*the following phrases are formal

Have trouble looking for a subway station? Ask a kind stranger:

제일 가까운 지하철역 어디있어요?
Jaeil gaggaun jihachulyuk uhdeissuhyo?
Where is the nearest subway station?

홍대역 어디있어요?
Hongdaeyuk uhdeissuhyo?
Where is the Hongdae station?

안국역 어디있어요?
Angukyuk uhdeissuhyo?
Where is the Anguk station?

이태원역 어디있어요?
Itaewonyuk uhdeissuhyo?
Where is the Itaewon station?

Anytime you’re asking where something is, fill in the blank with a noun and say:

_______ 어디 있어요?
_______ uhdeissuhyo?
Where is _______?

This phrase is not limited to subway stations.

화장실 어디있어요?
Hwajangshil uhdeissuhyo?
Where is the bathroom?

제 휴대폰 어디있어요?
Jae hyudaepon uhdeissuhyo?
Where is my cellphone?

제 돈 어디있어요?
Jae don uhdeissuhyo?
Where is my money?

 Responding phrases will vary.

이 방향으로 쭉 가서 사거리에서 좌회전 하세요.
E banghyangeuro jjook gasuh saguhriaesuh jwahwaejeon haseyo.
Go straight in this direction, then turn left at the intersection.

이 길 말고 다음 길에서 우회전 하세요. 은행 지나면 강남역 나와요.  
E gil malgo daeum gilaesuh oohhwaejeon haseyo. Eunheng jinamyeon gangnamyuk nawayo.
Not this street, but the next street, turn right. The Gangnam station will appear after the bank.

저 길에서 좌회전 하고 마켓 지나서 우회전 하세요.
Juh gilaesuh jwahwaejeon hago maket jinasuh oohhwaejeon haseyo.
Turn left at that street and turn right after passing the market.

You might not understand every single word the kind stranger is saying. Don’t get overwhelmed. Listen for these keywords:

좌회전 / turn left / jwahwaejeon
우회전 / turn right / oohhwaejeon
직진 / go straight / jikjin
근처에 / nearby / geunchuhae
다음 / next / daeum 건너편 / across / geonnuhpyun
길 / road and street / gil
사거리 / intersection / saguhri
신호등 / traffic light / shinhodeung
반대쪽 / opposite / bandaejjok

If you are lost in the midst of Korean words, why not ask for a map?

지도 그려 주실 수 있어요?
Jido geuryuh jushil soo issuhyo?
Can you draw me a map?

Should you walk or take a taxi?  

Is it close?

PRONOUNCE SLOW. They might say yes or no. 네 or 아니요. Or they might turn your question into a statement.

It’s close.

Is it far?

It’s far.

To make a question, raise the ending. 멀어요? To make a statement, lower the ending. 멀어요.

You made it to the station. Now it’s time to figure out how to get to your target station. If you have a phone, download the “Subway Korea” app. Select your beginning and target stations and it’ll give you directions. If ya wanna get old-school, grab a paper map. Or you can ask someone:

강남역에 어떻게 가요?
Gangnamyukae uhdduhge gayo?
How do I get to Gangnam Station?

Fill in the blank with a station name.

_______에 어떻게 가요?
_______ae uhdduhge gayo?
How do I get to _______?

도봉역에 어떻게 가요?
Dobongyukae uhdduhge gayo?
How do I get to Dobong Station?

오금역에 어떻게 가요?
Ogeumyukae uhdduhge gayo?
How do I get to Ogeum Station?

Answers will vary. Here are some similar phrases you may hear:

육호선 타고 봉화산 방향으로 일곱 정거장 가세요.
Yukhoseon tago bonghwasan banghyangeuro ilgop jeongguhjang gaseyo.
Take line 6 going towards Bonghwasan and go seven stops.

합정에 내려서 잠실가는 이호선 타세요.
Hanjeongae naelyuhsuh jamsilganeun ehosun taseyo.
Get off at Hapjeong and change to Line 2 going towards Jamsil Station.

네 정거장 가면 되요.
Ne jeongguhjang gamyun dwaeyo.
You just go four stops.

백화점 가려면 삼번출구로 나가세요.
Baekhwajeom galyuhmyun samhosun nagaseyo.
Take exit 3 for the shopping center.

Once again, don’t feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and listen for the following keywords:

호선 means “line.” It’s paired with a Sino-Korean number. The orange line is 삼호선, Line 3. The light blue line is 사호선, Line 4. The green line that loops in a circle is 이호선, Line 2.

Line 1 / 일호선 / eelhoseon (dark blue)
Line 2 / 이호선 / ehoseon / (green circle line)
Line 3 / 삼호선 / samhoseon (orange line)
Line 4 / 사호선 / sahoseon (light blue line)
Line 5 / 오호선 / ohoseon (purple line)
Line 6 / 육호선 / yookhoseon (light brown line)
Line 7 / 칠호선 / chilhoseon (dark green line)
Line 8 / 팔호선 / palhoseon (pink line)

When taking the subway, it’s important to know the end stations of each line. Even if that’s not where you’re getting off at, it’s the direction of your intended destination.

You’ll hear the word 정거장. It means “stops.” For example:

다섯 정거장 가세요.
Daseot jeongguhjang gaseyo.
Go five stops.

여섯 정거장 가세요.
Yeoseot jeongguhjang gaseyo.
Go six stops.

한 정거장 가세요.
Han jeongguhjang gaseyo.
Go one stop.

Be sure to pair JEONGGUHJANG with a Native Korean number.

Whenever you hear something along the lines of 환승 and 갈아타다, that means “transfer” or “change.”

3호선에서 6호선으로 갈아타세요.
Samhoseonaesuh yookhoseoneuro garataseyo.
At Line 3 change to Line 6.

7호선에서 2호선으로 갈아타세요.
Chilhoseonaesuh ehoseoneuro garataseyo.
At Line 7 change to Line 2.

PRONOUNCE SLOW. Separately the characters are pronounced as… Together it’s…

#호선에서 ##호선으로 갈아타세요.
#hoseonaesuh ##hoseoneuro garataseyo.
At Line # change to Line ##.

도착 means “arrive.” PRONOUNCE SLOW.

번출구 means “exit.” It’s paired with a Sino-Korean number, just like the subways lines. For example:

Exit 1 / 일번출구
Exit 2 / 이번출구
Exit 3 / 삼번출구
Exit 4 / 사번출구
Exit 5 / 오번출구
Exit ____

Wait a second. Are you standing at the correct platform? You can refer to the signs or verify with a fellow passenger.

이 전철 강남 가죠?
E jeoncheol gangnam gajyo?
This train goes to Gangnam, doesn’t it?

이 전철 홍대 가죠?
E jeoncheol Hongdae gajyo?
This train goes to Hongdae, doesn’t it?

이 전철 인천공항 가죠?
E jeoncheol Incheongonghang gajyo?
This train goes to Incheon Airport, doesn’t it?

이 전철 _______ 가죠?
E jeoncheol _______ gajyo?
This train goes to ________, doesn’t it?

Are you completely lost? Find out your whereabouts. Take out a map and ask someone.

여기 어디예요?
Yeogi uhdiyeyo?
Where am I?