Transportation in and around South Korea is safe, clean, modern, fast, and reliable. And to help foreigners out even more all major road signs, subway maps, bus stops and transit centers have English translations in big bold lettering. As a small Asian nation with a high population density South Korea's need to offer efficient and cheap transportation that is readily available has spawned some of the worlds most well engineered transportation systems in the world. And being heavily subsidized by the government means getting from A to B is also very cheap.
Subways operate in most major cities and offer a low-cost and simplified way of navigating the city. Free from traffic snarls and aided by color coded maps make traveling from point A to point B very simple, quick,cheap and convenient. On the large maps provided to you in English just point to where you begin and follow the line to where you are going and that's about as difficult as it gets.Subway fares begin around 900 won and go up from there depending on how far you travel. Subway entrances are clearly marked and usually have escalators to descend underground. Maps and clearly marked directional signs in English make navigating a snap.
Buses come in a couple of different forms and may take a bit more pre-planning but remain cheap, reliable, safe, and convenient. In and around cities bus routes will serve within smaller districts (locals) and are often color coded to make catching the correct one a bit easier. Longer routes are generally covered by cruiser "limousine" style buses that offer A/C, heating and reclining seats. Inner-city buses start at around 700 won and longer route buses start at around 1800 won. Cruiser buses may also be taken throughout the country to most locations. Bus and subway services generally run from around 6a.m. to 12/2a.m. depending on location and day. "T-money" cards are useful and convenient ways of getting on busses and subways. You can purchase one at many convenient stores or bus/subway stations and put as much money on it as you like. You will also get a discount on each ride for using a card.
Taxi's are also a common form of transportation. Quick and convenient taxi's are are everywhere all the time. Taxi's can generally hold 4-5 people at a time and make for an especially convenient mode of transportation when scooting around town late at night. Taxi fares start around 1800 won and go by the meter from there. Later at night fares begin a little higher around 2200 won to start. Some taxis are beginning to accept the "T-money" card as well.
KTX is the high speed train with service and routes to most areas of the country. Being as small as Korea is, taking a high speed KTX train to any destination really makes traveling the country an easy and comfortable adventure. Traversing the entire country from Seoul in the north to Busan in the south takes as little as 2 hours where as a bus will take minimum travel time of around 6 hours, but KTX is the pricier of the two. Tickets for the KTX can be purchased at most subways stations or travel agencies.
Two or four wheels.
Foreigners are allowed to drive motorcycles and cars with the proper licenses. A popular and cheap way of getting around in South Korea is by scooter/motorcycle. They are relatively cheap and convenient. Any motorized bike under 50cc does not require a license or registration for license plates. Any motorized vehicle over 50cc including motorcycles and cars requires a Korean driving license, registration and insurance. To get a Korean drivers license you must bring your license from your native country to the local ward office along with your passport and ARC card, pay a small fee, and take a test in English. You must leave your license from your native country with the ward office until you leave. When you do leave you will be required to turn in your Korean drivers license in exchange for the license from your country.
Bicycles, in-line skates, and skateboards are also common in South Korea. However, in larger more congetsed cities it can be a bit of a challenge to get around in this fashion as most streets are not lined with bike paths and sidewalks tend to be too congetsed.