When going around South Korea, you may need to ride public transportation if you don’t have a car to use. Some foreigners might get confused with the different bus colors and routes. Ziptoss has made a guide on how to ride a bus in Korea to make things simpler for foreigners to figure out the bus system.
Public transportation in Seoul: Color-coded buses
There are 4 main colors for buses around Seoul, these are based on what routes they take. So before riding a bus, make sure you know where you should be passing to get to your destination.
Blue buses are for long-distance travel going from region to region within and outside Seoul. It’s the most common bus you’ll be seeing in the city. There are 3 numbers written on the bus which represent the start and endpoints.
Blue buses are often used by many Koreans who are office workers and students because these blue buses usually include subway stations in their routes.
Green buses are for short travels within selected areas in Seoul and within neighborhoods. These are the second most common buses you’ll see around Seoul, so instead of having a 15-20 minute walk, you can ride a green bus to your destination within the neighborhood.
Green buses have different types as well. One type is smaller and has 2 numbers, and the other is bigger and has 4 numbers. 4-number green buses are connections for neighborhoods without subway stations and the 2-number green buses are for travels from start to endpoints.
Red buses are express rides within Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi city. You will rarely find these buses roaming around Seoul since red buses have long trips from city to city. This bus is often used by people who are residing in Seoul but are working in a different city or vice versa. Red buses are more preferred than taking the subway since it is more convenient.
Yellow buses are for rides that go around the main centers of Seoul. If you’re planning to visit tourist destinations, yellow buses are much more convenient than taking a green or blue bus with many stops.
Mobile apps for navigation and translation
If you are still confused about the different kinds of buses and routes, you can use mobile map apps as a guide as well.
These apps will help you figure out the right route so you can get to your destination:
- Naver Map
- Dongdaemun Search
These apps are a big help if you are not used to the route or the different names of each area.
The only problem is that the maps you’ll be seeing in bus stations are all in Korean, this might be a problem for those who are not familiar with the characters of the Korean alphabet.
These apps can help you with understanding the bus stops in any map that’s in Korean:
- Naver dictionary
- Try to consider your travel time, and then go to the nearest station shown on the map to take the bus of your choice. If your GPS is on, it will be easier for you to find your way to the bus station when the marker moves with you.
- After arriving at the station, check the bus number of the station. If your bus number is there, you can wait for the bus to arrive.
- In South Korea, you need to swipe your card to get on the bus, and then swipe your card again when you get off the bus.
- Sometimes, bus stops only have numbers. The stations and bus system in Seoul should be carefully checked through your public transportation or mobile map app to make sure you are on the right bus.