How to Buy Korean Bus Tickets
Are you wondering how to buy Korean bus tickets? It’s actually really easy! I recommend buying in-person as it’s simpler and you don’t have to worry about printing, but you can buy online too.
Now, you can buy bus tickets online from several different places. Life of a Brit has the best guide. But I have never bothered. Buses are often very frequent and I’ve only dealt with a delay once out of dozens of bus trips.
Simply search KakaoMaps for “__name of city__ Bus Terminal” and select the Intercity Bus Terminal. Scroll through the photos to find what times are available. If there are no photos or you can’t read Hangul, use the T-Money website to search for times and prices. Next, head to the station!
Most Bus Terminals you can simply walk up to any counter, but some will be numbered by province. This is why reading Hangul is useful (and very easy to learn). If you need to, download Papago (a good Korean>English translator) and type in the city to get the Hangul or English name.
If you are not confident in your Korean pronunciation WRITE IT DOWN!!!! In Korean. Maaaaaany Korean city names sound almost exactly the same. Jeonju, Gyeongju, Cheonju, Gwangju…these are all cities you might want to visit and the names sound very similar. I once asked for Changwon and she gave me a ticket for Cheonju, always check your ticket after she gives it to you.
Taking the Bus
With your ticket, check your platform. Normally signs on the platform are in both English and Korean (as is your ticket). Sometimes a platform will service multiple cities. Either read the signcard on the front of the bus in the window, or clarify with the driver. Most of the time they don’t check your ticket, they just take it. The time when they take your ticket also varies by driver. Sometimes it’s as you get on, sometimes it’s just before the bus leaves, other times it’s at the end as you get off. So don’t lose your ticket in your purse like I did once!
You also have assigned seating but you can probably sit anywhere if you’re really unhappy with your seat. During the COVID-19 pandemic I had to take a bus and was not comfortable sitting next to someone. So I went to a different spot and it was fine.
Keep an eye on your map. Some buses are not totally direct. They will stop in 2-3 cities. Make sure you don’t get off at the wrong one. Sometimes there are multiple stops within a city (my city has 2). Try to keep an eye on where the bus is in relationship to where you’re wanted to stay/go. It’s easy to mess this part up, though, if you get off at the wrong stop it’s not the end of the world. Just take a regular city bus!
Buses are very frequent, and if one bus is full there is normally a very close city you can go to instead. For instance, only once has my bus to Changwon been fully booked when I arrived at the bus stop. I could have waited an hour for the next one. Instead, I asked for Masan. Masan and Changwon are basically the same city and the stations are equally far away from my apartment.
You can even reroute if you really need to get somewhere quickly and the buses are infrequent. The one time I missed my bus I had to reroute through Busan because it’s a bigger station and has more frequent buses. It was about a half hour out of my way, but it saved me two hours waiting for the next direct bus.
I hoped this helps you buy Korean bus tickets!
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