Basic Korean #3 – Asking for Directions

Asking for Directions is often the major problem when foreigners visit Korea by themselves. Equipping yourself with some of the most basic direction vocabularies will definitely help you along the way.

For a start, approaching young people and asking them in English will be the very first option to try out your luck. If they understand your question and then reply you with what you want to know, good for you. If not, it is time to try asking them in Korean, using what you know.

First of all, greet them with a smile.

  1. 안녕하세요 Annyeong Haseyo (Hello)

Then, you can ask them to direct you to the location which you want to go. Say for example, you are lost and you want to go to the nearest Metro station. You can say:

(지하철) 어디에 있어요?
(Ji-ha-cheol) o-di-eh issoyo?
Where is the (Metro Station)?

OR

(이태원 역) 어떻게 가요?
(Itaewon york) ot-toh-kkae ga yo?
How do I get to (Itaewon Station)?

Some of the words that you can look out for while they are answering:

  1. 여기 Yorgi (Here)
  2. 저기 Chorgi (Over There)
  3. 왼쪽 Wen-Jok (Left)
  4. 오른쪽 Oren-Jok (Right)
  5. 쭉 Jook (Straight)
  6. 뒤 Dui (Behind)
  7. 앞에 Ah-Ppeh (In Front)

If you think that asking for directions from foreigners is not for you, then it will be best to do a thorough research on the attractions that you will be going. Buy WIFI egg or SIM Card the first thing you reach Korea Airport. Then install apps to help you navigate through the Metro and the attractions.

One of the Metro app that is worth downloading is “Korea Subway“.

  • This app support 6 languages : English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Malay.
  • You can choose the starting point (where you are currently) and ending point (where you want to head to). After which, the app will show you the fastest route, as well as the number of transfers (if any) and number of stations to reach your destination.
  • You can also know the estimated time to reach your destination.

Basic Korean #2 – Topping Up T-Money

One of the very first thing to have when going Korea is to have their T-Money, also known as EZ-Link Card to Singaporeans. T- Money can be used for many purposes. One of the main purpose is for Transportation purposes. It can also be used when Purchasing items in Convenience Stores.

Topping up of T-Money is very convenient since it can be done at any convenient store or subway station. But the main question here is: HOW TO SAY IT?

Just remember this statement:


Please top up 5,000 won on my T-money card.
티머니 카드에 오천원 충전해 주세요.
T-money card-de-eh oh-chon-won chung-jon-hae ju-sae-yo.
티머니, T-money, T-money
카드에, card-de-eh, card
오천원, oh-chon-won, 5000 + won
충전해, chung-jon-hae, recharge
주세요, ju-sae-yo, give me

The value can be changed of course.

10,000 won: man-won
20,000 won: ee-man-won

Korea Fun Fact #1 – Metro Station

Metro (commonly known as MRT for Singaporeans) is one of the most convenient public transport in Korea. Although the stations are very much complicated as compared to Singapore, Metro itself has some interesting facts that you might want to take note of before your trip to Korea.

STAIRCASE is everywhere!

Unlike Singapore which has escalators and lifts in every station, that is not the case in Korea. You may find lifts and escalators at the newer lines and that is about it. The only way to get out is by conquering the long flight of staircase!

When Train Approaches…

In Singapore, there are only small screens showing how many minutes before the next train approaches. However, in Korea, some stations have those little lights in the train and sometimes on the glass panel while people are waiting for the train, signalling the number of “intervals” before the train arrives at the station.

Other than that, a song will also be played when the train is approaching the station! Different lines play different songs, although it only applies to some stations. This is still more interesting compared to hearing announcements like in Singapore.

Song varies in different parts of Korea and in different stations.

Seoul Metro “Fanfare”

Seoul Metro “Bells”

Busan Metro Traditional Music

Eating and Drinking is Allowed!

The title explains it. You are free to eat and drink, be it on the platforms or on the train. You can also find vending machines and small mini-mart stores in the station. Water coolers are also conveniently located outside the toilet at each station.