Hello! 안녕하세요 – Annyeonghaseyo
After two weeks in Gwangju, I have been able to adapt to the Korean lifestyle and be more confident in daily interactions. With my team, I have gone to many places that have beautiful scenery and unique taste of cuisine. Everywhere I went, I was so happy to meet a lot of nice people and make new friends. Besides culture, cuisine, and nature, another great experience that I have had from all of my trips is the convenience and modernity of public transportation here.
People in Korea usually use public transportation to commute since the prices for cars in Korea are relatively high. The price for a small car is between 30,000,000KRW – 50,000,000KRW, which is 26,000USD – 43,000USD. One of my Korean buddies said that specifically in Gwangju, more than 60% of people use public transportation instead of pursuing cars.
Therefore, the investments on the stations, machines, buses, or trains are significantly focused. In order to use transportation within a city, I had to buy a card called T-card. There are two types of T-card in Korea, one is for the adults and one is for kids or teenagers. I can find it easily in any convenient store.
T-card for transportation within a city.
The price for one card is around 3,000KRW – 4,000KRW, and you can put any amount of money for transportation that you need to the card. They also have the auto machines in all subway stations to make it convenient for buying a new card, putting more money, or checking the balance of the card. The fare for each ride here is also very cheap. One bus ride usually costs 1,400KRW for most of the destinations. For subway, the fare is around 900KRW – 1,200KRW depends on the destination.
To go from one city to another, I could not use the T-card, but I had to buy the ticket for a chartered bus or KTX train. I can find the ticket easily on the website of the transportation company or buy at the stations. The cost of this type of ticket is also reasonable. For instance, yesterday my team went from Songjeong Station to Gwangju downtown. We decided to go by train instead of the bus because it only took us 15 minutes and it cost 2,600KRW.
With this experience, I learned how to buy the train ticket for the return day. Before coming to Korea, I felt really nervous about transportation to go back to Incheon. My return flight is at 9:20 AM in the morning, and it takes 4 hours to go from Gwangju to Incheon. Therefore, I have to leave around 3:00 AM in the morning. However, now I can make the itinerary for my return day and ready to buy the tickets. I am feeling more confident now.
I always think that transport will be very hard without cars. In America, I have been depending too much on my car and I never think about using public transportation. Living in Korea has changed my mind and given me many wonderful experiences. Therefore, I really appreciate it. I will be back with more updates about life in Gwangju, South Korea.
Thank you! 감사합니다 – Kamsahamnida