If you’ve lived in Busan a while then of course you probably don’t need this but we were all new once, and we all needed to use the metro for the first time – and it can be a little daunting, especially if you don’t speak the language!
We’d been here less than a week when my husband left for a business trip to Japan and said ‘you should be fine, there’s a metro station just down the road; it’s easy’!! Erm, okay! I wasn’t convinced of doing that with two young children but I’m not one to shy away from the unknown so off we went!
The good news is, it is easy! The metro trains here run frequently, are kept clean, and I’ve never had any issues. Sure it’s busy at rush hour, but it beats many networks in other cities worldwide!
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The metro system here consists of 4 different lines, all aptly named Line 1,23and 4 (with corresponding colours of Orange, Green, Brown, Blue) and a 5th (purple) line which is actually the Busan Gimhae Light Rail transit which will take you to and from the airport.
Metro station signs are all generally written in Korean, English and Mandarin Chinese and ticket machines have an English language option too.
So, just for you, here is my step by step guide to using the metro to get around Busan!
This is a typical ticket machine found in the metro stations. There’s usually at least a couple stood together once you near the metro line.
This is the first screen you’ll see. You can change the language to English in the top right-hand corner.
Everything is touch screen so go ahead and change the language.
Now you’ll need to choose the line where you will ‘end’ your journey. You don’t need to buy different tickets for different lines so just work out where your final destination is and choose the line on which your last station falls.
Now you have chosen the line, you’ll need to pick the station where you need to end your journey. For this example, we are off to Seomyeon on line 2 (the green line)
As you will see here Seomyeon has a little red/blue/yellow symbol on it. This is just to show that it s one of the major stations where you can change to a different line.
Now you’re on the payment page. Check your ticket details and decide how many of that same ticket you need. You can buy multiple tickets and can choose between a single or return trip.
Children under the age of 6 years old, travel for free so they can just pass through on your ticket. From 6 – 12, they need their own ticket which you can also purchase via the machines. Their tickets are generally 50% of the price of an adult ticket.
Once you’ve got your tickets you are ready to head towards the platform. Make sure you check for the direction your metro will be going in and insert your ticket to allow you access to the platform which will be down the staircase/escalator. Your ticket just needs to be inserted into the machine – you will recuperate this to once you have passed through the gateway and it will appear at the top of the machine. You will need this ticket to exit later on so please hold on to it!
The ticket machines are all well and good but if can be frustrating if you don’t have the right change on you. It’s rare to find one that will accept anything higher than a 5,000won bill so either have change on you or look out for these fab little machines. Feed a 5,000won or a 10,000won note into it and you will get your change in 1000won bills. Very handy, but it can be time consuming if you are in a rush!
And there you have it. Any easy guide to buying tickets and using the metro system here in Busan. I will add that if using the metro is something you are going to be doing a lot of, then it makes more sense to get a ‘cashbee’ which you can buy and recharge in any 7/11 type of shop in the city. This acts as a ready charged electronic ticket that you can use for a number of things from metros and trains, to taxi and convenience stores, proving that you’ve charged it with enough money. More about those on another post! Until then, happy travelling!