Monday, June 20, 2005

Korea 220505a: The Subway

Today we (with the missus now, who has been staying in Seoul) decide to play tourist at the Korean traditional village near Mt Namsan (where the Seoul TV Tower is). So we catch the subway, naturally. Btw, a traveler should always sample the subway system (if any) wherever he or she is (apart from visiting markets).

The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is one of the most heavily used subway systems in the world. I find it easy to use, clean and very efficient. Price starts at 900 won (US$0.90), but you can normally get anywhere worthwhile in the city area for 1,000 won (US$1.00). Getting the right fare involves studying a huge chart on the wall - if you are lucky, the station names are written in Roman letters.

A subway car has overhead racks for bags and stuff, but you'll normally find newspapers there too. It's for you to read FOC, and when you leave the train, put it back in the rack nicely folded. Well, that's how it works. :-)

#1: Seems every subway station in Seoul has it own interior decorator. The one who worked here must have liked caves. Posted by Hello

#2: Squeaky clean subway. Yo, New Yorkers! Take a look at this! Posted by Hello

#3: I bet they wash and scrub the subway (tracks and all) every morning! Posted by Hello

Korea 210505k: The Seoul TV Tower

I guess any city worth its salt must have a TV tower, complete with a revolving restaurant. I'm not sure about the need for the restaurant to keep rotating, well maybe to keep the patrons' minds off the over-priced food?

By the way, I've been only on one revolving restaurant so far - the Sydney Tower. All I can recall is the wonderful scenery, nothing on the food. So there you go!

#1: Looking towards Mt Namsan, where one finds Namsan Park and of course, a TV tower...and trust a construction crane to spoil the show!Posted by Hello

#2: A Seoul icon - the TV tower at dusk. Posted by Hello

Korea 210505j: A Seoul Evening

When they built the splendid train station I guess somebody simply forgot to integrate it fully with the equally splendid city subway system! I have to exit the station and walk some 200m to catch my Line 2 subway which takes me to my hotel in Gangnam. Luckily it is a beautiful late afternoon and as the sun sets complete with a full moon, I witness the changing colours of the city...

#2: Office towers loom over the station. Posted by Hello

#1: View from the entrance of the station. Posted by Hello

#3: Looking across the square in front of the station. Posted by Hello

Korea 210505i: Back at Seoul Station

Two-and-half-hours later, I am back at Seoul Train Station. Originally opened in 1900, the present futuristic glassy complex was completed in 2004, just in time for the KTX bullet train service launch. The interior has a pleasant feel-good ambience, unlike the main train stations in Europe and Japan.

The exterior surely complements the interior - glassy futuristic design reflecting the dynamicism of present-day Korea!

#1: Platform for KTX bullet trains at Seoul Station. Posted by Hello

#3: Seoul Train Station - new terminal for the KTX bullet trains. I initially thought those were masks!Posted by Hello

#2: Another KTX bullet train leaves for Busan. Posted by Hello

#4: Exterior of new glassy Seoul station complex. Posted by Hello