Many foreign tourists have decided to include Busan in their itinerary. There are some who come to Korea for Busan. However, a majority of tourists travel both Seoul and Busan. Thus, Creatrip collected scattered information regarding different transportation options to ease your travel from Seoul to Busan. The only thing you need for your travel information would be this 101 beginner's guide made by Creatrip!
There are several ways you can travel from Seoul to Busan. Let's go over them step-by-step.
From Seoul to Busan by Public Transportation: 1. Train
First of all, the quickest and easiest way to travel from Seoul to Busan would be taking a train. Many Korean locals choose to take express and bullet trains when they need to travel to Busan from Seoul. There are several types of train to Busan, and it gets a bit confusing even for Koreans. We sorted out four different types of trains. If you choose to travel during the weekends, trains could be much better than buses because you can avoid heavy traffic.
- Ticket Price: ₩59,800 for one way
- Duration: Takes about 2.5 to 3 hours from Seoul to Busan and vice versa
- Venue: KORAIL PASS
- Departing from: Yongsan Station, Daejeon Station, Dongdaegu Station, and Busan Station.
From July 17, 2018, KTX discontinued the discount on KTX trains for those who have a Railro Travel pass (Eligible for 13- to 25-year-olds).
The latest KTX offers in 2018 are as follows:
- Three-day continuous rail pass (₩138,000): Unlimited train rides at all levels for three consecutive days after the starting date
- Five-day continuous rail pass (₩210,000): Unlimited train rides at all levels for five consecutive days after the starting date
- Two-day KORAIL PASS FX (₩121,000): Choose two out of ten days to take unlimited train rides at all levels
- 4-day KORAIL PASS FX (₩193,000): Choose four out of ten days to take unlimited train rides at all levels
To read more about how to make KTX online reservations, please click here. You do not need to print out the ticket as long as you can scan the voucher from your phone.
- Price: 28,600 Won one way
- Duration: 5 to 6 hours from Seoul to Busan
Mugunghwa is the cheapest train that operates between Seoul and Busan. Since this train takes a long time, I would only recommend this option if you are extremely short on budget or you are travelling in a group. If you are travelling with a friend, you can spend time with him or her, and have fun during the ride. This train is actually great for gazing the scenery of the Korean countryside. The KTX trains are too fast so you won't be able to enjoy the scenery that much.
To read more about how to make Mugunghwa Online Reservations, please click here. You do not need to print out the tickets as long as you have the ticket on your phone.
ITX Saemaeul (ITX 새마을)
- Price: 42,600 Won one way
- Duration: About 4.5 hours from Seoul to Busan.
To read more about how to book Seoul to Busan ITX Saemaeul online, please click here. You do not need to print out the tickets as long as you have the ticket on your phone.
- Price: 51,900 Won one way
- Duration: About 2.5 hours from Seoul to Busan
- The train departs only from the Suseo Station
The SRT train is a faster and cheaper way to travel from Seoul to Busan than KTX. However, there is a downside as this train only departs from the Suseo station and getting there could be a bit difficult from downtown Seoul. Moreover, the SRT chairs are not as comfortable as KTX. On a more positive note, you get more legroom than KTX.
To read more about how to book SRT online, please click here.
From other cities in Korea (Daegu, Daejeon) to Busan
- Daejeon: KTX takes about 1.5 hours to 2 hours from Daejeon Station (대전역) to Busan
- Daegu: KTX takes about an hour from Dongdaegu Station (동대구역) to Busan
- Other slower trains pass Daegu and Daejeon to Busan.
- Gwangju: Gwangju does not have a direct train to Busan. You must take a long-distance bus to Busan or take a bus to Daegu.
From Seoul to Busan by Public Transportation: 2. Express Bus
The second option for travelling from Seoul to Busan is an express bus. This is another transportation that Koreans occasionally choose. You can save a lot of money compared to riding KTX, SRT, and other trains. You can also choose a night bus so you can arrive in Busan the next morning.
There are three bus terminals in Busan. Two of them are located at Nopo Station on Line 1 and the other one at Sasang Station. From Nopo station to the west city takes about half an hour by subway. But it takes only 15 minutes to get to the west side of the city, and you can go to major Busan attractions such as Haeundae and Gwanganli without having to change trains. You can arrange to get off a certain bus terminal according to your itinerary.
General Express Bus (일반고속)
The buses travelling from Seoul to Busan mainly depart from Gyeongbu Bus Terminal at the Express Bus Terminal Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, Line 7, and Line 9). The general express bus from Seoul to Busan takes about 4.5 hours and the fare costs around ₩23,000, which is nearly half the price of KTX.
Luxury Express Bus (우등고속)
The bus travelling from Seoul to Busan costs about ₩34,200 for a one-way trip. The legroom is very spacious and is suitable for having a comfy ride.
Premium Bus (프리미엄 버스)
From Seoul to Busan, you can travel via new premium buses. These luxury buses cost ₩37,700 for one-way, but the price could vary depending on your travel date. If you want to take a night bus from Seoul to Busan, the fare will be more expensive. The night bus tickets start from ₩41,500.
Taking Buses from Other Cities in Korea (Daegu, Daejeon, and Gwangju)
- Daejeon bus terminal (대전복합터미널) to Busan: from ₩15,800 to ₩25,600
- Duration：3 hours
- Dongdaegu Express Bus Terminal (동대구 고속버스터미널) to Busan：from ₩6,700 to ₩10,600
- Duration：About 1 to 1.5 hour
- Gwangju Intercity Bus Terminal (광주시외버스터미널) to Busan：from ₩16,800 to ₩27,100
- Duration：3.5 hours
- The bus is a cheaper option, but you might get exhausted sitting on the bus for a long time. It is recommended to choose luxury or premium buses.
- Buses are susceptible to traffic conditions, especially on holidays and weekends. You need to expect longer travel duration on these days.
- Online booking requires a Korean mobile phone number. Otherwise, you have to make an on-site booking, so bus seats are not guaranteed.
- Busan Subway Line 2, Sasang Station: bus transfer station outside West Busan
- You can also take a bus departing from Busan to other western peripheral cities (Tongyeong, Geoje, etc.), from this location.
From Seoul to Busan by Public Transportation: 3. Flight
Busan Gimhae Airport connects many Korean domestic flights. There are dozens of flights from Seoul to Busan every day. To get to Busan via Gimhae Airport, you need to take a flight from Seoul Gimpo Airport. It takes about one hour to travel from Seoul to Busan. For check-in, you need to be at the airport about 30 minutes to an hour before.
- Seoul to Busan (Gimpo Airport - Gimhae Airport): Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Busan Airlines, Jeju Airlines, and Esta Airlines.
- Jeju Island to Busan: Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Busan Airlines, Jin Air, Jeju Air, and Eastar Air.
- Other cities in South Korea to Busan: Korean Express Airways (Gangwon-do Yang Yang Airport)
The flight fare from Seoul to Busan varies depending on the airline you choose. The average price range is from ₩40,000 to ₩70,000 for one-way. It is recommended that you pay attention to low-cost airline clearance sales. You may be the lucky person and get the special ticket at a steal price.
When you got off at Gimhae Airport, you have to take the subway to get to Central Busan (takes about 30 minutes from the airport station to the West Busan station).
I hope this post about public transportation travelling between Seoul and Busan has helped you greatly. There are mainly three options you can choose from: the trains, buses, and flights. I also covered the travel options from Daegu to Busan, Daejeon to Busan, and Gwangju to Busan. Now you can travel around Korea like an expert!
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