Thanks to the highly acclaimed Korean thriller movie Train to Busan, we now all know that the best and probably the most classic way to get to Busan from Seoul is through the Korean Train Express (KTX) or their very own bullet train.
However, if you’re like us who travels on a budget then the bus is the way to go. It’s 1/3 of the price of the KTX and can still get to the destination in 4 hours or less!
Why visit Busan?
While Busan is getting more and more traction these days, there are still plenty of travelers who have yet to find it truly worth a visit. Why? I’m not entirely sure.
But for me, booking a return ticket from Busan to Manila is such a no brainer when you plan to travel to Seoul. I have made a blog posts listing the Top 10 Reasons You Should Visit Busan to really convince you that the city is a star of its own–much like Seoul is.
Getting to the Station
Thanks for Seoul’s interconnected railway system, you can easily get to the Express Bus Terminal station is less than 30 minutes if you’re staying in Myeongdong.
How to get to Express Bus Terminal Station: If you’re coming from Myeongdong (Line 4-Light Blue), ride one station to Chungmuro to transfer to Line 3 (Orange Line). From Chungmuro, wait 7 stops and alight at the Express Bus Terminal Station. It might be a little confusing to find the exact terminal for buses bound to Busan but all we did was follow directions to Gate 1.
When you see the escalator leading up to Gate 1, just turn right and you’ll see this window to your left.
We initially planned to leave early to get to explore Busan but thanks to our last minute shopping, we were only able to leave our guesthouse a little past 5PM and got to the station at 6PM.
But thanks to our stroke of luck, we were able to catch the next bus to Busan which leaves at 6:30PM. The next after that trip was scheduled at 8PM so we did not consider it at all. If my memory serves me right, the 8PM one is the last trip and there are trips every hour interval.
The bus we chanced upon is part of the luxury line so we paid a bit more than expected (P1300 or $26 compared to P900 or $18). Honestly, it wasn’t much compared to the P3,000 or $60 that we had to shell out if we opted for the KTX.
We totally failed to consult the official schedules but as a tip, you should look into it when you get into the details of your itinerary. You may check schedule of the bus trips here–just make sure to translate it to English.
On the way to Busan
The bus is as comfy as I imagined it to be. Since we also traveled from Singapore to Malaysia via coach bus, I already knew that we’ll have decent rest during the 4-hour trip. But since it was still early, we decided to pass the time by watching the series finale of Game of Thrones. Haha.
And you wouldn’t worry about ending up with dead phones thanks to the usb hub directly installed in your seat’s armrest. The recliner seat is working fine and overall, the bus looked tidy.
There’s also a screen showing your distance to Busan and ETA. There’s also a quick stopover so you can grab your food or take a bathroom break.
Arrival in Busan
We were a little disoriented at first when we got to Busan so we had to consult our maps. The BusanMap app came in handy at this point.
Keep in mind that Busan Terminal is connected to Napa Station (end of line 1) so you’ll have easy access to the subway. Note that you can still use your TMoney in Busan so make sure it is adequately loaded up.
So that’s it. It’s really easy to get from Seoul to Busan and we found that going for the bus each time adds value to the journey as we experience the city, streets, and everything in between first hand.
Hope you’re Busan bound soon! Enjoy!