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Buses in South Korea


There are two major categories of buses in South Korea: 시내버스 (市內버스) or intra-city buses, and 시외버스 (市外버스) or intercity buses. 시내버스 include 마을버스, 지선버스, and some 간선버스 lines, while 시외버스 include some 간선버스 lines, 광역버스, and 고속버스

마을버스 are neighborhood buses (literally "village buses") that stop every few blocks in both residential and commercial areas. In Seoul, many of these buses run in a loop, with one or two stops connecting to subway stations. Their routes are the shortest among city buses. Walking is sometimes faster than taking a 마을버스, especially during rush hours, as these buses rarely take bus lanes. In Seoul, these buses are green and shorter than regular buses.

Trains in South Korea

Trains are probably the fastest and most comfortable means of transportation in South Korea. Most of the time they are faster than buses are they cannot get stuck in traffic, and they are also faster than planes in that train stations are usually in downtown areas rather than in suburbs. There are also plenty of train options for traveling within a city or a metropolitan area, such as subways and suburban trains. For tourists however riding trains in South Korea can be overwhelming given the number of train services available, the different operators, and the different booking processes. This post summarizes all you need to know to book and ride trains in South Korea.

Intercity Train Services

There are several types of intercity train service in Korea. From fastest to slowest (and most expensive to cheapest): KTX & SRT, ITX & 새마을, 누리로 & 무궁화. Most services (except the SRT) are run by Korail (코레일), a public company.

Korail train service logos in South Korea

The different train services run by Korail (all but SRT) and SR (SRT) (adapted from

KTX, for Korea Train eXpress, is the fastest transportation link between most cities in South Korea. Two classes of service are available, first class and economy, with economy class being usually 20% to 30% cheaper than first class. First class offers more legroom than the already excellent legroom in economy, so the higher ticket price may be hard to justify. Standing tickets can also be booked; these tickets do not have assigned seats and require standing if no seats are available. They are not drastically cheaper than economy tickets (5% to 15% cheaper) and are probably best booked when there is no stop between your origin and destination stations (such as 광명역 – 대전역).

KTX tickets can be booked in English on the Korail website. They can also be bought directly at any Korail station, such as 서울역 (Seoul station) or 용산역 (Yongsan station) in Seoul.

SRT is another train service run by a sister company of Korail. While KTX lines originate mostly from 서울역 or 용산역, SRT service originates from 수서역 in 강남구. SRT service map does not have as many stations as the KTX service,  but trains travel at similar speeds (수서 - 부산 in 2 hours 25 minutes) for similar prices. SRT may thus be a better option if you are traveling from areas surrounding 강남. A lot of Korean people do not know about SRT since it is a relatively new service (2016), so be aware of this option when booking your train itineraries. 

Learn about other train services in South Korea by reading the full post.

Metropolitan Train Services

Most major cities in Korea have an independently-run metropolitan train service, usually a mix of underground and overground trains, that connects the city center(s) to the suburban areas. These are different from intercity train services in that, in most cases, tickets do not need to be purchased in advance; instead, passengers need to tap their T-money cards onto the card readers before boarding their train. This includes the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, the Busan Metro, and the Daejeon Metro. Learn more about the different options to get around Korean cities by reading the full post.

Buying Korean 라면 (Ramyeon, or Ramen noodles) on Amazon US

Amazon is a great place to buy Korean food, but finding Korean noodles, or ramyeon, on it can be a little daunting. This post lists some of the best Korean ramen (라면) products to buy on Amazon, such as Shin Ramyun (신라면) or Buldalk Bokkum Myeon (불닭볶음면).

Quick Links

  • Ansung Tang Myun 농심안성탕면 - ramen with miso taste (Amazon)
  • Buldak Bokkum Myeon 삼양 불닭볶음면 - fire chicken ramen (Amazon)
  • Cheese Ramyeon 오뚜기 치즈라면 - ramen with dried cheese (Amazon)
  • Chapagetti 농심 짜파게티 - ramen with black bean paste (짜장) taste (Amazon)
  • Jin Ramen 오뚜기 진라면 (Unavailable)
  • Kokomyun 팔도 꼬꼬면 - chicken ramen with clear broth (Amazon)
  • Namja Ramyun 팔도 남자라면 - spicy ramen with red broth and strong garlic taste (Amazon)
  • Neoguri 농심 너구리 - spicy seafood ramen (Amazon)
  • Rabokki 팔도 라볶이 - ramen with tteokbokki taste (Amazon)
  • Shin Ramen 농심 신라면 (Amazon) / Shin Black 농심 신라면 블랙 (Amazon)
  • Volcano Chicken Noodle 팔도 블케이노 치킨볶음면 - spicy chicken ramen (Amazon)

Read the rest of the article for descriptions, prices, and tips on how to buy ramen on Amazon!

Washer & Dryer

Doing the laundry in Korea can be a daunting task, especially if not too familiar with its related words (drying, pre-wash, etc.) Similar to the 노래방 remote post, here is a breakdown of the common words written on washers and dryers (usually the same unit in Korea), and a photo example of how it looks like on a commercial machine.

노래방 - Korean Karaoke (and its complicated remote)

Karaoke Room in IndianapolisKorean karaoke, or 노래방, is really popular among Koreans of all ages. Friends, family, or colleagues use karaoke as a sort of social gathering, usually drinking beer at the same time. 

Some of the etiquette rules governing 노래방:

  • Do not queue several songs at once, but let other people queue their own songs.
  • Avoid looking at your phone frequently, as it is considered rude.
  • If you see that you do not know a song as much as you thought, skip it (press 취소 followed by 시작 on the remote)

One of the barriers of entry to 노래방 for foreigners is probably the seemingly overly complicated remote. Learn the various features of the remote prior to going to 노래방 so that you can make the most of your time there! Check the picture (divided by zone) and the corresponding vocabulary below. You can also download this information and print it to take it with you to your next 노래방 session! If you live too far from a karaoke place, you can also buy a Korean karaoke machine for home use.

장어 - Eel

Eel is a popular fish in East Asian countries. Korea has a lot of dishes featuring eel, some of the most popular being 장어구이, or grilled eel; 장어강정, or eel with a sweet soy sauce glaze, and 장어덮밥, or eel over rice.

Grilled eel on a barbecue grill

장어구이, or grilled eel.

The popular saying in Korea is that men should eat eel to improve their performance behind closed doors...

Check out some food survival vocabulary and how to use this word in context.