Our apartment is about 20 meters from the nearest subway station, but we live near the downtown area and it is sometimes more practical for me to take the bus than the subway. For example, if I want to visit Hyehwa-dong (where Filipinos gather every Sunday) I’d rather take the village bus and pay only 600 won. If I had to go to Dongdaemun (shopping capital of Seoul), then I could also just take the village bus or walk.
The buses in Seoul are color-coded: green, blue, red and yellow. The village or “ma-eul” bus is green and smaller than the regular buses. The route is limited only to several “-dong” or neighborhood. Ours is “Jongro #3” which travels from Naksan Park (where scenes from the Korean version of “Lovers in Paris” was filmed) to Dongdaemun to the entrance of Hyehwa-dong and back to Naksan Park.
Here’s how the interior of the bus looks like (clickable).
The bus has two doors: the one near the bus driver is the entrance while the exit is the biggest door on the middle. Upon boarding, pay the fare by scanning the transportation card (U-pass, cellphone pass, credit card, T-card) or by putting cash in the stainless box. Be careful not to take the yellow-backed seats as they are reserved for the elderly, disabled and pregnant women. In some buses, there are pink chairs especially for pregnant women.
Every bus in Korea, including the village bus, has CCTV mounts. The village bus has two. There aren’t a lot of seats in the village bus and most of the time I had to stand up till I reach my destination!