Two posts in one week – look at me go. In time for the weekend, I have some advice for navigating Seoul’s nightlife; this time around focusing on transportation and options for sleeping. If you would like to read about where to go out, check out this post.
How to Get Around
First of all, even though Seoul has a higher population than NYC and the public transportation is fantastic, EVERYTHING STOPS AT MIDNIGHT-ish. So annoying. Like, they could be making so much money over the weekends if the trains and buses stayed open 24 hours. Here are some ways to go about getting yourself home after a long night out.
- Taxis: Okay, so I have a real love-hate relationship with taxis in Korea. On the one hand, they’re a whooooole lot cheaper than the ones back home (and no tip!!!), but on the other hand, it’s so difficult to catch one at night. If you go to a major party area like Hongdae or Itaewon, you’re going to have a hard time catching a taxi as a foreigner. You’ll be waiting there for 15 minutes and have Koreans who were only there for 30 seconds get picked up right away. It makes my blood boil. I’ll have my card or cash waving in the air and they’ll still drive right past. I have plentyyy of good and bad taxi stories to expand upon but I’ll save that for a storytime post, haha. To help your case, however, know this before even trying to flag down a taxi –
- Uber: I just found out this week that Uber is, in fact, still in Korea!!!! They were kicked out for awhile and they’re not back in full capacity; but, UberBlack is up in running in Seoul!! If you don’t mind paying extra for quality service from a very polite driver, re-download the Uber app and laugh at all the suckers who are outside trying to wave down a taxi 😛
- KakaoTaxi: Korea’s answer to Uber. You can download it from Google Play or the App Store for free. It’s really similar to Uber, you input your pick-up and drop-off points and rate the driver at the end of the ride. Unlike Uber, however, you pay in person and not through the app. This may sound like a bad thing, but it makes sense for Korea because a lot of Korean check cards are not able to be used online anyway. I was going to include a whole tutorial and translate the app for you all, but, instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ve found a perfectly accurate how-to guide right here.
Where To Sleep
Not trying to spend on your money on a taxi or are you staying far from where you partied? Here are some inexpensive options for when you just don’t have the energy to get home right away.
- Jjimjilbangs/Spas: 찜질방 are a very affordable place to crash if you ever see yourself needing to one night – just make sure you look for something mentioning 24 hours! These will cost about 6,000 won-12,000 won to get in and with that, you’re left with a place to pamper yourself and rest your head. Now, these are definitely not the most comfortable places to sleep as you will be in an open room with men and women, a hard “pillow”, and a thin “mat”. But! On the bright side, you’ll be able to give yourself a nice bath in various kinds of water and experience different sauna rooms. I always feel so refreshed after going to jjimjilbangs.
- Cafes: Desperate times call for desperate measures. In most party neighborhoods, you can find a 24-hour cafe where you can lay your head until the subways start back up at around 5:30 AM. Holly’s Coffee, Tom and Tom’s, and Coffine Gurinaru are coffee chains that I most frequently notice being open for 24 hours.
- Love Motels: Maybe you’re an hour or so from home and need a good night’s rest for the morning. Most neighborhoods have love motels; which you can recognize by neon lights and they’re located in slightly sketchy alleyways. This is the most expensive option of the three, but at least you’ll get a good night’s rest. You could even split one with some friends to bring down the cost.
Phew, I’m done now! I’ll probably get back to more personal blogging next week – this informational stuff is exhausting, haha.