Evening Bus to Yeosu Expo

Trip Start May 12, 2012
Trip End Aug 12, 2012

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Flag of Korea Rep.  , Jeollanam-do,
Friday, June 15, 2012

In the two weekends leading up to my trip I was very worried as to how I was going to get to Yeosu. The buses from Seobu terminal are problematic (see previous entry) and I heard they sell out and you have to stand in lines all the way. 

Fortunately I was able to leave school after lesson six at 3.15 so I could take a cab to try to catch the early 4.10 bus to Yeosu before the evening crowd hits. It began raining friday just as it was time for me to leave. 

I tried to flag down a cab as I left my school. Surprisingly I found the first female cab driver I had ever seen in Daegu. However, in my hurry to get to the terminal early, she was going exactly at the speed limit of 60km and not one of those manic cab drivers doing 100km in city streets, which is what I needed right now to get me to the terminal early. 

We made it 3.50 and I was able to buy my ticket for 18,200w ($17.50). Tickets at Seobu have no bus times or seat numbers, which is why I've heard buses are overselling and passengers have to stand in aisles. 

Luckily the bus had not arrived yet and came at 4.00 so I was one of the first to board and grabbed my back corner seat. The bus left on time at 4.10 but was completely full with no empty seats left. Its best to be early to get a seat on your bus as the later ones probably have the problems of overselling with no times or seat numbers printed on tickets. 

The bus was very slow going thru farm roads and country side. It never drove on the highway, rather small towns and downtown Jinju. At Gwangyang it made stops at both both terminals, then Suncheon, before finally arriving at Yeoso bus terminal by 8.30pm. 

At Yeosu there are supposed to be free shuttle buses to the expo site. I asked at the tourist info booth who spoke english and told me to goto the bus stop on the other side of the street. Here there was a volunteer with an expo jacket and cap but spoke no english. 

She ushered me into a bus that arrived after a few minutes. There were no foreigners at this bus stop or on the bus. This was a local city bus and local buses are free for the duration of the expo. 

The bus began to drive thru town making local stops and letting on more passengers. I realized this wasnt a shuttle and waited to see when we got to the expo by ocean. It continued to drive thru residential neighbourhoods making automated announcements in korean. 

Then it went thru a mountain tunnel to another district so I wondered where this was going as we were nowhere near the coast or the expo site. I asked someone in korean if this was going to the expo to which they said no. I asked if it would go back to the terminal and I'm not sure of their reply. 

Then an exchange started with about half the rear of the bus. They were all locals, some high school students, trying to figure out where I wanted to go. I figured it was easiest to say 'Expo KTX Station' since that was next to the expo site, and there are other expo sites in town which were confusing the locals. 

I called my tour organizer who was waiting for me at the hotel to tell her I was on a city bus driving around town. The rest of the group had all come together by KTX train from Seoul Friday morning, but since I live in Daegu and had to work Friday I was to join them Friday nite. 

The tour organizer told me to get off the bus and take a cab back. I dont know where we were, this did not look like a retail area where taxis would pass by. Some students who spoke a little english told me to get off with them and they will find me a taxi. 

Luckily their stop was across the road from a taxi stand so I was able to grab a waiting cab and get him to speak to my organizer to know where to go. Then the problems continued with road closures, diversions, and charter bus queues as we got near the expo site. 

Eventually I made it to the hotel and was greeted by the organizer waiting outside for me. The cab cost 9300w ($8.50) to get me back to the hotel from the other side of town. 

I think at the Yeosu bus terminal they should have had the volunteers have english laminated cards to show foreigners which bus to take and where to get off. I was only told to get on, and not where to get off. It did not goto the expo and I never heard any announcement in Korean for the Expo so I dont know why I was told to get on this bus? 

For all the problems getting there I decided to try to goto the KTX station to buy a return ticket sunday with the rest of the group. Even that was a challenge. To get to the KTX station from the hotel you have to cut thru the expo site, which requires a ticket to enter. 

The organizers gave me somebody else's press pass but they wouldnt allow me in. We had to call the organizer and get her to come back to the gate the try to let me enter. It was 10pm and everyone was leaving the grounds, so I dont know why the staff were being so difficult about just letting me in to get to the train station. 

Eventually when we did get in we realized we'd have the same problem going out to the station and trying to get back in again. The organizer was able to goto the station ahead of us and said the train they were booked on was completely sold out, which I figured it probably would have been the case. 

At least I had made it to the expo with all my worrying about getting there, and I'll deal with getting back on sunday.  



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