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Bus vs. Train: What's the Best Way to Travel around Korea?

Updated: May 24, 2022

Foreigners move to Korea for various reasons such as studying, working, or starting a family. Still, however different their motivation might be, most expats have one thing in common: enjoying exploring the country they have settled in. In this regard, Korea's convenient public transportation system makes it particularly easy to visit other cities and make memorable adventures. To assist you with your future journeys, we go over some of the most accessible ways to commute from point A to point B in this article.


Commuting by bus is one of the cheapest intercity travel options available in Korea. Buses here are divided into two main types, namely express buses and intercity busses. As their name suggests, the former are relatively faster as they rarely make stopovers on the way to the destination. Express buses are divided into two subcategories, standard (일반) and luxury (우등). Naturally, luxury busses are more expensive as they are equipped with comfortable seats and screens, resembling business-class areas in planes. In Seoul, there are two express bus terminals which connect the capital with different cities: Seoul Express Bus Terminal and Central City Express Bus Terminal. For safe travel, it is highly recommended to book your trip an advance on the relevant website, especially during weekends and public holidays.

On the other hand, intercity buses make stopovers on their way to the destination. In recent years, however, exceptions like direct (직행) and non-stop (무정차) intercity buses have emerged, too. In Seoul, there are two terminals that accommodate this type of transportation: Seoul Nambu Terminal and Sangbong Terminal. Again, online reservation is advisory and it can be made via BUS TAGO and Tmoney. In addition, some cities feature terminals that operate with both types of buses. In Seoul, Dong Seoul Jonghap Bus Terminal is an example of such joint terminal.


Korea's railroad system is highly developed and there are several types of trains which vary greatly in terms of price, speed and destinations. The most famous kind of train is KTX, which stands for Korea Train Express. Currently, it is the fastest means of land transport in the country, reaching a record speed of 305 km/h! However, it is also one of the most expensive traveling options as well as one of the most crowded ones, especially the Gyeongbu Line route which connects Seoul with Busan. Sometimes, standing places are also available on fully-booked trains, but the price remains unchanged despite the discomfort, so be careful when reserving your ticket. Booking for most types of trains is possible on KORAIL's website.

Other popular types of trains include ITX, Mugungwha, and SRT. ITX is also quite fast, although it is no match to the aforementioned KTX. This type of trains was introduced as an upgrade to the outdated Saemaeul trains which operated during the modernization of Korea. It is a reliable form of railway transportation which covers major train stations across the country and it is cheaper than KTX. Mugungwha is the slowest and cheapest option among Korean trains. If you enjoy long picturesque rides, this might be the ideal choice for your journey. Not to mention, Mugungwha makes stops at numerous small stations which are not covered by other trains, so if you have already visited most of the larger Korean cities, this might be a great way to explore new territories. SRT, or super rapid train, is a new type of train which launched in 2016 and currently operates on two routes only. Unlike the previous mentions, it is not managed by KORAIL and, therefore, it has its own reservation system.



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South Korea

Author: Margarita Kichukova

Editor: Yousra Feriel Drioua

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All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the permission of The Create Your Korea team.

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