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How To Ride Taxis In Seoul (without overpaying)

If you’re looking for a great way to get about, riding the taxis in Seoul is a great option. It’s quick, comfortable, and safe—perfect for a quick getaway. But if you don’t know how to price taxi rides in Seoul, you may be overpaying. Here are five tips to help make the best decisions when pricing taxis:

Although the image of Korean cabs has improved in recent years, there are still a few unscrupulous drivers who attempt to defraud foreigners. Fortunately, there are a variety of precautions you may take to avoid being ripped off by Korean taxi drivers.

Simulating assurance with your Korean

Some Korean taxi drivers choose their victims based on their perception of their frailty. If the customer sounds uncertain about their destination, they will use this to their advantage. One of the best methods to avoid being another victim of a Korean taxi cab scam is to feign confidence. Get into the taxi and firmly instruct the driver, “Take me to Myeongdong.” Don’t just say that, tell the taxi driver. In addition to confidence, possessing a passable Korean accent is of great assistance in obtaining a fair taxi trip in Korea (read stories of what better Korean pronunciation can do for foreigners). Even if you’re in the cab with a group of pals speaking English, Spanish, or Swahili, exuding confidence from the time you enter the vehicle will give the taxi driver in Korea second thoughts about ripping you off.

Language tip: ‘명동’ 가 주세요 (“myeongdong” ga juseyo) – Please go to “Myeongdong.”

Learn the Roads

This is yet another excellent strategy to prevent Korean cabs from taking unneeded scenic routes that will cost you extra money. If you routinely take a taxi from your favourite spot in Itaewon to your flat in Gangnam, pay attention to the roads and keep in mind the quickest and most affordable route. Thus, you will be able to direct your Korean taxi driver to specific highways, and he would know you are serious. The taxi driver may provide his own suggestions on how to reach a specific location, but if you specify the exact route to follow, your chances of being ripped off by Korean cabbies are much reduced.

(jikjin haseyo) means “go straight”; (uhoejeon haseyo) means “turn right”; and (jahoejeon haseyo) means “turn left.”

Call a Cab in Advance

In Korea, as in many other countries, you can call a cab to your location. These so-called (Call taxi) services are particularly useful if you have a large amount of luggage or are on a street with a limited number of taxis. It’s also a great way to guarantee a reasonable price and rate for your vacation to Seoul. Companies who provide this service typically have no motivation to take advantage of you; the driver is paid the same, and they must maintain a good reputation. The only additional cost is approximately 1,000 won for straight pickup.

Tip: Visiting Korea? Request that the hotel staff call you a taxi.

Take a Deluxe Taxi Cab (Black Cab) – 모범택시

There are many different types of taxis in Korea (see CNNGo’s comprehensive guide to taxis), but a is any cab that is black and sleek (mobeomtaeksi). The literal translation of (mobeomtaeksi) is example or model taxi, which translates to superior and more reliable service. If you place a premium on equity, you’ll have to pay a little more for this ostensibly “luxury” service.

Luxury taxis are less common than standard taxis. If you see a taxi, you may be able to hail one, but you will likely need to summon one to your door.

Note the taxi driver’s credentials

This is a last-ditch effort to prevent Korean taxi drivers from ripping you off. By noting the driver’s credentials, you are essentially communicating that you will report them to the authorities, which could result in the driver losing their taxi licence. Ensure that the taxi driver sees you writing down his credentials at this time. The objective of this is not to actually report the motorist, but to demonstrate your seriousness. This frequently results in a change of heart and a more accurate menu.

Caution: you should only do this if you are being shamelessly ripped off. Some Korean taxi drivers might become rather agitated during an altercation. (See number two of “Other Preventive Measures”).

Language Tip: (shingo hal geoeyo) means “I will report you.”

Note: The government of Seoul provides a hotline for individuals who wish to report unfair taxi rides. Simply dial 120 to report an issue.

James Yeong
James Yeong

Once a quaint dweller of the English countryside, James is now a vibrant voice narrating his adventures in the bustling heart of South Korea. Since relocating to Seoul in 2019, James has immersed himself in the dynamic tapestry of Korean culture, from the serene temples tucked away in mountainous terrains to the neon-lit streets of modern cities.

This blog has become a haven for those seeking an outsider's yet intimate perspective on South Korea, often shedding light on hidden gems and local favourites rather than just the typical tourist hotspots. With a keen eye for detail and a writing style dripping with wit and warmth, James has managed to amass a devoted readership from all corners of the globe.

Whether you're planning a trip to the Seoul, the surrounding cities or just vicariously traveling from the comfort of your couch, Jame's tales of exploration and discovery are sure to ignite a passion for the Land of the Morning Calm.

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