How to Travel in Korea By Rail

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Are you planning to travel in Korea? One of the most convenient and best ways to travel between cities in Korea is by rail. Buses can be unreliable because of traffic, but it is never the case when traveling by rail! (Koreans are mega good at keeping on schedule). In Korea, trains operate on a fixed schedule, which allow passengers to arrive at their destination in a brisk 😀

Essential Tour-Afternoon 620×140

 

▶ Types of Trains ◀

Before you go on your adventure throughout Korea, know which train you want to take. There are three types of trains:

1.)  ‘KTX’ Express Trains – Price is high ↔ travel time is FAST ↔ moderately comfortable
2.) *Saemaeul Train (새마을) – Price is moderate ↔ travel time is MODERATE to LONG ↔ very comfortable
3.) *Mugunghwa Trains (무궁화) – Price is low ↔ travel time is LONG ↔ moderately comfortable
*Non-express trains, aka slowpoke trains. 

Ticket prices vary on which train you travel by! If you are broke and want to save money, KTX trains will not be your best bet (requires a lot of $), whereas the Saemaeul and Mugunghwa trains will be cheaper (longer travel times :().

There are two main railways in Korea: the Gyeongbu Line connecting Seoul to Busan, and the Honam Line from Yongsan Station in Seoul to Mokpo. Other railroads include the Jeolla and Gyeongjeon lines, which reach areas such as Yeosu or Changwon.

 

▶Korea Rail Pass (KR Pass) ◀

It’s also worthwhile to note the “KR Pass,” which is an EXCLUSIVE railway pass for foreigners which allows unlimited use of trains, including all KTX express trains. Isn’t that one heck of a deal?! 😀 Of course, you only get a certain number of days (one, three, five, seven, or ten day passes available).

Oh! But there’s a catch to it: passengers using the pass aren’t designated general seating on all thee types of trains during the major Korean holidays and peak seasons, such as Lunar New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, etc; however, standing room is offered. So make sure you do TONS of leg stretching done! 😛

Pricing: 
1 day: Adults – 58,200 Won, Children (4-12 y/o) – 29,100 Won
3 day: Adults – 84,600 Won, Children (4-12 y/o) – 42,300 Won
5 day: Adults – 127,000 Won, Children (4-12 y/o) – 63,500 Won
7 day: Adults – 160,400 Won, Children (4-12 y/o) – 80,200 Won
10 day: Adults – 185,100 Won, Children (4-12 y/o) – 92,500 Won

Types:
NORMAL Pass: Adults and children, Children under the age of 4 ride free of charge.
SAVER Pass: For groups of 2 – 5 people. **Each group member’s information (full name and passport identification) must be given at the time of reservation**
YOUTH Pass: For passengers holding a valid International Student ID Card.

Official Website / Reservations:
http://www.korailtours.com (English Available)

 

▶ Major Train Stations ◀

1.) Seoul Station (서울역) – You’ll probably be going here for most of your domestic traveling in Korea. Seoul Station is the starting point of the Gyeongbu Line, a duet track line that connects directly from Seoul ↔ Busan. The major train stations on Gyeongbu Line include Daejeon, Singyeongju, and Busan Station. Many other rail lines start directly from Seoul Station, except for the Honam line, which travels to the southwest part of Korea!

→ Telephone: +82-1544-7788
→ Directions: Seoul Station (Subway Lines 1, 4, AREX, and Gyeongui Lines), Exits 1 and 14.

2.) Yongsan Station (용산) – Yongsan Station is the start of the Honam Line (travel to southwest of Korea), another dual track similar to that of the Gyeongbu Line. This connects Seoul to Mokpo (목포). Major stations on Honam Line are Nonsan, Gwangju, and the Mokpo stations. The Jeolla Line from Yongsan to Yeosu via Iksan line is also currently up and running. Be sure you check your ticket to make sure you go to the right station!!! :(

• Telephone: +82-1544-7788
• Directions: Yongsan Station (Subway Line 1).

3.) Yeongdeungpo Station (영등포) – Yeongdeungpo Station covers the passenger demand in the southwest area of Seoul (for you lazy folks that don’t want to go to Seoul Station :P). At Yeongdeungpo Station, all non-express trains make stops, and the Seoul-Busan KTX train stops at the station twice a day.

• Telephone: +82-1544-7788
• Directions: Yeongdeungpo Station (Subway Line 1).

 

Remember to plan accordingly! 😉 If you have any questions or any concerns, shoot us a comment below in the section below ↓ Happy riding :)

About Eric Huh

18 comments

  1. Me

    You forgot to mention 내일로 for students (Below age of 25), which is actually the cheapest way to travel by train. I don’t know much about the adult version, but it might be cheap as well.

  2. eld

    Hello, can i check
    When I purchase the ticket online, does the date of arrival matters?
    How do I go about using the KR pass after exchanging at the station? (Like do I have to reserve seats or I just board the train like how eurail pass works?)
    Thank you so much in advance! (:

  3. sahar

    thank you

  4. Felicia

    Hi,

    Any idea if we are allocated seats when we buy the KR Pass?

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  6. What the cheapest budget transport from Busan to Seoul?… Where to ride in Busan?

  7. DoubleTrouble

    We found the S-Train, V-Train, and O-Train info on KoRail site.
    Do you know if we can go on those trains using KR Rail pass?

    Have you done any of those tourist trains?

    We will be arriving in Busan, and hoping to travel around a bit first before reaching Seoul. (In theory, I can do that using the O-Train pass, visiting Andong and the mountain on the way…) However, I wonder if I should try the coastal towns in S-Train is better??? I can’t decide.

    We will be travelling in March with 3 year old twin boys.

    • Dale Coward

      We have just just booked tickets on the S-train. It is very new – it only started operations on 27th September. Many travel agencies and travel centres and even the Korail staff don’t know a lot aout it yet – so check and double check any information you get. It looks as though you should be ale to use a Korail pass on it – but I am still not 100% certain. I will confirm tomorrow when we travel.

      • tc

        Hi Dale,
        Hope u have had a wonderful experience in Korea. May I ask where to book the S-train ticket via website? How much is the fare? I am going to Busan with my friend early November. The S-train is more like scenic or tour train and I doubt KR e-ticket can be used.

        Thanks in advance.

  8. Annelies

    Hello

    What is the price for two adults from Seoul to Busan and back? I prefere the ktx highspeed train.

    • Marco

      Last year I took the ktx from seoul to busan for 45000 won single journey single traveler, currently on the website it’s 53000 won ( http://www.korail.com/en/rv/pr21100/w_pr21110.jsp ) so a return for 2 people will be 212000 won
      The ktx is really fast and comfortable, but because airplanes are awesome we flew back to seoul (gimhae to gimpo airport) for 65000 with air busan (single journey)

    • thushara

      Fgh

  9. Kim

    I will be arriving Incheon airport in Seoul. How do I catch a train to Daegu?

  10. JoanneLP SUN

    Dear , start from busan to seoul have train , the tiket will around which place ,

  11. ms tan

    I am thinking of going to jinhae (2 nights) and Busan (1 night) during the Jinhae cherrry blossom festival. Is this a good choice?
    Should I buy the KR savers pass (travelling with my friend)? Travelling out of seoul on 31 Mar and leaving busan on 3 mar. If I buy the 3 day pass, does it mean that I will not be able to use it on 3 mar? Must the pass be used on consecutive days. thanks

  12. Mei-Keng

    Hi,
    I would like to know about the KR pass. The group 2-5 for 10 days is 166,000 won. Is that per person or split between the group? Thank you!