How to take the bus in Korea

when traveling in Korean, especially in Seoul, it’s easy to get around by public transportation.

It’s Seoul bus

So in this article, I’ll give you tips on how to buy a transit card and tips for free transfers.

Buy a transportation card

At the time of writing(June 2023), “cashless bus”, many buses in Seoul don’t accept cash, which means you can only pay for bus fares with a transportation card, so it’s a good idea to get a transit card from the start.

Here are some places where you can buy one.

  • GS25
  • CU
  • Mini stop
  • 7-Eleven
  • Emart 24

Where to buy a transportation card

Your best bet is to buy it a convenience store.

You can purchase a transportation card at the following convenience stores

How to buy a transportation card aka T-money

The transportation card used in Korea is called “T-money”, and if you tell the clerk that it’s “A T-money card”, they will immediately understand and tell you right away.


T-money costs between 3,000 and 5,000 won, and the only difference in price is the design.

How to recharge T-money

T-Money is a prepaid service, so you can recharge it at a convenience store.

After purchasing T-Money, you can recharge it immediately.

  • T-money recharge is only possible with cash
  • Tag your card when you take the bus or subway and it will show you the balance.

Getting directions by bus

The best way to get directions is to use an application.

There are many applications for foreigners here.

  • Google Maps
  • Naver Map
  • Kakao Map

I think the best application for you guys is Google Maps, because it’s the most familiar.

Use free transfers

When using public transportation in South Korea, there is a “transfer” system that allows you to ride for free on the next bus or subway to make a connection.

On Korean buses, everyone must tag their card when getting on and off.

Here are the rules for this

1. You must tag the card reader when you get off to make a transfer.

2. You must board another bus or subway within 30 minutes of getting off to make a transfer.

3. You can make free transfers within one hour from 9pm to 7am the next day.

4. Up to 4 rides count as a transfer (i.e., 5 total rides)

5. Only applies if the number of people boarding/alighting/transferring is the same.

  • The subway doesn’t allow multiple people on a single card, but on the bus you can say how many people are on board before tagging your card and the driver will check to see how many people are on board before tagging you.
  • So if you’re taking both the subway and the bus and multiple people are using the same card, the free transfers don’t apply.

6. Transfers between buses and subways are not possible.

  • This means that if you take a bus and then take the subway, or take the subway and then take a bus, it will be recognized.

7. The same bus/same route is not eligible.

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