Seoul to Busan: Train, Bus, and Flight Options

Travel from Seoul to Busan via the KTX train and get around Haeundae by renting this electric kickboard!

seoul-to-busan

Highlights

  • Busan is South Korea’s second largest city. Lonely Planet called it the Best Destination in Asia in 2018.
  • You can make your way from Seoul to Busan via train, bus, or plane.
  • Get the most of your trip when you take this scenic cable car ride or daytime yacht!

Explore more: Visiting Busan Tower: What to Expect & How to Get Cheap Tickets

Explore Busan

Busan is South Korea’s second biggest metropolis. With its fancy buildings and reliable transportation network, it’s almost comparable to Seoul, except that it mainly sets itself apart by being a nice coastal city.

Travelers love Busan for its scenic attractions, such as the Yonggungsa Temple, Taejongdae, Gamcheon Culture Village, 40 Steps, and Dadaepo Beach, just to name a few.

People also love Busan for its tasty dishes like the milmyeon (cold flour noodles), dwaeji gukbap (pork-based soup and rice dish), and hoe (raw fish). If you love seafood, make sure to visit Jagalchi Market and try the freshest seafood that South Korea has to offer.

If you’re building your itinerary, here are the top 5 recommended activities and tours that you can book for your trip:

  1. [Attraction] Busan Tower Ticket
  2. [Activity] Songdo Marine Cable Car
  3. [Activity] Daytime Yacht Cruise
  4. [Outdoor Adventure] Electric Kickboard Rental
  5. [Attraction] Museum DAH
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Oh, and let’s not forget! Busan is home to the annual Busan International Film Festival, which is one of the most important and well-attended movie fests in Asia. If you’re in town, then make sure to see a film or two!

How to Go from Seoul to Busan

Credit: revi

1. Seoul to Busan via Train: KTX, ITX-Saemaeul, or Mugunghwa-ho

Going to Busan via train is perhaps the most popular choice among travelers nowadays. Thanks to that awesome zombie flick, the train ride from Seoul to Busan has become quite an experience (I admit I daydreamed about fighting off a bunch of the zombies while on board.). But what I liked about my train to Busan experience (the KTX train, to be specific) was that it was very comfortable and took me right to the destination much faster than the other options. Below let’s look at the three types of train that can take you from the capital of Korea to Busan:

1.1 KTX Train to Busan

The KTX Train is a speed monster. A one-way trip to Busan via a regular train typically takes 4-5 hours, but the KTX can take you there in just around 2 hours and 42 minutes. This is the perfect option to take if you’ll only spend 1-2 days in the locale; the KTX could save you more than 5 hours of regular travel time, which is best spent exploring Haeundae, Jagalchi, or Gamcheon Culture Village.

seoul-to-busan-ktx-train

The KTX train from Seoul to Busan also comes highly-recommended since it has the most number of trips per day. Whether you want to travel early morning or late at night, there is a KTX train that you can take.

  • Estimate Cost of a One-way KTX Train Ticket (Seoul to Busan)
    • Standing Ticket (Adult): ₩50,800 or $47
    • Standing Ticket (Child): ₩25,400 or $23.5
    • Economy (Adult): ₩59,800 or $55.4
    • Economy (Child): ₩29,900 or $27.8
    • First Class (Adult): ₩83,700 or $77.5
    • First Class (Child): ₩53,800 or $50
  • Estimate Price of a Return KTX Train Ticket (Seoul to Busan)
    • Standing Ticket (Adult): ₩101,600 or $94
    • Standing Ticket (Child): ₩50,800 or $47
    • Economy (Adult): ₩119,600 or $110.8
    • Economy (Child): ₩59,800 or $55.6
    • First Class (Adult): ₩167,400 or $155
    • First Class (Child): ₩107,600 or $100

If you’ll go by the KTX high-speed train, you can either purchase your single-journey tickets at the Korail website or Seoul Station. Alternatively, you may also want to purchase a Korail Pass. The Korea Rail (Korail) Pass is a transportation card that’s designed for foreign tourists who are planning to make their way to cities and provinces outside Seoul. With Korail, you can book unlimited trips to popular destinations like Daegu, Daejeon, and Busan for a set duration of time. Getting this transportation card will definitely save you more money if you’ll be traveling across the country.

KTX Interior. Credit: David’s Been Here

Going back to KTX, know that if you’ll take this option, you will get to enjoy premium seating and amenities, such as power plugs and handy seat trays. Of course, if you’ve seen Train to Busan or the Korean drama I Am Not a Robot, you’ll definitely be familiar with the interior of these trains.

1.2 ITX-Saemaeul Train to Busan

The travel time of the ITX-Saemaeul train is approximately 5 hours and 13 minutes. Seats are comfortable and you’ll also find power plugs available for use.

Credit: The Certified Tourista

If you want to save some money, have a decent ride, and do not mind a longer travel time, I’d say the ITX-Saemaeul for Seoul to Busan is the perfect option for you.

  • Estimate Cost of a One-way Ticket (Seoul to Busan train)
    • Economy (Adult): ₩42,600 or $39.4
    • Economy (Child): ₩21,300 or $19.7
    • Standing Ticket (Adult): ₩36,200 or $33.5
    • Standing Ticket (Child): ₩18,100 or $16.7

Click here to reserve your tickets.

1.3 Mugunghwa-ho Train to Busan

Credit: Blake Erik

The travel time for a Seoul to Busan trip via Mugunghwa-ho train is around 5 hours and 26 minutes, which is just a couple of minutes more than that of the ITX-Saemaeul’s. However, this is not the most comfortable train out there since it was built more for standing passengers in mind. The flooring and seats are a bit outdated, which may not be appealing for some.

However, the beauty of taking the Mugunghwa-ho is that you get to spend less! A one-way ticket from Seoul to Busan only costs around ₩28,600 or $26.5, which is less than half the cost of a one-way economy KTX ticket.

  • Estimate Cost of a One-way Ticket (Seoul to Busan train)
    • Economy (Adult): ₩28,600 or $26.5
    • Economy (Child): ₩14,300 or $13.2
    • Standing Ticket (Adult): ₩24,300 or $22.6
    • Standing Ticket (Child): ₩12,100 (around ₱590 or $11.2)

You can book your tickets here. (Fun fact: Mugunghwa is the national flower of Korea.)

2. Seoul to Busan via Express Bus

Credit: Minseong Kim

Buses are also a great way to travel from Seoul to Busan. It’ll feel more private and intimate since it’s less crowded. Compared to Mugunghwa-ho seats, the express bus offers more comfort. In terms of travel time, it’s also not half-bad since express buses only take around 4 hours and 15 minutes to reach Busan.

Moreover, the express types of buses take the expressways and make 1-2 stops. Mid-trip bus stop/s are usually done at the Sunsan Service Area, where you can grab a bite of hotteok (pancake with sweet fillings)!

Bus fares for Seoul to Busan vary depending on the schedule of your trip and whether you want to take the more premium bus. Here are the options for you:

  • Estimate Cost of a One-way Ticket (Seoul to Busan bus)
    • Regular Bus: ₩23,000 or $21.3
    • Honest High or Excellent Bus: ₩34,200 or $31.7
    • Midnight: ₩37,600-48,800 or $34.9-45.2
    • Premium: ₩37,700-44,400 or $35-41.2

You can check the bus schedule and purchase your tickets for Seoul to Busan at the Seoul Express Bus Terminal (recommended). It’s located at 194 Sinbanpo-ro, Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea. You may also try booking your Seoul to Busan bus ticket online here.

3. Seoul to Busan Flights: Gimpo Airport to Busan

Want to take a flight from Seoul to Busan instead? Yes, you may! Here are some of the airlines that can take you from Gimpo Airport to Busan:

seoul-to-busan-gimpo-airport
Gimpo International Airport

3.1 Jeju Air: Seoul to Busan Flights

Jeju Air is a budget Korean airline that has frequent and multiple flights from Seoul to Busan via Gimpo Airport.

  • Estimate Base Fare (Seoul to Busan flight)
    • One-way: ₩29,900-78,000 or $27.7-72.4
    • Return: ₩59,800-119,600 or $55.5-111
    • Range includes promotional and regular rates, excludes tax and additional charges

Click here to visit Jeju Air’s website.

3.2 AirBusan: Seoul to Busan Flights

You may also want to check out AirBusan’s flight offerings for Seoul to Busan via Gimpo. Here are the estimate prices:

  • Estimate Cost for the Base Fare (Seoul to Busan One-way flight) 
    • Monday to Friday: ₩70,400 or $65.3
    • Friday to Sunday: ₩80,400 or $74.6
    • Peak Season**: ₩86,400 $80.1

Note that prices may change depending on the date of purchase, time of purchase, and exchange rates. For more information, visit AirBusan here.

Coming from Incheon?

If you’ll enter Korea via Incheon International Airport and are headed straight to Busan, you’ll most likely have to make your way down to Gimpo International Airport. If this is the case, you may take the All-Stop train to get there, which takes a little over 30 minutes. Here’s the Google Maps search link for your trip planning.

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Kevin

Kevin

안녕하세요. 글로벌 콘텐츠 마케터 Kevin입니다. Hey, I'm Kevin from the Marketing Team. If you have any questions about WAUG or this blog post, feel free to send me an email!

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