A guide to traveling with your bike in Korea.

So you’ve decided you want to try out this bike thing. Amazing! Where do you want to go? First, choose a route. Second, choose how you’re going to get you and your bike there.

You’ll encounter stressful times, unpredictable situations, and long layovers. But with some preparation and this helpful Korea travel guide, you need not fear. We’ll lead you through the do’s and don’ts of moving you and your bike around Korea.

Can I take my bike on public transportation?

You’re down to three options: subways, trains, and intercity buses. Once you become more familiar with the transportation systems in Korea, you’ll be city hopping in no time.

A bike lays near the designated bike path. Near the southern Korean town of  Samnangjin. The bike was traveling in korea to the next town of Samnagjiin.
A bike lays near the designated bike path. Near the southern Korean town of Samnangjin.
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You Carry The Best Transportation!

The majority of sidewalks in Korea have commuter bike lanes. In smaller cities like Chungju and Gumi, it’s faster to hop on and make your way through the city on two wheels. Don’t be afraid to squeeze passed pedestrians!

Intercity buses are your best bet to move around Korea with your bike. Most cities in Korea are small. Their bus terminals are centrally located. And, the big cities have more than one bus station.

If it’s the weekend or a public holiday, subways or metros will make your life easier in Seoul, Daegu, Incheon, and Busan. Just take your bike through the handicap turnstile and stick to the first and last train cars.

A few ITX trains welcome bikers. For the other trains, there are examples of bikers boarding. But most trains in Korea were not designed for bikers. They only officially allow folding bicycles.

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Subways or Metros

An interior picture of an empty Seoul subway car.
An empty subway car in Seoul.

There are four subway systems you’ll encounter on your cycling trip. Seoul, Incheon, Busan, and Daegu. Each system allows cyclists to ride with their bikes on the subways during the weekends and holidays.

Seoul Metro Map

Bike riders are required to board only the first and last train cars. In general, be polite and stay against the back wall of the cars. Many lines removed a row of benches to accommodate riders. Line your bike diagonally.

Busan Metro Map

To get into the station, you can carry your bike down the subway stairs. Or, even better, find a street-level elevator to whisk you to the station below. (Subway works may insist you do this.) Do not take your bike on escalators.

Daegu Metro Map

To enter the paid area, go through the handicap turnstile. You can scan your T-money card or pass a ticket through. If you can’t find a handicap turnstile, there are friendly subway workers can assist.

Incheon Metro Map

Naver Maps and Kakao Maps give the best metro route information. You can search or pin a location with your finger. Select the subway only route option.

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Trains and KTX

Cyclists ride on the designated bike path. A Korail train passes above.
Cyclists ride on the designated bike path. A Korail train passes above.

Trains in Korea can get complicated. There are four major types of trains:

Can I bring my bike on the train?

The ITX-Cheongchun and ITX-Andong routes definitely allow bikes onboard. The trains are newer and some cars designated for bicycles.

You can check the availability of boarding with your bike by downloading the KoRail app. (Unfortunately, you can only view the designated bike car option in the Korean language settings)

With the other trains, taking your bike on a KTX is questionable to doubtful. You may be relying on the conductor’s mood.

In general, they aren’t happy to see hobbyists with full-sized bikes. They prefer commuters with easy-to-stow folding bikes.

The rules for traveling by train with your bike change frequently in Korea. Some Mugunghwa lines may cut bike service in the future. And, not all ITX trains include cars designated for stowing full-size bikes.

It is best to ask at the station before you book.

KTX

The KTX (Korean Train eXpress) is the famous high-speed train in Korea. It is by far the fastest way to get to from Seoul to Busan. It travels 305 km/h (190 mph) along the Gyeongbu railway line or the Honam railway line.

The Gyeongbu line flows from Seoul Station to Busan Station, northwest to southeast. Major stops along the way include Daejeon, Dong Daegu, and Ulsan.

The Honam line will take you from Seoul Station to Mokpo Station, northwest to southwest. Major stops include Iksan and Gwangju.

If you are polite and considerate of other passengers, conductors may allow you to take your bike onto KTX trains. But, they officially only allow folding bikes.

If you have a full-size road or mountain bike, it’s advised to remove your wheels and store your bike in luggage compartments between train cars.

When the trains are busy, Friday and Sunday afternoons and nights, the KTX can swell with commuters. When they sell out on seats, they’ll sell standing-only tickets. This will pack the luggage compartment with annoyed passengers. A greasy, dirty bike may set them over the edge.

Be aware that the conductors have the final say. Don’t pick a fight. You won’t win.

SRT

The SRT (Super Rapid Transit) is a high-speed line similar to the KTX. They have similar prices, use the same railway lines, and travel at the same speed.

What’s the difference? The SRT is newer (2016) and privately owned. In Seoul, the SRT starts in Suseo Station, south of the Han River in Seoul. They end at either Busan Station or to Mokpo Station. (Same as the KTX.)

The SRT also has three privately owned train stations: Suseo Station, Dongtan Station, and Jije Station.

The SRT appears to have the strictest policies. They allow only folding bicycles in their luggage compartments. If your conductor is understanding, they may let your full-size bike aboard.

ITX

ITX-Saemaul

The ITX (Intercity Express) are the newer class of trains in Korea. The government railway company phased out the older Saemaul trains with ITX models.

Unlike the KTX and SRT, ITX trains are not high-speed (165 km/h). However, they make fewer stops and are a little faster Mugunghwa diesel trains (140 km/h).

Some ITX trains have portions of some cars that are designated for cyclists. Before buying tickets, check the KoRail app for availability.

Gyeongbu, Honam, and Gyeongjeon Lines.

ITX-Cheongchun

The ITX-Cheongchun runs from Yongsan Station (용산역) in Seoul to Chuncheon Station (춘천). The cars have two levels. Cars have areas reserved for bikes.

Mugunghwa

Mugunghwa trains are the oldest and slowest trains operating in Korea. However, they serve more cities than the KTX, ITX, or SRT.

Apply the same rules of conduct as the KTX. Some conductors may allow you to bring your bike aboard whole. They might ask you to remove your wheels.

You can

If you leave your bike assembled, keep it in the dining car or in the luggage compartment. Stay out of the way of passengers.

The sunset over the Nakdong River in southern Korea.
The sunset over the Nakdong River in southern Korea.
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Intercity Buses

A premium intercity bus equipped with WiFi and charging ports.
A premium intercity bus equipped with WiFi and charging ports.

Stuffing your bike into the underbelly of an intercity bus is the best way to move around Korea. It’s cheap, reliable. They service every city along the cross-country cycling paths in Korea.

Buying Your Tickets

The rules in the Korean intercity bus terminals are relaxed. Feel free to walk into the terminal, bike in tow. Visit the automated ticket machine or teller and buy tickets. There are no additional charges or restrictions to boarding with your bike.

The ticket machines have English language options. In major cities, the tellers will have some English familiarity. However, saying the name of your city with correct pronunciation often conveys enough info to get your ticket.

Some cities in Korea sound the same to foreign ears. Visit a machine if you’re not confident with your pronunciation.

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Standard vs Premium Buses

Standard class buses have two sets of double seats. Four people per row, with an aisle in the middle. It can get a little cramped and muggy inside.

Premium buses have three seats to a row. One side of has two seats. The other side has one. The seats are larger and have footrests. Tickets are a few more thousand won. They’re worth the splurge on long trips.

Tellers and machines accept cash, domestic and major foreign cards. The automated teller machine lets you choose your seat number

Getting on the Bus

Korea travel bus ticket with the destination, departure time, and platform circled.
Korean bus ticket. The teller circled the destination, departure time, and platform circled.

Intercity bus stations buzz. Giant buses swarm in and out of platforms every few minutes. If you arrive too early, you might guess you’re at the platform. Don’t worry, buses don’t usually pull into the platforms until ten minutes before departure.

If you’re unsure you’re getting on the right bus, check the bus’s windshield. They list the destination a plaque near the boarding area. Though usually written in Korea, you can reference the Korean city name in Hangul on your ticket.

Once the bus driver opens the stow doors, walk to the luggage compartments on the boarding side of the bus. Yank the handle until the door rises. Choose the last compartment to stay out of the way of the other passenger’s luggage.

A Korean bus compartment showing a bike inside layed flat on its left side. The bus was traveling to another city in Korea.
Lay your bike flat on its left side to avoid damaging the bike’s components.

Stuff your bike into the luggage compartment. Lay your bike flat on its left side. This will avoid damaging front and rear derailleurs on the right side of the bike.

If you are traveling in pairs or more, push the first bike as far back as possible. You can fit two, maybe three bikes in one compartment.

Some bus drivers might take an unkind tone. They’ll tell you how to angle or adjust your bike. Just repeat “Ye” (예; yes). “Gam-sa-hab-ni-da” ( 감사합니다; thank you).

Advanced Online Booking

If you plan your trip doesn’t land on a major Korean Holiday, you won’t have to worry. You can grab a ticket at the bus station.

Seat selection screen on the TxBus online booking website.
Seat selection screen on the TxBus online booking website.

If you want to ride on a holiday or plan to leave out of Seoul or Busan on the weekends, you might want to book online.

There are two intercity bus companies. Kobus and BusTago. If you can navigate their Korean language app, you download an e-ticket and bypass the machines and tellers.

However, each bus company services different cities and have different terminals in Seoul and Busan. Complicated?

TxBus aggregates the two into an easy-to-use website. They lack an e-ticket app. But, their website has an English language option. TxBus is the best site to find all of the intercity bus routes and timetables.

Online booking is easiest with a domestic card. Some online sites accept foreign cards as well.

You can bypass the bus company websites with the Naver App. Korea’s alternative to Google, you can find routes by doing a quick translation of [your current city] and “bus timetable.” Pop it into Naver and check out the results.

Ulsan intercity bus timetable –> 울산 시외버스 시간표.

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Intercity Bus Terminal Listings

Below are the listings for the intercity bus terminals along the cross-country bicycle path. These stations include the terminals nearest the route from Incheon to Busan. Please check Kobus, BusTago, or TxBus for specific listings.

Bus Station Listing Shortcuts

Incheon LogoSeoul LogoYeoju Logo
Chungju LogoMungyeong LogoGumi Logo
Daegu LogoNamju LogoBusan Logo

Incheon Bus Terminals

Bucheon Central Bus Terminal

Incheon Bus Terminal


Seoul Bus Terminals

Dong (East) Seoul Bus Terminal

Seoul Express Bus Terminal

Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal

Hanam Bus Terminal

  • 하남시버스환승공영차고지
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Yeoju Bus Terminals

Yangpyeong Intercity Bus Terminal

  • 양평버스터미널
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Daesin Bus Terminal

  • 대신터미널
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Yeoju Bus Terminal

  • 여주종합터미널
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Chungju Bus Terminals

Chungju Bus Terminal

  • 충주공용버스터미널
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Mungyeong Bus Terminals

Suanbo Bus Terminal

  • 수안보시외버스정류장
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Mungyeong Bus Terminal

  • 문경버스터미널
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Jeomchon Bus Terminal

  • 점촌터미널
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Gumi Bus Terminals

Sangju Bus Terminal

Gumi Bus Terminal

  • 구미종합터미널
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Daegu Bus Terminals

Dong Daegu Bus Terminal

  • 동대구터미널
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Daegu West Bus Terminal

  • 동대구터미널대구서부정류장
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Daegu North Bus Terminal


Namji Bus Terminals

Namji Bus Terminal

  • 남지버스터미널
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map

Busan Bus Terminals

Busan Dongbu Bus Terminal

Busan Seobu Bus Terminal

Haeundae Bus Terminal

  • 해운대시외버스정류소
  • 05:30 ~ 22:00
  • Map