Everybody needs to get around, right? Most foreigners who move to Korea do not buy cars; but instead rely on the fast, efficient, and available mass transportation or taxis. Even if you don’t live in Korea, buses and subways are everywhere, and it is good to have some basic vocabulary and sentences ready in case you are going from place to place with a Korean person in a country other than Korea
Below is a list of vocabulary you may find useful when getting from place to place, particularly by public transportation or taxi.
버스 = bus
정류장 = stop/station
버스 정류장 = bus stop
버스 기사 = bus driver
버스 아저씨 = bus driver
전철 = subway (literally translates to electric train)
지하철 = subway (literally translates to underground train)
역 = station (서울역 = Seoul station)
위치 = location
길 = street/road
거리 = street/road
사거리 = intersection
교통카드 = transportation card
자리 = a place to sit
노약 좌석 = a seat for the elderly and weak
호선 = line in a subway (4호산 = Line 4)
출구 = exit of a subway station (4번출구 = exit 4)
택시 = taxi
막차 = last train/bus
첫차 = first train/bus
가다 = to go
오다 = to come
만나다 = to meet
건너다 = to cross
내리다 = to get off (a bus/subway)
타다 = to get on (a bus/subway)
찍다 = to scan a card
갈아타다 = to transfer
환승하다 = to transfer
데려다 주다 = to bring a person to a certain point
길을 잃다 = to be lost
앉다 = to sit
충전하다 = to recharge
멈추다 = to stop (for a bus, subway to stop)
자리를 맡다 = to save a seat for somebody
놓치다 = to miss
빠르다 = fast
느리다 = slow
복잡하다 = confusing
Adverbs and Other Words
오른쪽 = the right side/direction
왼쪽 = the left side/direction
건너편 = the opposite side (across the street)
반대로 = the opposite direction
여기 = here
거기 = there
저기 = there
For help memorizing these words, try using our Memrise tool.
Now let’s look at some specific sentences that you may find useful when getting around:
Getting to a Place
오른 쪽으로 가면 돼요 = Go right (you should/need to go right)
왼 쪽으로 가면 돼요 = Go left (you should/need to go left)
거기에 가려면 어느 쪽으로 가야 돼요? = In order to get there, which way should I/one go?
서울역에 가려면 어느 쪽으로 가야 돼요? = In order to get to Seoul station, which way should I/one go?
거기에 어떻게 가는 지 알아요? = Do you know how to get there?
거기까지 데려다 줄까요? = Shall I take you there? (Let me take you there)
집까지 데려다 줄게요 = I’ll take you home
저는 길을 잃었어요 = I’m lost
우리는 길을 건너야 돼요 = We have to cross the street
그 식당의 위치를 핸드폰으로 검색할 거에요 = I’ll look up the location of the restaurant on my phone
그 식당은 은행 건너편에 있어요 = That restaurant is across the street from the bank
사당역 4번 출구에서 만나자 = Let’s meet at exit four of Sadang station
이 길에서 직진하셔요 = Go straight on this road
저는 거리를 안전하게 건넜어요 = I crossed the street safely
Situations related to the Bus and Subway
앉으세요 = Please, sit down (often said to an older person when giving up your seat)
저는 금방 내려요 (내릴 거에요) = I’m getting off soon
교통카드를 어디서 살 수 있어요? = Where can you buy a bus/subway card?
교통 카드를 어디서 충전할 수 있어요? = Where can I charge my transportation card?
교통 카드를 잃어버렸어요 = I lost my transportation card?
카드에 10,000원 (만원)을 넣어 주세요 = Please put 10,000 won on my card
카드에 10,000원 (만원)을 충전해 주세요 = Please recharge my card with 10,000 won
버스로 가면 지하철보다 더 빨라요 = If you go by bus, it is faster than the subway
카드를 충전해 주세요 = Please recharge my card
빨리 타세요 = Get on, quick!
저는 안산으로 가는 막차를 놓쳤어요 = I missed the last train going to Ansan
저는 내일 첫차를 타야 돼요 = I have to take the first train tomorrow
막차가 몇 시에 출발해요? = What time does the last train depart?
첫차가 몇 시에 출발해요? = What time does the first train depart?
Taking the Bus
거기에 가려면 버스를 타야 돼요= In order to get there, you must take the bus
버스 온다! = The bus is coming!
이 버스는 강남에 가요? = Does this bus go to Gangnam?
버스가 멈추지 않았어요 = The bus didn’t stop
저는 버스정류장에서 버스를 기다리고 있어요 = I’m waiting for the bus at the bus station
저는 20분 동안 버스를 기다렸어요 = I waited for the bus for 20 minutes
버스를 동대문에서 타야 돼요 = You have to take the bus from Dongdaemun station
다음 정류장에서 내리면 돼요 = You should get off at the next station
다 다음 정류장에서 내리면 돼요 = You should get off two stations from now
저는 카드를 안 찍었어요 = I didn’t scan my card
이 버스의 기본 요금은 2,500원(이천오백원)이에요 = The basic fare for this bus is 2,500 원
아저씨! 문을 열어 주세요! = Sir! Open the door please.
벨을 안 눌렀어요 = You didn’t ring the bell
거기 가려면 몇 번 버스를 타야 돼요? = In order to get there, what bus should I take?
52번을 타면 돼요 = You should take bus number 52
버스가 5분 후에 올 거에요 = The bus will come in 5 minutes
버스 카드가 없어서 현금으로 낼 게요 = I don’t have my bus card, so I will pay with cash
저는 동전이 없어요 = I don’t have any change (coins)
다음 버스는 저 정류장에서 출발할 거에요 = The next bus will depart from that station
버스를 탈 때 카드를 찍어야 되고 내릴 때도 찍어야 돼요 = You need to scan your card when you get on the bus and also when you get off the bus
이 버스는 10분마다 와요 = This bus comes each/every 10 minutes
Taking the Subway
거기에 가려면 전철을 타야 돼요 = In order to get there, you must take the subway
4호선으로 갈아타야 돼요 = You have to transfer to line 4
반대로 가야 돼요 = You need to go the opposite direction
어디서 환승해 야 돼요? = Where do I need to transfer?
어디서 갈아타 야 돼요? = Where do I need to transfer?
홍대에 가려면 몇 호선을 타야 돼요? = In order to get to 홍대, which line should I take?
서울역에서 1호선으로 갈아타는 것은 복잡해요 = It is confusing transferring to line 1 at Seoul Station
저는 벌써 지하철을 타고 있어요 = I am already on/riding the subway
Announcements Heard or Seen on the Bus or Subway
전철이 전역에서 출발하였습니다 = The train has departed from the previous station
손잡이를 꽉 잡으세요 = Please hold on to (the handle) tightly
문에 기대지 마세요 = Don’t lean against the door
이 번 정류장은 시청 앞입니다. 다음 정류장은 광화문입니다 = This station is (the front of) City Hall. The next station is Gwanghwamun
당고개에 가는 열차가 들어오고 있습니다. 한 걸음을 물러서주시기 바랍니다 = The train going to Danggogae is coming into the station. Please step back.
이번 역은 서울역. 서울역입니다. 내리실 문은 오른 쪽입니다 = This station is Seoul Station. Seoul Station. The doors will open on the right.
동대문으로 가실 분은 이번 역에서 2호선으로 환승하시기 바랍니다 = Passengers who are going to 동대문, please transfer to line 2 at this station
Taking a Taxi
공항으로 가 주세요 = Please take me to the airport
서울역으로 가 주세요 = Please take me to Seoul Station
여기서 내려 주세요 = Please let me get off here
서울역까지 가는 데 보통 얼마나 나와요? = How much will does it usually cost to get to Seoul Station?
지름길로 가주세요 = Please take the short cut
공항까지 가시나요? = Do you go (can you go) to the airport?
Types of Buses and Trains
일반 버스 = Regular bus
좌석버스 = Express city bus
This literally translates to “seat-bus” as it typically has more seats (two on each side) than other city buses. This type of bus will go longer distances – usually connecting Seoul with one of its suburbs.
마을 버스 = “Village” bus
This bus is usually smaller and is cheaper to ride than other buses. It usually goes shorter distances, and the stops on the road are often ambiguous. You really need to know the area and the bus route if you want to take this type of bus.
시외버스 = Inter-city bus
우등버스 = First class bus
This type of bus also usually runs an inter-city route, but the seats are more comfortable.
리무진 or 공항 버스 = Airport Bus
A “limousine” in Korea refers to a comfortable bus that shuttles people from one place to another. You will commonly see this type of bus taking people from the airport to some pre-designated place in Seoul. As soon as you walk out of the airport in Incheon, you will see dozens of these buses – all going to a destination with maybe a few stops along the way.
급행열차 = express train
This is a regular subway train, but it skips stations along the way. It usually will run in peak times during rush hour.
공항철도 = airport railroad
That’s it for this lesson. Click here to check out our next Theme Lesson.