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Table of Contents

Around the country

            Now that we’ve discussed transportation around your city, let’s take a look at getting out of the city.  There are so many places to visit, and since it is so easy to get around, you should try to take advantage of this, and go to as many places as possible. 

Buses

 

            Probably the easiest way to get from city to city is via bus.  There are a few types of buses.  First of all, there are buses that go mainly to the larger cities, and then there are buses that go to the smaller places.  If you are in a bigger city like Seoul, Daegu, or Daejeon, there will usually be separate terminals for these two types of buses, though they are usually located close to each other. 


When going to most of the larger cities, there are two types of buses.  They are the “excellent”(우등) bus and the “general”(일반) bus.  The excellent buses are slightly more expensive, but offer larger, more comfortable seats.  Whereas on a general bus there are four seats per row, the excellent buses have only three.  Both buses are quite comfortable, however.  Also, when buying your ticket, be sure to check your seat number, as there is assigned seating.  It is also quite easy to get a refund on your ticket should you have a change of plans. 


If you want to get to the bus terminal via taxi, you can do so by saying “busuh tuhmeenul”(버스터미널), which is a skewed version of the words “bus terminal”.  Aside from holidays, it is usually quite easy to just show up at the terminal and get tickets without having to wait for a long time.  However, it is always a good idea to buy your tickets in advance, thus ensuring you will have a seat when you want to go.  Also, when going any longer than two hours, you will usually stop at a rest stop for ten to fifteen minutes.  Be sure to note which bus is yours when you get off because there are usually a dozen other buses that look very similar to your own, and you may find yourself wandering around wondering which one to get on.  As far as ticket prices are concerned, you will find it difficult to spend more than about $25 CDN to get anywhere in the country.  A bus from Seoul to Daejeon, a two-hour trip, costs about $12 in 2004.  A trip to Daegu from Seoul, about a four-hour trip, costs around $20.

Trains

            Trains are also a great way to get around the country.  There are now three types of trains.  They are the “Mugunghwa” (무궁화), “Saemaeul” (새마을), and “KTX”.  Since the recent introduction of the KTX, the Mugunghwa in particular, as well as the Saemaeul, have experienced a reduction in the number of trips they take.  The KTX is the new high-speed train, which began running in 2004.  It travels at a speed of 300 km/h, and has greatly reduced the time it takes to get from city to city.  Also, since it is new, it is extremely clean and comfortable.  There are regular seats, as well as a couple of first class cars.  The first class cars boast better seating and a free drink.  The Saemaeul used to be the better train when compared to the Mugunghwa as it made less stops and was generally more clean and comfortable.  It is still a fine way to travel, and will get you to your destination quickly and comfortably.  One advantage that trains have over buses is the certainty of arrival time.  With a train, you know exactly when you will arrive.  When taking a bus, it varies with traffic.  The Mugunghwa is the least appealing of the three.  It makes many more stops, and on busy days, it often has standing room. 


Be sure that if you are buying a ticket for this train that you have a seat, and it is not standing room, unless of course, you want to stand.  However, if you plan to take the train to a small town, this may be your only option.  Be sure to get your tickets early enough to ensure you get a seat.  This applies to all trains.  Particularly on weekends, there are many people traveling throughout Korea.  So, if you want to take a trip on the train, you would be well advised to get your tickets in advance.  You can also do this through many travel agents.  You should be able to ask someone at your school to help you get tickets. 

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