FOLLOW US

World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > South Korea > Seoul

Seoul Weather

19°C

Local time Seoul

Currency

Getting around Seoul

Public transport

City buses in Seoul are classified by one of four colours: blue, green, red or yellow, and many have bilingual signs. Blue and red buses are the speediest but yellow buses are the most useful for foreigners, travelling in a loop around downtown Seoul calling at main rail stations, tourist spots and shopping areas.

The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is one of the fastest in the world and has connections with local buses. Trains are clean, frequent and punctual, and the colour-coded lines have signs and announcements in English. Seoul Metro (www.seoulmetro.co.kr) run lines 1-4, while lines 5-8 are operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation (tel: +82 1577 5678; www.smrt.co.kr).

The rechargeable T-money Citypass (www.seoulcitypass.com), available from convenience stores and subway ticket counters, can be used to pay for public transport and some inner Seoul taxis. A one-to-three-day Seoul City Pass allows for 20 trips a day on buses and Seoul Metropolitan Subway trains and unlimited journeys on the Seoul City Tour Bus. It also acts as a discount card at certain tourist attractions.

Taxis

There are several types of taxis in Seoul: regular taxis, deluxe taxis, call taxis, international taxis and luggage-friendly, eight-seater jumbo taxis.

Regular taxis are orange and can be flagged down on the street, while deluxe taxis, which are black with a gold stripe, offer a higher level of service and are usually found around hotels and major tourist sights.

Privately-owned call taxis can be booked by phone or hailed from most major streets. Jumbo taxis, which have ‘JUMBO’ printed on the side of the car, can be waved down or booked in advance. International taxis (tel: +82 1644 2255) with English-speaking drivers are also available. You can also call the Korea Travel hotline (tel: +82 2 1330) to book a taxi in English.

Tipping is not expected, though if paying with cash, it is customary to leave small change with the driver. Most taxis are equipped to accept credit cards.

Driving

Roads in Seoul are well-paved, traffic lights functional, and most drivers comply with basic traffic laws in Seoul. Still, driving in Seoul isn’t for the inexperienced, and getting behind the wheel can be a baptism of fire with heavy traffic and irksome lane changes. Rent a car with a driver instead.

Car hire

To hire a car in Seoul, foreigners need to be over 21 years, with a year's driving experience and an International Driving Permit. Lotte Rent-A-Car (tel: +82 2 797 8000; www.lotterentacar.net) is affiliated to Hertz. Or try AJ Rentacar (tel: +82 1544 1600; www.avis.co.kr), an Avis affiliate.

Bicycle hire

Cycle paths have been introduced along the canals and rivers running through Seoul, taking cyclists into the city centre. There are also bike trails in the surrounding hills and mountains.

Bicycle hire is available at multiple rental stations along the Han River. Rental is free at Oksu Station, Eungbong Station, Gangbyeon Station, Jamsil Station and Pugnap-dong Station, while other locations charge by the hour or the day. ID is required to hire bicycles.

Featured Hotels

SEE MORE

The Shilla

Celebrities, royalty and heads of state have stayed at The Shilla, which is set in 9 hectares (23 acres) of woodland yet known for its state-of-the-art technology. Modern public areas belie traditionally furnished rooms. The restaurant, La Yeon, has three Michelin stars - the first restaurant to receive such an accolade.

Fraser Place Central Seoul

A luxury home-from-home is offered by these serviced 'residences' in Seoul, from studios to three-bed and penthouse apartments. Relaxation is further aided by the attractive leisure facilities - a large pool, steam and sauna rooms and peaceful atrium garden.

K-POP Hotel Seoul Station

Only a short walk from Seoul Station, this hotel ticks all the boxes when it comes to a central location and low price. The rooms are tiny, it's true, but they are light and modern and offer underfloor heating, minifridges and flat-screen TVs. There's also a lounge area, a basement cafe and rooftop terrace. Laundry facilities don't include dryers, though.

Ibis Seoul Ambassador Gangnam

A good value mid-range hotel in Seoul with smart facilities in a central location. Amenities include a restaurant, a rooftop garden and underground parking, plus there's a sauna and fitness room. The COEX convention centre and shopping mall are nearby.

Lotte Hotel Seoul

The refurbished wing of this huge super-deluxe hotel in Seoul is a good bet for those who want to stay in the heart of the city and close to shopping areas – there's even a large duty-free store on site. A good choice of dining includes French and Italian restaurants. A personal trainer and sports lab analysis are available in the fitness centre.

Grand Ambassador Seoul

This good, centrally located deluxe business hotel offers great views over the Seoul cityscape. There's easy access to the main markets and historic palaces, and facilities include six bars and restaurants plus a health centre with hydrotherapy pool.