A guide to traveling from Seoul to Busan in South Korea.

Where do you want to go?

Busan I hear?

What’s the best way of going from Seoul to Busan?

Read on to find out.

A picture of Haeundae beach in Busan
Haeundae Beach in Busan

With over 3.5 million people residing in Busan, this city has a lot to offer you.

To have a great experience, you first have to get there, and this can be tricky. With 325 km between Seoul and Busan, there are many ways depending on your budget.

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 Seoul to Busan guide, you save yourself hours. We’ll give you your options and tell you the do’s and don’ts of moving from Seoul to Busan

Seoul To Busan Flight

A korean airplane flying in the sky.

If you want to save time, and not bother with buses or trains you can get a direct flight.

Sometimes it can be cheaper and more convenient flying to Busan rather than traveling by the KTX train.

If I wanted to fly this afternoon from Gimpo Airport to Busan International Airport; a direct flight would have cost me around 43,000 won.

Whereas a KTX train would cost me around 60,000 won

Compare the two to see which is more convenient for you at the time. You may find that it is cheaper to fly, but it, in the long run, getting a rail pass would save more money so the KTX would be better overall.

Sky scanner screen shot: Flight from Seoul Gimpo airport  to Busan international Airport.
Sky scanner: Flight from Gimpo to Busan International Airport.
KTX Application: screen shot of a
ktx train timetable from from Seoul central station to Busan.
KTX Application: Train from Seoul central station to Busan.

Gimpo to Busan Flights

Seoul has two major airports:

  1. Gimpo International Airport
  2. Incheon International Airport

Both have domestic daily flights flying directly to Busan taking only 55 minutes!

If you want to fly and save money, or if you are already close to Gimpo Airport, then it might be best departing from Gimpo.

Flying from Gimpo to Gimhae Airport is certainly the cheapest option.

I was able to find some relatively cheap flights from just looking on Sky Scanner.

Flights can go as cheap as 70,000 won for a return ticket if you book in advance.

The screenshot below is a direct return from Seoul to Busan. The dates are from:

February 3rd Until February 7th.

It seems flying during weekdays seems to be considerably cheaper.

For instance, the days below were Monday and Friday.

A screenshot of flight going from seoul (Gimpo to busan)

Gimpo Airport is actually closer to the center of Seoul than Incheon International Airport.

Both are also easily accessible by airport bus, subway, and taxi. However, it might be more convenient flying from Gimpo if you are staying in Seoul.

For example:

The AREX operates trains from Myeongdong to Gimpo Airport every 10 minutes.

Tickets cost:

1,600 won to 3,700 won and the journey takes approximately 22 minutes.

When i book my flights to Busan I predominantly use Sky Scanner.

However, Momondo also has a great booking platform.

Incheon to Busan Flights

There are also flights from Incheon Airport to Busan International, but its more expensive.

Therefore I only recommend flying from Incheon when you have flown internationally to Incheon, and then are transferring flights to Busan.

What’s more, you can easily get from Incheon Airport to Gimpo by Subway if you want.

Incheon International Airport to Gimpo Airport

There are three ways to get from Incheon International Airport to Gimpo Airport

  1. Bus (30 mins)
  2. Subway (40 mins)
  3. Taxi (30 mins)

Bus:

6008, 8829,6003, 8844, 6900, 8843, 7500 all go directly to Gimpo Airport.

Prices vary, but it seems to be around 5,000 won, and the duration is around 30 minutes depending on traffic.

Subway:

Alternatively, you can get the AREX from Incheon International Airport terminal one.

*Make sure you take the:

ALL STOP TRAIN!

There are two trains.

  • The ALL Stop Train which you need.
  • The express train that goes directly to Seoul without stopping.

Standard fare (Based on adult, prepaid/postpaid transportation card) is 3,750.

Taxi:

The third option is getting a taxi to Gimpo International Airport.

You can hail one down at the taxi rank or request one via Kakao taxi.

If you use Kakao taxi, the taxi will cost you around 50,000 daytime rate and will take around 30 minutes depending on the traffic.

Seoul to Busan Train

KTX subway station with snow falling down

Trains in Korea can get a little complicated. There are four major train classes to choose from. Here’s a breakdown

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

How to book Rail Tickets

The KTX Seoul to Busan Prices vary due to the time of the day you are going. Although I usually see the prices hover around 53,000 won.

Seoul to Busan ktx timetable on a spercific day and time.

You have three options when it comes to purchasing tickets:

  1. You can buy rail tickets directly at the station.
  2. Or, you can make a booking online via the Korailtalk App
  3. Lastly, you can use their English website.

Tickets can be purchased up to one month in advance.

If you are traveling during the busy holiday seasons such as Chuseok i advise you to book them in advance as they will sell out quickly.

The Korailtalk App

Check out our guide to buying KTX Tickets online if you are struggling to use the app.

Bur 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.

You can also book the KTX if you want to go back to Seoul.

Trains depart every two hours from Busan station starting from: 5:10 AM, with the last train departing at: 22:50 PM

Korail Pass to Busan

When you travel to Busan you can buy a Korail pass to save you money!

For example, if you’re traveling by the KTX train for more than two days, or with a group of people, then it will definitely save you money!

There are a number of passes available. It just depends on what you’re looking for at the time. A great place to start looking is:

INDIWAY!

Booking the Korail pass on Indiway is incredibly easy.

They have a full guide on the pass benefits, including why it will save you money!

Korail pass table with prices.

Train Options

KTX

A ktx train in stationed in a train station.

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.

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.

Taking this train is only recommended if you are staying close to Gangnam or Jamsil.

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 than the Mugunghwa diesel trains (140 km/h).

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

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.

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

But, check the train and the route using the KorailTalk app before heading to the station.


Seoul to Busan Bus

Intercity busses parked in a bus station.

Buses are great in Korea!

I’ve taken many during my stay here, and it’s certainly a great option if you want to save money.

It economical and surprisingly comfortable.

We have a great guide showing you how to book the buses online.

Going from Seoul to Busan by bus should take around 4 hours. However, it can take a lot longer depending on the traffic.

I’ve once had to sit on the bus for 6 hours! So bring your battery pack as you will need it.

There are buses running three times an hour from Seoul Gyeongbu terminal.

There are two types of busses you can get:

Standard buses:

Standard buses have two sets of double seats. Four people per row with an isle in the middle. If you’re big framed, or desire more comfort, you might want to opt for the premium buses as they are laudably spacious.

Premier buses:

Premier Buses have three seats to a row. One side has two seats and the other has one which is my favorite-next to the window. Tickets cost a couple thousand more won but are defiantly worth it when you get stuck in traffic.

How to Book Seoul to Busan Bus Tickets

TXBus

The website is in English, and it’s very easy to navigate and book.

A picture of the TXBUS booking screen to book a bus from seoul to busan
TXBus website booking.

So you can get an idea of the cost. A one-way ticket from East Seoul to Busan Haeundae would cost me around 36,500 won today.

Same-day ticket purchases can be made up to one hour prior to the departure.

BusTago

You can also use BusTago.

Like TXBus, they have a website and application in English. However, I find their website rather glitchy and hard to use.

Their app and website don’t distinguish between non-stop and multi-stop buses.

Personally i prefer using TXBUS.

Seoul to Busan By Car

A  picture showing a Korean highway road with cars driving down

If you don’t want to fly, rail, bus or walk you have one remaining option.

You can drive!

If I was making a recommendation, i would suggest driving at night and avoiding the rush hour. The driving distance is 400km but it can be more or less depending on the route you take. I think if you’re not familiar with Korean roads I wouldn’t recommend this option.

If you wanted to, you could rent a car. However, this would likely be very expensive due to the distance you are traveling. Although it is possible.

For more information, you can read more on the official Korea website.

I think it would be easier to fly, or rail down to Busan, and then rent a car when you are in the city.

Wrap Up

So there you have it!

Hopefully, this guide can help you get from Seoul to Busan!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

Thank you and have a great trip.