Korea- Transportation, Maps, Schedules

1. Traveling from Incheon Airport

1.1 Map of boarding area for Taxi and Buses

Ref: http://www.airport.kr/pa/en/a/3/1/1/index.jsp

1.2 Bus Services

You can catch limousines, express and intercity buses outside the arrival hall. Ticketing counter can also be found at the locations indicated in the map above.You can access the daily bus services, duration of trip and bus fares via the following links:

Note that bus schedules for weekends, weekdays, and special holidays may vary. To find out more about traveling by bus, refer to Section 4 on Intercity Travel (below).

1.3 Taxi Services

Taxi fares from airport depends on the destination zone. While it is expensive to travel by taxi from Incheon, the plus point is that the taxis operate on flat fare, meaning that you will not feel the anxiety of metered fare, should there be a traffic jam. The table below defines the zones and charges for the taxi fares. A medium taxi fist 3-4 passengers, while a jumbo taxi fits up to 8. You might want to note that like private cars, the car boots of taxis may differ in size, so if you have a lot of luggage, you may need to ask for a large taxi.

(Information by Incheon Airport Website)

1.4 Rail Services to Seoul

Incheon airport is connected to Seoul station via Airport Rail (with Express option).

(Images by Incheon Airport Website)

To access the Airport rail station, you need to travel by a monorial, runs between the departure terminal to the Airport ticketing/rail platform.

(Images by Incheon Airport Website)

ALL-STOP TRAIN is a Commuter Train connected to Seoul Metro lines, helping you travel to Incheon International Airport, Seoul and other surrounding areas. Journey time is about 58 minutes, with waiting time of 6-7 minutes. Cost of traveling from Incheon Airport to Seoul is about 4150K RW (adult fare). This is about half the price compared to the EXPRESS train. While this makes the all-stop train attractive, do note that the train is designed like a metro subway, so standing is expected should the seats be filled up.

So if you have heavy or many luggages, you may want to spend just a bit more for an EXPRESS TRAIN ticket to ensure you have place for your luggage and gets to seat comfortably for the journey. It comes with a toilet for the disabled as well.

Ticket prices for Express train : Adult : KRW 8,000, Child : KRW 6,900, You should get a train about every half hourly.

If you travel by Koreanair, keep your ticket stubs. You may get a discount on your Airport Express ride. You may be able to get an adult ticket for KRW6900 during promotion.

You may refer to KTO site to see the difference between the 2 types of trains. Alternatively refer to the AREX website if you are keen to find out more.

1.5 Rail Services beyond Seoul

There are afew KTX services from Busan and Yeosu which terminates at Incheon, ie the are direct train rides. This saves you money and time from not having to detour to Seoul to catch the AREX.

You may check on the fares for these direct rides from Korail website.

I have copied a sample here from Incheon-Busan query, which makes up mots of the KTX-Incheon direct rides.

2. Using Travel Cards

2.1 T-money

T-money is a pre-paid card which you can use for transportation fares and purchases at convenience stalls and shops with the neccessary payment services. It can really save you time from having to queue up and providing the option to take different trains/routes to save time on waiting. I high recommend that you get a T-money card at Incheon airport.

Convenience stalls in Korea sells T-money cards and offers top-up services. Staff at Incheon airport understands basic English, so it is always best to get all your necessary "administrative matters" sorted out at Incheon Airport.

3. Traveling in Seoul

If you need to catch a taxi within Seoul, you can refer to this link here. There is an option to book an "International taxi" which ensures that the driver speaks English. At times when you are traveling with kids, elderly or has heavy luggages, this may be an option for you.

The subway in Seoul are equipped with lifts (elevators) and escalators, which may help you manage heavy items or the need to avoid climbing stairs. However, by the sheer size of the city and the subway stations, you will need to do some homework if you wish to ensure that you can find the mots optimal routes to use the lifts and escalators.

Seoul is the only city in Korea where I felt that I needed help with maps and apps to move around efficiently.

The next biggest city with subways/apps is Busan. But somehow I felt that Busan's subway is much less complex, with most of its attractions around afew locations. In addition, what Busan has a very good system of city bus tours which gets you to most places integrated with themed traveling, so I never felt I need the help of apps or extensive research to get around the places. For more information, read my album on Busan.

The information below is mainly for traveling in Seoul.

3.1 Seoul Subway Map

Source: http://www.smrt.co.kr/program/cyberStation/main2.jsp?lang=e

If you are a traveling in a city, you would want to stay near subway stations, to save time on traveling. Is that all that is to it? Well no- think of luggage, heavy shopping bags, slopes. In particular, if you are traveling in winter, you would not want to push around your luggage in icy and slippery paths.

3.2 Subway Amenities

Having a subway map and location map is a must, but so is the subway plans. Subways in big cities are- big and deep, meaning you have to overcome on average 3 stories to get to the street level. While most would claim to have facilities for elderly or disabled, you need to differentiate between the following:

There is usually only one exit with lift and some stairways with elevators. Considering that subways, especially the bigger ones can have 4 to 5 floors, carrying big luggages up or down, or simply, getting through the levels for the elderly can be a daunting task.

Seoul Metropolitan Government have set up comprehensive and interactive site for Seoul's transportation- Click on the link to ensure you are getting the latest maps for Seoul subway.

Here are some other things you can do at the website:

1. Search for train routes.

Check out the step by step instructions from KTO HERE.

2. Check the amenities/ wheelchair/lift accessibility

This is my favorite feature of this site. if you goto the subway home page, you get an overview of the amenities at the station, as well as links to explore the station in greater details.

Here are some key instructions on using the interactive features and what you can get. I use it frequently to decide how to move around the subway with and without luggages. Where they are options on accommodations, I may choose one which is near the lift.

3.3 Useful Apps

If you have data on the go, then there are some apps which can help you plan your trip more effectively by providing optimal routes and real time train schedules.

Your may wish to download the Metroid App to provide quick access to real time information on train schedules, as well as to obtain estimated costs of suggested itinerary from one station to another.The plus point of this app is that the information includes even train rides schedules where such services are available at the station.

The slides below shows some key features of the App.

3.4 Intercity/Express Bus in Seoul

I will provide information on station location and subway connections here. Do read section 4: Intercity travel- Bus for other information.

3.4.1. Difference between Express (고속 Gosuk) and Intercity (시외, Sioe) buses.

Express buses run on expressways and make stop at a rest area but seldom make a stop-over in a city other than its destination. Different fares apply for regular/standard (일반, ilban ) buses and luxury (우등, udeung) buses.

Intercity buses do not need to adhere to making minimal stops via expressways. So intercity buses offers buses which will var in travel time and costs. Look out for ilban -일반, regular routes or jikaeng -직행, straight routes. Regular routes may differ in the number of stop-overs made, while the jikaeng bus goes straight to its destination. Non-stop buses like jikhaengs may be also named as mujeongcha (무정차) or non-stop) on the front of the bus. Intercity buses do not have class differentiation, but seats on late-night buses are generally made for comfortable, and cost a little more.

Reference from http://english.visitkorea.or.kr

3.4.2. Locations of Bus stations

The map below shows the different locations of the Bus terminals and their nearest subway stations. Mouseover to reveal tabs and click the tab to access more information on the bus stations as well as and accessibility from the subway station(s).

If you wish to view the interactive map in full view, click the link here to see it in a new window.

4. Intercity Travel

While most cities are connected by Korail, it is definitely not the cheapest option. There are many reasons why Intercity/express bus is actually a more sensible choice for your traveling.

1. Traveling by train requires multiple transfers on the train lines. This may incur additional waiting time for transfers. Moving with luggage across platforms (and levels) is a problem, as lift accessibility may not be convenient or possible.

2. Traveling by train requires a detour from the shortest route in order to change train lines. Most of the Korail interchange is near Seoul. So if you intend to move say from South- east to South-west, it does not make sense to take the intercity bus.

4.1 Useful Sites for Bus Schedules

4.1.1 Intercity (and Express) Bus Services

Most online websites providing search features on bus schedules are in hangul (Korean language). While some sites such kobus or koreatransportation was claimed to provide english support, I do run into frequent problems of search results being broken/ reported in korean -and google translate doesn't help.

I managed to retrieve some information from koreatransportation for the Bus services from Incheon Airport, as well as for other destinations in this travel blog. You can find the links when you access the specific destinations /regions. Bus services for INCHEON airport can be found in section 1 in this page.

My personal recommendation is the Intercity.kr website, which is quite robust and user friendly. More importantly, the search engines is easy to use and reports not only a detailed schedule, but its costs, bus type and frequency. The best part is, it can be used to search for both intercity and express bus services. Here, "Intercity bus services" is taken literally as "bus services between 2 cities" and is not limited to the "intercity bus".

You can refer to the slides below to how the site can work for you.

#KoreaCommuting #Planning

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