Seoul Tourist Tips: Confusing Subway Transfers.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

There is a new menu bar on top of my blog in blue. I am going to add a new living section to my blog so this will have tips on how to survive and get around in Korea. Click on it anytime for helpful tips on getting around on buses, subways, visas, medical care, etc. I'm writing a lot of this stuff for 101.3FM the new English radio station, so I figure I should put it out there for people to read.


Seoul Tourist Tips: Confusing Subway Transfers.
By Dan Gray

Today I want to talk to you about confusing subway transfers. Seoul has eight different subways that are designated by color and by number. Overall, getting from point A to point B is pretty easy and clear. But some of the lines can be a bit bewildering.

Let’s talk a bit about transfers. Most of the times it’s pretty cut and dry about where to transfer and what direction you should go. Every time you hear classical music or a bird chirping, you know it is a transfer point. For those unfamiliar to the subway, it can get confusing about which direction you should go.

Here’s a tip. When you look at the map, try to figure out the end stops of the routes. For example, the Orange Line (Subway Line 3) begins with Daehwa and ends in Suseo. If you are going towards the south then you know that you should take the subway that is heading to Suseo. If you are headed North then you know that you should take the train to Daehwa. These are all common sense things. And be sure you pick up a subway map. You’ll find them in English and you probably have one on your cell phone.

Oh, warning about the subway. There are a couple little confusing stops on the subway that I should tell you about. First of all, there is Gyodae. Gyodae is called the Seoul National Univerisity of Education. Gyo means school. Gyodae is the stop where the orange line intersects with the green line. Gyodae is different from Seoul Dae or called Seoul University. Seoul University if further down on the Green Line.

And pay attention to Shichon and Shincheon. They are on the opposite sides of the river. Shichon is near Hongdae and Ewha University. It is on the North side of the river. Sincheon is south and near Jamsil and the Sport’s Complex. They are very different places. This is a mistake that many people make. Most of the time people go to Shichon, which is a university party area. But that’s not always the case, just make sure.

The other kinda confusing thing is when the same color subway line will split. For example, the purple line: line 5 will split at Gangdong and it’ll go in two different directions. One will go north and the other south. So be sure to figure out if you are going to Sangil-dong or Macheo.

This will happen a couple other times. There are Seongsu and Sindorim on the green line, line 2. And be vigilant of the blue line, line 1. It splits a couple of times and it’s also a loop. You might need to transfer at Hoegi, Yongsan, or Guro. The reason why line 1 is so problematic is that it was the first to be built. It was built with help from the Japanese back in 1974 so some things might have been lost in translation.

Overall, the Seoul Subway is a great way to get around the city. And if you make a mistake, it’s not a big deal. Just get to the other side and catch another train. Also, you can ask a fellow passenger. Most Koreans will go out of their way to help you.

Go here for an interactive Seoul Subway Map.

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