Adventures in East Asia

The Challenges and Delights of the Seoul Metro Network

Having arrived in Seoul from Taipei, anyone who has been to both cities might agree that the Seoul metro network is distinctly more complex and further spread out than Taipei's MRT system.


The Seoul network map looks as complicated as Tokyo's. Traveling to the other side of a circular line can take over an hour. And waiting for a train can take an age. We seemed to have just missed a train an awful lot. This was all before even getting on a carriage.

Once on, the Koreans are a kindly folk who tend to give up their seats for the elderly. And they seemed to be everywhere! With our British ethics, having bagged a seat after standing for half an hour, rest for our weary legs was often short-lived as we gave it up again for a hobbling pensioner.

Having said all that, at least our ears experienced a mini concert (at Samseong station) whereupon a brass orchestra blasted out a few tracks before quickly packing up and disappearing.


The Koreans must be used to such aural delights. Whenever our train approached an interchange station, a little jingle played with the announcement to forewarn passengers. These audio masterpieces seemed to vary between different lines.
Here's Linh in the video below, squashed into a seat next to a rather large Korean. Luckily, the interchange music playing over the sound system is a particularly jolly one to help cheer her up.

Lastly, to Linh's ongoing satisfaction, all station exits seemed to have these massive mirrors for travelers to spruce up their appearance. I had read beforehand in our guide book that Koreans judge by appearances, more so than in the west, and so these mirrors were indicative of their need to keep themselves neat.



This entry posted in : Culture. South Korea.

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