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Seoul, South Korea: Disabled Access and Travel

 by Pablova Symonds

Disabled access has been increasing throughout Seoul, South Korea in recent years. Today, most subway stations are equipped with chair lifts, elevators, and special toilets with handrails. Platforms at these stations also generally have Braille tiles for the visually impaired to guide them through the subway doors. Each subway car has a special area with priority seats for disabled and elderly passengers. Handicapped travellers are offered discounts or free entry to major tourist attractions, particularly for those run by the government. To get these benefits, a tourist would need to show certification highlighting their disability. In fact, there is even a brochure available for disabled tourists, which includes a map of accessible areas in Seoul.


A number of buses have low floors and a ramp at the door for wheelchairs and prams. There is a separate space within the bus for wheelchairs. At the airport, a number of parking spaces have been set aside for disabled tourists along with wheelchair rental services and disabled toilets. Each airport, airline and route offers different services. Some of these include check-in, filling out departure forms, escort to the plane, filling out embarkation forms, special care, assistance with entry procedures and baggage inspection, and escort to transportation. Some airports may even have a battery car service available for those with limited mobility.


A number of tourist attractions provide wheelchairs at no charge to visitors. These include Cheonggyecheon Stream, Seoul Forest, and Han Riverside Park Ttukseom District. Cultural attractions like the Seoul Museum of Art, National Museum of Contemporary Art, and National Museum of Korea also provide this service. In all cases, the visitor needs to show identification. A passport will often serve this purpose. Most all major tourist attractions and transport mediums offer disabled toilets with large entrances and safety bars. They would also have ramps or elevators for easy accessibility.


Traditional markets in Seoul tend to have many narrow and crowded aisles. Disabled travellers may be more comfortable at the larger department stores or malls that are equipped with disabled facilities. Some of these also offer free wheelchair services.


The adventurous types may want to head out to the theme parks such as Lotte World Adventure and Everland. Here, too, wheelchairs can be rented and rides are best taken with a companion. Visually impaired visitors will enjoy the American Venture theme park. There are many things to see and do in Seoul and the government has taken many steps to ensure that these are accessible to everyone.



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