Seoul to Busan by KTX Train: All You Need To Know

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Seoul and Busan are by far the two largest cities in Korea so it’s no surprise they have the fastest train in the country, the KTX, connecting them.

The KTX train is one of the quickest ways to travel between Seoul, Busan and over 12 other cities in Korea. Spread across 4 different train lines, the KTX connects the largest metropolitan areas with ease using these world-famous bullet trains.

Although this is not the only way to travel between these two major cities, it is one of the most popular. It’s preferred over flying as you don’t need as much time before boarding the train as you would need to spend at the airport.

Not to mention it’s significantly quicker to take a KTX train than taking the bus, regular commuter trains or driving between Busan and Seoul.

Need another way to travel between the two cities? Check out this post for other transport methods.

Want to visit Korea for longer than a tourist? Why not apply for a working holiday visa and stay for up to 1 year? I can help you get set up as an expat after arrival too!

Country:South Korea (Republic of Korea)
Currency:South Korean Won / KRW
Do you need a visa to visit as tourists?Check here

Don’t forget to get travel insurance to cover you if something bad happens. One company I have personal experience with is Safety Wing. Not everyone needs the same coverage, so make sure you get a personalised quote that suits you and your trip plans.

When you need to transfer money or check exchange rates during your overseas trip, consider using Wise. They have competitive rates and make exchanging foreign funds easy. I’ve been using them since 2015.

The KTX train in the station in Seoul before heading to Busan
The KTX train waiting at the station for passengers

Seoul to Busan on KTX: Tickets

The KTX trains that travel from Seoul and Busan are the fastest in the country and can reach 330kph maximum speed.

Ticket Cost:

The fare for each journey varies depending on the time of day and the class you choose. For example, a first-class ticket will be significantly more expensive than a standard ticket since it’s the comfort you are paying for.

Sometimes the time of day can affect the KTX train ticket cost. Other times the price is affected by how far in advance or last minute you purchase. And just because you saw a price for one day, does not mean that price will still be there next time you return to the site. The prices fluctuate – much like airline tickets.

It is usually advisable to try and book your tickets as far in advance as you can to avoid disappointment.

Prices typically start at 85,000 KRW (£50) and go up to 110,000 KRW for last-minute tickets (£66)

How to purchase tickets:

There are a number of ways to buy tickets for your KTX train journey from Busan to Seoul or vice versa. You can buy online or in person and often even have the option to buy a reusable pass for multiple trips.

If you want to check the schedule or buy the tickets online you can do so on this website.

The KTX train takes roughly 2 hours and 26 minutes.

Check out this pass that allows you a discount on the KTX with unlimited travel!

If you buy your tickets online it’s worth printing out your ticket and taking it with you as a paper copy. Although not always enforced, it’s safer to have a paper ticket rather than just relying on electronic ones. Though this completely depends on the staff at the station on the day.

KTX train between Busan and Seoul economy interior with 2 seast on either side of the aisle

KTX Train from Seoul to Busan: Ticket Classes

When travelling between Seoul and Busan, there are two types of classes available to sit in when taking the KTX train. First-class & Standard class.

In First-Class you’ll find the trains have 3 seats in each row. This creates a total of 127 seats in this class. They are relatively spacious compared to the other classes and you’ll have much more space overall.

Standard Class is a little less spacious with regard to seating. They have 4 seats in each row comprising 808 seats instead.

Luckily the journey on the KTX train does not take very long between Busan and Seoul, so even the standard class is deemed more comfortable than taking an economy flight. You certainly have a lot more personal space involved.

a net and brochure on the back of a chair on the train in Seoul

What to expect on the KTX train from Seoul to Busan

The KTX trains between Busan and Seoul travel at an average speed of 190 mph (305 kph).

At the KTX station, you simply get your tickets (either online in advance or at the station booth) and then head over to the appropriate platform to catch your train. You do not need to be there much ahead of time. Just make sure to be there before the train departs.

Unlike airports, you don’t need to be at the KTX train station far in advance so you have a much shorter time in the train station. This is one of the main reasons why so many people prefer taking the train over the faster method – flying. Taking a flight is only 55 minutes but when you factor in the security and check-in lines it can take a significantly longer amount of time.

Once you find the correct train carriage that corresponds with your ticket you can board the train and find your seat.

Each seat comes with a tray table and an outlet so you can charge your devices if necessary. You’ll find bathrooms throughout the train as well as vending machines to purchase some snacks – it is best to have cash as many of these machines do not accept cards.

You’ll find some nice views along the journey, however, the trains travel at such a fast speed it could be tricky to get good photographs of the scenery. If you are aiming to get photos specifically then it may be worthwhile taking one of the slower trains instead of the KTX between Busan and Seoul.

Seoul & Busan KTX Train Schedule

Typically, the KTX train schedule is not the same every day between Seoul and Busan. The best way to check the schedule is to go directly to the Rail Ninja website.

Generally speaking, the KTX train schedule runs at roughly the same time every day until they are sold out. They often depart once every hour from Seoul and Busan in each direction. During the week’s peak hours, they will sometimes have multiple departures at the same hour.

Train times are available online weeks in advance so it is very easy to choose the ideal train times for your journey.

If you need to check the timetables and schedules on the move, consider getting an eSIM with a data plan. These eSIMS can be downloaded directly to your phone and used instantly.

Need things to do when visiting either City?

Have you travelled by the KTX bullet train?

How was your experience?

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

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