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“Advice for foreigners, I wish I knew, before using the KTX” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of KTX (Korea Train eXpress)

Ranked #3,157 of 3,141 things to do in South Korea
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
“Advice for foreigners, I wish I knew, before using the KTX”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 July 2014

We traveled as a family of 4 from Busan (Pusan) to Seoul. We prebooked tickets via the website korail.com about 1 week before leaving Australia. If your credit card company is on the ball, they may contact you to question this "unauthorised" transaction!! Initially, I thought that once you had submitted your details for the trip, then the tickets had been purchased. This is NOT the case. What ACTUALLY happens is that Korail takes your details and only charges you when you physically go to the nearest korail station to collect the tickets. N.B. The "confirmation" email is NOT the actual ticket. In other words, when you book online, Korail "holds" or "reserves" the tickets for you.
What this means is that you may cancel your tickets without penalty (if you cancel greater than 48 hours before the actual departure time). If you cancel closer to the departure time, there are varying rates of penalty.
You can change or cancel your booking online.
A few tips:-
- book ahead, otherwise your group will not be seated together. There doesn't seem to be a way to "select" seats.
- the website appears to be in Korean, but clicking the right sided button on the opening screen and then selecting the top right hand language button on the subsequent screen will allow you to progress in English.
- if you cancel, make sure you cancel at least 48 hours prior to departure. To cancel, you will need your passport number, name and nationality.
- certain routes to the same destination are cheaper, but will take longer.
- it cost about $20 usd extra per person to travel from Busan to Seoul first class by the shortest route compared to economy by the fastest route. Each ticket was about $70 USD
- first class gives you a larger allocated seat. We received nothing extra in terms of refreshments or service. For short trips, I don't think it's really worthwhile.
- if you are travelling with large suitcases, embark carriage at least 15 minutes before departure. Space for large luggage is limited and you might be travelling with those suitcases on your lap if you don't get in quick!!
- there is overhead compartment space for hand luggage.
- allow plenty of travel time to get to the station. In our experience, traffic conditions are very unpredictable. You must allow time to find the actual ticket office.
- subway stations are not KTX stations. You cannot pay for your KTX tickets at ordinary subway stations.
- you can pay for your KTX ticket just prior to boarding. It is not necessary to have to make an additional trip there the day before.
- my advice is to try to avoid using the toilets on the train. First class or otherwise, they're pretty foul at times. Ours was backed up!!
- if you're paranoid about your reservation NOT being received, you can check online. Also, you should receive a confirmation email.
- the trains are super punctual. Do NOT be late!!

Have an awesome trip!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
83 Thank cacatman777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
88 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“redundant online reservation”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2014

i reserved the 3-day pass online for me and my friends before travelling to korea, thinking that we can skip the queue when we are at the train station. but we were wrong! firstly, I did not print out the reservation slip but i recorded the confirmation number. the customer service area did not have a printer and insist that i need to show that piece of paper before she can give me another letter that allows me to claim the tickets. we then went to a shop at lvl 1 to print out that slip. after printing out the reservation slip, we went back to the same customer service area and the girl this time said that there was no seatings left for that day and we can only exchange for standing pass for our trip to Busan. if we want a seating, we need to exchange for the pass for another day. she could have told us earlier as the credit card will not be charged as long as the pass has not been redeemed. we could have bought the standing pass without having to print that slip. for those who wish to go to Busan by KTX, try to avoid going on weekends as it is very much more crowded. if not, pls go very early to the station to purchase the tickets to ensure there is a seating. if not, you will have to stand for the 2.5h to Busan.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
29 Thank travelholicj70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Super Fast is all you need sometimes”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 June 2014

I rode the KTX from Busan to Seoul and it makes a few stops but I was amazed how fast it got to Seoul despite that. The seats are comfortable if you can recline but since I sat in the very back against the wall, I could not recline. They even have a snack cart that comes through and if you are fast enough to catch him to see what's on the cart, it is an added bonus. Overall, it is much better than sitting in traffic on the bus, especially if you are on a schedule. If you are travelling with more than one person I would highly suggest booking early, as I was not able to sit with my friend.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
11 Thank EAMills
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belleville, Illinois
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“KTX... A Must Ride If You Love Trains”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 June 2014

In Seoul the KTX departs from two main stations; Seoul Station and Yongsan Station, depending on your destination. Usually, if you are going to Daegu or Busan, you will depart from Seoul Station. If you are going to Gwang Ju or Mokpo, you will usually depart from Yongsan Station. Be sure you know which station you need to depart from for your trip. I went to Gwang Ju, so my trip departed from Yongsan Station. Individual ticket prices were based on two criteria; the day of the week and the class of the seat. Prices are lower when traveling on Monday-Thursday and increase a little more than $3 USD for the Friday-Sunday tickets. First Class to Gwang Ju was $50.30 and Economy Class was $35.90 on June 4-5, 2014 (my travel dates). I would assume the higher prices are also in effect during Korean holidays.

I was pleasantly surprised with the First Class section. There are three seats per row; a single (A) on one side and a pair (B-C) on the other. The train car was very clean and the seats were large and very comfortable. There is a newspaper rack as you enter the car. I found both English (Korean paper written in English) and Korean newspapers. There is plenty of leg room and the seats recline. Don't worry to much about bothering the person behind you. There is more than enough room so that your seat is not in their lap, like on an airplane. There is overhead racks for your carry-type bags. If you have a suitcase, there is a place to stow it where you get onto the car.

The ride was very smooth. There is a monitor dispay in the ceiling of the car that indicates the train's speed (after it reaches a certain threshold). The fastest speed I saw was 303 kph, which is just under 182 mph. I noticed one reviewer wrote the train averaged 300 kph. That's not the case; that's the advertised peak speed... and it will reach that speed. Another reviewer mentioned "no talking." There are signs on the cars that indicate no loud talking and no cell phone conversations. If you need to make a call or receive a call, you should go to the area behind the glass door on each end of the car. It actually has a cell phone logo etched into the glass. This is where you can talk and not disturb anyone. My travel partner, the base Chaplain from my first military assignment in Korea, and I had conversations on both the trips to and from Gwang Ju and were never told we couldn't talk.

There was a note in the hand out that indicated there was a WiFi connection in First Class that gave you 30MB free of charge. I received a message (in Korean) when I tried to connect. I asked my travel partner what the message said. He said the service I had requested was no longer available and apologized for any inconvenience. I think you can purchase prepaid WiFi connection cards from some of the IT companies in Korea and use that while traveiling.

The KTX is so similar to the European trains in both speed and luxury (First Class sections). If you're in Korea and have a day or two to burn, take a KTX excursion just for the experience. It is truly a great ride.

Please note there are two other classes of trains; the ITX (used to be called Saemaeul-ho) and Mugunghwa-ho. To give you an idea of the travel time difference, the ITX from Gwang Ju to Yongsan Station takes about 4 hours or 1 hour more than the KTX. I did not check the times for the Mugunghwa but I'd guess it would be another hour or more longer than the ITX. There used to be another slower class train called the Tongil-ho, but it has been discontinued.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
24 Thank Hoppy1313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
20 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Quick Busan - Seoul”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 June 2014

It took about 2.5 hours to get from Busan to Seoul. I was riding the economy class and I felt the ride was fairly comfortable. There's an open wifi connection on the train, but for some reason I could only access it for a limited time and wasn't able to renew the connection. (I got an error message in Korean that I couldn't understand)

Leg space is decent and comparable to that of budget airlines like Tiger Air and Air Asia.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
7 Thank hellorichardpham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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