Hands down, Seoul is my favourite city to visit. It has a vibrant energy with a great balance between modern technology and traditional architecture. Keep reading to learn about my top Seoul tips and tricks.
1. The Subway transit is fast and easy to use.
I used the google maps app on my phone to get around on the subway system and buses.The subway trains arrive frequently with an average wait time of 3 to 5 minutes between trains. Travelling on the subway system is significantly faster than taking the bus.
2. Maps and signs are located near the Subway entrances and exits.
There are maps and signs everywhere. I would always check the maps before choosing an exit so I knew exactly where I’d end up. Each station has several numbered exits, some of which may take you many blocks away.
3. T-Money cards are the easiest way to pay for using the Metro System.If you are using the Subway, make sure to have a t-money card. They’re easy to use and load and you can buy them at any convenience store. We got ours at the airport. Every subway station has a machine where you can add money to your card. All of the machines we saw had an English language option available.
4. Be mentally prepared on the Subway during rush hour.
During Seoul’s rush hours, the Subway cars get tight. The busiest time is between 6 and 7 pm. Rush hour varies depending on what station you are at and your destination.
5. The Subway Stations are organized.
In the station, you will see people lining up on either side of each car entrance, even when the station is packed. They wait until most people are off the train before boarding.
Street Travel Tips
6. Convenience stores are perfect for travellers.
They have a good supply of iced & hot coffee to go, liquor, and quick food. We visited one every day. It was great for grabbing a quick bite for breakfast, lunch, or coffee on our busy days.
7. Garbage cans are hard to find.
Seoul was a very clean city. It surprised me that garbage cans could be hard to find on the streets. I ended up keeping my trash with me until I found a trashcan when visiting the washroom.
8. Street food is delicious and inexpensive.
We ate at various street vendors every day. All the food we found at the vendors was fresh and delicious. Some of the best dumplings I had in Seoul were from street vendors.
9. Drink bottled water.
Just to be safe, we mostly drank bottled water while there. On occasion, we did fill up our bottles at some fountains and never had any health problems from it. The fountains are relativity safe to use and there are water quality ratings posted in most tourist area fountains. Check to see if there is a water-testing poster beside a fountain before filling up your water bottle. If you do not see a sign, I would not drink it.
10. Wifi spots are easy to find
There are many free Wi-Fi spots and most cafes have internet for use. You can also rent a portable Wi-Fi “egg”. Our egg came with our Airbnb but they can also be rented before your trip and picked up at the airport.
11. Umbrellas are very popular.
There is a great umbrella culture here. They have so many different styles for sale. In most stores they have little umbrella bags to hold your wet umbrella in as you walk around shopping, keeping the floors dry.
12. One bill per table at restaurants
Restaurant bills are brought to the table with a single total, not separated by person.
When paying the bill you pay for what you see, no tip or tax is necessary. This makes splitting a bill between four people much easier. Often, they will give you the bill when they bring the food.
13. Cutlery hidden in the table.
If you cannot find any chopsticks or napkins, look for a drawer or small lip on the table, they should be inside.
14. Looking for a quick North America style breakfast? The Paris Baguette is a chain found throughout Seoul. They serve up speciality coffees and breakfast sandwiches if you are looking for a quick hot meal in the morning.
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Want a map of my favourite places in Seoul? Click the photo below!