Korea’s Subway Charms

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Korea’s transportation system is one of the best in the world! There’s no doubt about that.

Korea’s subway system is one of the best and the cleanest and the safest in the world. There’e no doubt about that. And more.

Korea subway stations are avenues for entertainment and flourishing art. In my commutes, I have become fascinated with the things I see in and around the stations. Using my cellphone, I started collecting photos of these subway charms. Let me share them with you in a photo story:

I started noticing these subway charms in January 2016 with these cleaning ladies. They were scrubbing with all their might to give commuters shiny markers like the inset photo. This photo was taken at the Digital Media City Station, the starting point of my subway explorations.

keeping the subway clean and shiny photo 12487072_10207016844172740_3678077118710261678_o_zpsvqf58i2s.jpg

Pride in their work, proud of their city @ the Digital Media City


All Seoulites love Korea’s internet speed. There’s a reason why the country has the fastest internet. You can see them everywhere and the subway trains are spoiled with these wi-fi giant routers:

wi-fi inside the subway train photo 16819356_10210451408994714_7138828478275404409_o_zpsfrwvffgr.jpg

Subway wi-fi providers… take your pick!


Whether these seats are properly reserved for our graceful pregnant ladies isn’t material. It’s there!

for pregnant women in a Seoul subway photo 13007314_10207826911063906_3667166669321707597_n_zps1rnk1uh3.jpg

sometimes I’m tempted to take it:-)


In 2013, this intimidating but fascinating tiger dominated the Children’s Grand Park Station’s exit going to the… you guess it!…Children’s Grand Park:

Children's Grand Park (former design before current renovation photo 1078605_10200995628886121_1655380647_o_zpszh4lofm6.jpg

Children Grand Park Station (2013)

A perfect welcome for Children’s Grand Park visitors! But when we visited again May last year, the station was being renovated and the tiger’s nowhere to be found. I found this dainty one, instead:

Children's Grand Park Station photo 13124510_10207879333414432_6014613922072578969_n_zpsjctg4onu.jpg

Children Grand Park Station (2016)

What a great contrast, ey?

The Gwanghwamun Station is huge and is in itself a tourist destination. There are many attractions there and these two are just a few you can take photos of at the Sejong Centre:

Sejong Center, Gwanghwamun Station photo 20160420_142939_zpsn3spqixq.png

perfect spot for a hanbok pictorial

Sejong Center, Gwanghwamun Station photo 20160420_145502_zpshbupubf4.png

Gwanghwamun Station


Since Anguk Station leads us to Insadong and Buchon Hanok Village, it isn’t surprising to see this collection of art works tiled together at the wall directly welcoming commuters who come out of the turnstiles.

Angus Station photo 13077082_10207821181680675_8622058970544989937_n_zpsunt26ckb.jpg

artworks tiled together


I always pass by the World Cup Park Station but this mural was easy not to take notice of. It was only when I was waiting for my boys to come out of the toilet when I saw this:

World Cup Park Station photo 13133306_10207879341454633_4113146127630980236_n_zpsqieysyxm.jpg

World Cup Park Station mural


Another huge subway station is the City Hall. These lamps caught my attention while my son was playing:

City Hall Station photo 12417741_10207390735479789_4525324267861198409_n_zps9uwpjbwo.jpg

City Hall Station


Going up the escalators of Noksapyeong Station always leave my sons in awe. Because it’s very high? Or is it because of the element of danger when you look down? I don’t know! But this wall serves as a colourful welcome as soon as you reach the topmost of the escalator!

Noksapyeong Station photo 13076627_10207814950844908_2882616167601141333_n_zpsthc3hunz.jpg

Noksapyeong Station

Noksapyeong Station photo 14639805_10209402119043121_3964969451367641362_n_zpsqedxjtlg.jpg

one o the paintings lining up at the Noksapyeong Station


The Express Bus Terminal is always buzzing with people. A lot. But I luckily turned back and saw this black and white mural.

Express Bus Terminal Station photo 14523021_10209134594155166_8438491449452957037_n_zpsg2ssmqy2.jpg

Express Bus Terminal black and white mural


Seoul Station is HUGE! You can stay there the whole day and you won’t get bored with all its shops and cafes. The old Seoul Station is a character but this colorful cone tower beside Exit 4 stands out:

Seoul Station, side of Exit 4 photo 16463372_10210247252890939_2616511404384927044_o_zpsb6gndmia.jpg

beautiful and elegant (Exit 4, Seoul Station)

Just how huge is the Seoul Station? Well, it has its own Immigration and check-in counters for international travellers.

Seoul Station photo 20170331_175854_zpsf44ht5y5.jpg

Seoul Station branch of the Incheon Airport Immigration Office


The Hanggangjin Station has a mosaic mural occupying the whole wall. Which path would these birds take?

Hanggangjin's Station photo 15271979_10209663294572346_1041579728505292581_o_zpsdscslbtf.jpg

Road less travelled at the Hanggangjin Station’s mosaic


Beotigogae Station displays similar to Hangganjin’s mosaic mural. This one’s neat and bright.

Beotigogae Station photo 16463281_10210311172088879_740761849890819194_o_zpsmarjxsc5.jpg

Beotigogae Station


Miasageori Station is a fairly recent find. If you are planning to check the Dream Arts Center, this is the sight to behold as soon as the subway train doors open.

Masageori Station photo 17621951_10210747958368263_1025705170359470508_o_zpsm784zll6.jpg

Miasageori Station


The first time I arrived here in Seoul, Gongdeok Station wasn’t attractive. But the possibilities are endless since the government was already rolling out its plan to create an airport line. Now, it is one busy station! And this sculpture between Exit 8 and 9 is a colourful reminder of its continuing progress.

Gongdeok Station photo 16463545_10210305913757424_3391919117039387091_o_zpsrfyjfbz0.jpg

Gongdeok Station


Bundang seems so far. But not anymore! Subway’s convenience is magic! And Pangyo Station’s colorful walls promise a very modern environment out there. The surroundings are still having ongoing development but pretty soon… pretty soon!

Pangyo Station photo 17239848_10210654530272619_3341197196622564048_o_zpsh6i1yx4k.jpg

colorful entertainment at Pangyo Station


Oksu Station is an interesting blend of contemporary design and vintage industrial-look. It has 2 lines – Line 3 and the Gyeonggui Line. I use theGyeongugui Line since it has direct route to Digital Media City. Here’s the entrance to its Gyeonggui Line:

Oksu Station photo 17636754_10210764780988818_5812259920049306957_o_zps2ryujqtp.jpg

lines and colours at Oksu’s Gyeongui Line


I love this best! It’s very masculine… as railways should be. Right?

Oksu Station (Gyeonggui Line) photo 17632130_10210764920752312_601499136914498315_o_zpsvnoqx4hh.jpg

vintage industrial railway at Oksu Station


(Added: March 31, 2017)

Imjingang Station is the station before Dorasan Station but a very important one if you wish to enter the DMZ. This is where your identification papers are processed:

Impinging Station photo 20170331_112956_zps9zqwkszc.jpg

Imjingang Station


And South Korea’s last station in the north: the Dorasan Station. It connects the North and South Korea. While the tracks from South Korea’s side are used daily, the ones going northward has never been used. Someday, perhaps?

Dorsal Station photo 20170331_115302_zpsv8wvhslk.jpg

the station that connects North and South Korea

Considering all the subway stations in all of the 16 subway lines, these photos are a mere collection. I will continue to update this because there is always something interesting and new to discover.

Korea. You never cease to amaze.

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5 Responses

  1. Rosie says:

    Korea’s public transportation system is awesome and one thing I’ll really miss when we leave! It’s great to see people taking real pride and ensuring the stations are clean! Love how visual they are too – that picture of the tiger is awesome!
    Rosie recently posted..The Best Places to Brunch in Hong KongMy Profile

  2. Izzy says:

    Such a great photo esssay! I don’t know anyone who could deny just how amazing the transportation system is in Korea. It is one of the aspects I most cherished and currently miss about Korea. I remember marveling at the colored-glass walls of Noksapyeong Station but there are so many charming accents that I miss. I really love the color wall at Pangyo Station and the artistry of the blocked tiles at Gwanghwamun Station.

    • wendy says:

      Even when I return to a station, there are new features I discover. It’s a delight to keep on seeing “new” things.

  3. Rocio Cadena says:

    I’m there with you in that I love Korea’s public transportation system. Coming from a city of Chicago, which has a decent system and comparing it to Korea’s, it’s not even a fair comparison! I also really enjoy the effort Korea invests in attempting to liven up the stations with art and such. It definitley helps with our daily commutes!

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