A guide to traveling with your bike in Korea.

Let’s go cycling! Where do you want to go? First, choose a route. Second, get a bike, prepare it, check the weather, and pack. Third, get to the starting line.

But, how can you find transportation for you and your bicycle in Korea?

We’ll guarantee this. Traveling in Korea is a package deal. Free of charge, you’ll get some stress, a dose of unpredictability, and those long-loved layovers.

However, with some preparation and this helpful Bike Transportation Guide, you save yourself hours. We’ll give you your options and tell you 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. However, once you familiarize yourself with transportation systems, you’ll be hopping around Korea 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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The Best Transportation!

Most of the sidewalks in Korea have commuter bike lanes. In smaller cities like Chungju and Gumi, cycling is the fastest way to get around. Hop on! And don’t be afraid to squeeze passed pedestrians!

Intercity buses are your best bet to jump around Korea with your bike. Most cities in Korea are small. They dropped their bus terminals in the center of the city. Bigger cites 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 slip your bike through the handicap turnstile and hop in the first or last train cars.

A few ITX trains welcome bikers with full-size bikes. In the past, KTX and Mugunghwa trains allowed cyclists to remove their wheels and board. However, policies changed. Most lines officially only allow folding bikes.

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Subways or Metros

An interior picture of an empty Seoul subway car.
An empty metro car in Seoul. Keep your bike in the first or last cars on the train.

There are four metro (subway) systems you’ll encounter on your cycling trip through Korea. Seoul, Incheon, Busan, and Daegu. They allow cyclists to ride with their bikes on weekends and public holidays.

Seoul Metro Map

Cyclists may board only the first or last train cars. As long as your bike doesn’t have a gasoline engine attached, you can wheel it aboard.

Be polite and stay against the back wall of the cars. Some metro lines removed a row of benches to accommodate bicycles. You can like your bike here.

Busan Metro Map

To get into the metro station, carry your bike down the metro stairs. Or, even better, find a street-level elevator to whisk you to the station below. (Metro 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, a friendly metor way worker 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 metro 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 a little complicated. There are four major train classes to choose from. Here’s a breakdown

Can I bring my bike on the train?

The rail companies only guarantee a spot for your full-size bike aboard the ITX-Cheongchun line.

Some additional ITX lines designate areas for your bike aboard their trains. But, check the train route by using the Korean-language version of the KorailTalk app. Instructions below.

The high-speed KTX and SRT lines, and the slower Mugunghwa lines, allow only folding bikes aboard. They’ll ask you to store your bike in the luggage area.

In the past, you could sneak a full-size hybrid, MTB, or road bike aboard a KTX or Mugunghwa train if you had a nice conductor.

But, complaints were made. Rules were changed. If you arrive at the KTX station without your bike, there’s a good chance they’ll turn you and your greasy machine away.

You could ask at the station if the trains along your desired route allow bikes aboard. However, again, check the app beforehand. You don’t want them to turn away at the platform.

Here’s a breakdown of the railroad lines, from A to (KT)X:

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.

In the past, some conductors allowed cyclists to board with their full-size bikes. They allowed them to remove their wheels and store your bike in luggage compartments between train cars.

But, they officially only allow folding bikes aboard these days. If you bring your folding bike aboard, store it in the luggage compartments.

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 has the strictest policies regarding bicycles. They have never allows full-size bikes. They allow only folding bicycles in their luggage compartments.

ITX

ITX-Saemaul

The ITX (Intercity eXpress) are a 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 designated for full-size bicycles. Before buying tickets, check the KorailTalk app for availability.

The ITX-Saemaul runs along the Gyeongbu, Honam, and Gyeongjeon Lines.

ITX-Cheongchun

The ITX-Cheongchun runs from Yongsan Station (용산역) in Seoul to Chuncheon Station (춘천) in Chuncheon.

Riders flock to this scenic line. The trains are the only double-deckers in Korea. They meander up to Chuncheon, the self proclaimed romantic city.

Two or three train cars will have bicycle cradles (자전거거치대). This is the only line where every train allows you to bring your full-size bicycle aboard.

Mugunghwa

A Mugungwha train rolling down train tracks next to a country bike path in Korea.
Mugunghwa trains are the slowest and oldest trains in Korea.

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

In the past, some Mugunghwa trains had craddles and rails for you to place your bike during the journey. Conductors would also ask cyclists to stay in the dining cars or luggage compartments.

However, recently Korail changed its policies. They only officially allow folding bicycles aboard.

You might find a Mugunghwa train with bicycle cradles (자전거거치대) . But, check the train and the route using the KorailTalk app before heading to the station.

A highway in Korea. You can see the city of Ulsan in the background.
A highway in Korea. You can see the city of Ulsan in the background.

Booking On the Train App

Booking on the KorailTalk (코레일톡) app can be a pain. The English-language version of the app has limited features. You can’t choose your seat, discover new routes, or access the helpful rail map.

If you want to get the most out of the app, you need to switch the Korean-language setting. I know. It’s scary. But, by following this little guide, you might be able to muddle your way through.

Main Menu

The main menu shows 편도 (one-way) and 왕복 (round trip) at the top.

The 출발 (departure) and 도착 (destination) allow you to choose your route.

Just below, the helpful KTX역 선택 지도 button brings up a map of the major rail lines in Korea.

Choose your departure date and time at the bottom of the menu.

A screenshot of the Korail booking app showing where you can choose your train and seat type.

Train Selection

Once you select your route, you can select the train type (ITX-청춘; ITX-Chungcheon), seat class (일반석; economy), and route (직통; direct).

The grey menu at the bottom shows train stops (열차시각), fare (운임요금), and seat selection (좌석선택).

You can register and buy tickets by tapping 예매 (ticketing).

A screenshot of the Korail booking app showing where you can choose your seat type and train car.

Seat Selection

You can determine if a train allows bicycles by tapping the 좌석선택 (seat selection) button.

The next screen shows a drop-down menu at the top. 8 호차 shows that the current train car is number 8.

On the right, look for 자전거거치대 (bicycle cradle). This shows the train car has a place for your bicycle.

A screenshot of the Korail booking app showing a map of the rain system in Korea.

Rail Lines Map

Tap the KTX역 선택 지도 button on the main menu to find a map of the major rail lines across Korea.

Tap a station to set the 출발 (departure) and 도착 (destination).

The rail lines on the top menu bar:

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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 and reliable. They service every city along the cycling paths in Korea.

Buying Your Tickets

Korean intercity bus terminals ruels are relaxed. Walk into the terminal with your bike. Visit the automated ticket machine or teller and buy tickets. There are no additional charges or restrictions to boarding with your bike.

Ticket machines have English language options. In major cities, some tellers speak English. However, clearly pronouncing the name of your city to a teller might be enough to get the right 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 think you’re at the wrong platform. Don’t worry, buses don’t usually pull into the platforms until ten minutes before departure.

If you’re not sure 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 Hangul, you can reference the city on the plaque with the city on your ticket.

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

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.

Slide your bike into the luggage compartment. Lay your bike flat on its left side. This avoids damaging the 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).

A bongo truck sits in a gravel parking lot.

Bongo Trucks

Keep and eye out for Bongo Trucks. Korea’s version of a pickup truck, they’re used for everything: moving apartments. Hauling explosive materials.

You’ll often find them parked outside bus stations or near certification checkpoints. For a small fee, they’ll take you to the start line or local motel.

Advanced Online Booking

If your cycling trip doesn’t land on a major Korean Holiday, you don’t have to worry about buses selling out. 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 your ride lands on Chuseok, Seollal, or summer vacation (July-August), book online.

For intercity buses, there are two online major booking companies. Kobus and BusTago.

The companies may operate out of different terminals in major cities. This can get pretty confusing.

However, there are also third-party websites that help aggregate the bus booking.

Here’s a breakdown.

Kobus

Kobus has two apps. Unfortunately, they are both Korean-language only. Their website, however, has an English language section.

If you can muddle through the apps, you can download an e-ticket and bypass the tellers.

The intercity app covers intercity buses that might have more than one stop on it’s way to its final destination. The express app lists non-stop buses from major cities.

BusTago

BusTago offers both an English language website and English language app.

The app and website do not distinguish between non-stop and multi-city stop buses.

You can download an e-ticket on the English language app. However, to check your reservation you need to switch to the Korean language setting.

TxBus

TxBus helps aggregate bus listings into their English language website. They don’t have an app.

However, if you can’t find a bus route, check out TxBus. They might have intercity routes and timetables not listed by the other services.

Paying for tickets online booking is easiest with a domestic card. Some sites accept foreign cards.

Naver Search

You can find bus timetables using the Naver search engine or Naver App, Korea’s alternative to Google.

You can find bus routes by doing a quick translation of departure city. Add 시외버스 시간표 (intercity bus timetable) to your Naver search 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. You’ll find the bus terminals nearest the bike paths.

Please check Kobus, BusTago, or TxBus for routes and tickets.

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