I visited South Korea last month. For my adventures outside Seoul, I bought a rail pass which allows unlimited rail travel. Wanting to see the country, and get my money’s worth, I embarked on journey to visit the 3 corners of Korea connected by the KTX fast rail (Seoul, Busan and Mokpo).
Seoul to Busan was easy. 1 ticket, free Wifi, super-fast train. No worries. Getting from Busan to Mokpo however was surprisingly hard. It seems all trains lead to Seoul. The official journey planner returns no results, and one employee told me it “wasn’t possible”.
Busan to Mokpo by Rail, as captured with Geospike
Well it is possible, and here’s how:
Option 1: the direct route. Apparently there is a very early train in the morning once daily that does this route. It’s a slow train, but I dont mind that when I’m travelling, fun to see the country. I arrived at the station at 9am however, and it had already left. So check this out the night before if it interests you.
Option 2: KTX route. If you use the KTX system, the key is you have to actually change railway stations in Daejeon (from Daejeon to Seo Daejeon). That’s part of the reason that makes it so confusing, technically you can’t go KTX from Busan to Mokpo direct, since it’s not connected. But if you are happy to take a bus/taxi for a few kilometers to switch stations, then you can do it. And it’s better than going via Seoul.
There is a direct bus that can do this, or you can take a taxi. It’s not far.
The bus is number 612, and you can use the T-Money card from the Soul metro system if you have it. Otherwise, bring some small denominations to pay the driver (as no change is given). Tell the driver “Seodaejeon”, and sit up front so he can help tell you when to get off ;-)
The Bus stop is Daejeon Stop. Leave the station, and walk left. Only a hundred metres or so, the first bus-stop you find is the one.
The destination stop is here: Soedaejeon Stop.
Now you can catch the train from Seodaejeon to Mokpo. KTX is available, or you can take a slower train for more scenic viewing (I did).
Aside: train prices are pretty cheap, and the rail pass doesn’t give you first-class seats (though you can buy them at a 50% discount). The rail pass also doesn’t work on the Airport link or the Seoul metro system – including the metro-connected country train to Chuncheaon. So unless you are seriously packing it in, it may not be such great value. It certainly is convenient though – I could walk up to any ticket counter and get a ticket to anywhere in Seoul without paying more, and there was no limit to how many times I could do that.
View my entire journey from Busan to Mokpo on Geospike