Busan to Mokpo by Rail

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.

Busan to Mokpo Rail Itinerary

1. From Busan, catch the train (KTX available) to Daejeon

 Busan Station

Busan Station, home of the Busan Stargate

2. Transit from Daejeon to Seodaejeon.

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.

Map of how to get to the bus stop, provided by the information counter lady (shaded box is the station, circle is the bus stop, korean text reads “Seodaejeon”)

The destination stop is here:  Soedaejeon Stop.

Soedaejeon Bus Stop


3. Train from Seodaejeon to Mokpo

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).

Highest point in Mokpo

General tips about South Korean Rail transport:

  • Every station has an English speaking information counter. The people here are extremely useful, far more useful than the official website’s journey planner which seems quite incomplete.
  • Get a free map from the information counter that has all the train routes in Korea. I couldn’t find such a map online, and it’s very useful to have!
  • Every station I visited (except Chuncheaon!) had paid lockers for bags. Alas, Chuncheaon was the only place where I needed one.
  • I believe it is faster to get from Seoul to Busan by KTX than by air, once you factor in all the delays associated with air like checking in, and waiting for bags and the fact that the airport is ages outside the city. The KTX is amazingly fast and comfortable.

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

One comment on “Busan to Mokpo by Rail

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