First let’s bear in mind that January is the coldest month (so I’m told and I really really want to believe) so I haven’t been going out too much but I have learnt a few basics so far.
(1) Don’t just Google it
As much as we may rely on it at home, Google Maps is unfortunately not the answer to looking up public transport journeys. We used it to figure out how to get from where we live to Square 1 (local shopping mall with a Homeplus, Emart and cinema) and the bus route suggested went off in quite a different direction. It wasn’t all bad, as we did go past the International Hospital but an extra mile walk in the cold wasn’t really what we needed. I’m told Naver Maps is the way to go, but I haven’t used it personally yet – expect an update once I have!
(2) Get a T-Money Pass
These are great! You can pick them up at most convenience stores for KRW 2,500 each and I’m told you can load money onto them at the stores as well – you’d probably need some minor grasp of Korean to do this. We picked up the passes, paid in cash for a bus journey to the nearest subway (KRW1,300 each) and then loaded money onto the passes using this machine – there is an English option.
Once you’ve done that, you’re good to go. Journeys in and around the Incheon area cost about KRW 1,250 each and if memory serves, the bus in Seoul was slightly less. You can also use the pass to pay for taxis and at certain stores where you see the T-money sign.
Taxis on the street are hard to find most of the time and whilst Uber does work, the cars are few and far between. The app to get is Kakao Taxi but you need to have a local number in order to use this. Cars seem to be plentiful and the distances to travel aren’t far.
We’ve already talked about how not to use Google Maps and again, I haven’t used these apps myself but apparently Jiachul and Seoul Bus are the go-to apps.
Update: Here’s a tip that will come in handy – touch in and out on the buses to make sure that you are charged the correct fare for the distance travelled rather than the maximum fare for the entire route.
Once I figure out a bit more about getting around, I will update this, but for now, I’m relying on my own two feet and limited sense of direction… 🙂