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Let’s talk about South Korean transportation- specifically how to travel from Seoul to Daegu. Spoiler alert: it is really easy!!
Daegu is a really cool college town in Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. It is a fun addition to your South Korean itinerary and lets you see a different side of the country you won’t find in other cities that attract tourists.
You’ll most likely travel from Seoul to Daegu, and lucky for you, it is super easy to travel between the two cities.
There are a number of different ways to travel from Seoul to Daegu, so you can choose the best option for you based on your travel style. You can take a high-speed KTX train, a slower local train, an intercity bus, or a plane. I personally recommend taking the high-speed KTX train. It is not too much more expensive than the slower train and takes half the time to travel from Seoul to Daegu.
The choice is ultimately yours and depends on your travel style, how long you have in Korea, and your budget.
In this post, I’ll cover the different ways you can travel from Seoul to Daegu, break down the pros and cons of each transportation method, and explain more in depth why I recommend the KTX as the best way to travel from Seoul to Daegu.
Before We Get Started
I love writing transportation guides for you!
Trying to figure out how to travel from one city to another is one of my least favourite travel planning tasks, and I always love and appreciate when a fellow blogger has made it really easy for me to learn about how to travel from one city to another all in one place.
And that’s what I hope to do for you!
I have a few other transportation guides for Korea you may want to check out if you’re planning a trip through the country. I hope they help!
Option One: Taking the KTX from Seoul to Daegu
The KTX is the name of Korea’s high-speed rail service. KTX trains run all across the country and are my favourite way to travel around South Korea.
They are super fast and get you from point a to point b in no time. KTX trains top out at over 300km per hour, so I’m not exaggerating when I say they’re really, really fast!
The KTX trains are clean, comfortable, and have ample luggage storage room. You really can’t go wrong with booking a KTX train ticket.
How Long Does the KTX from Seoul to Daegu take?
The KTX only takes 1 hour 45 minutes to get from Seoul to Daegu. The slowest train takes closer to 2 hours, but most of the trains are closer to the 1 hour 45 mark than the 2 hour mark.
KTX trains depart from Seoul to Daegu every 20 minutes. The first train leaves at 5:30am and the last around 10pm.
It doesn’t get any more convenient than that!!
How Much Does a KTX Ticket Cost?
KTX trains have both first class and second class seats, so how much you pay for a ticket depends on where you sit.
The price of a ticket varies a little bit depending on when you travel. You’ll typically pay more on a weekend and during peak times and less during off-peak times on weekdays.
Your ticket price will also vary depending on whether you purchase your ticket in advance or purchase it last minute.
On average, you can expect to pay the following for a KTX ticket from Seoul to Daegu:
- First Class: 48,900 won or approximately $40USD
- Second Class: 34,900 won or approximately $29 USD
I don’t think you need to purchase a first class ticket for this journey. The ride is so short and the second class cars are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever experienced.
There is a pretty substantial price difference between first class and second class, and I think your money is better spent exploring Daegu than on a first class train ticket.
Where to Purchase KTX Tickets
You can either purchase your KTX tickets online or in person. My preference is to purchase them online, so I don’t have to spend any extra time at the train station standing in line to get tickets.
If you want to purchase tickets online, you simply go the Korean Rail website, search for the route you want, pick a train, and purchase your ticket.
The website has an English version, so you don’t have to worry about something getting lost in translation. It is extremely user friendly and easy for tourists to use.
The website tells you to print a copy of your ticket before getting on the train.
I always print my ticket at the hotel or an internet cafe just in case (and I’m a stickler for the rules). That being said, I know many people who have had no issue boarding a KTX train with only an electronic copy of their ticket.
If you are going to use an electronic copy of your ticket, be sure the screenshot you have of your ticket shows the complete ticket, and you’re able to enlarge it to have the QR code scanned.
The other option you have is purchasing your ticket at the train station.
There are both ticket booths where you can purchase your ticket from a human and ticket machines where you don’t have to interact with a human to buy your ticket.
Buying your ticket in person is a great option if you prefer to use cash rather than your credit card.
Do I Have to Purchase My KTX Ticket in Advance?
For most routes, I always suggest you purchase your KTX ticket in advance, but this route is a little different.
Since it is such a short journey from Seoul to Daegu and trains depart so frequently, I don’t think it is essential to purchase your ticket ahead of time.
It is still a good idea though!
Purchasing your ticket in advance has a number of benefits:
- Normally costs a little less than purchasing right before boarding the train
- More likely to get the departure time you want
- There are more seat options, so you can choose where you want to sit
That being said, if you’re a spontaneous traveller, taking the KTX from Seoul to Daegu is a great option for you.
There are so many trains that you’re pretty much guaranteed to get on a train that day if you just show up at the station without a plan.
You may have to wait for the next train, but you’ll never have to wait long.
Where Does the KTX Depart from in Seoul?
The only place in Seoul the KTX to Daegu departs from is Seoul Station.
Seoul Station is right in the heart of Seoul so chances are it is pretty close to where you’re staying.
Seoul Station is serviced by the metro and local buses, so you can jump on whatever is most convenient for you and get to the station no problem.
I normally stay in the Myeong-dong area and walk to Seoul Station.
Where Does the KTX Arrive at in Daegu?
The KTX arrives at the Dongdaegu Station.
Dongdaegu Station is the newest train station in Daegu and was built in 2004. It isn’t as central as the Daegu Train Station, but it is still pretty convenient.
Dongdaegu Station is located on the eastern edge of Daegu, so you’ll need to take either a taxi or the metro to get to the heart of Deagu.
Dongdaegu Station is serviced by the number 1 metro line, and you’re able to quickly get to the heart of Deagu from Dongdaegu Station without having to transfer or ride the metro for very long.
Pros of Taking the KTX from Seoul to Daegu
- Lots of luggage storage
- Runs often
Cons of Taking the KTX from Seoul to Daegu
- More expensive than taking a slower train or the bus
- Arrives at Dongdaegu Station and requires you to take the metro into the city
Option Two: Taking a Slow Train from Seoul to Daegu
The next option you have is taking a slow train from Seoul to Daegu.
The slow trains are just as comfortable and clean as the KTX trains, so they are a great option for people who are willing to save a little money and spend a lot longer on the train.
One of the only downsides of the slow train is that they don’t have the same designed luggage storage areas at the KTX trains. You have to either lift your luggage and store it on an overhead rack or store it at your feet.
It normally isn’t an issue, but it can be a problem if you have lots of luggage, heave luggage, or large luggage.
How Long Does the Slow Train from Seoul to Daegu Take?
The slow train takes anywhere from 3 hours and 15 minutes to 4 hours.
It all depends on the type of train you take, how busy the train tracks are, and what time of day you leave.
You can expect to be spending at least 3 and a half hours on a slow train though.
So the slow train takes about twice as long to travel from Seoul to Daegu as the KTX. That makes a big difference if you don’t have a lot of time in South Korea.
How Much Does a Slow Train Ticket Cost?
Again, the cost of a slow train ticket varies quite a lot. It depends on what type of slow train you take, what time of day you’re travelling, and whether you’re travelling on a weekday or weekend.
The cost varies quite a bit, so it is difficult to give you an exact price you can expect to pay.
A slow train ticket from Seoul to Daegu can cost anywhere between 20,000 won and 50,000 won. That is between approximately $17 USD and $42 USD.
That’s a huge price range!
You will probably end up paying a ticket price that is somewhere between that high and low price. Most tickets are probably in the $25-$30 USD range.
As you can see from those prices, the slow train costs basically the same as the KTX. It doesn’t make sense to me to pay the same price and spend twice the amount of time on the train.
It doesn’t seem like a good deal to me. In most cases, slow trains are substantially cheaper than their high-speed counterparts, and you can justify spending a lot longer on the train because you’re saving so much money.
That isn’t the case in this situation, and it doesn’t quite make sense to me why the slow train tickets are so expensive.
Where to Purchase Slow Train Tickets
The process for purchasing slow train tickets is exactly the same as purchasing KTX tickets.
You have the option of either purchasing tickets online through the Korean Rail website or in person at the train station.
Please be cautious of third-party sites that sell train tickets. They often charge you a lot more than the official Korean Rail website.
Where Does the Slow Train Depart from in Seoul?
There are a number of different stations your slow train could depart from in Seoul. It depends on what type of train you take.
The most common station for slow trains from Seoul to Daegu to depart from is Seoul Station.
That’s excellent news for you as a tourist because Seoul Station is super easy to get to and centrally located.
Other train stations you may depart from are:
- Yeongdeungpo Station
- Suseo Station
- Yongsan Station
These three train stations are located outside of central Seoul and require you to take the metro or a bus to get to them.
If possible, you’ll want to book a ticket for a train departing from Seoul Station.
This will simplify your entire journey. You won’t have to spend ages on the metro or bus trying to get to the train station and then spend another 3 and a half to 4 hours on the train.
If you think I’m being dramatic about how long it can take to get to the train station if you’re not departing from Seoul Station, I have an example for you!
It takes about an hour to travel from central Seoul (where you’ll probably be staying) to Suseo Station.
That’s a heck of a long time to spend on buses (you’ll have to transfer buses as there is no direct route from central Seoul to Suseo Station) for a relatively short train ride.
It is worth it to spend a few extra dollars to depart from Seoul Station and not have to deal with getting to another train station.
Where Does the Slow Train Arrive at in Daegu?
As mentioned above in the KTX section, there are two train stations in Daegu:
- Daegu Station
- Dongdaegu Station
Some slow trains arrive at Daegu Station and others arrive at Dongdaegu Station. Some trains stop at both stations.
Pay attention to the arrival station when you book your ticket and try to book at ticket that stops at Daegu Station.
It is ideal to book a ticket that stops at Daegu Station since it is the centre of the city, and you can probably walk to where you’re staying.
Pros of Taking the Slow Train from Seoul to Daegu
- Many trains arrive at Daegu Station
Cons of Taking the Slow Train from Seoul to Daegu
- Twice as long as the KTX
- Cost the same at the KTX
- May depart from an inconvenient train station
Option Three: Taking the Bus from Seoul to Daegu
The third option you have is to take the bus.
There is a direct bus from Seoul to Daegu, so it is a convenient alternative to taking the train.
Buses in Korea are quite nice. They are coach buses, so you get to store your luggage under the bus and not have to worry about it while you’re travelling from one city to the next.
The buses are also quite comfortable. They are modern and have reclining seats and foot rests. There are also curtains, so you can block the sun if it is too bright or hot.
All in all, the bus isn’t a bad option. It takes longer than the KTX or slow train, but it is still a comfortable and enjoyable ride.
How Long Does the Bus from Seoul to Daegu Take?
The bus ride from Seoul to Daegu takes about 4 hours.
Your travel time will, of course, depend on whether there are any traffic jams or not. Buses in Korea have a dedicated lane on the highway, so it is unlikely you will be delayed long due to traffic, but it is still a possibility.
I always recommend you give yourself a time buffer when you’re taking the bus. Don’t book anything within an hour of when you’re supposed to arrive in Daegu. This gives you ample time to get to where you need to go just in case there is a delay.
How Much Does a Bus Ticket Cost?
Bus tickets from Seoul to Daegu cost between 17,000 won and 32,500 won. That is approximately $17 USD to $27 USD.
The bus is by far the least expensive way to travel to Daegu from Seoul.
Where to Purchase Bus Tickets
Just like the KTX and slow train, you can either purchase your tickets online or at the bus station.
You can purchase your bus ticket online in advance through the Korean Bus website.
The website is super user friendly and has an English option.
There are a number of advantages to booking your bus ticket online:
- 10% discount if you book 48 hours or more in advance
- 10% discount if you purchase a roundtrip ticket
- 10% discount if you book one of the back 4 seats on the bus
If you know when you want to travel from Seoul to Daegu, it pays to book your bus ticket online in advance.
Who doesn’t want to save 10% just by booking a ticket 2 days in advance?! I sure do!
You also have the option of purchasing your bus tickets at the bus station on the day of departure.
This is a great option for spontaneous people who want to show up at the station and jump on the next bus.
Unlike the KTX and train, there isn’t the option to use a ticketing machine to purchase a ticket. You have to purchase your ticket from a person.
It isn’t an issue, but you’ll want to get to the station 10-15 minutes earlier than normal just in case there is a line to purchase tickets.
Where Does the Bus Depart from in Seoul?
The departure station depends on whether you’re taking an express train or an intercity bus.
Buses from Seoul to Daegu depart from these bus stations:
- Seoul Express Bus Terminal
- Dong-Seoul Station
A word of caution if your bus departs from Seoul Express Bus Terminal, be sure you’re at the right terminal. There is another bus station called Gangnam Bus Terminal right across the street. That is not the bus station you depart from.
Both Seoul Express Bus Station and Dong-Seoul Station aren’t located in central Seoul, so you’ll have to take public transportation to get to them.
The express bus terminal is further outside central Seoul than Dong-Seoul Station, but neither are terribly convenient to get to.
Incheon International Airport
There is a direct bus from Incheon International Airport to Daegu.
It is quite convenient for people who are flying into Seoul and heading directly to Daegu who don’t want to fly.
Where Does the Bus Arrive at in Daegu?
The bus arrives at either East-daegu Station or West-daegu Station.
Your arrival station will depend on the bus ticket you booked. If there is a specific terminal you want to arrive at, pay attention to that
Both bus stations are located outside the city centre, and you’ll have to take a different bus to get into central Daegu.
Pros of Taking the Bus from Seoul to Daegu
- Cheapest option
- Can depart directly from Incheon International Airport
- Luggage is stored under the bus
Cons of Taking the Bus from Seoul to Daegu
- Bus stations in both Seoul and Daegu are located outside the city centre
- Takes 4 hours
Option Four: Flying from Seoul to Daegu
The final option you have is to fly from Seoul to Daegu.
I don’t really recommend this option unless you’re flying into Seoul and immediately flying to Daegu. Even in that case, it might be more time effect to take the bus from Incheon International Airport.
You have to take into consideration the time it takes to check into your flight, get through security, and wait around until your flight boards.
Once you take all of that into consideration, the bus from the airport to Daegu may end up being faster.
How Long is the Flight from Seoul to Daegu?
The length of your flight depends on whether you book a direct flight or a flight with a connection.
There aren’t too many direct flights from Seoul to Daegu, and whether or not you’re able to book a direct flight depends on what time of day you want to fly.
Most direct flights from Seoul to Daegu leave before 8am or after 6pm.
You can also book an indirect flight. Most indirect flights connect either through Jeju or Busan.
They are more expensive and take longer (duh!).
On average, you can expect a direct flight from Seoul to Daegu to take 1 hour and 10 minutes. An indirect flight normally takes 2 hours and 40 minutes but can be much longer if you have a longer layover.
How Much Does a Plane Ticket Cost?
I doubt you’re surprised to hear that it is very difficult to give you the price of a plane ticket from Seoul to Daegu.
It depends on so many factors.
- What time of year you’re travelling
- What time of day you’re departing
- Whether you have a direct flight or not
- What day of the week you’re travelling
- Whether you’re sitting in economy or business class
- Whether you booked a one-way flight or round-trip flight
So. Many. Factors!
You can expect to pay $39 USD for a one-way direct flight from Seoul to Daegu. The prices go up from there.
Where to Purchase Plane Tickets
I recommend booking your plane tickets either through your favourite third-party booking site or directly through the airline.
My strategy is to use Skyscanner to get an idea of the flights available and the cost then go to the airline’s website to compare prices.
A lot of the time the prices on the airline’s website are similar or even less expensive than the third-party site.
It is worth it to spend 15-30 minutes looking at different sites to find the best price.
You should also do your research on the third-party site before you purchase from them. Some third-party sites have a terrible reputation, and you don’t want to risk losing your money just to save $3 and book the cheapest ticket.
There needs to be a balance between an inexpensive fare and a reputable website.
Where Do Flights Depart from in Seoul?
Flights depart from both Incheon International Airport and Gimpo Airport.
You’ll probably find better fares if you fly out of Gimpo Airport, but then you would have to take the metro from Incheon International Airport (where most people land in Seoul) to Gimpo.
In that case, it is 100% worth it to take the bus from Incheon International Airport to Daegu.
Where Do Flights Arrive at in Daegu?
All flights from Seoul arrive at Daegu International Airport.
Daegu International Airport is located very close to Daegu city centre, so it is quite easy to travel from the airport to the city.
You can take the metro, and it takes about 10 minutes. You can also take a taxi or Uber, and it takes about 5 minutes.
It is always a nice treat when an airport is super close to the city, and you don’t have to spend over an hour getting from the airport to the city. I love it!
Pros of Flying from Seoul to Daegu
- Convenient if you’re arriving in South Korea at Incheon International Airport and want to go directly to Daegu
- Daegu International Airport is very close to Daegu city centre
Cons of Flying from Seoul to Daegu
- The most expensive option
- The longest option if you take into account the time it takes to check into flight, go through security, fly, and then get to Daegu city centre
I think the KTX is the best way to travel from Seoul to Daegu. It is quick, convenient, and fairly priced.
I often waver between recommending the high-speed train or the slow train because there is such a difference in price, but that isn’t the case with this journey.
The slow train costs basically the same as the KTX and twice as long, so there is no advantage to choosing that method of transportation.
Plus the KTX departs from Seoul Station, and you can’t beat the convenience of that!
All around, it is hard to beat the KTX when planning a trip from Seoul to Daegu. I always take the KTX and don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon.
As you can see, there are many different ways you can travel from Seoul to Daegu. You can travel by high-speed train, slow train, bus, or plane.
It really depends on your travel style and what your needs are.
I think the KTX is the best option, but you may have another opinion. That’s the beauty of travel- it is so individual and we all have different experiences.
No matter how you choose to travel from Seoul to Daegu, you won’t regret visiting Daegu. It is a beautiful and interesting city! It is so different than Seoul and is a great place to explore to learn more about Korean culture outside of the capital.