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Let’s discuss how to get from Busan to Daegu!
Busan is located in southern South Korea and is a very popular destination for tourists. Daegu, on the other hand, is located in central South Korea and is less popular amongst tourist.
Daegu is a college town with a really hip vibe and is a great addition to any trip to South Korea. It helps you see a different side of South Korea outside of the main, industrialized cities.
There are many ways to travel from Busan to Daegu. You can travel by high-speed KTX train, take a slow train, ride the bus, and even fly. Each transportation method has its pros and cons, but I personally think taking either the KTX or a bus is the best way to travel from Busan to Daegu.
I’ll go into more depth about why I think the KTX or train is the best option later in the post when I speak about each transportation option individually.
I’ll also go over the pros and cons of each transportation method, so you can make an informed decision and choose the transportation method that suits your budget and travel style best.
Before We Get Started
Planning transportation from one city to the next is one of my most despised travel planning activities. It really isn’t fun at all.
But I love it when a fellow blogger has taken the time to write an in-depth post about transportation options between two cities, and that’s what I want posts like this to be for you the reader.
If you’re travelling around Korea and are looking for in-depth transportation guides, you may want to check out some of the other posts I’ve written on this topic.
I hope they help you plan your trip around beautiful South Korea. It is truly one of my favourite countries in the world!
- How to Travel from Seoul to Daegu
- How to Travel from Seoul to Busan
- How to Travel from Seoul to Gyeongju
Option One: Take the KTX from Busan to Daegu
The KTX is an intercity high-speed rail system that travels all across South Korea.
It is one of the most popular ways for tourists and locals alike to travel throughout the country. It is clean, comfortable, and extremely fast.
The downside to the KTX is that it is normally quite a bit more expensive than the slower trains that run across South Korea.
You’re basically paying a premium price for how quickly you’re able to travel from city to city.
How Long is the KTX from Busan to Daegu?
Busan and Daegu are only 131 km apart, so it doesn’t take very long to travel from Busan to Daegu.
It most KTX trains take less than 40 minutes to travel from Busan to Daegu. Some can take up to an hour, but, more often than not, your journey will be in the 35 to 38 minute range.
That’s pretty darn fast!
The short travel time is also the reason where the KTX may not be worth the extra money. There are other options on this list (namely the bus) that take just a few minutes longer to travel from Busan to Daegu but are significantly less expensive than the KTX.
You really need to consider your options before committing to taking the KTX from Busan to Daegu.
The KTX is, of course, still a great option, but it isn’t the right option for everybody.
If this is the only opportunity you’ll have to ride the KTX while in South Korea, it is probably worthwhile to ride it. The KTX is a great experience, so you’ll want to try to ride it at least once when you’re in South Korea.
However, if you have another opportunity to ride the KTX, then you may want to choose a less expensive way to travel from Busan to Daegu.
How Much Does a KTX Ticket Cost?
The price of your KTX ticket depends on whether you’re travelling in first or second class, what time of day you’re travelling, and what season it is.
On average, a KTX ticket from Busan to Daegu will cost 38,000 won or approximately $32 USD.
Where to Purchase KTX Tickets
Tickets can be purchased either online or in person.
You can purchase your KTX tickets online through the Korean Railway website.
The website has a great English translation option and is super user friendly. You wont’ have any issue using the website to purchase your ticket online in advance.
I prefer to purchase my ticket online in advance, so I can ensure I get on the train I want and get a window seat.
KTX trains from Busan to Daegu depart every 20 to 30 minutes, so it isn’t essential to purchase your ticket online in advance if you prefer a more spontaneous trip or don’t know exactly when you’ll be departing Busan.
The KTX website will tell you that you need to print out your ticket and bring it to the train station. I always print my ticket because I normally have easy access to a printer, but I’ve heard of many instances where a person hasn’t printed their ticket and hasn’t had an issue.
If you don’t print your ticket, be sure you have an electronic copy of it stored on your phone. Make sure the entire ticket is visible, and you have the ability to enlarge the ticket to have your code scanned.
It is pretty easy to do with any smart phone, so it, again, shouldn’t be any issue for you. Especially on such a short journey!
The other option you have is purchasing your ticket in person at the train station either before you depart or the day you depart.
You can either purchase your ticket at a ticket booth manned by a human or at an electronic ticketing machine.
Purchasing your ticket at a ticket booth is a great option if you want to use cash. It is the only option you have if you are planning to buy your KTX ticket with cash.
Whether you choose to purchase your ticket at the ticket booth or at a ticket machine, it is an incredibly simple process.
The ticket machines have English translations, and the employees working at the ticket booths normally speak enough English to assist you.
If their English isn’t strong enough, they will find a coworker who speaks English well enough to help you.
Where Does the KTX Depart from in Busan?
All KTX trains from Busan depart from Busan Station.
Busan Station is the terminal station on the southern part of the Gyeongbu metro line. It is also accessible by many buses as there is a large bus terminal located in the same area.
Because Busan Station is so centrally located, it is extremely easy to navigate your way there even if you have your luggage with you.
Where Does the KTX Arrive at in Daegu?
The KTX arrives at Dongdaegu Station.
Dongdaegu Station is the newest train station in Daegu and is on the eastern side of the city.
It isn’t in Daegu city centre, so you’ll have to take the metro or bus to the city centre.
You can jump on the metro Line 1 right at Dongdaegu Station and arrive in the city centre within a few minutes, so it isn’t difficult to get from the KTX station to the city centre.
Pros of Taking the KTX from Busan to Daegu
- Clean and comfortable
- Has lots of luggage storage
Cons of Taking the KTX from Busan to Daegu
- Isn’t much quicker than the bus and costs a lot more
Option Two: Taking a Slow Train from Busan to Daegu
The next option is to take a slow train from Busan to Daegu.
This is a nice option because the slow trains are just as comfortable and relaxing as the KTX, but they don’t cost as much.
Slow trains aren’t as modern as KTX trains, but they’re still pretty nice.
Slow trains are the slowest of all the ground transportation options, so they aren’t on the top of my list of the best ways to travel from Busan to Daegu.
But they’re still a good option nonetheless.
How Long Does the Slow Train from Busan to Daegu Take?
A slow, local train takes anywhere from 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The slow train essentially takes an hour longer than the KTX.
Even though it takes an hour longer than the KTX, it doesn’t take that long all things considered.
You can easily take a day trip from Busan to Daegu using a slow train if that is your preference.
How Much Does a Slow Train Ticket Cost?
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how much a slow train ticket from Busan to Daegu should cost.
There are so many factors that go into it:
- Time of day
- Time of year
- What train company you’re travelling with
- Whether it is a weekend or not
While I can’t give you a definite price point, you shouldn’t pay more than 25,000 won (approximately $21 USD) for a slow train ticket from Busan to Daegu. In most cases, the ticket will cost about 14,500 won (approximately $12 USD).
As you can see, even the most expensive slow train ticket is considerably less expensive than the average KTX ticket.
Where to Purchase Slow Train Tickets
Your options for purchasing a slow train ticket are the same as purchasing a KTX ticket.
You can either purchase your ticket online through the Korean Rail website or in person at the train station.
Make sure you go back to the KTX ticket section to read my warning about printing tickets if you skimmed over it earlier!
Where Does the Slow Train Depart from in Busan?
The slow train departs from Busan Station.
Busan Station is quite large so be sure to get there a few minutes early, so you can find your train.
There are lots of convenience stores around the station, so you can pick up some snacks and a water before you get on the train!
Where Does the Slow Train Arrive at in Daegu?
You have to be careful when you’re purchasing your slow train ticket from Busan to Daegu.
Trains arrive at either:
- Daegu Station
- Dongdaegu Station
As you learnt in the KTX section, Dongdaegu Station is outside of the city centre, and you have to take the metro or a bus to get to the city centre.
Daegu Station, on the other hand, is located in the city centre. You can often walk to where you’re staying without having to worry about taking public transportation.
Pay attention to the arrival station when booking your slow train ticket. Try to book a ticket that ends at Daegu Station rather than Dongdaegu Station.
This will make your journey from the train to your hotel (or Daegu’s tourist sights if you’re only there for the day) much easier.
I always prefer walking rather than taking public transportation, and it is worth it to be diligent when booking your slow train ticket and ensuring it arrives at Daegu Station if at all possible.
Pros of Taking the Slow Train from Busan to Daegu
- Less expensive than the KTX
- Clean, comfortable, and relaxing
- Many slow trains arrive at Daegu Station
Cons of Taking the Slow Train from Busan to Daegu
- Slower than both the KTX and the bus
Option Three: Taking the Bus from Busan to Daegu
The next option is taking a bus from Busan to Daegu.
This arguably the best option because it is way less expensive than the KTX and only takes about 20 minutes longer.
It is definitely the sweet spot between being cheap and still pretty quick.
I personally recommend taking the bus from Busan to Daegu.
It is by far the best option in my opinion.
How Long Does the Bus from Busan to Daegu Take?
On average, the bus ride from Busan to Daegu takes about an hour.
The length of your journey, of course, depends on traffic and could end up taking a little longer than an hour. Or even a lot longer than an hour if there is a traffic jam, but that is pretty rare.
Buses in South Korea have a dedicated lane, so it is fairly uncommon for them to run too far behind schedule.
It can be slower when driving through the city, but you probably won’t have any delay once you hit the highway.
How Much Does a Bus Ticket Cost?
A bus ticket from Busan to Daegu costs about 12,000 won or approximately $10 USD.
You can sometimes find tickets as low as 9,500 won or approximately $8 USD. These tickets tend to be for the buses that depart at less desirable times like super early in the morning or late at night.
Where to Purchase Bus Tickets
Just like with the KTX and slow trains, you can purchase tickets either online or in person.
You can purchase bus tickets through the Korean Bus website.
Just like the Korea Rail website, it has an English language website and is super user friendly and easy to navigate.
There are a few perks that come with purchasing your bus ticket online:
- 10% discount if you book your ticket 48 hours or more in advance
- 10% discount if you purchase a roundtrip ticket
- 10% discount if you purchase a ticket in one of the back 4 seats on the bus
If you know when you want to travel from Busan to Daegu, it is worth it to purchase your bus ticket online in advance.
I mean who doesn’t want to save a few extra dollars just for being prepared and booking a bus ticket two days in advance?!
I know I sure do!
The other option you have is to purchase your bus ticket at the bus station in person.
Unlike train stations, the only option you have at the bus station is to purchase your ticket from an employee at the ticket booth.
You don’t have the option of purchasing your ticket at an automated ticket machine.
But, again, purchasing your ticket in person at the station is a great option if you want to pay with cash rather than card.
If you want to purchase your ticket at the bus station, you can purchase it on the day you depart. Just leave yourself enough time before your desired departure time to purchase a ticket.
You may have to wait until the next bus on busy days if you purchase your ticket last minute, but that is pretty uncommon.
Even if you do have to wait for the next bus, they run so often that it isn’t a big deal.
Just go to a cafe near the bus station, grab a drink, and wait half an hour or so.
Where Do Buses Depart from in Busan?
The bus from Busan to Daegu departs from Busan Station.
Yup. No matter what ground transportation option you choose to take, you’ll depart from Busan Station.
That makes it really easy to remember where you’re departing from!
Where Do Buses Arrive at in Daegu?
Buses arrive at either West-daegu Station or East-daegu Station.
The west station is located on the western side of the city. The east station is located on the eastern side of the city near Dongdaegu Station.
No matter what bus station you arrive at, you’ll have to either take a bus or the metro to get into the city centre.
I recommend booking a ticket at arrives at East-daegu Station. It is super easy to catch the metro from the eastern bus station.
Pros of Taking the Bus from Busan to Daegu
- Doesn’t take much longer than the KTX
Cons of Taking the Bus from Busan to Daegu
- It drops you off outside the city centre
- Could be delayed due to traffic
Option Four: Flying from Busan to Daegu
Technically, you can fly from Busan to Daegu, but it isn’t a very good option.
It is more expensive than all of the ground transportation options and takes longer.
You have to get to the airport, check into your flight, go through security, fly to Daegu, then travel from the airport to the city centre.
It just isn’t worth it.
Plus if you don’t book a direct flight, you probably have to stopover in either Jeju or Seoul, and that adds a lot more time to your journey.
I do not recommend flying from Busan to Daegu.
The only time it may be worthwhile is if you land in Busan and are catching a flight to Daegu right away.
Even then it might be more time effective to take a ground transportation option.
Gimhae Airport is fairly close to central Busan, so you can easily take a taxi (very inexpensive) or the metro to Busan Station and grab a train or bus with ease.
I just don’t see the upside to taking a flight from Busan to Daegu and don’t recommend it at all.
If you choose to investigate flying from Busan to Daegu, Skyscanner is the best place to start!
As you can tell, there are number of ways you can travel from Busan to Daegu.
My top recommendation is taking the bus from Busan to Daegu. I love that it is super inexpensive and fairly quick.
It is hard to believe that a bus is quicker than the train, but it is!
If you don’t want to take the bus for some reason, I think the next best option is taking the KTX. It is worth the few extra dollars to arrive in Daegu an hour earlier than the slower train.
Finally, the slow train would be my last resort.
And under no circumstance do I recommend flying.
No matter what transportation method you choose, Daegu is a great place to explore after visiting Busan.
You can either spend a few days in the city exploring or you can take a day trip from Busan and hit up the most popular tourist attractions.
Both are great options since Daegu is so close to Busan and it doesn’t take long to travel from Busan to Daegu!
Whether you’re there for a few days or just one, I hope you enjoy Daegu! It is a great way to see a different side of South Korea, and I hope you love it!