Adventures of an American Seoul-Sister

Adventures and Observations of an American Seoul-Sister

Friday, March 11, 2011

Transportation Nation

One thing I love about South Korea is the public transportation.  It is so easy and affordable to get around the country by bus, train, taxi, and even plane and ferry.  I did use the bus quite frequently to get to Seoul.  It's an easy two-hour ride for around $7 USD.  It's so relaxing, or maybe just dull, that the bus is the best place in South Korea for taking a nap.  Ask anyone, and they'll tell you the same thing.  It takes less than ten minutes for a bus full of passengers to be out cold.  Most of the ticket salespeople speak enough English to make it easy for foreigners to communicate.  Many of the stations double as huge shopping malls. 

On the bus
Ticket line at Central City Bus Station in Seoul.
Once in Seoul, the Metro is one of the easiest subway systems to use.  The stops are announced in Korean, English, and Chinese.  Maps are easy to follow, and metro stops are easy to find.  For just a couple of dollars, anywhere in the city can be accessed via the Metro.  The only thing that I don't like about the Metro (and this is a purely cultural dislike) is that hardly anyone talks above a faint whisper on the Metro.  So, it is eerily silent, and I always feel like I'm in some Asian horror film and that a Korean vampire is going to swoop in and devour us all.  It can also be horribly, even dangerously, crowded.  So, it's best to know the busiest stops and avoid them entirely during rush hour. 

On the Metro--Koreans everywhere!
Sardines anyone?
Metro entrance packed with people.
Metro sign
Metro station sign for the World Cup Stadium
In case of terrorist attack, these gas masks are available.  Unfortunately, there are behind lock and key, and there are only enough to save about 50 out of 5 million or more people.
 I also got to take a train ride through Korea.  It, too, cost about $7 and took me through a very green, lovely, and clean countryside.  I highly recommend the train travel in South Korea!  Taxis are another matter altogether.  If lucky, you will get a good driver who takes you where you need to go for just a couple of dollars, but more than likely, your white ass will guarantee you an out-of-the-way-oops-I-don't-speak-English-this'll-cost-ya ride from hell.  I haven't been lucky enough to travel by plane or ferry, but have heard these are both excellent ways to travel to Jeju Island, nearby China, and Japan.

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