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Transportation in Korea

01 Buses

There are city buses, distance buses, and express buses. To use distance buses and express buses, youwill need to buy tickets in advance. Check the time of departure and the destination before getting ona bus.

(1) City Buses

Using City Buses
  • Use a transportation card or pay cash when you ride a bus.
  • You can buy a transportation card at subway stations or stores around bus stops. Traffic cards can berecharged in cash amounts in units of KRW 1,000, ranging from KRW 1,000 to KRW 50,000.
    • At present, credit cards can also serve the function of a deferred payment transportation card.
  • AH Fares are discounted if you use the transportation card. A discounted transfer fare will apply when you transfer to a bus or the subway.
Fares and Characteristics of Urban Buses
Fares and Characteristics of Urban Buses
TypeTransportation CardCash
General bus1,200 won1,300 won
Wide area bus2,300 won2,400 won
Town bus900 won1,000 won
  • The table above reflects fares in Seoul; fares may vary by region. Please refer to the traffic information websites of your local city and borough office.
Useful Information
Urban Buses of Seoul
  • Ganseon Bus (Rapid inter-regional travel)
    Ganseon Bus (Rapid inter-regional travel):
    Connects the suburban areas and the Seoul downtown areas by traveling in the central bus lanes.
  • Jiseon Bus (Linking main routes)
    Jiseon Bus (Linking main routes):
    Connects major subway stations and bus terminals in the Seoul downtown areas.
  • Gwangyeok Bus (Rapid transportation between metropolitan areas)
    Gwangyeok Bus (Rapid transportation between metropolitan areas):
    Connects the Seoul downtown areas and neighboring cities for commuters.
  • Sunhwan Bus (Circular line transportation)
    Sunhwan Bus (Circular line transportation):
    Travels the Seoul downtown areas and stops at major railway stations, commercial districts, tourist destinations and shopping destinations
  • Town shuttle bus
    Town shuttle bus:
    Small bus that travels between the local railroad station, red bus transfer stations, apartment complex, and other key areas.
  • M Bus (red express buses)
    M Bus (red express buses):
    To solve the issue of traffic congestion in the Seoul Metropolitan Area and provide a better experience for commuters, M Buses stop only at four stops within a 5km range of the place of departure and the place of destination.
Transfer System (Apply your card to the card reader when getting on and off a bus or a subway.)

The transfer system is applied to all areas where subways and transit vehicles are operated. Thediscount program is applied when transferring between buses, or from a bus to a subway or viceversa. Fare payments made in cash are not eligible for transfer discounts. If you use a transportationcard, you will be able to take advantage of the transfer system, and will not be charged any extra farewithin 10 km of the total distance, when you transfer to other transportation vehicles, such as the busor subway. However, you must pay an additional 100 won for every 5km over 10km. Discount faresdiffer by region.
To make the advantage of the transfer system applied, get on other means of transportation within 30minutes after getting off (within 1 hour between 9 pm and 7 am of the next day).

(2) Intercity Buses and Express Buses

How to Use the Bus
  • You can board the buses listed below at bus terminals to visit cities in other regions.
  • Intercity buses will stop at several cities on a route and will involve a longer travel time than express buses.
  • Express buses have a single destination, and consist of Economy, Excellent, and Premium Goldclasses. The Excellent express bus is comfortable with extra wide spaces between seats. The PremiumGold express bus has large seating areas and tables, and TV monitors are equipped for all the seatsso passengers can enjoy various contents including TV shows and movies. Prices for the PremiumGold are the highest and the Economy the lowest.
City Bus Terminals

To use inter-city buses or express buses, passengers should visit local bus terminals. For informationabout bus schedules and reserving a bus ticket, please visit the KOBUS website ( orthe inter-city bus information and reservation service (

City Bus Terminals
Bus TerminalContactBus TerminalContact
Seoul Express Bus Terminal Gyeongbu Line1688-4700West Daegu Express Bus Terminal1666-2600
Dong Seoul Bus Terminal1688-5979Ulsan Express Bus Terminal1688-7797
Central City Terminal Honam Line02-6282-0114Gangneung Express Bus Terminal033-641-3184
Sangbong Intercity Bus Terminal02-323-5885Sokcho Express Bus Terminal033-631-3181
Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal1688-0540Chuncheon Express Bus Terminal033-256-1571
Suwon Bus Terminal1688-5455Cheongju Bus Terminal1688-4321
Incheon Bus Terminal1666-7114Mokpo Bus Terminal1544-6886
Ansan Bus Terminal1666-1837Jeonju Express Bus Terminal063-277-1572
Uijeongbu Bus Terminal1688-0314Gwangju Bus Terminal062-360-8114
Daejeon Bus Terminal1577-22599 Yeosu Intercity Bus Terminal1666-6977
Cheonan Bus Terminal041-640-6400Busan Bus Terminal1577-9956
Dongdaegu Bus Terminal1666-3700Masan Intercity Bus Terminal1688-3110

02 Subways

There are subways operating in the capital area, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Daejeon, and Seoul.In capital area, there are currently a total of 9 subway lines, Incheon Line 1~2, Bundang Line,Sinbundang Line, Gyeongui-Jungang Line, and the Airpot Railroad, etc. in operation. Seoul subwaylines are differentiated by color. All stations, including stations located at the farthest outskirts ofSeoul, stations in satellite cities, and many transfer stations that intersect different lines, are marked onsubway maps with symbols.
Normally, subways run at 2-3 minute intervals during rush hour in the mornings and evenings, and 4-6minute intervals at other times.

(1) Subway Tickets and Fares

Subway Tickets and Fares
ClassificationTransportation Card (rechargeable)Transportation Card (one-time)
AdultKRW 1,250Transportation card fare + KRW 100
YouthKRW 720Regular one-time fare
ChildKRW 450Same as Transportation card
  • The table reflects fares charged for traveling less than 10km within the capital area; use and fees may vary by region. Please refer to the website of your local subway operation institution for more information.

(2) How to Use the Subway

  • 1,250 KRW for 1 trip (1-way ticket for a distance of less than 10 km), additional fee applied depending on the distance
  • Subway trains run every 2-10 minutes and operate from 5:30 a.m. to midnight.
  • There are several subway lines, and the map is easily visible at various locations in the subway station. You can also obtain a pocket-sized map at the Korea Subway Information Center or the subway office.
  • Transfer fares are applied in all subway areas if you pay using a transportation card. Discounts vary depending on the region of travel.
  • Fares may be paid with cash, but cash fares are not eligible for transfer discounts. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you purchase a transportation card. You can use cash to add money to your card balance at the bus station ticket office or by using the transportation card recharger machine at any subway station.
Useful Information
Automatic Ticket Issuance Machine
  1. 1Select one of the following: transportation card prepayment, one time use ticket issuance, or free ticket issuance
  2. 2Select the destination to calculate the fare.
  3. 3Press the number of tickets desired.
  4. 4Insert your money.
  • To buy a one-time ticket, you must pay both the fare and a small deposit for the ticket (refundable once you reach your destination). You can get your deposit back by using the deposit return machine after getting off the train. The deposit amount and one-time ticket may differ by region.
  • Automatic Ticket Issuance Machine
    < Automatic Ticket Issuance Machine >
Nursing Rooms

Major subway and train stations including Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon, etc. are equipped with nursing rooms, in names such as ‘Baby love room,’ or ‘Happy room for babies and mothers.’

  • For details, please refer to websites for regional subway stations and korail.

(3) Subway Map

For information on the first trains, last trains, stations, operation schedule and the shortest routes, please visit the websites of the local subway operators mentioned in the following section.

03 Taxis

Taxis are available 24 hours. They can be easily distinguished from regular cars by the signs on top ofthe car roof. You can get a taxi at a taxi stand, or hail one on the street by waving your hand.An additional fee (usually 1,000 won) is charged on top of the regular fare if you use a call-taxi. Thereare various call-taxi companies that operate in each region in Korea.

(1) Regular Taxis

A regular taxi can carry a maximum of 3-4passengers. Rates are calculated by a taximeterthat is visible on the console in the front of thetaxi. The base rate differs by region, but it isusually KRW 3,800 in Seoul for initial 2km. Anadditional 20% charge applies for late-night taxirides (00:00-04:00).
(As of April 2019)

  • Regular Taxis

(2) Deluxe Taxis

Deluxe taxis have engine displacements of over2,000 cc; most are black in color and operatearound the capital area. Deluxe taxis are muchmore expensive than regular taxis, with KRW6,500 (up to 3km in Seoul) as a base rate.However, no additional fare is charged for latenight or long-distance rides

  • Deluxe Taxis

(3) Van Taxis

These taxis are big enough to carry up to 9people and can be very convenient when youhave a lot of baggage. Every van is equipped witha radio, allowing you to call for pick up. Althoughthe base rate is KRW 6,500, similar to that of aluxury taxi, the fee may be negotiated betweenthe driver and the passenger.

  • Van Taxis

04 Passenger Vehicles

Passenger vehicles are cars owned by individual households.
There are diverse types of passenger vehicles, ranging from small cars to large cars. The prices range from millions of won to tens of millions of won.

How to Get a Driver's License

Procedure to obtain a driver’s license is as follows:

  1. 1Transportation Safety Education: The Transportation Safety Education Center of the driver's license examin ation center or locations designated as transportation safety education organizations (institutions) operate the transportation safety education program.
  2. 2Physical checkup (fee is charged separately)
  3. 3Application for Written Test
Application for Written Test
Required documentsService charge
Application form (Three passport-size color photos takenwithin the past 6 months), identification card
(acceptable ID cards)
KRW 10,000
(KRW 8,000 for motorcycles;
KRW 7,500 for Class 2 Small Vehicles)
  1. 4Written test (※transportation safety education must be completed before submitting an application for the written test): the test is a total of 40 questions.
  • Supported languages: Korean plus three foreign languages (English, Chinese, Vietnamese)
  1. 5Application for Practical l Test: Candidates who have passed the written test or candidates who have previously failed the practical test are qualified to take the exam.
Application for Practical l Test
Required documentsService charge
Application, resident registration card
(or other acceptable ID cards)
  • Agent's identification card, applicant's identification card, and a power of attorney letter if using an agent
  • Class 1 Regular & Class 2 Regular: KRW 22,000
  • Class 1 Large & Class 1 Special: KRW 20,000
  • Motorcycle: KRW 8,000
  • Class 2 Small: KRW 10,000
  1. 6⑥ Practical test: During the test, candidates must complete various driving courses within the premises of the driver's license examination center.
  2. 7Issuance of a learner’s permit: When applying for Class 1 Regular or Class 2 Regular, a learner's permit is issued to the candidates who have successfully passed the practical test, so that they can practice driving on the road.
  3. 8Application for a field driving test: After completing the field driving practice on the road, a learner’s permit holder can submit an application for a field driving test.
  4. 9Field driving test (final test): Candidates take the field driving test at the test center on the test date that is determined upon submitting their application for the field driving test.
  5. 10Issuance of a driver’s license: If a candidate passes the final field driving test, he/she is issued a driver’s license (Class 1 Large, Class 1 Regular, Class 1 Special, Class 2 Regular, Class 2 Small, Class 2 Motorcycle).
Exchanging a foreign license for a Korean license

A holder of a driver's license issued by an authoritative institution abroad may exchange the licensefor a Korean driver’s license. Once its authenticity is confirmed through the submitted documents,including embassy confirmation, the holder is required to take an aptitude test or an aptitude test plusa screening test to complete the exchange. The validity of the foreign license is recognized only for afull license whose expiration date has not yet passed. Temporary licenses, learner's permits, provisionallicenses, probationary licenses, driving permits, and driving certificates may not be exchanged for aKorean license.

  • Location: Driver's license test centers nationwide. Foreign license must be issued from one of the “recognized nations for Korean licenses.”
  • List of recognized nations announced by the National Police Agency in March 2020
  • What is a “recognized nation” for a Korean driver’s license?
    A “recognized nation” is a nation that exchanges a Korean license with a local license withoutadditional tests. Regions with independent licensing system, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, andGuam, are included in this category of nations.
    • License issued by recognized nation for Korean license: aptitude test (physical test)
    • License issued by non-recognized nation for Korean license: aptitude test and screening test (multiple choice, 40 questions) Choose from Korean, English, and Vietnamese.
  • Required documents
Required documents
ClassificationRecognized NationUnrecognized Nation
Foreigners, Overseas citizens
  • Original copy of foreign driver's license
  • Original copy of passport: Passports in which applicant’s entry and departure dates can be confirmed
  • Original copy of alien registration card (Original copy of a resident registration report of overseas Koreans)
  • 3 copies of colored photo taken within past 6 months (Standard photo size)
  • License confirmation document from embassy or an Apostille certification
  • Certificates of entry and departure (from the date of birth to the current date)
  • Service Charge KRW 8,000
  • Original copy of foreign driver's license
  • Original copy of passport: Passports in which applicant’s entry and departure dates can be confirmed
  • Original copy of alien registration card (Original copy of a resident registration report of overseas Koreans)
  • Three of colored photo taken within past 6 months (Standard photo size)
  • License confirmation document from embassy or an Apostille certification
  • Certificates of entry and departure (from the date of birth to the current date)
  • Service Charge KRW 18,000 (physical examination separate)
Required documents
ClassificationRecognized NationUnrecognized Nation
Korean natives, permanent residents
  • Original copy of foreign driver's license
  • Original passport: Confirming a stay of 90 days or more at the country where the foreign license was issued by the immigration stamps in the passport
  • Original resident registration card (including resident registration report of overseas Koreans)
  • 3 copies of colored photo taken within past 6 months
  • License confirmation document from embassy or an Apostille certification
  • Certificates of entry and departure (from the date of birth to the current date)
  • Service Charge KRW 8,000 (physical examination separate)
  • Original copy of foreign driver's license
  • Original passport: Confirming a stay of 90 days or more at the country where the foreign license was issued by the immigration stamps in the passport
  • Original resident registration card (including resident registration report of overseas Koreans)
  • 3 copies of colored photo taken within past 6 months
  • License confirmation document from embassy or an Apostille certification
  • Certificates of entry and departure (from the date of birth to the current date)
  • Service Charge KRW 18,000 (physical examination separate)
  • Embassy confirmation of the license or an Apostille certification: Certificate issued in Korean orEnglish from the respective nation's embassy in Korea or the Korean embassy in the respectivenation to verify the authenticity of the foreign license, or a certificate in Korean or English from aApostille country (country of origin)
    • No additional notarization is required for the embassy confirmation.
    • The embassy confirmation of the license or an Apostille certification is valid for 1 year from the date of issuance. If the expiration date appears on the confirmation, and less than 1 year remains before such, the stated expiration date is applied.
    • If the embassy confirmation states that it is ‘not a certificate for authenticity,’ exchange is not allowed.
    • When exchanging a Canadian license, both ‘certificate of driving experience issued by the Canadian government’ and the ‘embassy confirmation’ must be submitted.
    • The United States Embassy in Korea, the British Embassy in Korea, the Consulate General ofthe Re public of Korea in Hong Kong and the Finland Embassy in Korea have discontinuedlicense confirmation services. Applicants with USA or British licenses must submit an Apostilledcertification of the license upon applying for the exchange.
  • If the dates of issuance and expiration do not appear on the driver's license certification, theadministrative institution that issued the license must submit documents that can verify the date ofissuance and expiration date, such as "certificate of driving experience.”
  • Certificate of Entry and Passport: The entry/exit stamps on the certificate of entry/exit and thepassport must confirm that the applicant has resided in the license-issuing country for 90 daysor more, and that the applicant was residing there on the date of issuance of the foreign license.
  • If the passport or certificate of entry/exit cannot be used to verify that the period of stay exceeded90 days, a certificate of attendance (employment), tax invoices, etc., can be used to prove theperiod of stay. Verification based on documents under another person’s name will not be accepted.
  • Short-term residents with less than 90 days of stay and who did not register as aliens cannot exchange their foreign license for a Korean license.
  • A “native” refers to a person who is registered as a resident under Article 6 of the Residents Registration Law.
  • License issued at the exchange
    • The license issued in exchange for a foreign license is limited to Korea's Class 2 regular license.
    • A license issued from countries with different regulations under the mutual recognition agreement (Belgium, Poland, Spain, and Italy) may be exchanged for the license of the same respective class.
  • Others: No proxy receipt (Regions with independent license systems such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Guam are included in this category of nations.)
  • Note: If the Korean license has been revoked in the past, the applicant must receive 6 hours oftraffic safety education (if the license was revoked due to the expired date for an aptitude test, thelicense holder is exempted from the safety education).
International licenses
International licenses
  • When applying in person: Passport (copy accepted), driver's license, 1passport size photo taken within the past 6 months (3.5x4.5cm)
  • When applying through an agent: Applicant's passport (copy accepted), driver's license, 1 passport size photo taken within the past 6 months (3.5x4.5cm), agent's identification, proof of power of proxy
  • When the applicant is abroad: Identification (copy accepted only when submitting an entry verification certificate), power of proxy, name as it appears on passport
  • Holders of a Korean driver's license with a foreign nationality can be issued an international driver's license
  • Documents required: Passport, driver's license, alien registration card (if registered), 1 passport size photo taken within the past 6 months (3.5x4.5cm)
LocationDriver's license test centers and police stations nationwide
  • When visiting a police station for application, the applicant must purchase a government fiscal stamp from the post office before applying.
Expiration date1 year from the date of issuance
FeeKRW 8,500
  • Even if the international license is still valid (the expiration date has not yet passed), itmay be deemed ineffective after 1 year of entry into the respective country under thecontents of the international agreements or relevant laws of the respective country. Whendriving with an international license, the holder must also have his/her Korean license andpassport.
  • In most countries, including the United States, driving with an international license butwithout a Korean license and passport is punishable as unlicensed driving. Therefore,be sure to have all 3 (international driving permit, Korean license, and passport) in yourpossession when driving.
  • In addition, countries such as the USA and Canada may have different ranges of Internationaldriver’s license depending on the traffic laws of the state. Please make sure through theembassy if the international driver’s license is valid in the state you are visiting.
  • If the English spelling of the name on the international driving permit is different from thename on the passport, or if the signature on the international driving permit is differentfrom the signature on the passport, the international driving permit is considered invalid.
  • During the suspension period of the Korean license, a person cannot drive in Korea with theinternational driving permit issued by a foreign country. (Reference: Clause 3, Article 96 ofthe Road Traffic Act)
  • The form of license recognized in Korea is 'International Driving Permit'; thus the'International Driving License' cannot be used.
  • Korea is a member of the Geneva Convention. Therefore, a person can drive in Korea forup to 1 year from entry with a valid international license issued by another nation of theGeneva Convention, in principle. As of January 1, 2002, however, Korea also allows drivingwith a valid international license issued by members of the Vienna Convention; the samevalidity period applies.
    • Driving permitted in member nations of the Geneva Convention using the international driving permit issued in Korea (Vietnam excluded)
    • Driving permitted in Korea using the international driving permit issued by member nations of the Geneva and Vienna Conventions
      • Although China is not a member of the Geneva or Vienna Convention, China's "one country,two systems” policy allows recognition of the international driving permits issued in HongKong, which has been returned from Britain (July 1, 1997), and Macau, which has been returnedfrom Portugal (December 20, 1999). Therefore, a holder of these permits may drive in Korea.
Example of Korean driver’s license
  • Example of Korean driver’s license
Example of international driver’s license
  • Example of international driver’s license
For more information, visit the Road Traffic Authority website ( or call (☎1577-1120).

05 Trains

Trains are very fast and run between almost all major cities in Korea. They also are well connected tobuses and subways, enabling you to reach your final destination with ease. Korean trains include KTX(Korea Train Express), SRT(Super Rapid Train), Saemaeul, and Mugunghwa.

(1) How to purchase tickets

You can make a reservation for train tickets online ( or using an app called KorailTalk. You can also purchase tickets at a ticket office or via an automatic ticket vending machine atthe train station. Reservations can be made online 24 hours a day anywhere from 1 month beforethe train's departure. When boarding a train, a passenger must have a designated ticket (SRT can bebooked at

(2) About KTX and SRT

KTX and SRT are safe, comfortable, and environmentally-friendly modes of transportation that allowsyou to travel anywhere in Korea within 2 hours. They have two types of seats: regular and special. Thetrains have convenient facilities including bathrooms, nursing rooms, and snack vending machinesalong with Wi-Fi and power outlets.

Useful Information
  • KTX routes (Gyeongbu Line, Honam Line, Gyeongjeon Line, Jeolla Line, and Gangneung Line) can be checkedfrom the Train Station Info menu of the Let’s Korail homepage ( or from downloadingthe application 'Korail Talk.’
  • SRT routes (Gyeongbu Line and Honam Line) can be checked from the 'User Guide>Train StationInformation>Route Information’ at 'SR (' homepage.

06 Airlines

Traveling by air saves time when traveling long distances, but is more expensive compared to otherforms of transportation. Some of the major domestic routes in Korea include Seoul -Busan, Seoul -Jeju,Seoul-Ulsan, Seoul- Gwangju, Seoul-Sacheon, and Seoul-Yeosu. Tickets can be purchased at airlineoffices or travel agencies by phone or the internet.

(1) International Airports

International Airports
Name of AirportContactWebsite
Incheon International
Gimpo International Airport1661-2626
(Korea Airports Corporation)
Gimhae International
Daegu International
Muan International
Yangyang International
Jeju International
Cheongju International

(2) Domestic Airports

Domestic Airports
Name of AirportContactWebsite
Gunsan Airport1661-2626
(Korea Airports Corporation)

(3) Major Airlines Contact Numbers

Major Airlines Contact Numbers
CountryAirlinesPhone NumberCountryAirlinesPhone Number
TaiwanChina Airlines02-317-8888JapanANA02-757-1711
South KoreaKorean Air1588-2001JapanAll Nippon Airways (ANA)02-2096-5500
South KoreaAsiana Airlines1588-8000ChinaJuneyao Airlines051-463-0093
South KoreaAir Busan1666-3060China (Hong Kong)Cathay Dragon Airline1644-8003
South KoreaEastar Jet1544-0080ChinaAir China02-774-6886
South KoreaJeju Air1599-1500ChinaChina Southern Airlines1899-5539
South KoreaJin Air1600-6200ChinaChina Eastern Airlines1661-2600
South KoreaT'way Airlines1688-8686ChinaShanghai Airlines1661-2600
LaosLao Airlines02-6357-0808CambodiaSky Angkor Airlines02-752-2633
RussiaYakutia Airlines02-335-6944ThailandThai Airways02-3707-0114
MongoliaMongolian Airlines02-756-9761PhilippinesCebu Pacific02-6105-2037
VietnamVietnam Airlines02-757-8920PhilippinesPhilippine Airlines1544-1717
JapanPeach Aviation02-2023-6764VietnamVietjet Air02-319-4560
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