How to Take the Train in Korea

I actually don’t take the train that often in Korea. It’s a very small country and it’s generally a lot cheaper to go by bus. However, if you’re looking to traverse the entire country (say, go from Seoul to Busan) you’re better off taking a train. You’ll simply save a ton of time. This is how to take the train in Korea!

Buying Tickets Online

Unlike bus tickets, I recommend getting your tickets online. Be aware that you’ll need to print out your tickets. If you can’t print, get them in person 🙂

First, head to the Let’s Korail website, the place for tourists to buy their train tickets. Make sure you click “direct” for your travel path. However, if nothing comes up, hit “transfer.” Just know you will have to transfer trains somewhere.

Korail tickets are only available a month out, and they don’t tend to change prices. If the station you typed in doesn’t come up, try searching for it by clicking the magnifying button. Hit “Inquiry.”

There are three types of trains available:

  • KTX: the fastest and most expensive. A ticket from Seoul to Busan will be around 51,000w and take around 2 hours and 45min
  • KTX-Saemaul: The middle range. A ticket from Seoul to Busan will be around 36,000 and take around 4 hours.
  • Mugunghwa: The cheapest. A ticket from Seoul to Busan will be around 24,000 and take 5 and a half hours.

Decide which will work best for you and hit “select.” Fill in your information. Your password can only be numbers, a phone number is the easiest to remember for me. The hit “next” and fill in your card information. Now, you should probably print your tickets right away. If you can’t, save them to a pdf until you can. They will eventually email you your tickets, but it’s taken days for them to show up for me before.

Buying Tickets In-Person

This is very simple. I recommend using the Korail site to find the timetables. When you’re ready to go, head to the nearest train stop and go to the counter. Speak the name clearly or write it down in Korean. Pay with cash or card and head to the train platform.

Getting on the Train/Tips

Follow it by the train # on your ticket and you’ll be less likely to get confused. I missed a train once because I didn’t realize it would only list the final destination, none of the stops in-between. Luckily, refunds are easy if you miss your train. They’ll refund you most of the ticket and help you choose the next train.

There’s not a lot of luggage storage. Just a few spots in the carriage entrance and behind the first seats (the latter is not very big). If you have a lot of bags (like me, when I was moving) just shove them in the old phone compartment.

There is no food car! Make sure you pack your snacks ahead of time. I got on the train from Seoul to Changwon (a four hour one) and was starved by the time I finally arrived.

I hope this post on how to take the train in Korea has helped you!

Check out my other posts:

Places to Visit in Korea Besides Seoul

A Week in Seoul Itinerary

Is Airbnb Worth It?



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