KTX Bullet Train

KTX, which stands for Korea Train eXpress, is Korea's Bullet Train.  This high-speed train opened in 2004 and connects Seoul (in the northwest) to Busan (in the southeast) and to Mokpo (in the southwest).  The train travels an average of 300 kph (186 mph) and cuts travel time between the cities in half.  The KTX has limited stations that it stops at in comparison to the regular train.

This past weekend, Johnnie and I took a trip to Busan, a big coastal city in the southern part of Korea.  We got on a regular train at the station down the street from our apartment and took a short ride to the Cheonan-Asan station where we transferred to the KTX.  We purchased our tickets ahead of time online which was very easy to do.  Getting from our apartment here to our hotel in Busan took exactly 3 hours.

Different symbols for the regular train and the bullet train

We purchased tickets for first class seats on the KTX.  First class is not that much more than economy class, depending on the distance you are traveling.  The first class seats are 3 across in each row and all face forward.  (The economy class seats are 4 across in each row and you have no say in whether your seat faces forwards or backwards.)  The first class seats are wide and comfortable, have spacious leg room, recline electronically with a push of a button, and have rounded sides on the headrests for sleeping.  There are adjustable footrests, large rectractible tray tables, cup holders, an electrical outlet to plug things into, and free water and snacks.  The comfort of first class is worth the extra cost!

Our first class car on the way to Busan

Our first class car on the trip back home.

The economy-class cars have 4 seats across in each row.

Korea is such a beautiful country and you get to see a lot of it while traveling by train.  We passed many colorful towns, high mountains, thriving farmland, and lush rice fields.

The Busan Station

Related Posts:

"The time will come when people will travel in carriages moved by steam engines from
one city to another, almost as fast as birds can fly... at 15 or 20 miles an hour."
~Oliver Evans, 1800


  1. Very informative, thanks for this great post :)

  2. Thank you for your informative post :)

  3. thank you this is what i was looking for

  4. Great post! I'm going from Seoul to Mokpo tonight and you have convinced to choose the first class ticket.

  5. Hi, I will be gong to Busan this June and I was wondering, are your tickets KR Pass or something? Or did you go to the station to buy first class tickets?

    1. We purchased our tickets online at www.korail.com which can be viewed in English by clicking the 'English' button on the top of the page. We did not get the KR Pass, we simply bought direct tickets. Have fun on your trip!

  6. I hope taking the KTX was great experience for you. Here is one more tip for taking the KTX. If you are planning to travel to out of Seoul again, you can buy a 'korail pass'. With Korail pass, you can take all KTX during your journey. Also you can choose 1day, 3day, 5day and 7day too. There is a saver and youth price so if your companies over 2, you can buy a saver pass and if your age is between 13 to 25, you can buy a youth pass. It means you can save your money. Check this out if you are interested in traveling to out of Seoul like Busan, Daegu, Daejeon etc. Thanks.