A few years back my room mate and I used to take the Seoul subway to our offices in Yongsan Main Post. The first couple of times we did it after we arrived we ended up in the damnedest places. We would try to get on pure Korean military installations but never did. What is theirs is theirs. What we share is ours.
I spent a little over two months living in hotels in Seoul that first time and we refused the Army's kind offer of transportation (a bus which appeared at 0530) and decided to test the proof of life by exposing ourselves every single day (we worked @7 days a week) and took the Seoul subways to work.
We had alternate routes. We could amble out, after coffee and breakfast in the Lotte and turn to the left or the right. We mostly went left. I blame that on Reg. He was from Massachusetts and thus a total leftist. We would embark at Seoul Station or City Hall with a transfer or we would sometimes go to the right and take the subway to Itaewon. Either way, we had to walk the last quarter mile or so.
If one got off at Yongsan, the walk took one by Korean Imperial Defense Headquarters (which, soon after, relocated itself out of artillery range of the north Koreans hugging their side of the DMZ with their endless artillery and poison gas shells.) It also let us stroll past the Korean War Museum. If there was ever a museum that had 'one of everything,' it was that museum.
My Coast Guard colleague and I rode the rails underground in a sea of ignorance. The first time, because all the instructions and signs were written only in Korean, we had some trouble but there was an old man to help set us on the proper path. We were wearing our very attractive greenish, black, yellow uniforms of camouflage and he sussed out our desire to go the headquarters of United States Forces in Korea. He got us on the right train despite a very serious language barrier.
I think we took that train for the first month until the young lieutenants convinced us that there was a shorter way to the office. What they hadn't factored was the way that we commuted out of pure ignorance. We had found that if we grabbed a strap on either of the last two undermanned cars of the train that we would not be jammed in like sardines.
Yes, we turned out to be the second worst thing the country team experiences from visitors. We didn't know the last cars on every train are for women only. I know they didn't care at all but maybe it has changed again. We are old reprobates and we would not dream of depriving any lady of a seat on the line. We were just going 4 stops down the line and change. The cars weren't empty but there was absolutely no "inadvertent" brushing, touching, etc. They were mostly empty.
Over the next two decades, the lines got worse. Way. Every train car was packed to maximum capacity. It's a subway. At some point, you cannot add more cars to the train without leaving the rearmost hidden in the tunnel, well away from the platform. The trains took on the aspect of Japanese commuter trains.
It turns out that one can walk for many miles underground in Seoul through the subterranean stores that feature everything from art, belts, sunglasses, bathroom fittings, furniture, clothing... It has to be seen to be believed.
I'll never see it again but it was a really amazing place in the impeccably clean, bright, glistening undergrounds of Seoul. It was like Madrid's in the olden days in terms of clean. Madrid's didn't have any shops and just a handful of buskers.