How to use Subway in Korea – The Definitive Guide

Seoul’s public transportation, including the subway, buses, and taxis, offers a vast and efficient network. The Seoul subway system is recognized as one of the world’s best, known for its convenience, cleanliness, and frequent service from 5:30 AM to midnight.

Stations are marked in Korean, English, and Chinese. To ride, use disposable or rechargeable transportation cards. Transfers between subway lines are free, and Tmoney cardholders enjoy free transfers between buses and subways. Various apps provide English information on routes, schedules, and transfers for the subway system.

What does it take to explore Korea with Subway like a pro? Let’s jump right in.

How to navigate Using the Subway to your destination?


We recommend using Naver Map because the app is reliable and easy to use. With this app, you can also find attractions, restaurants, cafes, and more.

Naver Map

Public Transportation Card

Nobody wants to waste time and get stressed in a subway station.

But let’s be honest. As a foreigner, you will get confused with hundreds of different signs that say hundreds of different things. You don’t want that, do you?

So, let’s talk about getting a public transportation card.

Reasons to get a card

  • You don’t have to carry coins. Just tap.
  • You get (almost) free transfers between 23 subway lines and 375 bus lines to get you anywhere.

Card Options

We recommend getting WOWPASS, because it comes with a credit card function, money exchange, and transportation card, all together in a single card.


Korea is nearly a cashless country. With the WOWPASS card, it works like a local credit card in Korea so you can pay everywhere in Korea. You can top up the card or exchange money with your currency using their kiosks.

You can see the location of the WOWPASS kiosks here.

You can buy their Airport Package at a 20% discounted price and pick it up at the Airports.

At the subway station

Tag Your Card to Enter

Tag your card on the subway ticket gate. In case your card would not get tagged properly, seek assistance from the officers next to the gate.

Tag Your Card to Transfer

Remember to tag your card at hop-out. If you don’t tag, you won’t get free transfers to other subway or bus lines.

Use A Bigger Ticket Gate When You Are With Big Luggage

FAQs: Subway In Korea

What if I got out of the subway ticket gate by accident? Do I have to pay again?

As of July 2023, Seoul City introduced a 10-minute window of free re-entry. Whether you entered the wrong side of the subway platform or had to come out to go toilet, you will be not charged again as long as you tag your card within 10 minutes.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *