10 Reasons Why the Seoul Subway System is the Best

Jalopnik.com rated the Seoul subway system number 1 in the world. It is of course totally arbitrary and subjective. But a number of other sites agree too (top 10’s in HuffingtonPost.com, TorontoSun.com, AskMen.com)! We’re here to give you 10 reasons why the Seoul subway should officially be #1!

 

 

Heated Seats

If you’ve experienced the cold in Korea, you might have to learn a few ways to survive the cold. But if you’re lucky enough to grab a seat on the Seoul metro, you might not need them! The seats of the Seoul subways are all heated to make sure your butt stays nice and toasty during the cold Korean winters. Let just hope you don’t get too comfortable like these guys ;)

 

 

 

Always Connected

Seoul has such advanced infrastructure that it’s been offering cellphone service on all Seoul metro rides and stations. Oh, and that was more than 10 years ago. Now there’s all different kinds of paid and non-paid services for wifi connectivity, and free connections for all types of other networks: cellular, 3G and DMB (TV signals for cellphones). Basically what that means is: In Seoul, you are always connected!

 

 

Screens

Sticking with the technology theme, nearly all of the newer Seoul subway trains are equipped with screens that bring you service announcements, upcoming stop names, international news, stock prices and football highlights. You won’t forget what the next stop is even after watching Cristiano Ronaldo score a hat trick.

 

 

 

 

Nice and Comfy

Really old subway systems around the world generally have smaller train cars (people were just so darn small back then!). But Seoul’s subway system is pretty modern and so the newer subway trains are generally pretty big and spacious. And yes, some trains do get quite crowded during rush hour. But if you’ve ever ridden the Seoul subway on a laid back Sunday afternoon, you’ll be quite surprised at the legroom. :)

 

 

Multi-language Announcements

Tourists should certainly love the Seoul subways. The English, Japanese and Chinese announcements are always super helpful. Not all Seoul subway stops are announced in these other languages, but most places that interest tourists are. And although the announcements are a little bit robot-y, it’s better than not being able to understand a word the conductor says!

 

 

New/Clean Stations

Seoul has been aggressively expanding its subway system in recent years with the addition of new lines and extensions of existing ones. And what that means is brand spanking new and very clean stations in cool areas that matter. Shinnon-hyun Station of the new Line Number 9 developed one of those iconic Korean cafe streets ever since the station’s opening. And Apgujeong Rodeo St. Station? Pfff… That place has been bumpin’ for years, the station’s just new! It’s so nice to have fresh new stations everywhere :).

 

 

Safety

The gates on each platform only open when the train is there; they also prevent any accidental slippage onto the tracks. In addition to that, Seoul is pretty low on violent crimes and riding the subways can feel safe, sometimes even late at night!

 

 

 

 

Shopping

Inside and/or attached to many Seoul subway stations are actual underground shopping malls. These underground shopping malls of Seoul are usually where to find cheap bargains as well as huge selections. Don’t expect any Gucci, but definitely shop here for cheap Korean fashion. For Seoul, try shopping for Korean fashion at Express Bus Terminal Station or Gangnam Station.

 

 

 

 

Seoul Subway Line 2

This subway line is a godsend for Seoul tourists as well as residents. The iconic green line is home to many of Seoul’s most popular spots, such as Gangnam, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, Hongdae and more. It’s also great for transferring to other lines. Remember this subway line if you love hanging out in cool places :)

 

Price

All this good stuff and the subway still only costs 1,050 won (approximately $1USD) for basic fare. It’s definitely not the cheapest in the world, but compared to subway prices in different parts of the world and with all that technological goodness (and free bus transfers to boot!), that’s a deal!

What do you love about the Seoul metro system? Let us know in the comments!

About Keith

Keith Kim is a Korean-American living in Seoul, Korea. He likes espresso shots, photography art and he loves his Playstation 3. He started seoulistic.com as a hobby site, and is now in the process of turning it into a full-time business. Wish him luck! Check out his blog for an uncensored view on entrepreneurship, dating and life in Korea. Personal Blog: gyopokeith.com Facebook: facebook.com/gyopokeithkim Twitter: @gyopokeith Youtube: "Gyopokeith e-mail me anytime at: gyopokeith [at] gmail.com

24 comments

  1. Mirella

    Here in São Paulo, Brazil, for me the best car of the subway system is a korean technology. I can’t wait to visit Korea and visit the Seoul subway! :D

  2. Jim

    Couldn’t agree more. The Seoul subway system rocks. Easily the best I’ve been on, and I’ve ridden a lot of different subway systems.

  3. Marie Frenette

    One of the many reasons I choose to call Korea my home.

  4. Antti

    Its good and all cause of heated metro, but why the heck it need to be like SAUNA? :O i think Korea can save money on energy if they dont heat subway cars so much.. omg.. when i was there last month i needed to take my jacket of like 10 mins before station. Well cool feeling was maybye 1 min longer but after that sweat like litle pig, so no heating on full powah is not 1 of the top 10 reasons. I tihink you can replace with some other cause when you are in subway and they heating it full power you feel more cold out side.

  5. I also love the Korean subway system.. easy to use and in my opinion super cheap compared to other countries! Cheers Mika

  6. Stuart Munro

    Your comment..
    Safe, friendly, reliable, warm, full of helpful and friendly people and there’s even a discount or transfer fare reduction on swapping from buses to the subway. The subway reflects the national character – manifestly excellent in all respects.

  7. nergis

    safety, definitely! in many subways in other places there are no gates for security, which is very dangerous and scary i think! sooo.. congrats to korea!:)
    and heated seats?!!!:) you have my heart, korea!:)

  8. logan

    i’m living in seoul and i have to agree. i hate public transportation and usually ride my scooter, but when i have to take the subbers then it’s not so bad. btw…myeongdong isn’t on the green line…

  9. Keith Kim

    Sure it is! Euljiro1ga station takes you right there :)

  10. Steve

    the Seoul subway system is AWESOME! lived in Korea for four years, but only had regular access to it for one. VERY clean and efficient. Made the time in Seoul so much easier.

    One word of advice- try to stay quiet on it if you can. I never had a problem with noise, but when a group of English teachers get on and start talking, they’ll be reminded of the NO TALKING pretty quick.

  11. Gerry

    Now, if only the ajumas would LEARN to let people OFF before they come on, and not push, then yeah the Seoul subway would be pretty good.

    • Jacquie

      The Ajumas can be scary :| Got pushed so many times!

  12. Astoria

    Oh the Seoul subway is delightful until midnight. But I would give up all those perks for a 24/7 system. And I did – by moving back to New York. It may be dirty and cellphone-unfriendly, but at least it always gets you home!

    Although to be honest, the fact that no one else is on their phone is kind of a perk. :)

  13. Keith

    Well…. it looks convenient. However, I think Singapore’s MRT system is much better than Korea because the train is really fast

  14. Anthony

    I recently arrived back from Seoul, before that, travelled in 7 countries throughout Europe and yes Seoul is #1. After being away from Seoul for 4 years I was impressed by how much they have improved a system that was already great, like the direction arrows for waking in stairs and through transfers. It’s nice that seniors get to ride for free, however, they should really be aware of rush hour times when planning their day, that would help the Seoul system greatly during rush hour!

  15. Eileen

    Well. when it comes to prices on subway… here in a medium sized town, the bus (we have no subway….) one way ticket to town (3 km) costs about 7000 Won… so to a Norwegian subway in Seoul is waaay cheap!! ;)

  16. Jacquie

    My favourite thing about the Seoul subway is the cute little jingles that are played when the train is arriving or when you’re getting to a transfer station! I get super nostalgic when I hear these tunes (because I’m constantly listening to them). Can’t wait to come back to Korea!

  17. C

    I agree wholeheartedly. Seoul’s subway system is a godsend. Easy to use, convenient and oh so clean! The underground malls and shops are a bit of a double edged sword though; when I was there and transferring from one line to the next, I always risked being late for my final destination because I kept getting distracted by all the shops and cafes I could browse through. Lol.

    • Rory

      Love it! Its been my official mode of transportation each time I visit Seoul and I have been coming each autumn for the past 6 years! So user friendly and efficient and convenient indeed. One thing I do appreciate too, though not about the subway itself, are the people riding. No people talking very loudly (which I have experienced in NY and Singapore). Even ringtones on mobiles are set to discreet volumes or none at all which makes riding a treat when you are tired and hoping for some peace and quiet on the ride home.