Category: Relocation

Transportation in Korea

Transportation in Korea: Top 8 Ways to Get Around 

One of the best features about living in South Korea is the affordable and accessible transportation. Whether you need to move across town, or travel to the other side of the country, there are so many options.


Short distances:

1. Public Bicycles

It’s not uncommon to find public bicycles available across the country in major cities. Usually, you can download an app onto your smartphone and then link a bank card to pay for the ride.

You’ll have to scan a QR code on the bike, and it will unlock automatically. Many of these public bikes are equipped with baskets attached in case you have something to carry. It’s a great way to move around the city while also getting some exercise. Conveniently, you can also check the app to see where the bikes are located. Depending on your location, you can expect to find some bike lanes, making your ride safer and more comfortable. Here’s a “How To” on renting bikes in Seoul City.

Seoul Public Bike Docking Station

2. Electric Scooters

Similarly to bike rentals, you can also opt to travel by electric scooter. Some of the more popular choices are GCooter, Beam, and Swing. The scooters can travel up to 25 kilometers per hour. Typically, if you don’t link a valid Korean driver’s license to your account, the recommended speed limit is 17 kph. I think this is a great option for days when the weather is nice, because you can ride with friends and it’s so much fun! You can find some general regulations for e-scooters here.


3. The Bus

The bus network in South Korea operates in all cities and even in smaller villages and towns. The bus system is fairly easy to navigate, but can become difficult if your Korean is limited. Still, downloading navigation apps such as KakaoMaps or NaverMaps will help you get from point A to point B with ease. Just scan your T-money travel card (which can be purchased and reloaded at any convenience store) and you’ll be on your way!


4. Subway

The Korean subway system is praised for its efficiency worldwide. Subways are available in the five major cities consisting of the Seoul Metropolitan Area. This includes Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, and Incheon; Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, and Daejeon. It’s possible to buy a single journey ticket with cash, but you can actually save money by loading up a T-money card, and use it for taxis and buses as well. Subways operate from 5:30am to 1am the next day. Try to remember basic subway etiquette like waiting for passengers to exit before loading the car, not sitting in seats designated for the elderly or pregnant women, and not eating inside of the train cars.

5. Kakao T

Similarly to Uber and other ride services, South Korea uses Kakao Taxi for its private transportation services. If you are in a rush and don’t have time for public transportation, this could be a great option. You can download the Kakao Taxi app which has English services and an intuitive interface, making it easy to navigate directions. Using the app can also provide peace of mind to foreigners as then you can track the taxi route and make sure you have an estimate of the fare before taking the trip.

Kakao T Taxi Cab

Long distances:

6. Airport “Limousine”

The airport limousine bus is a lifesaver for people traveling to Korea with loads of luggage. These buses are spacious and comfortable, and will take you closer to your final destination if traveling outside of Seoul. If you are leaving from the airport, you can purchase a ticket at the stands outside of the terminals. If you are headed to the airport, you can download an app to reserve a ticket in advance. The bus application to reserve tickets doesn’t operate in English yet, but it’s quite simple to screenshot the app and translate using Google Translate or Papago in order to purchase your ticket.


7. Express Bus and “Intercity” Buses

These buses are cheap, reliable, and operate in all cities and towns. These buses can take passengers from one city to another, which is the best option for weekend trips to take part in amazing activities like paragliding, bungee jumping, ATV, or botanical gardens!  


8. KTX Bullet Train

KTX, Korea Train Express, is one of the best ways to travel between cities. You can expect a quiet and smooth ride while taking in the beautiful landscape of the country. The high speed train travels at an astounding 305 kilometers per hour and interconnects popular travel destinations. You can download the Korail app to purchase tickets. If you don’t feel comfortable booking on the Korean app, you can always use a service like Korean Train to book your ticket. You should expect to pay a bit extra in this case, but it does make it easier to book or later change your ticket if need be.


With so many affordable options to travel these days, seeing different regions of South Korea has never been easier!


Alexandra Skouras is from Pennsylvania, USA, and has been living in South Korea since April 2021. She studied Biology and Spanish during college but decided to embrace her love of travel and cultural diversity through teaching English in other countries. After spending one year teaching in Madrid, Spain, she decided to move to South Korea, and since then has been teaching Chungdahm April in Sejong. Her favorite part about teaching is connecting with students and seeing how much growth they can achieve in just a short period of time. Alexandra describes her Korean life as the perfect mix of comfortable and exciting, and is passionate about encouraging other people to take the leap of faith and try something new.

Teaching as a Couple in Korea

Setting the Stage

About 6 months after my boyfriend Colin and I started dating I asked him if he’d be interested in teaching abroad. I’d always wanted to live abroad and I knew he wanted to travel as well – I was so excited when he said he was open to the idea of teaching in Korea! Almost a year later we moved to Busan. I’m so thankful to Aclipse for making this all possible and finding a school where we could both teach and work the same hours. Moving overseas as a couple has a lot of perks, and I have been so thankful for this experience! Having lived in Busan for over a year, I’ve met lots of single people, people who started new relationships while abroad, and other couples who moved abroad together. Regardless of your relationship status, living abroad is an unforgettable experience. I’m especially grateful I was able to share these memories with Colin. Let me show you what it’s like getting recruited and teaching as a couple in Korea!

(Below – a picture of us when we visited the colorful Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan)


Partner In Crime

Life overseas has been emotional at times, and I was sad to say goodbye to friends and family knowing that I wouldn’t see them for at least a year or even longer. But having a built in support system is amazing – despite everything else changing it was nice to have someone from back home who was going through the exact same experiences. We navigated the language barrier, culture shock, trying new foods, and starting new jobs together. Neither of us had been teachers before and it’s been really nice working together and sharing ideas for our classes! 

(Below, us visiting Beomeosa Temple with some coworkers/friends and some cute cookies we got at school!)

Couple posing in front of a mountain in Korea

Making Connections

Aside from the cultural differences and adjusting to working a new job, we also had to furnish an apartment. Having two people to share the cost of bills, groceries, and household necessities has allowed us to save more money than we would have if we came here alone! Also our apartment is bigger than a single person’s apartment, which has made it easy for us to host holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving – holidays away from family are difficult but much better when you can celebrate friends! (see below – some of our friends joined us to celebrate American Thanksgiving!)


Group of friends and a couple posting at a get together in Korea

Yin and Yang

Another great thing about moving abroad with Colin is that we both have different strengths. He’s amazing at navigating public transit (I have no sense of direction and had barely used public transit before living abroad). He’s also a great cook and has found lots of yummy restaurants for us to try in Busan. I’m good at budgeting, organizing, and planning. Together we’ve made a great team! We’ve been able to visit some amazing places together while teaching in Korea! 

(Below – we love hiking together, there’s lots of great places to hike in Busan and we live at the base of Jangsan Mountain.)


a couple looking off into the view on top of a mountain trail in korea
Couple posing with a view off a cliff in the background in Korea


Support System

Lastly, life as an expat can be lonely at first. It’s easy to meet foreigners in Korea – they stick out in a crowd! But for the first few weeks after we arrived I was jet lagged and spending most of my time adjusting to a new job and unpacking. From my experience, it seems like the most stressful time is the first month after you move abroad. Many of my friends agree with this as well – it can feel a little overwhelming moving your whole life abroad and starting a new job at the same time, all while feeling homesick. Luckily for me, Colin was always there for me and I never felt lonely!


Couple posing in front of a lit heart in Korea


Just Do It!

I would highly encourage anyone who has the chance to move abroad to do it! You’ll learn so much about yourself and other cultures, and have more appreciation for simple things lots of us take for granted. If you are lucky enough to be teaching as a couple in Korea, you’ll be even more lucky – I know I am! 


Couple posing in front of a neon sign with a hand making the heart gesture in Korea


Monica Russo graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors in Psychology and is from St. Louis, Missouri. After spending a couple years in social work she decided to move abroad to learn more about other cultures and to challenge herself to live outside her comfort zone. Moving abroad hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it and Monica loves living in Busan, South Korea. She loves new experiences, hiking, exploring other cities and helping others any way that she can. Her philosophy with her students is work hard, play hard! 

Discovering My Heritage

The Question

“Where are you from?” the nail salon owner asks. She tilts her head when I say, “America.” “Oh, but you look Korean,” she says confused. “I am,” I try to clarify. “I’m here teaching English.” It’s a conversation I’ve had a few times since I arrived in Korea five months ago, armed with little more than a few Korean words and phrases and scared absolutely stiff. I was born in Busan but adopted to the United States by an American family when I was a baby. I’ve had very little experience with Korean culture, and I was very anxious about it. Little did I know, just how much I would be discovering my heritage om this journey as an English teacher. 

Getting Adjusted

In fact, for the first week before teaching training, I said almost nothing to anyone. Looking into so many faces that looked like my own, I was overcome with an odd sense of guilt and nerves. Feeling disappointed in myself for not speaking the language, I was panicked inside that I didn’t learn more about my culture before coming here. Thankfully, a lot of those worries gradually dissipated over time. One step at a time, I achieved some small goals. Ordering at a restaurant — pointing at the menu and all — purchasing something by myself (without the helpful presence of my non-Asian husband), and practicing the little Korean I do know in daily life. 

Taking the Plunge

It’s scary to come to a new country certainly — I almost talked myself out of it so many times. But every day, I’m so grateful I took the plunge. For the first time, I fully pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve made new friends, some of whom I feel like I could have for the rest of my life. I’ve traveled. I’ve confronted my social anxiety. I’m learning little bits about where I come from and practicing a language that was actually the first sound I heard after birth. Discovering my heritage has been extraordinary.


College To Korea

I first decided to teach English in Korea during my senior year of college, many years ago. It was just a pipe dream then. When my mom got sick, I put things off indefinitely. It was a good decision, since I was home when she eventually passed away. Life got in the way then, and I struggled to put that dream to rest. I tried to shake it off — and failed. It remained, a cloying reminder of things I lost and dreams unrealized.

One day, I decided I’d had enough. It was time to make it happen. And I did. I talked to some friends, one of whom had a friend who’d worked for Chungdahm, and she put me in touch with Aclipse. She gave me the real talk of the things that were great and the things that could be difficult. Pay was good, but they were strict, she explained. The curriculum was set, and there was CCTV at all times in the classroom. It protects you, she said. But it can also make you feel nervous. Thankfully, I’ve never had an issue with it, and I mostly forget about it during class.


Finding the Groove

All in all, I’m really lucky that I found such a good home with my school. I was placed in Daejeon, roughly the middle of the country, in a kindergarten program called i-Garten. Every day, I come to school smiling. Partially for the kids and partially because I’m proud of myself for taking the leap. I get to make a difference in the kids’ lives every day and get to know a part of myself I never got to. At 30, I’m having the time of my life, meeting new people, traveling the world, and learning more about myself. Everyone’s experience is different, but I wouldn’t trade mine for the world.


Three women overlooking a traditional Korean village

Rebekah Alcalde: Born in Busan, South Korea, Rebekah was adopted to the United States when she was five months old. She was an avid reader and writer, pursuing a degree in English from the Catholic University of America. Originally interested in teaching secondary education English literature, she served as a private tutor and substitute teacher before switching careers. She served as an assistant editor for a local newspaper and as a freelance marketing, communications and social media associate for several years before realizing her dream of teaching English abroad in South Korea. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, spending time with her husband and new friends, exploring Korea, and saying “yes” to everything in Korea she can.

Small City Living in Korea

A New Beginning

Coming to Korea was the best decision to learn about who I am and what I like. Not only has Korea allowed me to travel to a new country but it has allowed me to live a life I never knew I would have let alone enjoy. I have always had a dream to travel the world, especially experiencing the sensations of Asian countries. Korea has allowed me to start that dream by starting a new life doing something I wasn’t sure I would enjoy – but being pleasantly surprised to enjoy it thoroughly.

Couple posing in front of a mountain in Korea

Bright Lights, Big City

I arrived in Korea with my boyfriend holding my hand to brave this new adventure we sought out together. Back home in South Africa, we lived in one of the biggest cities, Johannesburg, but arriving in Seoul we felt completely overwhelmed by the tall buildings and bustling roads. Seoul was so big and bright when we arrived in the night that we weren’t quite sure where to look or what to do with ourselves at first. Don’t get me wrong, Seoul is a beautiful city now that I’ve had the chance to explore it in a less stressful setting now that I have a phone that works with Korean networks. In addition, I feel a little more comfortable hearing a language that I can pick up and understand the odd word here and there. Having a group of friends wanting to explore Seoul on the odd occasion when the chance permits has also helped to feel a little less overwhelmed too. But after one of these weekends of enjoying a shopping spree, the nightlife or a simple coffee, it is always terrific to journey home to our city in the countryside, according to the locals.


Finding Your Center

Traveling from our quaint residence is one of the best things about our new life. We came to Korea searching for excitement and adventure. Having the opportunity to travel and experience Korean culture was a main contender in our efforts to move to Korea and find a perfect fit for a home. Gumi has provided us with a central position in the country where it is easy for us to travel to different areas and be able to party at festivals, let off fireworks on the beach and make and drink traditional green tea. Being in a city that doesn’t have the wide range of activities that other cities do has provided us with enough reason for us to travel as often as time permits. It is a wonder that we can spend between two and four hours to reach the east coast – and the same goes for the west coast. We have had the opportunity to see and experience far more than was planned for our initial pleasure while still being able to enjoy some of the commonalities we became accustomed to back home.


Bigger Ain’t Always Better

We live in a small suburb of Gumi that requires us to travel in order to engage in various activities downtown. Catching a taxi is only a 15-minute drive to wherever it is that we desire to go. This is one of the wonders of living in a small city. Not only is the driving time short lived but the ease of catching up with friends is well lived. Gumi may not be able to brag the various assortment of restaurants that larger cities can, but the restaurants Gumi has on offer satisfies the need to fulfill hunger and quench thirst. Don’t worry if you ever come to Gumi you will definitely be able to eat traditional Kimbap, Bulgogi and my personal favorite Korean barbeque. The arrangement of restaurants we do have to enjoy allow for time for friends and colleagues to become well acquainted and catch up on the days gone by. Making friends in Gumi is incredibly easy as we have one of the best foreigner bars in my opinion, albeit a biased one at that. Meeting people at Corona is an odd delight. Exchanging different stories of our history and background  and where in Gumi we are based allows us to make connections that are easy to keep intact. Living in a smaller city has allowed us to meet a good majority of the other foreigners also situated in Gumi. It is incredibly interesting to be able to chat with a teacher who teaches your students in their public school classroom compared to that of your academy classroom.


Michelle Cloete: Born and raised in Johannessburg, South Africa. Michelle followed her love of history from high school in pursuing a degree in Archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand. Once she completed her Honors degree in Bioarchaeology, Michelle furthered her education by completing a Masters of Science in Medicine with a focus in Forensic Anthropology. While Michelle was completing her degrees she was fortunate enough to be able to work with children through outreach projects in Archaeology and through her own pursuits too. Michelle realised her enjoyment of working with children and so she pursued completing a Postgraduate Certificate of Education. Michelle ended up teaching for 6 months at a school as apart time teacher in History and Geography before pursuing a teaching career in South Korea. Michelle has tried to immerse herself in all that Gumi, her now residence, has to offer by engaging with other foreigners and locals, trying out new experiences and enjoying all that South Korea has to offer.

Arriving in Korea: What to Expect

Big Move

Moving to Korea can be really intimidating. There are plenty of questions racing through your head, such as “Where am I going to live? How am I going to get to school? Will people understand me? Will my students like me?” We all worry about things we cannot control, so to lessen the nerves, at Chungdahm Learning you will receive a lot of guidance and help that will make your life easier and more comfortable. 



In my experience, CDL offered a lot of support once arriving in Korea. The company is organized and knows exactly where each candidate will be placed. There is never a point when you cannot ask someone for advice or information about your new city and job. The HR department is really helpful and if they are not sure about a specific question you are asking, they will go out of their way to try and accommodate a response or a solution. Of course, not all situations are ideal, but as long as you accept this and embrace the environment, you will be more than surprised how helpful and caring employees at the company are. 


The minute you arrive in Korea, CDL takes care of you. Pre-flight documentations and travel arrangements will be sent to each applicant, explaining in detail exactly how to get from Incheon Airport to Gangnam, Seoul. Once arriving in Gangnam, you will be met by a driver who will escort you to the Coatel Hotel. At the Coatel you will check-in to a room, where you will stay for the duration of the week. Most candidates will have one or two roommates, which allows for the opportunity to make friends with your fellow-trainees.  


Chungdahm provides adequate training for all of its employees, which is above and beyond what other academies offer in Korea. You will be assigned an experienced trainer who will help you throughout training week. They are on-call for any questions you may have, and most candidates can email any questions about the training material and homework to their trainer daily.


You’re Not Alone

Since you are rooming with other candidates, you can also work together to complete the training homework and mock teach to one another at training centre or in your hotel room. 

Training centre is open late so candidates can have the opportunity to make use of the facilities in preparation of the mock teaching. Here you can utilize the smart screens and mock teach in a live environment. 


Team Manager

During training week, you will be contacted by the Team Manager of the location you will work at. During your first week of teaching you will receive assistance from your TM. They will be your direct line of communication for classroom and personal issues. Your TM will also help with communication between the Korean staff and any housing/banking issues you may be experiencing.  


The branch will host an Orientation workshop where you will get to meet the other employees. There might also be a Hweshik – a company dinner – that you should attend. Here you will be welcomed to the branch and get to know the Korean staff, faculty and management. 

Korean Staff

A Korean staff will be assigned the responsibility of housing and  ARC card registration. They will meet you during training week to set up available time slots for housing. You will join them and other candidates who are moving to your branch to see all the possible options.  


The assigned Korean staff will also arrange your ARC card appointment and make sure that all your documents are ready for your registration with the Office of Immigration. They will give you a list of things you need, so make sure to have your passport available during the first week of working at your academy. 

Also, they will help with any communication issues you are having with your landlord or if you do not know how to set up a bank account and phone account. 

Faculty Human Resources

Finally, CDL’s FHR department is readily availble for any enquiries you have about work and life in Korea. You can email [email protected] anytime during your contract and they will be happy to assist in resolving any issues you are having. 

There is also Chungdahm TM that deals with classroom and material issues. They are also available anytime for enquiries, [email protected] 


Tijana Huysamen is a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people.  After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email tijanahuysamen1[email protected] to request more information on teaching in Korea!