Busan Day Trip: How to Go to Busan from Seoul

The movie "Train to Busan" hyped us up so much that we decided to see the city of Busan during our 6-day stay in South Korea! We saw no zombies along the way, which makes a day trip in Busan safe and friendly for children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

Kidding aside, we suggest for you to experience Busan too, even for just one day. It will definitely give you more experiences to treasure and talk about with your family, friends, and practically anyone in this vast world.

This informative post will teach you how to go to Busan from Seoul, or how you can buy a train ticket from Seoul to Busan (and back). This is based on our Busan day trip last November 2017.

Before our Busan Day Trip:
  • We visited Busan from Seoul via the KTX train. We booked our tickets or 1 Day Korail Pass in advance via http://www.letskorail.com. You can book your tickets up to one month in advance. (Source)
  • A Korail Pass is "a rail pass for foreigners visiting Korea." (Source)
  • Our 1 Day Korail Pass allowed us to go to Busan from Seoul, and to Seoul from Busan, in 1 day.
  • We were 5 in the group, so we purchased the "SAVER" 1 Day Korail Pass.
    • This costs KRW 72,000 per pax (Seoul to Busan and Busan to Seoul in 1 day) vs their regular rate of KRW 81,000.
    • No need to purchase a return ticket from Busan to Seoul with the 1 Day Korail Pass.

  • Since we only had a day to spare for this Busan trip, we booked the earliest train scheduled at 5:15 AM.
    • Earliest KTX from Seoul to Busan: 5:15 AM
    • Latest KTX from Busan to Seoul: 10:55 PM (Source) 
    • Latest KTX from Busan to Seoul (with zombies): xx:xx PM
    • Tip: It's best to arrive Seoul from Busan before Seoul's subways close at 11PM, unless you're willing to ride their expensive taxis.
  • After we purchased our 1 Day Korail Pass, we reserved our seats through their website.
    • The standard/economy seats worked really well for us. The train was very clean, comfortable peaceful - everything first world. Additional fees apply for first class seats.
  • We then printed everything afterwards. Please do this too as on-board ticket inspection are performed. Don't forget to bring your passport too.
    • Note: Before boarding, ask the Information Center at the Seoul Station if you need to exchange your printed voucher/e-ticket to a "KTX ticket." Other blogs advised this, but it didn't hold true for us. We just proceeded with the e-tickets we printed at home. I don't know why. Maybe it's because we already reserved our seats beforehand.
At the Seoul Station before departing for Busan, ensuring everything we had/we were doing is correct

On the day of our Busan Day Trip:
  • We woke up early and proceeded to the Seoul Station. We proceeded to the information center first to ask if we needed to do anything else, and to ensure we're not missing anything.
  • Everything we had was complete, so we then followed the signs to our KTX train. We boarded and sat at our reserved seats.

  • The KTX trains had clean comfort rooms. If I remember it right, they also had free WiFi, which I think was kind of intermittent.
  • The train left at exactly 5:15 AM. I cannot stress this enough - DO NOT BE LATE. Do not even be 1 minute late.
  • We managed to get some sleep along the way as the train was really quiet and comfortable.
  • We arrived in Busan after 2 hours and 40 minutes - expectant and excited for the adventure ahead of us! 
  • We rode the KTX train back to Seoul from the same station where we arrived. Again, ask the Information Center if you ought to be exchanging your e-ticket to official tickets, etc. In our case, the Information Center told us to simply follow the signs to our designated KTX train back to Seoul.

Feel free to share your experiences by commenting below.

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  1. Hi, may I know how did you get the Seoul Station at such early hours? Is your hotel near Seoul Station, within walking distance? Which day did you visit Busan? Is it better to go on a weekday? Await your reply soon...thanks!

    1. Hi! Apologies for the late response. We took a cab/taxi to the Seoul Station. If I remember it right, we visited Busan on a Thursday. Weekday/weekend will do, but I think there are less people touring Busan on weekdays so it might be better for you. Enjoy!

  2. Hi,

    I am planning a one day trip by myself to Busan and another one to Gyeingju.
    Based on the info I found, I should buy "KORAIL PASS: 2 day select pass".
    If I'm not mistaken, does it mean I can do a round trip for each selected date with that pass?