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!
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