This post is a response to several emails asking me about taxis in Seoul. There are different kinds of taxis in Seoul- regular (ilban), luxury (mobeom), and international taxis.
Regular taxis are white or gray in color. The basic fare for these taxis is 2,400 won for the first 2km with an increase of 100 won per 144m. There is a 20% fare hike from midnight to 3 or 4 a.m. (I’m not so sure.LOL)
Luxury taxis are black sedans or vans with a yellow cap on the roof. These are the business class taxis in Seoul. The basic fare is 4,500 won for the first 3 km with an increase of 200 won. They are quite expensive. But unlike the regular taxis, luxury taxis don’t incur midnight surcharge. You can see them in affluent areas like Gangnam or infront of airports and hotel. The drivers tend to act more like chauffeurs than taxi drivers.
International taxis are in orange color and feature the Seoul mascot, Haechi. They were introduced in Seoul in May 2009 as an option for foreigners.They have similar rate with the regular taxis. And they provide translation services too.
- Don’t expect Korean drivers to speak fluent English, even those who drive international taxis. I tried (just to test) speaking English to some (international taxi) drivers and most of them shooed me away. LOL. They’re not patient enough to communicate with English speakers. If you can’t speak Korean, ask a Korean or your hotel staff to write the address in Hangul. You can show it to the driver if you have problem in communicating.
- If you’re lost in Korea, ask young people not the old ones. Many Koreans who are in their late 40’s can’t speak English well. They know English words but they don’t have the confidence to speak English.
- Know the famous landmarks of the area of your destination. Korean address system is quite complicated; and people don’t tell the street names to the driver. They just give a landmark and once they’re there, they just point out where to go or just walk the rest of the way. That’s a lot easier and faster.
- Payment is usually in cash but all taxis have Tmoney and credit card payment system.
- Tipping is not expected in Korea. This is what I really like here. You’ll get your change no matter how small it is.
- Receipts are available from all taxis. They are connected to the meter and show the exact fare and mileage. Always ask for a receipt. You can contact the driver in case you have left something.
- Learn basic Korean phrases before you come to Korea. It will help you enjoy your trip more. ^_^