Seoul's 6 coolest subway stops
Even apart from the people-watching (ajummas with sharp elbows, ajeoshis in soju-induced comas, young women in gravity-defying mini-skirts and "kill-heels") Seoul subways can make for some amusing rides.
We’ve rounded up some of the coolest stops and rides on the Seoul subway. Next time you’re heading near any of these stops, try to tear yourself away from Angry Birds and take a good look around.
1. The ride between Hapjeong and Dangsan: Line 2
Up and out from the darkness of the underground, the train crosses the Han River and treats transit passengers to a spectacular view of the National Assembly and surrounding buildings.
This foray into the above ground is a refreshing change from the endless tunnels and epilepsy-inducing advertisements.
If the window view went by too quickly, get off at Dangsan Station (Line 9 and 2) and head to Exit 3. A walkway has been built over the highway ending at Hangang Park. The bridge offers the opportunity for a leisurely stroll.
2. Noksapyeong Station: Line 6
The circular architecture of this stop makes getting lost impossible. Whatever direction you choose will lead to turnstiles or a stairway and ultimately to an exit.
The beautifully domed roof allows plenty of natural light into the station. The light bounces and reflects off the crisscrossing escalators and steps and disappears in the creepy exhibition style fair set up on the bottom floor.
This abandoned area could use some work, but it has all the potential to add a cozy corner to the open-air structure.
3. Gwanghwamun, Exit 9: Line 5
Yes, this is a tourist trap and yes, the subway exit number 9 was designed to appeal to visitors, but it's execution is truly marvelous.
After rounding the corner from the sweaty maze, the refreshing view is a soothing sight to behold. The majesty of the mountains in the distance and King Sejong ruling large over Gwanghwamun Square is enough to take your breath away.
4. Hongik University, Exit 9: Line 2
It's any day of the week and it's half past time to get the party started. If it's a Hongdae kind of night, chances are, you're meeting at exit 9. On its busiest nights, you almost don't even have to climb the stairs, but let the sweaty tightly squeezed mass carry you where you need to go, mosh-pit style.
During subway hours, the entrance surrounding exit 9 is crowded and buzzing with youthful energy. Stylishly-dressed people are standing around, checking their phones, chatting with friends as they wait for the remaining members of their crew to show up.
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5. Gyeongbokgung Station: Line 3
This station is set up to appeal to tourists. Within the station, the Seoul government gives transit passengers a taste of Korean history.
Around the station are artifacts from various dynasties. The ornate decorations on the walls also help transport the visitor back to another time when kings ruled the Land of Morning Calm.
Usually, the Seoul Metro Art Center mounts exhibits for transit passengers to enjoy. There are three long stretches of walls for various visual displays.
Gyeongbokgung Station is a prime example of a stop that has its visitors in mind. If it's too rainy to visit the palace, why not pass the time in the subway station?
6. Seollung: Line 2
While waiting for the train at Seollung Station, go shopping at the world’s first virtual supermarket, aimed at Korea's ever-savvy smartphone users.
The walls of the station display life-size pictures of 500 items of food, toiletries and electronics.
Download the Home plus app, scan the QR code (bar code) for the item you want, and voila, your items will be delivered within a day.