Tourism Abroad - Disabled Accessibility

Busan and Ulsan, South Korea September 2011 

  Conducted by Gill Hitch

The Airline and the Airport

Emirates have an excellent policy for all special needs passengers that provide assistance from the booking stage right through to arrival at the destination. More info on their website:

At Incheon Airport in Seoul, there were disabled toilets although this airport is remote and all passengers have to catch a shuttle train to the centre of Seoul to reach connecting transport.

There are two types of train that operate; the express and the normal train. Both have platform level entry and all trains in South Korea have spaces for wheelchairs.

At the Hotel

Some rooms are adapted for wheelchairs, but the one we were in had a slight step down into the bathroom (about 2 inches).

There was plenty of space around the bed and the doorways were wide, but as stated above there was a small step down into the bathroom in our room

Getting Around

The main train station at Seoul was very busy and it can be confusing as the platforms are on different levels but there were lifts available. I noticed staff waiting by one of the trains assisting a disabled passenger to board the train in a wheelchair. There seemed to be a staff member for each train who would ensure the platform was clear and wave a flag for the train to leave so they could be approached to get assistance.

Other than the trains we caught a ferry from Busan to Fukuoka in Japan, there was a ramp to board the ferry and space for wheelchairs on board. There were crew members going round checking passengers were okay so I think the service on here would be good for passengers with special needs.

Although we used a car park at the ferry terminal I didn't see any marked disabled spaces.  However, you have to pass through a manned barrier so they should be able to assist.


We walked around the shops and open air market in Busan which was pretty much on level roads and pavements. It was very busy at the market though so care would be required.

Eating Out

Many of the restaurants we used had a step up into the doorway. As the culture in Korea is for everyone to remove their shoes on entry there are shoe racks and possibly some shoes left on the floor in the entranceway which could cause problems for sight impaired or physically disabled travellers. The lighting of the restaurant is dependent on the venue, most were well lit

Bars and Nightlife

We visited one bar in Ulsan City called a 'Norebang' (these are popular in Korea) which is a great night out for a group of people as it's essentially a private Karoke room that you pay for by the hour and order drinks whilst in there. The one we visited was all on one level and the doors were wide enough to get a wheelchair through.

Disabled Toilets

Apart from the airport, I did not recall seeing any other disabled toilets during our stay.

Any Other Comments

Overall, I think South Korea is a great place to visit for disabled people with a bit of planning. There are websites available where you could ask for advice prior to booking such as

They don't appear to have anything on there about disability but I know they answer queries and give advice about what's available in the area.