Taxis are prevalent, and though convenient and relatively well priced, can be a time-consuming choice, as they must navigate traffic and the sheer size of the sprawling city. While some taxi drivers speak English, be prepared with your destination typed out in Korean on your smartphone; unless the destination is a famous tourist attraction, there’s a good chance the driver will need to enter the address in their GPS system.

Regular and Black/Deluxe are the two main types of taxis in Seoul, and both use meters. The starting fare for regular taxis is 3,800 won ($3.20) and covers the first two kilometers of the trip, with 100 won being added for each additional 132 meters. Black/Deluxe taxi fares start at 6,500 won ($5.48) for the first three kilometers and an additional 200 won every 151 meters. The main difference other than the price is that Black/Deluxe taxis are generally just a nicer model of car than regular taxis.

A few more helpful hints when navigating Seoul’s taxis:

  • A late-night surcharge of 20 percent applies to all rides between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.
  • Tipping is not customary in Korea.
  • Taxis can be hailed on the street or in various taxi stands across the city.
  • Taxis accept cash and most also accept credit cards or T-Money cards.
  • A red light atop the taxi means it’s available.
  • It’s not uncommon for Seoul taxi drivers to refuse passengers for any number of reasons, including that your destination is in the wrong direction from where the driver wants to go, the place you’re going is too close or far away, or the driver doesn’t want to deal with a language barrier. Although it’s illegal for taxi drivers to refuse passengers, it still happens, but a more amenable cabbie will usually appear shortly.

Public Bikes

Seoul Bikes is an excellent and easy to use bike rental system that operates throughout the city. The bold green and white bicycles can be found at docking stations near many subway exits and popular tourist attractions, and users can rent or return the bikes at any station. Different pricing plans are available, depending on how often you plan to use the bike service. Rentals average around 1,000 won (84 cents) per hour, which you’ll need to pay with a T-Money card or through the bike rental app (no cash). Helmets aren’t provided, so plan accordingly.

Car Rentals

Most visitors to Seoul use public transportation, as parking, navigating, and traffic in Seoul can be problematic for those unfamiliar to the city. If you do want your own set of wheels, you must have a valid International Driving Permit along with your regular driver’s license, and cars can be rented at Incheon International Airport.

Tips for Getting Around Seoul

  • If you’re staying in Seoul for more than a few days and planning to visit multiple areas, you’ll save time and money by purchasing a T-Money card, which can be used for taxis, buses, and subways.
  • Subways shut down at midnight and reopen at 5:30 a.m. During this time, taxis are the best choice, though some night bus routes operate between 11:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Pedestrians beware! In Korea, it’s common for cars to park on the sidewalk and even for motorcycles to drive on footpaths during high traffic times.

Getting Out of Seoul

Seoul is the only city most foreigners can name in South Korea, and visitors often overlook the rest of the country. But travel outside the capital, and it’s a whole different world filled with forested mountains, extensive farmland, and white-sand beaches, not to mention a handful of other bustling significant cities.

A ride on the high-speed (190 mph) KTX train from Seoul Station in the north to Busan Station on the southeast coast takes approximately two hours and 45 minutes and costs 56,000 won. The KTX also stops at many major cities in between, including Daejeon and Daegu, and the important port cities of Ulsan and Mokpo.

Express and intercity buses are also an option to most areas of the country, and are a cheaper yet more time-consuming choice than the KTX, weighing in at 23,000–34,000 won ($19.40-$28.67), and four and a half hours. Express buses usually stop at a rest area so passengers can stretch their legs and use the facilities, but there are no other stops. Intercity buses stop at different bus stations along the way.

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South Korea foods/gourmet you must try

Famous food top 5

  1. 삼겹살(Samgyeopsal): Samgyeopsal, samgyeopsal-gui, or grilled pork belly is a type of gui(grilled dish) in Korean cuisine.
  2. 닭갈비(Dak-galbi): Dak-galbi, or spicy stir-fried chicken, is a popular South Korean dish made by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in a gochujang-based sauce with sweet potatoes, cabbage, perilla leaves, scallions, tteok, and other ingredients. In Korean, galbi means rib, and usually refers to braised or grilled short ribs.
  3. 비빔밥(Bibimbap): Bibimbap, sometimes romanized as bi bim bap or bi bim bop, is a Korean rice dish. The term bibim means “mixing” and bap is cooked rice. It is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul and gochujang. Egg and sliced meat are common additions, stirred together thoroughly just before eating.
  4. 한정식(Han-jeongsik, Korean table d’hôte): Korean table d’hôte, called han-jeongsik in Korean, is a Korean-style full-course meal characterized by the array of small banchan plates in varied colours.
  5. 게장(Gejang): Gejang or gejeot is a variety of jeotgal, salted fermented seafood in Korean cuisine, which is made by marinating fresh raw crabs either in ganjang or in a sauce based on chili pepper powder. The term consists of the two words; ge, meaning “a crab”, and jang which means “condiment” in Korean.

Famous Sweets

  1. 빙수(Bingsu):Bingsu, sometimes written as bingsoo, is a milk-based Korean shaved ice dessert with sweet toppings that may include chopped fruit, condensed milk, fruit syrup, and red beans. The most common variety is pat-bingsu, the red bean shaved ice.
  2. 호떡(Hotteok): Hotteok, sometimes called hoeddeok, is a type of filled pancake known as a popular street food in South Korea. It originates in China and was first brought into Korea during the 19th century.

Famous Drinks

  1. 막걸리(Makgeolli): Makgeolli, sometimes anglicized to makkoli, is a Korean alcoholic drink. It is a milky, off-white, and lightly sparkling rice wine that has a slight viscosity, and tastes slightly sweet, tangy, bitter, and astringent. Chalky sediment gives it a cloudy appearance.
  2. 소주(Soju): Soju is a clear and colorless Korean distilled alcoholic beverage. It is usually consumed neat. Its alcohol content varies from about 12.9% to 53% alcohol by volume, although since 2007 low alcohol soju below 20% has become more popular.

Others famous foods

  1. 김치(Kimchi): Kimchi, is a traditional Korean banchan consisting of salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly using napa cabbage or Korean radish. A wide selection of seasonings are used, including gochugaru, spring onions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal, etc. Kimchi is also used in a variety of soups and stews.
  2. Galbi (갈비): Galbi or kalbi, galbi-gui, or grilled ribs, is a type of gui in Korean cuisine. “Galbi” is the Korean word for “rib”, and the dish is usually made with beef short ribs. When pork spare ribs or another meat is used instead, the dish is named accordingly.
  3. 불고기(Bulgogi): Bulgogi, literally “fire meat” is a gui made of thin, marinated slices of meat, most commonly beef, grilled on a barbecue or on a stove-top griddle. It is also often stir-fried in a pan in home cooking. Sirloin, rib eye or brisket are frequently used cuts of beef for the dish.
  4. 소곱창구이(Gopchang): Gopchang can refer to the small intestines of cattle or to a gui made of the small intestines. The latter is also called gopchang-gui. The tube-shaped offal is chewy with rich elastic fibers.
  5. 떡볶이(Tteok-bokki): Tteokbokki, or simmered rice cake, is a popular Korean food made from small-sized garae-tteok called tteokmyeon or commonly tteokbokki-tteok. Eomuk, boiled eggs, and scallions are some common ingredients paired with tteokbokki in dishes.
  6. 부침개(Buchimgae): Buchimgae, or Korean pancake, refers broadly to any type of pan-fried ingredients soaked in egg or a batter mixed with other ingredients. More specifically, it is a dish made by pan-frying a thick batter mixed with egg and other ingredients until a thin flat pancake-shaped fritter is formed.
  7. 감자탕(Gamja-tang): Gamja-tang or pork back-bone stew is a spicy Korean soup made from the spine or neck bones of a pig. It often contains potatoes, cellophane noodles, dried radish greens, perilla leaves, green onions, hot peppers and ground sesame seeds. The vertebrae are usually separated with bits of meat clinging to them.
  8. 순두부찌개(Sundubu-jjigae): Sundubu-jjigae is a jjigae in Korean cuisine. The dish is made with freshly curdled soft tofu which has not been strained and pressed, vegetables, sometimes mushrooms, onion, optional seafood, optional meat, and gochujang or gochugaru.
  9. 닭한마리(dakhanmari): is a Korean word that means “Dak = chicken” and “Hangmari = one bird”, which translates directly to “one chicken”. As the name implies, a whole chicken is simmered in a simple yet dynamic Korean hot pot dish. It is loved as a nourishing food to prevent the heat in the summer and as a warm hot pot in the winter . It’s very popular with women because you can eat whole chicken, which is rich in collagen and vitamins, which are the foundation of beautiful skin! Travel magazines and word of mouth garnered a reputation for its deliciousness, and it has become a must-eat gourmet when traveling to Korea. In the popular area of ​​Dongdaemun , there is " Dongdaemun Dakhanmari Street “, which is lined with specialty shops, and every day is a great success.
  10. 보쌈(Bossam): Bossam is a pork dish in Korean cuisine. It usually consists of pork shoulder that is boiled in spices and thinly sliced. The meat is served with side dishes such as spicy radish salad, sliced raw garlic, ssamjang, saeu-jeot, kimchi, and ssam vegetables such as lettuce, kkaennip, and inner leaves of a napa cabbage.
  11. 물회(Mulhoe): Mulhoe is a raw fish dish in which finely chopped seafood and vegetables are seasoned and poured with cold water. Instead of sashimi, fish and shellfish such as sea squirts and abalones are sometimes added, and lettuce, onions, and peppers are added.
  12. 육회탕탕이(Yukhoe Octopus Tangtangi): is a menu where you can enjoy yukhoe and live octopus at the same time. The octopus dances around on the plate and is extremely fresh. Break the egg yolk and mix everything well, then dip it in sesame oil, wrap it in seaweed, and enjoy.
  13. 국밥(Kuppa): is a popular dish that has been eaten in Korea since ancient times. It means “soup rice” in Korean, and is eaten by adding rice to a large bowl of soup.
  14. 칼국수(Kal-guksu): Kal-guksu is a Korean noodle dish consisting of handmade, knife-cut wheat flour noodles served in a large bowl with broth and other ingredients. It is traditionally considered a seasonal food, consumed most often in summer. Its name comes from the fact that the noodles are not extruded or spun, but cut.
  15. 냉면(Naengmyeon): Naengmyeon or raengmyŏn is a noodle dish of North Korean origin which consists of long and thin handmade noodles made from the flour and starch of various ingredients, including buckwheat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, arrowroot starch, and kudzu. Buckwheat predominates.