travel/landmarks

Korea’s Subway Charms

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.

pride in their work, proud of their city @ Digital Media City Station (ajummas and halmonis scrubbing the subways clean)

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:

Subway wifi providers… take your pick!

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

sometime I’m tempted to take this spot:-)

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 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 (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:

perfect spot for a Hanbok pictorial

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.

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 mural

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

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 the top wall serves as a colourful welcome as soon as you reach the topmost of the escalator!

colorful Noksapyeong

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 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:

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 branch of the Incheon Airport Immigration Office

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

which path would these birds take?

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

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.

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.

very attractive at 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!

colorful Pangyo

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:

colorful portals

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

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:

Almost there… Wanna go to #Pyeongyang? #ImjingangStation #DMZ

A post shared by Wendyflor (@wendyflor_40) on

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?

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 thoughts on “Korea’s Subway Charms

  1. 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.

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

  2. 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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