How to find bus routes in Korea (and why Daum Maps is better than Naver Maps)

The bus system in Korea is great. The only problem is: figuring it all out.

Besides the Jeonju City Bus Route Guide that I put together (which only includes all the mapped routes for each bus number), the best resource I’ve found to use for figuring out bus routes is Daum Maps.

In fact, Daum maps is incredibly useful in any city in Korea – not just Jeonju. With this post today, I hope to help you learn how best to use Daum Maps to plan your adventures.

Why Daum Maps over Naver Maps?

Here’s an image showing the two mapping programs side-by-side (with the same location and zoom settings).

Naver and Daum Maps side-by-side

There are actually THREE things that make me prefer Daum Maps to Naver Maps in this case:

1. Daum Maps dynamically resizes (no scroll bars)

As you can see from the image, Daum Maps dynamically resizes according to your browser window size. But Naver Maps seems to require a minimum window size in order to see everything (i.e. it has scroll bars and Daum Maps doesn’t have scroll bars).

2. Daum Maps includes bus icons automatically

Daum Maps automatically includes these nice little bus icons daum-maps-bus-icon at the initial load and zoom settings. (Naver Maps opens at one zoom level farther away, and although you can turn on their bus icons, it’s nice to just have them from the start).

3. Daum Maps has better popup boxes

Naver and Daum Maps popup boxes

If you actually click the bus icons on both maps (see image above), Daum Maps has a better design for the popup information box. Each bus number includes a much longer title that tells the beginning and ending locations, and it also includes the current time to destination for each bus (these literally, dynamically update if you sit there and watch them for a few seconds).

4. Daum Maps’ popup boxes are more informative

If you click on the bus numbers within the popup boxes, Naver Maps merely highlights the bus route, but doesn’t provide further details (and the popup box just closes). However, if you click the bus number in Daum Maps, it brings up another popup box with a scrollable list with all the bus stops on that route (and even some traffic directions like that U-turn mark).

Naver and Daum Maps popups 2

Daum’s second popup box includes all know information regarding that bus route, but Naver just draws a line. (And if you really want to see that route line in Daum Maps, there’s a way to do that too – I’ll show you that later).

The Clumsy Way to Find a Bus Route

Daum maps bus popup list

It is possible to figure out your own bus routes by simply locating your starting point and ending destination and clicking around on all the nearby bus icons of each to see which bus numbers match up. In fact, I used to do it that way before figuring out the more elegant solution.

Of course, clicking around on the icons is cool and all because you can see which bus routes stop at which stops, but it loses relevance when none of the bus routes match up (i.e. when you have to transfer). Also, if you want to make this a multiple-stop bus tour, it’s going to take you just as long to click around on the icons and figure it out on your own as it will to just get on a bus and ride it. Enter: the Elegant Solution.

The Elegant Way to Find a Bus Route

Daum Maps startup

When you first load Daum Maps, you’ll notice two thing that are going on in the top, left portion of the screen:

  1. There’s a menu-like sidebar with tabs. (You’ll need to click the “길찾기” (Route Finder) tab (the second one) to search for your route.)
  2. There’s a neat red flag icon on top of the top, left map corner (and if you mouse over it, it becomes three: a red one, a green one, and a blue one).
    Daum destination icons
How to use the Flags

In order to use the flags, you’ll need to know what they mean:

  1. Red 출발 = Departure location
  2. Green 경유 = Via (this flag only works for car routes, not bus routes)
  3. Blue 도착 = Arrival location

Using the flags is a simple matter of clicking and dragging them to where you want to go. A route will automatically be calculated and highlighted. Simple!

Switch to the bus routes

But the default is the car route. To get the bus route, you’ll need to click:

  1. The second button under the search bars (called 대중교통).
  2. The second radio button under that (called 버스 (#)). The number after 버스 indicates how many routes are available.

Finally, you’ll see a list of routes that looks like this! Go ahead and click through them to see which one you prefer.

Daum Maps bus routes

Note: at the bottom of each route button, you can see the total time your trip will take (약 17분 (도보5분) = 17 minutes by bus (5 minutes by foot)), and the total distance of the trip (4.1km).

  • If walking is required, that path will be highlighted by a dotted line.
  • If a transfer is required, it will be indicated by a small speech bubble mid-route (3-2 is shown below).

Finished Daum Map bus route

Show a full bus route

P.S. Remember how I said you could see a whole bus route in Daum Maps? It’s simple, just click the 3rd tab, next to your “Route Finder” tab (the one that says 실시간버스).Then, simply type in the number of any bus route, and click the relevant button that comes up. Easy, right?

Guess that makes that whole Jeonju City Bus Route Guide pretty irrelevant now that you can do all that in an instant on the Internet…^^

Jeonju City Bus Route 119

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