Seoul’s metro & traffic curiosa
The great thing about the metro in Seoul is that you can travel anywhere in the city, walking through metro stations without having to worry for your personal safety.
If you are one of my faithful blog readers, you already know of the advantages of our metro T-card from the convenience store. Today, I am going to show you how to top the T-card up at a metro vending machine.
I have collected some fun peculiarities of Seoul’s metro for you! However, in Seoul, other means of transport (cars, bikes) do have an essential impact on pedestrians as well. You will see.
First, the metro. An extensive and convenient underground (and sometimes overground) network. Way more accessible than bus service. Buses do not always stop at bus stops (first hand experience). This is why we use the metro everyday. The smooth flow of getting anywhere of interest is of great benefit to travelers like us. Only to get to the airport you have to take the bus. I think an optional connection is in the process of development.
The thing I truly disliked in the metro was the mouldy smell from the metro aircons. So many people have a weird cough and I do believe that foul, contaminated aircon systems (that applies to convenient stores and many shops in Seoul as well) are part of the problem. Sometimes the smell is so bad, it is hard to get in.
The other (minor) fun blockers are these metro gates. You got to push through which does slow things down if you are in a rush. I am thinking the comfort of contactless metro gates.
It is really easy to load the T-card.
A very Japanese thing we came across at the metro, is the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu J-pop phenomenon (on metro advertisements). It is fun to see her expand to other Asian countries (and conquering Europe). I never thought I would say that, but I really enjoy Kyary’s crazy songs and bubbly style.
More Japanese inventions at Seoul’s metro. The funny thing is that you can get snacks the size of chocolate boxes. When it comes to food, Korea is all about big.
Pedestrian flow is thoroughly organised at the metro, just like in Tokyo. Strangely, the order on escalators is reversed. According to the signs people are actually supposed to stand next to each other (no get-through for people in a hurry).
A very cool thing at all metro platforms in Seoul, are the screens that show you exactly when the next train is coming, by tracking its whereabouts. I will miss the neat music that is played when the train arrives! Listen!
Security features at the stations include flashlights and cabinets with gas masks. The metro often has signs that indicate its function as a shelter, in case North Korea goes mad – is the only reason I can think of right now.
Seoul’s undergrounds are vast. There are may homeless people in Seoul, however, the metro stations are usually not as affected as usual bypasses.
I loved those animal figurines at one of Seoul’s modern metro stations.
Alternative means of transport are cars or scooters. Cars enjoy privileged parking status. Anywhere on the sidewalk is fine.
Due to dense parking, cars do need protection in form of foamy blocks that prevent door scratching.
Well insured and adventurous Seoulites ride bicycles, which we sporadically see on the streets. I would not recommend renting bikes, if you are used to intact traffic rules and value your life. Buses and taxis that don’t slow down at the sight of a red light. Fast and courageous driving is the order of the day.
Delivery motorbikes claim sidewalks to themselves. Delivery bikes speeding past pedestrians, are the worst.
Christianity has found its way to Korea not long ago. Motorbikes have the divine blessing to drive on the sidewalk, cross red lights and ignore traffic direction.
Korean car drivers, are blessed with amazing multitasking abilities on the road – talking on the phone, having a cigarette, watching TV and driving simultaneously. If you think that’s crazy, how about a Korean license plate.
Stay safe in Seoul!