Thursday, December 6, 2012

Seoul Seasons

Korea has four distinct seasons. Cherry Blossoms in Spring, Sweltering Summer, Fall colors of the leaves in Autumn and Skiing and snowboarding in Winter. These are the shots of the season, conveniently taken from my window :)

Spring in Seoul
Spring from my balcony

Summer showers from my balcony in Seoul
Summer showers in Seoul
Fall colors in Seoul
My window to the Fall colors
Snow fall in winter in Seoul
Snow show during Winter
First snowfall in the night
Snowfall at night

Beautiful snow in Seoul
Snow fall on the pines!

Snowed cars in Seoul
Snowed cars

Heavy snowfall in Seoul
Just started to snow :)
Skywatch Friday

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jihachul- The Korean Subway system

Seoul Subway - Jihachul
Jihachul of Seoul

Jihachul is the Korean subway system whose arms reach each and every corner of Seoul. There are 9 subway lines and also an airport railroad which conveniently runs to the Incheon from Seoul station in 45 mins flat. Each line is color coded, each station numbered, transfer stations clearly marked with directions (both in English and Korean) so that it is very easy to figure out how to get from one part of the city to the other.
The brown line on the Seoul subway
Stations in the brown line in Seoul
Subways are the fastest way to reach a place in Seoul, especially during the peak hours. It not only cheap (1,050 won per trip including the transfers and is just 450 won for kids and 900 won for teenagers), but always runs on time, is frequent and the lines reach almost every nook and corner of Seoul. People who live in Korea use the T money card which is almost a debit card used to swipe our way through the subway and also for travelling in buses, taxis. T money cards are even used in buying things in some convenience stores. There are special cards that can be bought in the subway station for one time use by people who visit the city. There are even refund machines in every station to get deposit the card and get the money back.
Ticketing machine to load money on the T money card - Seoul Subway
Ticketing machine to load money on the T money card.
Swipe the card to enter the tracks -Seoul Subway
Swipe the card to enter the tracks

There is an information booth for all problems and assistance - Seoul  subway
There is an information booth close by for assistance.

Travelling by the subway has never been easier except for the fact that:

Seoul subway system runs atleast 6 storeys beneath the ground level. Which means that you have to get down 6 storeys to reach the track and climb up 6 storeys to reach the city :( Well, thats why, i figured, Koreans are healthy and they have lovely legs and almost no thighs :) There are ofcourse elevators, escalators, moving walk ways to help out, but still, there are stations with a lot of steps!

Jihachul has a lot of stairs and escalators
Escalators to the tracks

Stairs on the Seoul Subway
Light at the end of the stairs!
More info on the station- Jihachul
More info about the station and the exits

Another interesting fact about the subway system in Seoul are the exits. There are so many exits from one station that you can almost reach the doorstep of the destination just by knowing the right exit of the station. Dongmyo station on line 6 has about 12 exits and exit 6 will directly take you to the stationery market of Dongdaemun while exit 3 will take you to the clothes market of Dongdaemun. The exits are marked very clearly both in English and Korean that it is hard to miss. There is also a "neighborhood map" in each and every station that shows a physical map of the area, showing the position of the exits.
Way to the exits- Jihachul
Subway stations are always crowded. But this is a rare shot.
The neigbour hood map- Seoul subway system
Planning where you are and where you need to go.

The subway stations are also shopping paradises where everything, right from the grocery to expensive cosmetics can be found. These shops are very convenient to pick some hot food after a long day and also keeps you from encountering the inclement weather of Seoul. Many apartments and departmental store have doors right from the subway station. Very convenient!

The Jihachul app is perfect and so easy to use. Just click on the destination station and the start station, the app shows you how many minutes it will take to reach it, where to transfer and even the optimal car to hop in so that you can walk less! I use the first and the second subway maps and they are so flawless and in English. These apps are available for iphones too, ofcourse!

Seoul Subway apps

ABC Wednesday -U for Underground Subway System
Thursday Challenge- Signs

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