Ferries to/from Japan (Fukuoka)
Many other posters have commented on the fact that there are fast ferries between Busan and Japan (Hakata terminal in Fukuoka).
However, few have posted the proper phone numbers, either if calling from Japan or from Korea.
From Korea : 051-441-8200
From Japan : 092-281-2315
Travel time is scheduled at 2h55m on the fast Beetle ferry. Cost will be $75, plus $10~$15 for fuel surcharges and terminal fees. Fees are different depending if departing from Busan or from Hakata.
If the fast ferry is not your preference, nor within budget, Camillia Lines Ferries offer ~14hour slow trips between Busan and Fukuoka (Hakata port).
telephone - 051 466 7799
email - email@example.com
Depart: Hakata (Japan) 19.00 ~ Arrive: Busan (Korea) 8.30
Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday
Depart: Busan (Korea) 19.00 ~ Arrive: Hakata (Japan) 8.30
One-way prices 9,000 yen - 18,000 yen
092 262 2323 (Hakata/Fukuoka)
051 466 7799 (Busan)
Busan International Ferry Terminal is 5~10 minutes walk from Jungang-Dong subway stop.
Subways: getting around Busan
The subway is the most convenient mode of transport in going around Busan or in Seoul and in Gyeonggi-do areas. It is operated from 530am-1am. Currently there are 4 subway lines operating around Busan. You won't get lost since the stations are labeled in Korean, English and Chinese and numbered as well. Single fare costs 1,000KW and depends on the distance you wish to travel.
There are a number of subway rails that connects a city. You just have to make transfers in order to get there but with the use of the T-money Card, I guarantee you that everything will run smoothly.
You can track the remaining balance of your T-money card in the card reader as you exit the subway or get off the bus and it will beep that will show your current balance (fare was already deducted
There are maps in every station that you won't get lost. In case you're still lost, there are a lot of friendly locals very happy to answer all your queries.
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The subway is the most convenient mode of transport in going around Busan or in Seoul.
It is operated from 530am-1am. Currently there are 4 subway lines operating around Busan.
You won't get lost since the stations are labeled in Korean, English and Chinese and numbered as well. Single fare costs 1,000KW and depend on the distance you wish to travel.
By the time we arrived in Busan, I thought that the T-money card and the disposable transportation card look the same. I was about to buy the T-money thinking that it looks like the Octopus card of Hong Kong... I inquired about the T-money with the lady in the store even though we had a hard time communicating since she can't easily speak English. Luckily, one of the subway's staff was on the floor, she became the answer to all of my questions!
I then realized, the T-money Card is not literally a "card" like what I imagined.
So what happened was, I bought this T-money card (the lady said that I may choose the mini mirror or the mickey mouse shaped card) for 7000KW then recharged it using the self-service charger in the subway by another 10,000KW. Yes, you are right! The T-money card and the balance are sold separately!
As I've always say about the many signs of heart or anything that symbolizes love in South Korea... I noticed that the T-money card I purchased was embossed with the word "LOVE"!
The T-money card is a rechargeable transportation card and varies in sizes/shapes.
The term rechargeable means that you can "reload" amount of the money you have in your card, after numerous deductions of fares you had within the day so you can be able to use it all over again. You can "recharge" the T-money card in any convenience stores/subway stations. The
T-money card used in Busan can also be used in Seoul. It can also be used in riding buses, paying entrance fees in museums, cultural facilities, palaces, etc.
The only disadvantage in using the T-money card is that you can't have any refund of the remaining balance in it unlike (again) in using the Octopus card. So just always check the amount you have in your card so you can only recharge it with the appropriate amount you need while staying in the country.
How To Use: place the T-money card in the card reader as you get on a bus or subway and it will beep indicating your current balance after the fare was deducted.
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KTX Busan-Seoul/ Seoul-Busan
We took the KTX from Busan going to Seoul since it's cheaper than by plane. We were booked online by our hostel owner (we asked this kind Korean owner to book us around way tix). Our tickets cost KW23,900 each going to Seoul, we had a discount at that time (maybe because we bought the tix on a Thursday night). You can book online via www.korail.com. I heard that tickets are more expensive on Fridays- Sundays.
I find it weird though at first, that the subway staffs aren't checking our tickets but it made me realize that it's not necessary since the time and the seat number are indicated in the ticket. You cannot cheat in changing your seat/train number since the booking online generates an automatic ticket giving only the available seats at the time/date you wish to depart. The system gives a 100% guarantee of seat reservation. You will also be able to view in the website if the time you wish to travel has not yet been fully booked.
Time travel from Busan to Seoul/ Seoul to Busan takes about 3.5 hrs. KTX is faster than taking the bus since it will take you 6-8 hrs of time travel. Taking the bus maybe cheaper but if you think about the time you'll be spending in traveling, think again. Time is gold. You can earn money but it can't buy time.
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Train Ride in Busan
Train station in Busan city is one of the cleanest I've seen. And each station names is translated to English so its convenient for Tourist.
There are 4 Subway Metro line and 1 airport rail and color coded.
Line 1 Orange Sinpyeoung - Nopo Dong (32.5 km)
Line 2 Green Yangsan - Jangsan (44.5 km)
Line 3 Red Daejeo - Suyeong (18.1 km)
Line 4 Blue Minam - Anpyeong (12.7 km)
Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit in Pink - Sasang - Samgye (24 km)
There are some major points of each line that can be interchanged.
This is very important tip: If you use train station, make sure to know what EXIT NUMBER your destination requires you to get off because exit are labeled in NUMBERS (usually from exit 1 - 10).
Regular Train to Gyeong-ju
We took the train to Gyeong-ju, then to Ulsan and then back down to Busan. The last train from Ulsan to Busan was at 10pm or so.
The train ride from Busan to Gyeong-ju was about 2 hours and cost about US$10 per person. From Gyeong-ju to Ulsan about 45 minutes. Train ride fares change for the same distance depending on the time you are taking the train.
There is a KR Pass. Korean non-resident (foreign) pass for railroad travel by tourists. You wil need to show your passport. For 3 days, about US$76 and 5 days, about US$114 and additional costs of 50% for sleeping cabin and KTX First Class. So, do your math first to see if this is worthwhile for you. We did not purchase the KR Pass.
Busan at night by Metro
I am not sure why I was surprised that Busan has a Metro since it is the 2nd largest South Korean city after Seoul.
Actually, it should be easy to get around but I had some difficulty perhaps because I was tired and I went the wrong direction. Usually I do not have problem with any metro whether in Paris or Tokyo but did not do my homework well to get around in Busan at night.
Busan City Tour
Busan City Tour is a good way to see the main tourist attractions of Busan. The buses depart from the main square in front of Busan train station. They operate every day, except Monday. The departure times are: 9:00, 11:20, 12:30 and 15:30. Stops include Busan Tower, Taejongdae and Jagalchi Fish Market. The Busan city tour is not as comprehensive as the Seoul city tour, so to see all of the city's tourist attractions, you will also need to take the subway.
Tickets are 10,000 won for adults and 5,000 won for children.
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The best way to travel to Busan is on the high-speed KTX train from Seoul, which also stops at Daejeon and Daegu. A single ticket costs 45,000 won. There are no discounts for return tickets. But, you should reserve your seats in advance, as the trains are often full, especially on Sundays. The ultra-modern Busan Station, which looks remarkably like Seoul Station, opened in 2003. There is a special desk where foreigners can buy tickets, and avoid the long queues, to the right of the main ticket counter.
Busan has an extensive subway network. The system, which first opened in 1985, is modern, clean and efficient. There are 3 lines, 90 stations and 88.8km of track. Line 1 runs from Sinpyeong to Nopo-dong, Line 2 from Hopo to Jangsan and Line 3 from Daejeo to Suyeong. Trains run from 5.45am until 1am. Tickets cost 1000won and the ticket machines accept notes as well as coins. A word of warning: be prepared to stand, as the trains are often full, even at weekends.
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'Bullet Train' from Seoul to Busan
Getting to Busan from Seoul is really a cinch these days as you can take a high speed train to Busan for a third of a plane fare (45,000won or USD38). But there lies the caveat, contrary to their claims that it is even faster than the Shinkansen and that it was modeled after the TGV, the train was bloody slow! Also, having tried all the train systems, including the ones in France, I simply didn't see the similarity in efficiency. The seats were small for one and secondly, the speed was disappointing. It took nearly 5 hours to reach the city. However, I must add that I took the train during its maiden start . Hopefully, it has improved a lot by now. If not, just take the domestic plane@Gimpo Airport!
Where to buy your ticket
Seoul station, look for the counter marked "KTX Express" in English. Visa is acceptable.
The Gyeongbuseon Train Line, which connects Seoul to Busan and Gyeongju, begins from Seoul Station and ends at Busan Station
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Seoul to Busan in less than 3 hours
After reading and hearing so much about Korea's new express train, the KTX, I spontaneously decided to give it a try on Korea's National Foundation Day (October 3). In Korea, the word spontaneous is usually nonexistent and it's deemed impossible to get a train or flight ticket during a national holiday unless you booked it around two months in advance. However, I guess I got lucky as it turned out to be no problem at all to get a ticket for the early morning train from Seoul to Busan station.
The one-way ticket Seoul-Busan was around 44,000 KRW in the standard 2nd class train. I remembered reading a recent comment on the 2nd class seats, however, which were supposed to be rather narrow and uncomfortable. Hence, I opted for the first class compartment for around 66,000 KRW. I did not regret my decision!
The picture above shows you the 2nd class compartment. It's really rather small and would have been much less comfortable. Especially if you wanted to sleep.
-- To see an impression of the 1st class compartment, please follow the link to the second picture ("1 more photos")
The seats in the first class compartment were extremely comfortable, very much like the Business Class seats in airplanes: lots of space for your legs, wide cushions, foldable table in front and footrests. In addition, free drinks were distributed during the ride.
2 hours and 40 minutes later, I arrived at Busan station, rather refreshed from an hours sleep on the train.
The ride on KTX is definitely recommended as compared to the previous Saemaeul trains, which simply take too long for the ride. However, considering the narrow seats in the 2nd class, I would recommend to upgrade to first class. You won't regret it!
Busan Urban Transit Authority
The Busan Urban Transit Authority (in short: Busan subway) consists of two subway lines. Line 1 operates in north-southerly direction, whereas line 2 runs across Busan in east-westerly direction. By means of those two lines, almost all parts of Busan can be reached.
Similar to Seoul, fares vary by distance (max. 1,000 KRW) and tickets can easily be purchased at a station's ticket machine or ticket booth.
Apart from the single tickets, there are two different kinds of transportation cards available:
a) Hanaro Transportation Card
This card can be used to pay for subway, bus and toll gates and a variety of stores within the city.
b) Mybi Transportation Card
This card is an all-round electronic card as it can be used for transportation (subway, intra-city bus, village bus, toll for roads, toll for tunnels), e-business, internet shopping malls, etc.
Airport Limousine Bus
An easy and inexpensive way to travel from/to Busan's Gimhae Airport is provided by the airport limousine bus.
There are three lines serving all major hotels and destinations within Busan:
1. Line 1-1
Exclusively serving Busan Lotte Hotel
2. Line 1-2
Commodore Hotel, Phoenix Hotel and Busan Station
3. Line 2
Hanwha Resort, Westin Chosun Hotel, Grand Hotel, Marriott Hotel, Paradise Hotel, Bexco
Fare is a flat 5,000 KRW for al of the above routes.
Flying in and out of Busan
Flights from Seoul to Busan are cheap and convenient. There are some 20-30 flights each day between Seoul's Kimpo Airport and Busan's Kimhae Airport. The flight only takes an hour and costs 70,000 Won, even for a last minute flight!
Kimhae opened at its current location in 1976 and its newest terminal was just completed in late 2007. It handles over nine million passengers annually to numerous domestic and international locations. Parking at the airport is priced around 7,000 to 13,000 won per day depending on day of the week and vehicle size. Numerous city buses and limousine buses also run to the airport for a fare ranging from 1500 to 3000 won each direction. If using the subway, take Line 2 (Green) To Deokcheon Station, leave via exit 6, then take bus 307 directly to the airport.
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