How to Travel from Busan to Seoul (The Easy Way!)

Seoul and Busan are the two most popular cities in South Korea for tourists to visit. It is incredibly easy to travel from Busan to Seoul, so there is no excuse not to explore both these beautiful cities!

The easiest and most popular way to travel from Busan to Seoul is on the KTX high-speed train. It will get you from Busan to Seoul in under three hours, but it is the most expensive option. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford the KTX, the next best option is taking the slow train, but you’ll arrive at a train station outside of central Seoul and will have to take public transportation into the city centre, which will take upwards of 30 minutes.

You also have the option of taking a bus or flying from Busan to Seoul, but they are less popular and less convenient than taking the KTX or slow train.

No matter what transportation method you choose, it is easy and straightforward to travel between Busan and Seoul.

Busan Gamcheon Culture Village

My personal preference is to take the KTX from Busan to Seoul. The convenience of the high-speed train is worth the additional price tag. Plus it drops you off in the heart of downtown Seoul, so it is super easy to get to your hotel or Airbnb.

But everybody has their own travel style and transportation preference, so this post is going to cover every transportation method you can take from Busan to Seoul.

It also discusses the pros and cons of each transportation method, so you can make an informed decision about what is best for you!

By the end of this article, you’ll be fully knowledgable about how to travel from Busan to Seoul and will be able to choose the best transportation method for you!

Before We Get Started

One of my least favourite parts of travel planning is figuring out how to travel from one city to another.

I normally find it difficult to find all the information I need in one place and have to spend way too long scouring the internet to put together a travel plan.

That’s why I love writing these transportation guides for you!

They contain all the information you need to plan you’re journey from one city to another.

If you’re travelling throughout South Korea, you may want to check out some of my other South Korean transportation guides:

Option One: Taking the KTX from Busan to Seoul

The KTX is the most popular way to travel between cities in South Korea.

It is quick, efficient, clean, and comfortable. The only downside to the KTX is that it is the most expensive way to travel throughout Korea.

The convenience and efficiency of the KTX often makes it worth the higher price tag. Especially when you’re travelling across long distances like the journey from Busan to Seoul.

How Long Does the KTX from Busan to Seoul Take?

As mentioned in the introduction, the KTX journey from Busan to Seoul takes less than three hours!

That’s incredibly fast considering the two cities are 329km apart!

KTX trains depart from Busan to Seoul once (and sometimes twice during peak times) per hour and are direct.

You don’t need to worry about transferring trains! You get on in Busan and off in Seoul.

It doesn’t get any easier than that!

How Much Does a KTX Ticket Cost?

The price of a KTX ticket fluctuates.

It depends on what time of day and what day of the week you’re travelling. Tickets will cost more during peak times on the weekend and less on off-peak times on weekdays.

In general, a KTX ticket from Busan to Seoul will cost you between 53,000 won and 60,000 won. That is approximately $44USD to $50USD.

They certainly aren’t cheap, but they are oftentimes worth the splurge!

Gyeongbok Palace Seoul, South Korea

Where to Purchase KTX Tickets

You can purchase KTX tickets either online or in person.

No matter how you choose to purchase your tickets, I recommend you purchase them at least 24 hours in advance.

The earlier the better, but a day in advance is the latest I would leave purchasing KTX tickets. Especially if you’re travelling on the weekend or during a holiday!

You can purchase your tickets up to a month in advance if you’re really planning ahead!

Online

Purchasing your tickets online is the easiest way to get your KTX tickets.

You can purchase your tickets through the Korean Rail website. They have an English version of their site and accept foreign credit cards, so it is super easy to get your hands on a KTX ticket!

The website will tell you that you need to print out a hard copy of your ticket before boarding the train.

That is what I always personally do because I’ve always had access to a printer.

I’ve heard from many people that you don’t really need to have a hard copy of your ticket and that an electronic copy of the ticket on your phone will suffice.

If you have access to a printer, you should definitely print out your ticket and take it with you on the train, but I wouldn’t stress out too much if you don’t have access to a printer.

Just make sure you have a copy of your ticket on your phone that can be enlarged. That way the ticket agent can easily scan and view your ticket.

In Person

The other option you have to purchase a KTX ticket is going to the train station and getting your ticket in person.

You can either purchase your ticket from a teller at a ticket booth or at an electronic ticket machine.

The tellers are the only place you can pay for your ticket in cash, so if you are looking to pay with cash, you’ll have to go to the station and purchase your ticket from human ticket salesperson.

I personally think purchasing your ticket online is a better option than buying it in person. It isn’t really the best use of your time to trek all the way to the train station, stand in line, buy your ticket, and then continue on with your day.

Where Does the KTX Depart from in Busan?

All KTX trains depart from Busan Station.

Busan Station is located along metro line 1 and is just seven stops away from Seomyeon, which is the most popular area in Busan for tourists to stay.

It is super central and super easy to get to!

Where Does the KTX Arrive at in Seoul?

The KTX arrives at Seoul Station.

This is super convenient because Seoul Station is located in the heart of central Seoul. You can easily jump on the metro or bus and get to where you’re staying quickly and easily.

The KTX is the only form of transportation from Busan to Seoul that drops you off at Seoul Station.

If you’re staying in central Seoul, the convenience of arriving at Seoul Station is unbeatable!

Pros of Taking the KTX from Busan to Seoul

  • Quickest way to travel from Busan to Seoul
  • Comfortable and clean with lots of luggage storage
  • Drops you off in central Seoul

Cons of Taking the KTX from Busan to Seoul

  • The most expensive form of transportation
Seoul South Korea

The next best option is to take a slow train from Busan to Seoul.

The slow train takes quite a bit longer than the KTX, but it is significantly more affordable and still a fairly comfortable experience.

This is definitely the option to choose if you’re on a budget!

How Long Does the Slow Train from Busan to Seoul Take?

The travel times vary quite a bit with the slow train.

The journey takes longer during peak times and on weekends because the slow train needs to keep stopping on the tracks to let the KTX pass.

A slow train from Busan to Seoul will take between 4.5 and 5.5 hours on average.

There are a very few occasions where the slow train will take about as long as the KTX, but those are few and far between.

They also tend to be during very off-peak times when the tracks are quiet. We’re talking middle of the night and wee hours of the morning.

Not the times of the day most people choose to travel, so your slow train from Busan to Seoul will most likely fall into the 4.5 to 5.5 hour category.

If you choose to take the slow train, you’re probably looking at spending your entire day in transit so don’t make any plans for the day you arrive in Seoul!

How Much Does a Slow Train Ticket Cost?

Just like the travel time, the cost of slow train tickets vary significantly.

A ticket from Busan to Seoul on the slow train will cost you between 28,000 won and 52,000 won. That is approximately $28USD to $43USD.

The cost of your ticket directly correlates to how long the journey.

The longer the journey the cheaper the ticket.

The shorter the journey the more expensive the ticket.

Some of the slow train tickets cost almost the same as a KTX ticket. In those cases, you should seriously consider spending the extra money on a KTX ticket to save time and arrive in central Seoul.

But if you don’t mind spending 5.5 hours on a train, getting a ticket from Busan to Seoul for only 28,000 won is a pretty sweet deal and is about half the price of a KTX ticket!

Where to Purchase Slow Train Tickets

You purchase slow train tickets exactly the same way you purchase KTX tickets.

They can be purchased online through the Korean Rail website or in person at the train station.

Both methods work equally as well- although I still favour purchasing my ticket online in advance.

It is less important to purchase your slow train tickets in advance because they don’t sell out like the KTX sometimes does, but it is still a good idea to get your ticket a day or two in advance to ensure you get a seat you like!

Slow trains don’t depart as frequently as the KTX, so if you have a specific train you need to catch, you’ll want to book your ticket as early as possible.

Ticket sales open up a month in advance just like the KTX.

Busan, South Korea

Where Do Slow Trains Depart from in Busan?

Slow trains depart from Busan Station.

Busan Station is the main transportation hub in the city, so it is where nearly all forms of transportation depart from.

This makes it super easy to ensure you’re going to the right place. It is pretty hard to go to the wrong station when there is only one to choose from!

Where Do Slow Trains Arrive at in Seoul?

There are three different types of slow trains in South Korea: ITX, SRT, and Mungunghwa.

Each train type arrives at a different location in Seoul, so you’ll need to pay attention to that when you book your ticket.

You’ll either arrive at Yongsan Station, Suseo Station, or Yeongdeungpo Station.

A few ITX trains arrive at Seoul Station. Those trains are few and far between, so you’ll most likely arrive at one of the other three stations.

All three of the main stations the slow trains arrive at are outside of central Seoul, so you’ll have to figure out how to get to your accommodation on public transportation from these stations.

It takes at least half an hour to get to central Seoul from all of these train station and can take up to an hour.

Be sure to take that into consideration when you’re deciding what mode of transportation to take from Busan to Seoul.

Pros of Taking the Slow Train from Busan to Seoul

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable and clean
  • Nice to be able to get up and walk around during the journey

Cons of Taking the Slow Train from Busan to Seoul

  • Takes quite a bit longer than the KTX
  • Most trains arrive outside of central Seoul
  • Not as much luggage space as the KTX
N Seoul Tower Seoul South Korea

Option Three: Taking the Bus from Busan to Seoul

The third option you have is to take a bus from Busan to Seoul.

Buses in South Korea are actually quite nice and comfortable. They are large coach-style buses with luggage storage under the bus.

So you don’t have to worry about finding a place to store your luggage like you do on the KTX and slow trains.

I’ve ridden a number of inter-city buses in South Korea and have always had an excellent experience.

The downside to the buses is that they are a bit slow, can get stuck in a traffic jam, and arrive outside of central Seoul.

How Long Does the Bus from Busan to Seoul Take?

The bus ride from Busan to Seoul takes approximately 4 hours assuming there isn’t a ton of traffic.

You probably won’t have an issue with traffic on the highway, but you may run into heavy traffic when you get closer to Seoul.

Buses often have a dedicated driving lane, so they aren’t as susceptible to traffic jams as a normal car. But they can still happen!

I don’t recommend you make any plans for the first few hours after you’re supposed to arrive in Seoul.

That gives you some wiggle room in case the bus is delayed!

How Much Does a Bus Ticket Cost?

A bus ticket from Busan to Seoul will cost you between 23,000 won and 37,000 won. That is approximately $19USD to $30USD.

The variation in the ticket price comes down to the bus company you use and whether you’re on an “express” bus or not.

There isn’t a huge difference in the ticket prices, so I wouldn’t worry too much about getting on the “cheapest” bus.

Where to Purchase Bus Tickets

Just like the KTX and slow train, you can either purchase your tickets online or in person.

I recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance because they offer a slight discount.

Busan, South Korea

Online

You can purchase your bus tickets online through the Korean Bus website.

Just like the Korean Railway website, the bus website has an English version and accepts foreign credit cards.

It is super simply to use, and you can use an electronic version of your ticket unlike the KTX or slow trains.

You also get the following discounts if you purchase your tickets online:

  • 10% off if you purchase your ticket at least 48 hours before departure
  • 10% off if you purchase a roundtrip ticket
  • 10% off if you reserve one of the 4 seats at the very back of the bus

These discounts definitely make it worthwhile to book your ticket in advance!

Who doesn’t want to save 10% just by buying a ticket 2 days in advance?! I sure do!

In Person

The other option you have is purchasing your bus ticket in person.

There aren’t ticketing machines that sell bus tickets, so you’ll have to purchase your ticket from a teller. If you want to use cash, this is the method for you!

Buses don’t tend to sell out, so you can easily show up a few minutes before a bus departs and still get a ticket.

It is perfect for spontaneous people!

Just be sure to leave yourself a few extra minutes in case there is a line at the ticket booth!

Where Does the Bus Depart from in Busan?

I doubt you’re surprised to learn that buses depart from Busan Station.

It really the transportation hub in Busan!

Where Does the Bus Arrive at in Seoul?

All buses arrive at Seoul Gyeongbu Bus Station. It is also commonly referred to at Seoul Express Bus Station.

They are one in the same, but it can get confusing when the station has two common names!

Seoul Gyeongbu Bus Station is located on the opposite side of the Han River from central Seoul, so you’ll have to use public transportation to get to your accommodation.

It takes approximately 30 minutes to get from the bus station to Seoul Station, and you can use either the metro or city bus to get there.

It is a bit of a pain, but it is your only option if you’re taking the bus from Busan to Seoul.

Pros of Taking the Bus from Busan to Seoul

  • Least expensive mode of transportation
  • Super easy luggage storage
  • Has window shade to block the sun

Cons of Taking the Bus from Busan to Seoul

  • Fairly long journey time
  • Bus arrives outside of central Seoul
  • Can be delayed due to traffic
Seoul South Korea

Option Four: Flying from Busan to Seoul

Your final option is flying between the two cities.

Flying is not recommended.

It is the most expensive, time consuming, and environmentally damaging way to travel from Busan to Seoul.

How Long is the Flight from Busan to Seoul?

The flight itself is only an hour.

However, you have to take into consideration everything else that comes along with flying.

You have to arrive at the airport early enough to check in, go through security, and board the plane.

Then you have to fly to Seoul.

Finally, you have to wait for the plane to taxi, wait your turn to get off the plane, get any baggage you checked, and navigate your way into Seoul and wherever you’re staying.

The flight might not be long, but the entire process of flying is a time suck.

Flying is easily the most time consuming way to travel from Busan to Seoul.

How Much Does a Plane Ticket Cost?

The cost of plane tickets vary drastically.

It depends on how close to your date of departure you purchase the ticket, what day of the week you travel on, what time of day the flight leaves, what airline you fly, and so much more.

It is impossible for me to give you an accurate plane ticket price since there are so many variables.

What I can tell you is that you can find some great flight deals within Korea.

In some cases, you can get a one-way flight from Busan to Seoul for less than the cost of a KTX ticket!

Where to Purchase Plane Tickets

I always like to start looking for flights on Skyscanner and then compare their price with the price listed directly on the airline’s website.

This way you know you’re getting the best ticket price!

Where Do Flights Depart from in Busan?

All flights in and out of Busan depart from Busan International Airport (Gimhae).

Busan International Airport is super close to downtown Busan, and it doesn’t take long to get to the airport.

I always take a taxi from my hotel to the airport. It has never cost my more than 10,000 won (about $8USD).

It is way more convenient than taking public transportation. You’ll have to transfer lines at least once if you take the metro and airport buses stops are fairly spread out around the city.

Bulguksa Temple Gyeongju South Korea

Where Do Flights Arrive at in Seoul?

You will land at either Incheon International Airport or Gimpo Airport.

Both airports are located a fair way outside of central Seoul, so you’ll have to use public transportation to get wherever you’re staying.

It takes about an hour to get to Seoul Station from Incheon International Airport and about 25 minutes from Gimpo Airport.

Flights that land in Gimpo Airport will be less expensive than flights that land at Incheon International Airport, so you’ll likely be landing at Gimpo Airport.

Just jump on the metro at the airport, and you’ll in downtown Seoul in less than half an hour!

If you land at Incheon International Airport, you can either take the metro or an airport bus.

I prefer taking the airport bus because it is more relaxing, and I’m guaranteed a seat. The bus is slightly more expensive than the metro though. Keep that in mind when choosing how to get from the airport to Seoul!

Pros of Flying from Busan to Seoul

  • Can be less expensive than the KTX
  • Convenient if you’re flying out of Seoul on the same day

Cons of Flying from Busan to Seoul

  • Very time consuming
  • Not good for the environment
  • Have luggage and liquid restrictions
Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a number of different ways you can travel from Busan to Seoul.

They all have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to you to choose which method is best for you and your travel style.

My personal preference is the KTX. I like how quick it is and that it drops me off at Seoul Station. I’m a sucker for little conveniences like that!

But you may be on a tight budget and choose to take the bus or slow train even though the arrival location isn’t the most convenient.

That’s the beauty of having so many transportation options!

If you’re wondering how to pass your time while travelling from Busan to Seoul, be sure to check out my in-depth post all about wifi in Korea for tourists!

It has all the information you need to navigate the wifi situation in Korea.

And don’t forget to use a VPN to protect your online data when on the road!

You never know who’s looking at your online activity without your consent!

Wifi and online safety aside, Busan, Seoul, and South Korea as a whole are amazing! You’ll have a great trip, be immersed in an incredible culture, and eat delicious food.

There is hardly a country in the world I love as much as South Korea, and I hope your trip makes you love it as much as I do!

How to Travel from Busan to Daegu (The Easy Way!)

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!

Busan Gamcheon Culture Village

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.

Online

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!

In Person

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

  • Expensive
  • Isn’t much quicker than the bus and costs a lot more
Busan, South Korea

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
Busan, South Korea

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.

Online

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!

In Person

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

  • Inexpensive
  • 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
Busan, South Korea

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!

Busan South Korea

Conclusion

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!

How to Travel from Seoul to Busan (The Easy Way!)

Seoul and Busan are the two most popular cities for tourists to visit in South Korea. Lucky for travellers, it is super easy to travel from Seoul to Busan!

The easiest and most popular way to travel from Seoul to Busan is on the KTX high-speed train. You can also take a slower train, a bus, or fly from Seoul to Busan. No matter which transportation method you choose, it is really easy and straightforward to travel between Seoul and Busan.

My personal preference is to take the KTX. It is the quickest, most convenient, and, in my opinion, funnest way to travel from Seoul to Busan.

But this is your decision to make, so I’m going to cover all the different ways you can travel from Seoul to Busan, so you can choose the best option for you!

I’ll also break down the pros and cons of each transportation method to help you make your decision.

Before we get into the different transportation methods, I wanted to let you know I have a blog post about how to travel from Seoul to Gyeongju in case you’re making that journey while you’re in South Korea. And an in-depth 3-day Gyeongju itinerary you may find helpful!

Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul

Option One: Taking the KTX from Seoul to Busan

The KTX is my favourite way to travel throughout Korea. The KTX is a network of high-speed trains that zip you across the country in no time at all.

The best part about the KTX trains is that they are super clean, comfortable, and have lots of luggage storage space.

I always have tons of Korean skincare in my luggage, so I’m always thankful to board a KTX train and know I don’t have to muster the strength to lift my bag onto an overhead rack. I can store it in the luggage storage area at the back of every car and forget about it until I get off the train.

KTX trains leave Seoul once or twice per hour and are direct! No transferring from one train to another required.

How Long Does the KTX from Seoul to Busan Take?

It takes just under three hours to travel from Seoul to Busan on the KTX. That’s pretty darn fast considering the distance between Seoul and Busan is 329km.

How Much Does a KTX Ticket Cost?

The cost of a KTX ticket depends on when you’re travelling. Your ticket will cost more if you’re travelling during the weekend and the busy season. And much less expensive if you travel on a weekday during off-peak times.

In general, you can expect a one-way ticket from Seoul to Busan on the KTX to cost between 53,000 won and 60,000 won. That is approximately $44 to $50 USD.

You can also get a return ticket, and it costs 120,000 won or $100 USD.

Where to Purchase KTX Tickets

Online

I always purchase my KTX tickets online through the Korean Rail website.

There is an English version of the website, and it is really easy and straightforward to use.

The website tells you to print a copy of your ticket before getting on the KTX. I always print my ticket just to be safe, but I’ve had lots of friends just screenshot their ticket on their phone rather than print it out. They’ve never had anybody take issue with them doing that.

I recommend printing a copy of your ticket just to be safe, but I wouldn’t stress too much about it if you don’t have access to a printer.

You are able to purchase your tickets up to a month in advance, so you’ll be able to print your ticket before you get to Korea if you book far enough in advance.

You normally don’t have to purchase your ticket more than a couple of days in advance, but if you’re travelling on a Korean bank holiday, you’ll want to book as far in advance as possible. Tickets on bank holidays sell out really quickly!

In Person

The other option for purchasing KTX tickets is to go to the station and purchase a ticket there.

You can either purchase a ticket from a ticket agent at the counter or at one of the ticket machines throughout the train station.

I don’t recommend purchasing your ticket at the train station rather than online. If you’re a last-minute traveller and enjoy being spontaneous, then purchasing a KTX ticket at the station may be the right move for you.

But I personally think online is the better option for most travellers. It saves you having to make a trip to the train station to buy your ticket in advance, the online system is super easy to use, and it is really easy to select a seat using the online reservation system.

It just seems like a little bit of a waste of your time, and you could spend that extra time exploring all the beautiful things Seoul has to offer like Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Where Does the KTX Depart from in Seoul?

You can catch a KTX train from Seoul to Busan at either Seoul Station or Yongsan Station.

If you’re a tourist, you’ll probably want to get on the train at Seoul Station. It is much more central than Yongsan Station but pick whatever station is closest to where you’re staying in Seoul.

You can get to both Seoul Station and Yongsan Station by metro and bus, so they’re pretty accessible and easy to get to no matter where you’re staying.

I always try to either walk or take the metro when I have my luggage with me. It is a bit awkward to navigate taking your bags on a public bus. Especially if it is during rush hour!

Where Does the KTX Arrive at in Busan?

The KTX train arrives at Busan Station. Busan Station is super central, so it is really easy to get from the train station to wherever you’re staying in Busan.

You can jump on the metro right at Busan Station, and Seomyeon Station (the most popular district in Busan for tourists to stay) is just seven stops away.

Pros of Taking the KTX from Seoul to Busan

  • Very quick compared to other options
  • Comfortable
  • Great luggage storage options

Cons of Taking the KTX from Seoul to Busan

  • Expensive
Busan Gamcheon Culture Village

Option Two: Taking a Slow Train from Seoul to Busan

The next option is taking a slow train from Seoul to Busan. They have some of the benefits of KTX trains like being clean and comfortable, but they are really slow compared to KTX trains.

There are three different types of slow trains that travel from Seoul to Busan:

  • ITX
  • SRT
  • Mugunghwa

These trains may be slower than the KTX, but they are more affordable. They’re a great option for travellers who are on a tight budget and aren’t in a rush to get from Seoul to Busan.

How Long Does the Slow Train from Seoul to Busan Take?

The length of your journey depends on which slow train you choose to take. The trains have the following journey times:

  • ITX: 4.5 hours
  • SRT: 2.5 hours
  • Mugunghwa: 5.5 hours

How Much Does a Slow Train Ticket Cost?

This, again, depends on what type of slow train you’re taking. An average ticket for each train costs:

  • ITX: 42,000 won or approximately $35 USD
  • SRT: 52,000 won or approximately $43 USD
  • Mugunghwa: 28,000 won or approximately $23 USD

You can see that there is a direct correlation between the journey length and the ticket price.

The shorter the journey, the more expensive the ticket. The longer the journey, the less expensive the ticket.

Where to Purchase Slow Train Tickets

The process for purchasing slow train tickets is exactly the same as purchasing KTX tickets.

You can purchase your tickets online through the Korean Railway website or in person at any train station.

It is less important that you purchase slow train tickets in advance as they don’t tend to sell out as quickly as KTX tickets do.

I still recommend purchasing your slow train tickets a day or two in advance just to be safe though. Plus you’ll want to make sure you get the type of seat you want (either window or isle).

Slow trains tend to run less frequently than KTX trains, so you won’t have as many departure times to choose from.

If you have a specific time you want to leave Seoul or arrive in Busan, be sure to book in advance just in case the specific train you want to catch is a popular choice.

Where Do Slow Trains Depart from in Seoul?

You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that where you catch the slow train from Seoul to Busan depends on what type of slow train you take.

ITX

You can catch the ITX at either Seoul Station or Yeongdeungpo Station.

Yeongdeungpo Station is located across the river from downtown Seoul near Gimpo Airport, so you probably won’t be catching the ITX from this station. But it is a great option if you’re landing in Gimpo Airport and travelling directly to Busan without going into downtown Seoul.

For the average traveller, you’ll catch the ITX from Seoul to Busan at Seoul Station, which is easy to get to by metro, bus, or on foot. Again, just be cautious of taking luggage on public buses.

You’ll probably want to avoid doing that if at all possible and take the metro instead.

SRT

The SRT is the quickest of the slower trains and is the most comparable to the KTX. It is a fairly quick train and quite an enjoyable ride.

One of the major downsides to taking the SRT is that it only departs from Suseo Station.

Like Yeongdeungpo Station, Suseo Station is located across the river and a fair ways away from downtown Seoul. It is about an hour on public transportation from Seoul Station to Suseo Station to give you an idea of how far away it is.

I wouldn’t recommend you take this train unless you’re staying in either the Jamsil area or Gangnam area.

If you’re not staying in either of those two areas, you’re better off choosing a different mode of transportation to travel from Seoul to Busan.

It simply isn’t worth the time and effort to get to Suseo Station from the heart of Seoul.

Mungunghwa

The Mungunghwa train departs from Yongsan Station.

Yongsan Station is a little ways outside of downtown Seoul, but it is only a 12-15 minute metro ride from Seoul Station. So it isn’t too far out of the way if this is the train you choose to take.

The Mungunghwa train is the slowest train of them all, but it offers stunning views of the Korean countryside that you won’t get to enjoy on a faster train because you’re speeding past it.

The scenery probably isn’t worth the extra 2-3 hours on a train, but it is a nice way to put a positive spin on a long train ride if this is the train you end up choosing.

The train has a cafe in case you get hungry, but I would bring some snacks and water just in case there isn’t anything at the cafe that suits your taste buds.

A word of caution. I don’t suggest buying a non-reserved standing room ticket. These tickets allow you to sit in a seat if one is open, but you’re stuck with standing if there isn’t a seat. Your legs will hate you if you’re forced to stand for the entire 5.5 hour train ride!

It is worth the little bit more money to purchase a ticket with a reserved seat.

Where Do the Slow Trains Arrive at in Busan?

I’m switching things up here.

All the slow trains arrive at Busan Station!

This makes it super easy to navigate your way to where you’re staying. The metro station is there as well as a major bus terminal. Plus taxi’s are super affordable in South Korea if you’re not in the mood to take public transportation after your long journey from Seoul to Busan.

But I recommend using the metro to get to where you need to go. It is super easy to use, really affordable, and pretty hard to get lost on because there is only one line at Busan Station.

Pros of Taking a Slow Train from Seoul to Busan

  • Less expensive than the KTX
  • Comfortable
  • Clean

Cons of Taking a Slow Train from Seoul to Busan

  • The journey is quite a bit longer than the KTX
  • Some of the train stations slow trains depart from in Seoul are out of the way and a hassle to get to
  • Some slow trains don’t have good luggage storage, and you have to lift your suitcase overhead to store or keep it at your feet
A Complete Guide to Gyeongbokgung Palace

Option Three: Taking the Bus from Seoul to Busan

The third option is to take the bus from Seoul to Busan.

The buses are actually quite nice. They’re large coach-style buses where you store your luggage under the bus and then have a nice, comfortable seat on the bus. There are also shades on the windows you can close if the sun is shining in your eyes.

I actually quite enjoy the journey when I take buses in South Korea.

How Long Does the Bus Ride from Seoul to Busan Take?

The bus ride takes about 4 hours. The actual length of your journey depends on the traffic.

Traffic in South Korea can get quite congested, so it isn’t unheard of for buses to get caught in a traffic jam and arrive at their destinations later than planned.

The good news is that buses often have a dedicated lane, so your chances of being stuck in traffic is much lower than if you were in a car.

Just to be safe, you shouldn’t plan any events or outings right when you’re scheduled to arrive in Busan just in case you encounter traffic.

Give yourself a window of 30-60 minutes just in case your bus is delayed.

How Much Does a Bus Ticket Cost?

The price of your ticket alters slightly based on what bus you end up taking. There are a number of different types of buses, but they are all priced within a dollar or two of each other. So it doesn’t really matter which bus you end up taking.

You can expect your bus ticket to cost between 23,000 won and 37,000 won. That equates to approximately $19 to $30 USD.

Most of the buses are around the 23,000 won to 25,000 won range ($19 to $20 USD) though. It is the premium buses with luxurious lie down seats that are on the more expensive end of the spectrum.

There are also night buses from Seoul to Busan. The prices for these buses range from 25,000 won to 42,000 won. That is approximately $21 to $35 USD.

Buses depart multiple times per hour, so it is pretty easy to find an affordable bus that fits your schedule.

Where to Purchase Bus Tickets

There are two ways to purchase a bus ticket. You can purchase a ticket online or in person.

You can’t go wrong with either option. They’re both super easy to navigate!

Online

You can purchase your ticket online through the Korean Bus website. There is an English version, and it is quick and easy to navigate.

It is great because it lets you see the price and departure time of each bus, so you’re able to make an informed decision of what bus to get on.

You’ll be able to easily choose the cheapest bus, buy a ticket, and show up at the station ready to start your journey from Seoul to Busan.

In Person

The other option is to purchase a ticket in person at the bus station.

You can easily show up at the bus station the day you want to travel from Seoul to Busan and purchase a ticket for the next available bus.

There are normally three buses departing every hour, so you won’t have to wait long to get on the next bus!

Just be sure to inquire about pricing if you’re quoted a higher than average price. It may be worthwhile to wait a little bit longer and get on a less expensive bus that departs at a later time.

Where Does the Bus Depart from in Seoul?

All the buses depart from Seoul Gyeongbu Bus Station. It is also commonly referred to at the Seoul Express Bus Station.

Seoul Gyeongbu Bus Station is located across the river from downtown Seoul. It takes about 30 minutes on public transportation to get from Seoul Station to Seoul Gyeongbu Bus Station.

It is kind of out of the way, but you have no other choice if you want to take the bus from Seoul to Busan.

Where Does the Bus Arrive at in Busan?

Are you surprised to hear that the bus arrives at Busan Station?

That’s right! Just like all the train options, the bus arrives at Busan Station as well. Busan Station is the main transportation hub in Busan, so it is no surprise that everything arrives and departs out of it.

Just jump on the metro, and you’ll quickly arrive at your hotel! You probably won’t even need to transfer metro lines!

You gotta love when it is as easy as that!

Pros of Taking the Bus from Seoul to Busan

  • Comfortable seats
  • Luggage storage under the bus, so you don’t have to fuss with your luggage
  • Is the least expensive way to travel from Seoul to Busan
  • Can purchase last-minute tickets without worrying about it being sold out

Cons of Taking the Bus from Seoul to Busan

  • Longer than the KTX and most of the slow trains
  • The bus station is a ways out of downtown Seoul
  • Can be delayed if there is traffic
  • Unable to get up and stretch your legs like you can on a train
Seoul South Korea

Option Four: Flying from Seoul to Busan

The final option you have to travel from Seoul to Busan is by flying.

It wouldn’t be my first choice because you have to leave enough time to travel to the airport, check in, go through security, and be at your gate a few minutes before it starts boarding.

Plus you have to deal with the packing restraints of not being able to carry on liquids and don’t have as much luggage flexibility as you do on the KTX, slow train, or bus.

How Long is the Flight from Seoul to Busan?

The upside of flying is that the flight from Seoul to Busan is only an hour, so the travel time is much shorter than taking a train or bus.

But once you factor in the time it takes to check in and go through security, the amount of time it takes to get from Seoul to Busan is pretty much the same as taking the KTX or one of the faster slow trains.

How Much Does a Plane Ticket Cost?

Anybody who has every booked a plane tickets knows there are countless variables that go into how much you pay. It depends on the time of year, day of the week, time of day, what airline you fly, and who you purchase your ticket from.

It is quite difficult to give you an estimate of how much a plane ticket from Seoul to Busan will cost given there are so many factors that go into deciding the price.

You can get a really inexpensive plane ticket if you’re lucky and book on the right day at the right time.

In some instances, a plane ticket can cost less than a KTX ticket!

I wouldn’t go into booking a plane ticket from Seoul to Busan an expect it to be less expensive than the KTX though.

Set the expectation that a plane ticket will cost more than a KTX ticket, and you can be pleasantly surprised if it ends up being less expensive!

Where to Purchase Plane Tickets

You can purchase your plane ticket through your favourite third-party website or through the airline’s website directly.

I personally enjoy using Skyscanner to get an idea of the flight time and prices and then going to the airline’s website to find their price then to third-party websites. I keep searching around until I think I’ve found the best price.

Some third-party websites don’t have a great reputation so be sure to look into that as well before booking your flight.

I’ve found that in most cases the airline has either the lowest price or has a price that is very similar to the cheapest third-party website.

Where Do Flights Depart from in Seoul?

Gimpo Airport

A lot of tourists don’t know about Gimpo Airport when they fly into Seoul, but it is the ideal airport to fly out of when travelling from Seoul to Busan.

It always has cheaper flights than Incheon International Airport. It is also much closer to downtown Seoul and is quicker to get to on the metro, bus, or taxi.

I highly recommend you use Gimpo Airport to fly from Seoul to Busan.

Incheon International Airport

The other option you have is flying out of Incheon International Airport. Incheon is probably the airport you’ll fly into if you’re arriving in Seoul from another country, so you’re most likely aware of it.

I don’t recommend flying from Seoul to Busan via Incheon International Airport.

Flights will be significantly more expensive than Gimpo Airport, and the Incheon Airport is much further from downtown Seoul and takes a while to get to via public transportation.

The only exception to my recommendation to not fly out of Incehon International Airport is if you’re landing at the airport and then getting a flight to Busan the same day.

Even in that case, it might be better to fly out of Gimpo.

The two airports are connected by the metro, so it is super easy to get to Incheon International Airport to Gimpo Airport assuming you have enough time between flights.

Where Do Flights Arrive at in Busan?

Flights from both Incheon International Airport and Gimpo Airport arrive at Busan International Airport (Gimhae).

The airport in Busan is quite close to downtown Busan, so it is convenient and easy to get to wherever you’re staying.

You can take the metro or bus if you want to use public transportation, but I recommend taking a taxi.

A taxi from Busan International Airport (Gimhae) to downtown Busan will cost you less than $20 USD and is much quicker than taking public transportation.

You will have to transfer at least once if you take public transportation and then walk from the metro station to your hotel.

A taxi is worth the little bit of money for the ease of not having to navigate the public transportation system- especially if you have multiple people in your group.

I’m not suggesting that the public transportation system in Busan is difficult to use by any means!

It is actually really easy to use. I just think it is worth the extra money to save some time and effort by taking a taxi.

Pros of Flying from Seoul to Busan

  • Clean and comfortable
  • Flight is fast
  • Can be very affordable

Cons of Flying from Seoul to Busan

  • You have to deal with all the hassles that come along with flying
  • It isn’t great for the environment
  • The departure and arrival points aren’t as convenient as the KTX
Busan South Korea

Conclusion

As you can tell, it is super easy to travel from Seoul to Busan, and you have many different transportation options to choose from.

There really is an option that fits everybody no matter what your budget or travel style!

I personally opt for the KTX. To me, it is worth the extra price to travel by high-speed train and arrive in Busan as quickly as possible. I also like that the KTX departs from Seoul Station. It is so convenient!

No matter what transportation method you choose, your journey from Seoul to Busan will be comfortable. Every train, bus, and plane is clean and comfortable, so you’ll enjoy your ride.

One final note before you plan your journey from Seoul to Busan:

Trains, buses, and planes depart on time and don’t tend to run late. You’ll want to arrive at the train station, bus station, or airport early enough to allow you to get to where you are departing from 10 to 15 minutes before you’re supposed to leave.

You’ll most likely be left behind if you’re running late!