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Taking a Taxi in Korea

So I know it has been a ridiculously LONG time since I’ve posted a Bit of Korean video. Sorry about that. So let’s get started.

This time I wanted to go over some phrases for how to take a taxi in Korean. I’ve heard foreigners use some phrases that are not very common, and over time I’ve picked up the correct ones from taxi drivers.

1. “Please go ____________”

_____ 가 주세요.

So, for example if you want to say, “Please take me to E-mart”, you would get into the taxi and then say 이마트 가 주세요.

2. “Please go left/right”

왼쪽/ 오른쪽 가 주세요.

As you know, in Korea you don’t always have to give exact addresses. You can give a general area and then once you get to that area, use right and left to direct the taxi driver to your destination.

3. “Please go straight.”

직진 가 주세요.

This phrase is useful because many drivers will think you don’t know where you are going or start to slow down when they need to go a few more streets up before turning.

4. “Please stop here.”

여기 세워 주세요.

I’ve heard many foreigners used different methods of stopping a taxi and whatever gets the job done works, however the correct format is listed above. The driver will stop the car as soon as you say this.

You really don’t need any more than these four easy phrases in order to take a taxi easily in South Korea. However, I’ve picked up a few more tips after taking taxis a lot in Korea. For example:

Tip #1: Always know where you are going 

Even if you are just visiting a city, it is always best to know where you are going. The reason for this is so that you are not taken on a wild goose chase that runs up the meter. You would be surprised how a taxi driver will go out of his way to get a few extra hundred won.

Tip #2: Try not to use full addresses to places. 

This tells the taxi driver that you have no idea where you are going so this also contributes to fares being run up much higher than they need to be. Also, most Koreans don’t know exact addresses to places, but they do know landmarks. It could be an apartment complex, mountain, train station etc. But it’s best to have a landmark rather than the full address to a place unless it’s obscure.

Tip #3: Estimate your fare before getting in the taxi.

I word recommend downloading the Naver Map app and using it to estimate your taxi fare. I’ve never had this app estimate incorrectly. All you need to do is type in place of departure and arrival and it will estimate the time and taxi fare. So if you notice your fare is much higher than it should be, say something to the driver right then and there. I will be uploading a video soon on how to estimate taxi fares using the Naver Map application.

Tip #4: Always pay in cash or ask for a receipt.

I very rarely use my debit card to pay a taxi fare but when I do, I always make sure to take a receipt with me. The reason is because taxi drivers can and will overcharge you if they think you don’t know any better. So when you’ve swiped your card say 영수증 주세요 or “Please give me the receipt”.

Thanks for reading. Please expect more Bit of Korean blogs in the near future.

—Charm

By Charm

I am an American teaching English to Korean students and teaching Korean to myself!

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