Seoul’s Express Bus Terminal

This week on the Walk and Talk, we head into Seoul and the massive Express Bus Terminal. Of all the transportation hubs in Seoul, this is the one that I perhaps use the most. Located in Gangnam, the terminal isn’t just one terminal, but two. It’s divided into two areas: the Express Bus Terminal side and the Central City side. Collectively they’re often referred to as the Gangnam Terminal.

The facility is huge with several shops, a Shinsegae Department Store, and tons of restaurants. If you’re traveling by bus in Korea, this is a great launching point since it has transport to just about every corner of the peninsula. The only thing to take into consideration is that different destinations are served by the Express Bus Terminal and Central City Terminal sides. A quick call to the Tourism Line (1330) will let you know which side you need to buy a ticket from.

Purchasing tickets is easy, since everything is in Korean and English.

Nambu Bus Terminal – The Walk and Talk #28

Most of the time Jo and I head out of the area on trips, we do so by bus. In fact, one of the reasons we love living where we do is the close proximity to Suwon Bus Terminal. Today, I venture into Seoul to take a look at the Nambu Bus Terminal Station, Nambu Bus Terminal, and the block around the bus station. I also spend some time explaining why it’s important to learn Hangul when traveling in Korea, since sometimes the English names and the Korean names don’t match up.

Cool Korean Bus Sign in Suwon Station

Another quick one today! While I was out for a meeting, I cam across this really cool Korean bus information sign. It’s the first time I’ve seen one like this inside a subway station. Normally, this data is only at the bus stop, this sign has all the buses listed by exit, the wait times for the next two buses on routes, and current location. It’s a grey travel tool and I hope to see more of these kiosks installed.

Korean Wheelchair Bus

While not running extensively throughout Gyeonggi or Seoul, every now and again a wheelchair accessible bus will be run. In Dongtan, the 7-1 is always a handicapped accessible bus. From what I’ve seen elsewhere, that’s also usually how it is done: a specific route will have buses dedicated to it.

Korean Bus Travel Tips

Throughout Korea you’ll find many bus terminals (버스터미널). While these are usually categorized into Express (고속터미널) and Intercity (시외버스터미널), the reality of the matter is that for the casual user, there really isn’t much difference. While the Express and Intercity Terminals will specialize in regions, very rarely will you find that you can’t travel from one location to the next.

Most locations have several buses running to each city every day. The number varies, based on what kind of terminal. For example, if in Seoul, there will be more buses departing for easterly locations from the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal than the Central City Terminal. This is because the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal specializes in easterly travel.

There are four bus classes. Jikhaeng (직행버스) buses are direct buses that may make one or two stops between the origin and destination. Mujeong (무정차) buses are non-stop buses from A to B. Gosok (고속), like the terminal name, includes express buses. Finally, we have Wudeung (우등버스) buses. These are the luxury buses. What makes them luxury? Rather than sitting four across like the other classes, the Wudeung buses are only three across, have larger seats, and more legroom. There is a price for this service, and most tickets will be at least W10,000 to W15,000 more than their counterparts. There is one more bus, the Shimya (심야버스). This bus runs overnight and can really be a lifesaver if you’re trying to make the most out of your weekend. Bus information can be obtain from the official website or by calling the Korean Tourism Information Line (1330).

Buses to depart when scheduled so make sure you’re on time. Also, It’s usually a good idea to check your bladder before you go. On trips shorter than two hours, there may not be a restroom break. On longer trips there will usually be at least one, but it is fairly short, only 10-15 minutes. This is long enough for you to get off, complete your business, grab a snack and get back on.

Traveling by bus is one of the best ways to navigate Korea and I highly recommend doing so.

VLOG: Inside Suwon Bus Terminal

When I lived in the United States, traveling by bus was often looked down upon and something deemed for “lower class people.” I never thought that way and fondly remembered traveling the highways on Greyhound. In Korea, traveling by bus is a great experience. In Seoul, there are three major bus terminals. However, I often don’t want to go all the way into Seoul to catch a bus. So, when Jo and I need to get somewhere, we usually go to the Suwon Bus Terminal. It’s located about 20 minutes from our home and allows us to go to just about every corner of Korea.

What do you think of this bus terminal? Would you like to see more? Do you like traveling by bus?

Anyang’s Awesome Bus Stop Signs

Recently I needed to head into Seoul one evening. I had to stay overnight in preparation for a shoot for Korea Today. This required me to take a different bus from school into Seoul. When researching the best way to do this, I came across the ultimate bus stop sign.

Korean-Bus-Signs-QiRangerWhat makes it different?

Taking a look at the above screen from the bus stop, you’ll see a lot of information. To the casual observer, it looks just like any other bus stop sign in Korea. I mean, what you’re really wanting to know is when exactly is that next bus coming, right? But closer inspection will reveal a lot more information.

The Bus Arrival Screen


This is the standard screen shown at many Korean bus stops. It has a numerous buses listed, the number of stops they are currently away, and which buses are approaching. However, what caught my eye was the green bus at the top. It’s a Maeul (vilage) bus. These typically do not travel for long distances, and in Dongtan, are not on any screen or mobile phone app. Maeul buses dart in and out of neighborhoods and are an incredibly efficient way to travel in a town – but rarely do you know when they are actually coming! Not so with this screen. I can see that the next bus is 10 minutes away – AWESOME!

Traffic Display


Another great feature of this Korean bus stop sign is a tie-in to local traffic. Presumably this isn’t for those needing to drive along Korea’s crowded streets, but for those estimating how long the bus might take getting to those areas. It’s the first time I’ve seen traffic indicators on a sign of this nature (they are usually posted in massive overhead displays for drivers). It’s a brilliant addition that can greatly assist commuters in planning their travels during rush hour.

Don’t be late for the train!


However, the item that really blew me away on the display was the little gem shown above: subway station information. WIth Myeonghak Station only a few hundred meters away, the bus stop sign included information about the “up” and “down” routes for this Line 1 station. On the screen , you can see the top (up) line has two trains approaching. One is headed to Cheongnyangni Station, while he second train is only going as far as Guro. This information was a surprise to see on a number of different levels, especially since buses and subways are “rival” forms of transportation. However, from a commuter’s point of view, it’s very welcome, since it allows one to make a decision on which mode of transportation is easier to catch and get one to the desired destination.

As public transportation continues to expand in Korea, government entities continue to increase the offerings to the public. This is by far the most advanced bus stop sign I have seen in the nation, but I also wonder if it includes too much data? All of it is helpful, but is it really necessary? After all, what the majority of passengers really want to know is when is the next bus coming and how many minutes are between buses.

What do you think? What information should be on a bus stop sign?

New Seoul Bus Displays

I’ve mentioned many times that traveling in Seoul is easy. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t purchased a car since coming to Korea. There just really isn’t a need. You can get everywhere you need to by bus, subway, or train. With the advent of smart phones, several developers made use of the GPS tracking systems to create apps that allow users to know just when trains or buses will arrive; however, the actual displays hadn’t really had much of an upgrade in several years.

Seoul Subway - Transportaion - South Korea - QiRanger

Those riding on Seoul’s Line Number 2, recognize the above. It isn’t new, but does a great job of showing when the next train will arrive. The car slides along the route, showing the previous two stops. These displays aren’t in every subway terminal, yet. I suspect over the next five years, they will be. After all, 5 years ago, they were just beginning to be installed.

Seoul bus - Transportaion - South Korea - QiRanger

What is new is the above. These television panels have been installed in most buses in the Seoul and Gyeonggi-do area. As a stop approaches, it shows the name of the stop, as well as the previous and next locations. During the ride, ads and cartoons play. The right side also features some news and weather. These have been put in place during the last six months and are still being rolled out.

I’m not sure they are really needed, but given the noise levels that can be reached during rush hour, having a visible signal is nice.

How are bus stops shown in your area when riding?

New Bus Tech

This past weekend I needed to get out and do a little traveling for some upcoming stories. As such, I headed all the way out to Incheon for the start of the Tour de Korea. While riding the bus, I saw this:

QiRanger - Bus - Korea - Money - Transportation

I thought it was pretty cool. It was the first time I’ve seen a stand that had a set area for the RF cards to take up the fare, a bill reader, and a coin slot that could take multiple coins at one time. I think this will be cropping up more and more, now that the standard fare in Korea is more than W1000. This makes it easy to see how much money has been deposited with the digital display.

The vlog version:

Charge Me!

Buses in Seoul are getting better and better all the time. When I first came to Korea, when I wanted to get around I’d hop on a blue bus. Some of these buses started putting phone chargers for people to use. With the addition of the new M-class buses, things have even been upped a notch.

If you can’t tell what this little gizmo is, let me clue you in: it’s a phone charger. Not just any phone charger, but a base station with USB, 20-pin,and 24-pin connectors. Not is this thing cool, but the fact that there were 8 in the bus made it something really special. I assume as more and more people use smart phones, we’ll start seeing more and more of them on public transports. Note: if you need the USB charger, you’ll have to bring your own male-ended USB cable. This one’s the female.