9 Step Photo Guide to Korean Buses with Naver Maps

by Ronda Christensen
9 Step Photo Guide to Korean Buses with Naver Maps


Whether you’re visiting or living in Seoul, the city offers one of the best public transportation circuits in the world. Luckily it’s also quite easy to learn and acclimate to. The subway system is the go-to form of transportation for most expats because it’s clearly laid out with English and Chinese subtitles. The bus system is a bit harder with the majority of routes entirely in Korean. However, once you familiarize yourself with it, you’ll open up additional doors allowing you to venture around and outside of the city more conveniently (and you’ll thank yourself!)

Seoul buses are divided by four separate colors that are generally good to be aware of.

Blue: these buses travel on major highways and for long distances.
Green: these buses generally travel shorter distances and stop between transfer points such as subway stations and blue bus stops.  Sometimes called “village buses”
Red: these buses offer express routes between the city and suburban areas outside of the metropolitan area.
Yellow: these buses travel short distances and stay in a local designated area of the city.

The first tip above all if you are living in Korea is to learn how to read Korean. It’s actually quite simple and you can click here for links & tips. This will help you immensely especially for using the bus system, although not necessary.

Pro Tip: If you already know what bus # you want use Kakao Bus to check the schedule!

Outlined below is a painless way of finding the right bus for your route. We didn’t discover it until our second year in Korea and can’t believe we missed something so simple for so long! Learn from us, USE it!

South Korean Bus Guide

Step 1) Download Naver maps and make sure your GPS location is enablednaver-map-logo

Yes, yes, we know. It’s all in Korean! (Again, if you learn how to read the language that’ll help you here as well). This is the main map Koreans use, so it’s also good to have readily available on your device for that reason. Even though it’s in Korean, follow this guide and it’ll go smoothly.

Don’t forget to turn on your GPS location!

Step 2) Click hamburger-button

Select 지도 – top right menu

This translates to “map”bus-app-photo-1


Step 3) Select the “locator” button – top left and place it on your departing location

This will highlight where your current location is. If you want to leave from there, perfect. Otherwise you can move it. Either or, simply hold down on the red dot until the icon changes to a blue cone with a red cross below it. move the icon so that the red cross is placed onto your departing location. (I use the colored subway lines and stations as guides, zoom out if you have to).

bus-app-step-3-2 bus-app-step-3-5

Seoul Buses using Naver Maps

Step 4) Select 출발 – bottom left

This translates to “start” or “departing”. After you select this, it’ll take you to a new screen.bus-app-step-4

Do you love street art?  Why no take the bus to some of the bus to some of the best street art in seoul!

Step 5) Click on the empty bar (다적지 검색)

This translates to “destination search”. By selecting this, it’ll take you to a blank screen with just a few options.


Step 6) Select the cone top right

This will take you back to the map.


Step 7) Place the icon on your arrival location select the bottom bar

This starts the same as “step 3” and will take you to a new screen again.


How to Travel in Seoul

Step 8) Select 대중 교통 – subway car icon

It’s the first icon on the left below the address bars. This will also take you to a new screen.


Step 9) Select the next tab “버스”

This translates to “bus”. The number on the tab tells you how many bus routes are available. Each option tells you the estimated travel time, the cost, where to get on, transfer and get off.  Look for the Bus number on the left next to the colored rectangle.


As you can see, there are also other options to find your route. If you stay on the original tab in the last step (8), those options show routes for both bus and subways combined. At the very top, you will see 4 icons total with a photo on each (subway, car, bike and person). Each icon shows the route for that mode of travel.

For more information on the Seoul bus system, click http://english.seoul.go.kr/life-information/transportation-information/public-transportation/1-bus/

If you’re heading to Busan be sure to read this guide for 3 days in Busan!
Looking for things to do in Seoul?  Check out this great post with 99 ideas!
Want to find some places to stay in Korea Head over to my friends at Wee Gypsy Girl for wacky hotel ideas!
Need some other ideas for what to do in Seoul?  Check out this 10 day Korea Itinerary!

9 Step Photo Guide to Korean Buses with Naver Maps

9 Step Photo Guide to Korean Buses with Naver Maps

This post was a collaboration between Mike Still & Ronda Christensen

Ronda Christensen

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Tom December 19, 2016 - 9:22 am

I’ve only been to Seoul once, but when I was there I took the subway the entire time, partly because they seemed so much easier to figure out than the bus routes. Next time I’ll check this guide and learn how to better get around.

Mike Still December 20, 2016 - 10:46 am

I hope you make it back to Seoul and can use the buses with this guide

Punita Malhotra December 19, 2016 - 12:46 pm

Seeing such unfamiliar language itself is enough to disorient you. But your post really makes it look so simple. This is very a useful post.

Mike Still December 20, 2016 - 10:46 am

It can be so disorienting! Glad you found it useful 🙂

jessica December 19, 2016 - 4:00 pm

When I lived in Seoul I never used the bus. The subway system there is just so good! But the time to transfer through stations can be ridiculously long compared to just switching buses. The Naver map system is great! But you would think they would come up with someone more tourist friendly.

Mike Still December 20, 2016 - 10:44 am

Yeah, I wish they had a more tourist friendly system. Until then this guide will have to help

The Clueless Abroad December 19, 2016 - 8:33 pm

Thanks for taking time to write this guide – it will definitely come in handy if we ever go to Korea! 🙂 Very useful and clearly explained!

Mike Still December 20, 2016 - 10:43 am

I hope you make it to Korea. Its truly a wonderful country

Nilabh Ranjan December 19, 2016 - 9:08 pm

Your post about the usage of public transportation services are good and informative. The description is good and useful

Mike Still December 20, 2016 - 10:43 am

I’m glad you found it helpful!

Crizzy Kiss December 19, 2016 - 10:43 pm

Seoul is on my bucket list. It’s always great to visit cities with a good subway system. I wish I can read Korean too! Will definitely save this article for future reference (when I get the chance to visit there).

Mike Still December 20, 2016 - 10:42 am

You would absolutely love Seoul! The subway system is great here too but the buses go to so many more places

Ben December 19, 2016 - 11:24 pm

I have a friend that would uses this thanks!

Mike Still December 20, 2016 - 10:07 am

I hope your friend finds it useful!

Jordan December 20, 2016 - 12:11 am

Thanks for sharing – I found the buses so confusing when I was there. Wish I had seen this before, but there is always next time I guess!

Mike Still December 20, 2016 - 10:01 am

I hope there is a next time! South Korea is such a great place!

Karla at GlobalETA December 20, 2016 - 11:03 am

What a helpful and comprehensive guide! I can see getting easily lost on the bus in Seoul, so this would be a life-saver. Thanks!

The Travel Ninjas December 20, 2016 - 12:04 pm

Great guide for getting around on Korean buses. We definitely bookmark this and refer to it on our upcoming trip to Korea. The help with the Korea alphabet is very useful.

Mike Still December 20, 2016 - 1:57 pm

I hope you enjoy Korea! When are you coming?

Venkat Ganesh December 20, 2016 - 3:21 pm

That is a great post! It makes things very simple an easy. Bookmarked it for future reference

Carmen's Luxury Travel December 20, 2016 - 4:40 pm

Looks complicated but this definitely helps. Thanks for sharing! Happy travels 🙂

Alessandra December 20, 2016 - 11:51 pm

Gosh thanks for these tips. I would be confused to find buses routs without it!

Sheena December 24, 2016 - 11:05 am

I always take local transport when I’m travelling but Asian bus systems are usually very intimidating. This is such a helpful guide to using Navar maps though, I think I would be more likely to use it if ever find myself living in Seoul (I’m an English teacher after all ) than if I was just visiting for a few days. Cheers for this, I’ll keep it in mind

Caroline @ The Travelling Sloth December 25, 2016 - 10:09 am

Oh my, I would be so lost trying to use this app mainly because of the language barrier… I’m quite glad that you’ve included a photo guide with screenshots to help!

Allison December 26, 2016 - 10:23 am

I’ve been reading a lot about Korea lately and am keen to visit. Good to know that public transport is great for getting around.

JuliaSan December 27, 2016 - 7:51 am

Wow, this looks a bit complicated…
But you explain it very well. I will make sure I read your post again before I visit Seoul… 🙂

Maria December 28, 2016 - 8:29 pm

Thank you for your useful tips. With a totally unknown language they can be very handy.

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