South Korea — Transportation
South Korea Taxis and Car Rental
Taxis are a cheap and safe option to explore city centers. They are clearly marked with signage on the roof and are metered. They come in two general categories: regular and deluxe. The distinction is price and luxury –deluxe taxis are slightly more expensive and are usually bigger sedans. The regular taxis come in a variety of colors, but you will recognize a deluxe taxi because they’re all black with a yellow ‘taxi’ sign on the roof. Either type can be flagged down or found at stands. In Seoul, deluxe taxis are available from Deluxe Taxi (+82-2-558-8000) and regular from Dasan Call Center (+82-2-120).
Car rental is also a good transportation option in South Korea. Roads are well-marked in English and Korean, and easy to navigate. Downtown driving can be slightly challenging because traffic can be heavy and erratic, but self-driving is easy to explore the area outside the main city. Car rental is available at Incheon and Gimpo airports, as well as in the major cities and at domestic airports. Visitors will require a valid International Driving Permit to rent a car.
South Korea Ferries
Ferries are also an option to get around the Korean peninsula. International connections are available from the major port cities of Incheon (to China), Pyeongtake (to China), Busan (to Japan), and Donghae (to Russia). Ferry times and schedules change according to season, so it is important to check timetables prior to booking a ride. Ferries from these ports are also useful for visiting South Korea’s islands, especially Jeju and Ulleungdo.
South Korea Trains and Buses
Korea has an excellent inter-city train and bus system, making both a great transportation choice for visitors. The KR Railpass is a good way to save money if planning to visit outlying areas or traveling by train a lot. It allows for unlimited rides for a designated period, ranging from one to 10 days.
There are train lines linking most of the major cities. The high-speed train line is still being expanded, but it is already fairly comprehensive. The Korea Train Express (KTX) is the high-speed express which is currently runs from Seoul to Mokpo via Daejoen and from Seoul to Busan. There are also regular train connections to other areas of South Korea from the capital.
The Korean bus network is also extensive and provides links to most major cities. Visitors will have to choose between two types of buses: express (gosok) and inter-city (sioe). Generally, gosok buses run on highways and provide a direct route, while sioe buses tend to make numerous stops between destinations.
In Seoul, visitors can make use of the extensive bus and subway system to explore the city. With designated lanes, buses are relatively unaffected by traffic, which makes them a nice transportation option. They run on fixed routes and visitors can use the T-money card, a pre-paid re-chargeable card, to ride on both the buses and subways. The subway system is even more comprehensive than the bus network, and is easy to use, clean, and safe.