Traveling and Getting Around in Korea

Korea is truly one of the most modern countries in the world. And like Japan, Korea has a wonderful transportation network whether you travel by car, bus, train, or plane.

You’ll love getting around in Korea.

About 75% of tourists in Korea visit Seoul and arrive at Incheon International Airport. After you have arrived and settled into your accommodation in Seoul you will probably want to head out and see what Seoul and Korea has to offer you.

Read more about arriving in Korea here

seoul blue busTraveling by Bus in Korea

If you’ve lived for a time in a large American cities like I have, you now that buses can by bumpy, dirty, and unreliable.

But this is absolutely not the case in Korea.

Korea has several different types of buses.

  • city buses
  • regional buses
  • super express buses

Each has their own purpose which you can read more about the differences here.

But whichever bus you need or decide to take, you’ll be surprised at the punctuality and courtesy of the drivers.

My Experience

Let me tell you a brief story.

I took an express bus from Busan to Gimhae International Airport to fly home to Japan to see my girlfriend.

It was a big coach bus with little doilies over the head rests. This was in the summer and the temperature had to be in the 90s Fahrenheit. The bus was clean, cool, and quiet. That is until an American lady sitting in the front with me started talking on her phone about half way to our destination.

I could tell the bus driver was getting mad, but he didn’t say anything to her the whole ride.

Finally, after we arrived at the airport he got up and told her she was being rude to both him and the feel passengers. Imagine that, a bus driver actually confronting a passenger for being rude on a bus. This sort of thing would never happen in America. You will love taking public transportation in Korea.

Learn more about traveling by bus in Korea
Read about using buses in Seoul

How to Use Taxis in Korea

Buses and trains are so easy to use that you may not even want to take a taxi. Taxis while convenient are more expensive than alternative forms of public transportation.

Here are tips on using taxis in Korea

south korean high speed train sancheon

Sancheon High Speed Train Photo credit: Mx kouhosei

Traveling by Train in Korea

If you’re going to one of the major cities in Korea, chances are high that you’ll be using the train system a lot.

And that’s a great thing, because traveling by train in Korea is very efficient.

The Seoul subway system can seem complex confusing to newcomers. But if you read this guide you’ll be well on your way to your fist successful subway ride in Seoul.

Understand how the Seoul subway system works
View the entire Seoul subway map

Using Ferries in Korea

Not everyone that makes it to Korea will travel by ferry. But there are some interesting places to visit off the mainland of Korea, and taking a ferry there could be a fun experience.

South Korea is uniques in its location, as it’s separated from the rest of Asia. You’ll have to take either a plane or boat if you want to get to or from South Korea.

The coasts of southern and western Korea have many offshore islands that can be visited only by ferry. Two islands of particular interest to travelers are Jeju and Ulleung. Both may be reached by ferry from such major cities as Incheon, Mokpo, Pohang, and Busan.

Watch Out for the Weather

Korea has four seasons and experiences harsh winters and hot, humid, and rainy summers. The best time to visit Korea is in Spring or Autumn to avoid these seasonal extremes.

Learn more about Korean weather

Is Traveling in Korea Safe?

The crime rate is low in the Republic of Korea however while traveling in any foreign country it is best to take some precautions.

Pickpocketing has been known to happen in some of the busy or tourist areas in Seoul. Always watch your belongings and keep you passport and money with you at all times. Staying out late at night in Korea is fun but take precautions.

The usual advice applies:

Don’t drink too much alcohol and stay in well lit and busy areas.

If you follow that advice, you’re not going to have any problems staying safe in Korea.

south korean currency wonUsing Money in Korea

The currency in Korea is the South Korean Won. If you’re from the US, you’ll find that the won currency deals with high numbers.

A restaurant meal could be 50,000 won. Don’t be confused by all these numbers, notes and coins after you arrive in Korea. Get to know the won currency before you arrive.

Living in Korea at times can be difficult and confusing. This guide is here to help you along the way and take you through the process of living in Korea from paying bills, using transportation and even picking up the local language.

It’s also helpful to know the approximate cost for various services and products in Korea.