T-money is quite possibly the greatest invention to ever grace the streets of Seoul and surrounding Gyeonggi-do, and it’ll be the best investment of your life to get one of these to carry around with you when you come here. T-money comes in all shapes and sizes, is rechargeable, and is useful in every means of public transportation that Seoul and Gyeonggi-do has to offer (hence the name “T-money”).
So let’s say that you’ve arrived in Korea and don’t have T-money yet. How do you get it?
Luckily, you can purchase and re-fill T-money at all subway ticket booths. These automated machines are pretty nifty and we will be sure to cover this subject in a later post! You can also purchase and recharge T-money at almost every convenience store in Seoul. Most stores have a T-money logo in the window so you know for sure that you can purchase and re-charge there. There are even a few convenience stores at Incheon Airport on the arrival floor where you can do this so when you get to Seoul or Gyeonggi-do, you’ll already have it. This saves you from being super awkward and basically wearing a sign on your forehead that says “I’m a tourist!” when you try to take a bus ride by paying with cash. Actually, it’s not THAT awkward to pay with cash, but why pay with cash when you can get a discount when you pay with T-money?!
Discount? Yeah, that’s right! Everyone loves discounts, and T-money gives you 100W basic cash fare, which is 1,000W for every 10km. Since transportation cost in Seoul is figured by distance, the T-money card will gives you a discount on up to 4 transfers in the subways and buses when you need to. We’ll go into more detail on this in a future post!
You can get a regular T-money card for 2,500W, and other speciality cards, key chains, phone charms, etc… range from 4,000W to 25,000W. Different cards are sold at different locations, so check out this link to see all the different kinds of T-money and it’s sold: http://www.t-money.co.kr/jsp/tpub/tint/buy_guide.jsp
The initial cost of T-money may seem like a lot when you are first purchasing it. If you buy a regular T-money card, you will end up paying 11,500W when you get it, but subtract 2,500W from that for the actual cost of the card and the rest is the balance you can use to get around the city.
T-money is also refundable, but you have to pay a 500W fee. If your balance is under 20,000W, just take your T-money to a convenience store to receive the refund on the balance only; however, some convenience stores are unable to refund the money. If your balance is more than 20,000W, you have to take it to the T-money headquarters right outside of Seoul Station, Exit #8 to get your money back. Or, you can just keep the T-money and the money on it for the next time you come to Korea because it NEVER expires!!
If you won’t be in Seoul for an extended amount of time and don’t want to purchase a T-money card, another option is the Seoul City Pass. With this pass, you can ride subways and local buses in Seoul as well as subways in the surrounding Gyeonggi-do area. You can ride them all for up to 20 times per day without a limit on distance. With the Seoul City Pass, you can also ride 3 different routes (palace, downtown, and night view) of the Seoul City Tour Bus without limit. Currently the prices for the Seoul City Pass are:
1-day = 15,000W
You can purchase this pass at the following establishments:
- GS25, Family Mart, and MINISTOP convenience stores (located on the arrival floor of Incheon International Airport)
- Dongdaemun Tourist Information Office
- Gwanghwamun Tourist Information Office
- Itaewon Tourist Information Office
- Gimpo Airport Tourist Information Office
- Samilgyo Tourist Information Office
- Myeong-dong Tourist Information Office
- Namdaemun Tourist Information Office
- Jamsil Tourist Information Office.
The Seoul City Pass Plus Card is a pretty flippin’ sweet deal if you’re a tourist and plan to be in Seoul for a while. It’s essentially a T-money card with the added benefits of a Seoul City Pass for only 3,000W. You can ride any bus or subway in Seoul until you run out of money and have to re-fill. You can also take any of the Seoul City Tour Bus routes at a 5% discount!! With your Seoul City Pass Plus Card, you also receive a booklet and discount coupons to use everywhere in Seoul. This pass also gets you discounts at 60+ participating stores that include restaurants, attractions, eyeglass shops, beauty stores, and many more! You get all of this great stuff for only 500W more than a regular T-money card. Um, yeah…totally awesome!
You can purchase and recharge the Seoul City Pass Plus Card at any of the convenience stores in Korea as well as 종묘 (Jongmyo) and any of the 4 major palaces (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, and Deoksugung Palace). This card is also refundable, but there is a 500W convenience fee to get your money back.
So that’s our introduction to T-money. In the future, we will be blogging about how to use your T-money on a bus, how to use it on the subway, and how to re-fill it, so make sure you keep coming back!
Feel free to leave us any comments, questions, and suggestions for future blog posts in the comments section below!
As always, thanks for studying with us and giving us your support!
Written by Stephanie Morris