When you first arrive in Seoul, there are certain things that will make your transition into a new city smooth sailing or leave you wanting to abandon ship.
Admittedly transport is not the most exciting part of planning a trip, alongside where to find the best restaurants, clubs and shopping districts, but sometimes the simple things like knowing how to get about a city safely and affordably, can be a major factor in whether you sink or sail in your new adventures.
Luckily Korea not only has a great public transportation system but also a well-developed payment service to go with it, known as transportation cards (Tmoney cards). Tmoney cards can provide discounts, hassle-free travel and if your lucky even a sense of belonging; having an Oyster card made me feel like a Londoner, and having a Tmoney card makes me feel like a Seoulite.
Hopefully, my own experience and information found scrolling through the Korean tourism website, can provide you with enough information on the perks of investing in a Tmoney card and help you find one most suitable for your needs.
This pass is better known as a Tmoney & Cashbee Card (2,500 Won). It can be purchased from • inside subway stations (within the Seoul metropolitan area) and • in convenience stores.
Customized cards are also available.
This rechargeable transportation card is available to all citizens and international visitors. It can be used for traveling via; • subway • bus journeys and • in any taxis with the Tmoney and Cashbee logo (most in Seoul)
Instead of purchasing multiple single tickets, carrying loose change or bundles of notes for your transport needs. You can simply tap your Tmoney card, on your way in and out of the subway, on and off the bus, or once on the terminal’s provided in taxi’s.
Tmoney Transport Benefits
On the subway, a Tmoney card can save you 100 won on each trip, as well as receiving discount when transferring to a different line or onto a bus.
You can also access Subway lockers provided in many of the subway stations throughout Seoul.
Basic Storage time: 2-4 hours
Small, Medium and Large lockers range from 2,000 to 4,000 Won.
On the bus, passengers can get a transfer discount of 100 won when changing to the subway system or another bus line.
Keep in mind there is a transfer limit of 30 mins, or 1 hour between 21:00 – 07:00.
Convenience Store Benefits
Not only can you use the card for the majority of your traveling and storage needs. Tmoney cards can be used to purchase items at any affiliated convenience stores too, this includes; • GS25 • CU • 7- Eleven • Buy the way • 365 plus • mini stop In Seoul, you can hardly walk 100 yards without seeing one of the above.
Tmoney cardholders can also buy goods from member franchises and affiliated shopping centers. Discount benefits are available at various cultural and tourist facilities too.
Tmoney Reload and Refunds
Remember to keep your card topped up, you can recharge your card up to 500,000 Won. Ideally it’s best to reload your card in small amounts, as any money not spent can be refunded and anything over 50,000 can be complicated and time comsuming. Refunds can be provided at specified franchises and small fees can apply. The cards price and 500 won service fee are not refundable.
Tmoney cards don’t expire so even when you return to Seoul you can bring your old card with you and recharge it.
Alternative Tmoney Tourist Cards
If you’re traveling outside of Seoul you may want to purchase a Korea Tour Card (4,000 won). This card provides access to transport as well as transfer benefits anywhere in Korea. Discount benefits at; • select shops • restaurants • performances • The National Museum of Korea • Everland • Lotte World
If you’re visiting Korea for a short period or have family and friends coming to visit, you may want to invest in Exclusive tourist cards.
A Tmoney card, with 10% discount off most bus routes that connect Seoul and Incheon. A coupon book will be issued with the card. Discount benefits for restaurants and cultural performances. Major attractions include; • Lotte World and • 63 Square.
A Tmoney card with free admission pass to major tourist attractions. Ranging from 24-hours to 72-hours. Discount benefits for • cultural performances • duty-free shops
There is also a Discover Seoul Pass app, which includes 24-hours use of the Seoul city’s public bicycles, a one-way ride on the Airport Express Train from Incheon to Seoul, and one free ride on a Seoul City Tour. Find out how best to use the 24-hour Discover Seoul pass with our guide here.