Survival Tips for Travelers to Seoul- The Illustrious T-money Card

Why Must Travelers Have This Magical T-money Card in Korea?

3686207257_703278dc32_b.jpgIn South Korea, travelers can buy a Single Journey Ticket or a rechargeable card called T-money Card. We advise you to get a T-money Card as it is a magic wand that will make your journey super convenient!

These cards can be used for all the buses, subway and taxis. If you’ve forgotten to bring your wallet, you can even make payments with these cards in convenience stores. 😉 3707332912_0192c18755_bOther T-Money items: There is a variety of accessories such as key chains, mini mirrors, straps, all of which can be used just like the T-money Card.

1. Where to buy your T-money Card

You can easily purchase the basic T-money Card at retail convenience stores such as CU, GS25 and 7-Eleven. The card itself costs 2,500 KRW.1 (1).jpgNowadays, Kakao Friends is gaining a huge popularity and it has released T-money Cards with totally cute Kakao characters. These cards cost 4,000 KRW.

2. How to recharge your T-Money Card

There are 3 ways to recharge your T-money Card.

1. Locate a ticket vending machine. They are located inside all the subway stations and train station.3686203061_017ce8945b_b

Click the third button with the T-money logo on the far right. Place your card and then select the amount of money. Insert coin or bill and wait until the charge is over.

2. Newstands near bus stops with a display of the T-money sign. You can find them usually next to the subway station exits and entrances.

3. Head over to retail convenience stores. This is the easiest way to recharge your card!

Tip: Some Student IDs offer the T-money card service, but may not be recharged at convenience stores. Therefore, find the closest subway station to reload your card.

Refunds: If you have a T-money balance of 20,000 won or less, visit a T-money affiliated convenience store and receive your money. If your remaining balance is more than 20,000 won, please visit the T-money headquarters at:

Address: 1st FL. T-money Town, Seoul City Tower Building, Namdaemun-ro 5Ga, Jung-gu, Seoul

Phone: Customer Service, 02-1644-0088/080-389-0088

Directions: Located just outside Seoul Station Exit #8, Seoul Subway Lines 1 and 4

3. How to use T-Money Card

Bus: When you get on the bus, place the card on the sensor. It will tell you how much money has been charged and your remaining balance. If an error occurs, give it a second or two, and try again. If this continues, the bus driver will let you know what the issue is. When you exit the bus, tap the sensor one more time to get a discount for the transfer. You can enjoy 4 discount transfers in a day._MG_5284Tip: Make sure you tap your card again and you hear a beep. If you don’t, you will be charged extra for distance traveled.

Metro: When you enter the subway station, place the card on the sensor. If an error occurs, press the red “help” button and the staff will come and help you.

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Photo credits to 

Taxi: Not all but some taxis do accept T-money as a form of payment. Look out for the signs on the taxi and see if the driver accepts to money.

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Photo taken from VisitSeoul

When you arrive at your destination, simply tap your card on the sensor and the screen above the gray box (see picture below) will let you know your remaining balance.

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Photo credits to VisitSeoul

*If you’re looking for a train pass that travels throughout all regions of Korea, we recommend you a KR Pass! Find more details here or read A Beginner’s Guide to Train Travel in South Korea from our previous post.

Don’t forget to visit Trazy.com for more tips and advice about new locations and things to do reviewed by users like you 🙂button_main

Top 6 Reasons why traveling Seoul is SUPER convenient!

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Han river cruise in Seoul

When you travel outside your country, don’t you have to take care of so many things? From small details like currency to important matters such as housing and flight, there are so many factors making you want to throw away your travel plan even before you start packing. In that sense, we can say that Seoul is your perfect vacation place because Seoul is fairly convenient to travel. Make sure you know the 6 reasons why Seoul will make your trip easier, giving you more time to concentrate on the quality of travel.

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1. Keep the tip in your pocket!

What a pleasant news for you! In Seoul (and other cities in Korea), you don’t have to pay a tip in most of the restaurants even if you receive nice service. Moreover, the staff do not complain or feel unpleasant when you don’t give them the tip. If you stay at a hotel in Seoul, then you also do not need to give tips to the staff at the hotel as the tip is already included in your room price.

Now since you can save your money for tips, why don’t you go shopping? Of course, you can give the tip if you are satisfied with the service and in fact, it’s advisable to pay tip at fancy restaurants in luxurious hotels.

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2. Don’t need to be a math genius to calculate tax!

When you buy something in Seoul, you don’t need to calculate value added tax (VAT) or sales tax on every product. The VAT across the country is the same (about 10%) and it is already included in the final price. In some countries, you have to prepare more money than the price stated on the bill or tag, but you don’t need to do that here in Seoul! Throw away your smartphone calculator and forget all the math work!

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3. Numerous free side dishes will enrapture you!

Most of the restaurants in Korea serving Korean dishes give free side dishes for you even when you order only one main dish. Especially when you visit Korean traditional restaurants, you will be shocked by the number of side dishes offered for free. Having many side dishes is a unique part of the Korean culture that dates back to the times of Korean royal court cuisine in Joseon dynasty. At that time, the king was served with 12 side dishes and main dishes. This became a Korean tradition and now there are usually 2 to 12 side dishes along with main dishes served in Korean restaurants. Most of the times, you can ask for more without paying extra money.

Unfortunately, many Western cuisine restaurants in Korea do not offer free side dishes. By the way, water is free in every restaurant, so don’t let yourself dehydrated.

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4. You are not Cinderella, so stay up all night!

If you are a night owl, then Seoul is a perfect city for you to enjoy. Most of stores and restaurants open until 10 PM. Also downtown areas in Seoul such as Hongdae, Gangnam and Itaewon are filled with places open until the first subway train in the morning starts to run next day.

You may think that all you can do at night in Seoul is clubbing but that is not true. You can watch movies even around 3 AM or visit Dongdaemun’s night market which is even livelier than the day time. If you need anything, run to a convenience store. 24 hour open convenience stores are so easy to find in Seoul.

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5. The Internet flies like an arrow!

Koreans like to do something fast. So is Internet in Korea. In 2015, a research done by an international cloud platform company showed that Korea ranks the first in the world in average Internet access with 22.2Mbps. (Hong Kong ranks the second with 16.8Mbps.) You can access to this high speed Wi-Fi in most of the restaurants or cafes in Seoul.

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6. Seoul’s subway will be your magic carpet!

With 1,300 won (about one dollar) you can go anywhere in Seoul! There are 9  basic lines with 9 additional lines in Seoul. The basic lines (lines 1~9) go through every major places in Seoul city while other 9 lines reach out the vicinity areas of Seoul such as Yongin, Chuncheon and Gimpo (Gyeonggi-do province). Especially, Incheon airport railroad express goes through from Seoul station and Gimpo International airport to Incheon International airport. Unlike buses or taxis, there is no traffic jam that drives you crazy when you take a subway.

And so… just visit Seoul and enjoy to the fullest! 🙂

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5 Survial Tips not to get ripped off when using a taxi in Korea

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Recently there was an accident in Busan where a Japanese woman was ripped off by a taxi driver. When she asked for a receipt, 39,000 won was written on the sheet while the number on the taximeter was only 19,000 won. She asked the driver about the extra fee, knowing that the extra 20,000 won was added out of nowhere. The driver told her that it was a mistake. Luckily she only had to pay 19,000 won eventually, but she got enraged by how she was mistreated.

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If you are a foreigner, unfortunately, it is highly possible that you are exposed to the danger of being ripped off when using a cab. Some taxi drivers think that foreigners are good preys to rip off as they cannot understand Korean. So here are some tips which can prevent you from spending extra money when taking a cab.

taxi61. Check whether the taximeter is on.

Some taxi drivers may not use the taximeter and ask for more money when they take you to the destination. It is illegal to turn off the device and drive the taxi, so check whether the taximeter is on. The basic rates are different from city to city, but the default rate in Seoul is 3,000 won for 2 km; Busan and Jeju are 2,800 won for 2 km.

taxi12. Make sure you ask for a receipt just in case.

When you get off from a cab, tell the driver to print out the receipt. Whether you pay cash or use a credit card, you can get the receipt. On the receipt, various information like the taxi number, company number, distances, and fare is printed. If you have a problem later (for example when you left something at the cab), the receipt will be very helpful.

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3. Beware of a surcharge after midnight.

After midnight, most of the public transportation are closed and you probably have to take a cab to get around. However taxi fare increases by 20% if you take a cab after midnight. In other words, if the fee is 10,000 won during the day time, then you have to pay 12,000 won for the same distance during the night. The surcharge is applied from midnight to 4 AM. Also if you go to one city to another, such as from Seoul to Incheon, you have to pay extra 20% of the fare too. And if you take a taxi to go to another city after midnight, you have to pay additional 40 % of the normal fare.

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4. Black taxis are Premium Taxis with extra fare.

Sometimes you will see black taxis on the street. They are premium taxis whose drivers are certified by local governments for their safe driving history. However their basic fare is 5,000 won (while other taxis’ are 3,000 won) and pay 200 won for every 178 meters. Even though they are more expensive, they don’t ask for surcharge after midnight.

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Seongnam taxis have “성남” sign on the taxis.
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Seoul taxis have “서울” or “Seoul” sign on the taxis.

5. Look at the city sign on the taxi to figure out whether it’s a Seoul taxi or not.

If you take a taxi in Seoul, take a look at the city sign of the taxi before you hail one. Even though most of the taxis in Seoul accept customers who want to go somewhere in Seoul, some taxis don’t. It is because those taxis are not from Seoul. They offer ride in Gyeonggi-do province cities in the vicinity of Seoul (like Seongnam) and drive to Seoul only when customers from the cities ask to go Seoul. After the customers get off in Seoul, the taxi drivers look for customers who want to go back to the cities (outside of Seoul) where the taxis are from. Taxis that drive in Seoul have rooftop lights with a word ‘서울(Seoul)’ on. Taxis from Seongnam and other Gyeonggi provinces have indicating signs on the sides or the top of the taxis.

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Trazy’s Survival Tips for Travelers to Korea: Seoul’s Public Transportation System

Welcome to Seoul!

Now that you’ve arrived, how do you get around this massive city? There are three options: Bus, Taxi, and Metro. For the bus and metro, it is recommended to use T-money card as fares are discounted 100 Korean Won (about 10 cents) per trip. In addition, you are allowed up to 4 free transfers when you use T-money items.

Take a look at our guide on Survival Tips for Travelers to Seoul- The Illustrious T-money Card.

BUSES

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All Credit for pictures to hikorea.go.kr

The Blue buses travel across the city and drive through at least two districts. Green buses operate in at least one district and carry passengers to metro transfer points. Red buses are express buses connecting Seoul with the suburbs and cities surrounding it. Bus service is fast and direct, so if you need to go outside of Seoul and don’t want to take the train, take this. If you have subscribed to a local Telecom service there is free-WiFi for you. Lastly, Yellow buses travel in a closed circle around major districts.

Most buses end their service at 11 pm, but some run till 3 am.

To get more info for buses, download the mobile app Seoul Bus and enter the bus stations ID number to find out more information on run times (see below as some end at 23:54 while another at 01:49) or for when buses are arriving at your current location.bus#1asUse Google maps to give you a set course of which buses to take to arrive at your chosen directions. For those with a little knowledge of Korean, use Naver Map.

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Popular Bus Routes

Some of the most popular bus routes you may want to take are:

#273 that travels to Hongdae, Sinchon, Gwanghwamun988399_373254279485286_771463891_n

#104 travels to Gwangjang Market, Myeongdong, Namdaemun Market1486893_373254276151953_211004033_n

#472 stops at SeolleungSinsa “Garosugil“, and Apgujeong “Rodeo Street”1503933_373254312818616_2083293872_n

For the Blue, Green, and Red Buses, the basic fare is 1,150 won in cash and 1,050 won with a T-money card. For the Yellow bus, the standard fee is 950 won. When using the T-money card, just place the card on top of the sensor (See the picture below) and your charge and the remaining balance will be shown.

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TAXI

When you’re in a rush, a taxi will be there to get you to your destination as fast as possible. But, which taxi should you take?

The first option is the regular taxi, which comes in silver, white or orange colors. While the silver and white taxis are privately owned by a driver, the orange taxis are run by the city government.20130508165545Both of them offer the same rates (3,000 KRW), but many of the orange taxis with a letter ‘intl’ written on it offer foreign-language services and are designed to cater international visitors.

If you want to make a reservation or inquiry call Navi Call (1599-8255), K-Taxi (1577-9977), N Call (1688-2255) and for online reservations visit here (English).800px-20101018_kia_k5_taxi_01The next option is the deluxe taxi. While deluxe taxis are more expensive than normal taxis, they more comfortable and offer a more pleasant ride than the standard. They are usually black.20131218173558

The fees for each type of taxi are as follow :

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Tip: 1. When taking a taxi in Seoul make sure you’re not taking taxi’s labeled ( 경기고양 or  인천: Gyeonggi Province or Incheon City). They may refuse to take you since they operate outside of  Seoul.

*If a taxi refuses to take you other than not being a Seoul taxi or refusing to use the fare meter (it’s against the law to do so) please report the license plate numbertime and date of use, and the destination details (i.e. starting and ending destination) to happyride@seoul.go.kr or the Korea Tourism Organization Tourist Complaint Center (☎ 02-735-0101, 02-1330).


METRO
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Last but not least is Seoul’s metro system. Seoul Metro system is very clean and convenient. There are 9 lines on the Seoul Metro numbered 1-9. In addition, there are other lines that go to Gyeonggi Province connected to the metro system such as Incheon, Airport Railroad, and Bundang.

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You can download the map here and use the interactive map on the page to plan your trip easily. The website is available in Korean, English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), and Japanese.

The fee for a single journey ticket on the Seoul Metro is  1,150 won per ticket in cash and 1,050 won with T-money card. If you’re traveling long distances the fees are:캡처

How to take the Seoul Metro

1. Locate the Metro Station._MG_5266

2. Purchase a ticket at the vending machine or use your T-money card.20140822145756348

3. Locate the turnstile.201408221752473184. Insert your ticket or place your T-money item on the sensor.
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5. When you’re inside, some maps can help you. On the left is a map of the direction the train is headed. On your right are the times the metro will run.  In this case the Line 2 metro ends at 23:58.BUS #1

6. There are also Screens letting you know when your train arrives 

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7. Finally, as you exit the train, insert your ticket or place your T-money item on the sensor again to exit the station. As you exit, you’ll notice signs (see picture below) which will help you figure out which exit to go through to reach your destination. 
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Found this post helpful? For more survival tips and travel updates on South Korea, follow this blog or visit Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, Trazy.com.

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