Seoul to Busan: 45 minutes
Korean Air and Asiana Airlines offer almost 40 flights per day (!) from Seoul's Gimpo airport to Busan's Gimhae airport and vice versa. Flight time is only about 45 minutes and you will have some good views onto the Korean peninsula as the entire flight goes right across the country.
As compared to traveling by train, it must be said that Gimhae airport is situated at a slightly remote location about an hours drive (by bus) from the inner city. If you would like to speed things up a little, I recommend to take one of Busan's taxis (please refer to the next tip for details).
Ticket fares vary by season but start at around 60,000 KRW.
Busan Train Station
It was only much later that I found out that Busan Station was newly built in September 2003 to accomodate the new speed train from seoul. Expect to see lots of space and fiddle with automatic ticket vending machines. The subway station is just outside of the train station so that will get you downtown.
- Budget Travel
If you plan on staying in Busan for an extended period, pay the 2000 W and get a Hanaro metro card. The card is an automated debit card that debits money whenever you use public transit (subway or bus). You can deposit any amount you want ahead of time (I recomend only about 10000 W at a time, because if your card demags, there's no way to get the cash back). The cards are great because you don't have to carry change for the bus or subway around with you, and you don't have to worry about purchasing the correct type of subway ticket. This is especially beneficial on the weekends: no line ups for tickets, and no worrying about having enough change after your 5th ride to get to your next location.
Taxi, Bus, Train, Subway...
Buses and subways stop before midnight...after that you must take a cab.
Cabs are EVERYWHERE so it is easy to get one...and they are cheap.
Korea has two trains...normal train and a 'bullet' train....the bullet tends to get you to your destination MUCH MUCH faster for maybe $10 more...it's worth it during long distances. However, the 'normal' train is more comfortable. Train prices aren't cheap but are affordable....and scenary is great.
Getting into a Taxi in Busan is easy since they are resonably cheap and numerous. Getting to your destination is not always as easy since most drivers don't speak any English. Have a Korean friend, who can speak English, explain to the driver where to take you if your travelling home alone from the bar etc. Busan's taxi drivers are generally honest and all cabs have a meter. Traffic being a big problem in Busan should be taken into account for possible delays.
- Business Travel
- Road Trip
Travelling on Busan's subway and buses
Busan has quite a developed public transport network of two subway lines and multipal bus routes. There isn't as yet it seems map available showing bus routes like most major cities have.
Firstly the subway. There are two lines (Line 1 and Line 2) with the third now underconstruction, but running well behind schedual and due to be completed in 2006. The subway runs frequently and is easy to use with all stops clearly marked in English along with a number, aswell anouncement in English. The interchange point is at bustling Seomyeon station. Some stations are close togeather such as Jagalchi / Nampo-dong / Jung-ang-dong, which are also linked by a long walk through shopping arcade. There are readable maps and helpful "exit" plans on display inside all subway staions.
Buses, although quite frequent are a little more difficult for the first time user. The Hanaro card (see below) can be used, waved over the electronic register at boarding from the front entrance. Notes are eccepted, but avoid having 10,000 notes as often the drivers don't want to hand out change. Drivers also generally don't speak a word of English, and it seems are not to good at reading city maps. The departure point and destination along with a route number are displayed on the front of the bus. If your got the time getting on the wrong bus can be a good experience to view some of the city. Like the subway buses can be very crowded. They can only be boarded at designated stops, look for the green sign with route numbers on it.
The best method to travel on Busan's subway and buses is to purchase a Hanaro Card. They are available at all subway station ticket offices and initially cost 12,000 won, 2000 goes for the card, which can be refilled with credit once necessary.
Busan: Getting there by Ferry from Japan
From Japan there are regular fast ferry services from Fukuoka to the Port of Busan International Ferry Terminal near Nampo-dong. Two companies - Beetle and Kobe running their boats several times per day. Its only about $75 each way and takes approximately 3 hours.
- Budget Travel
Busan: Getting There by Train
From Seoul one can take the new French TGV technology high speed trains to Busan in 2 1/2 hours for approx. 45,000 won one way. These trains, which began in April 2004, now replace the "saemaeul" service that once took 4hours+. The high speed trains actually have to slow down between Daegu and Busan, since the tracks from there to Busan have not been upgraded yet, this will be a couple of years at least.
- Business Travel
Black Cabs - Just say no
When catching a cab around the city, avoid black cabs. These are limo style cabs, and the starting cost is higher than all other types. During the day, starting price for cabs should be 1500 W, after midnight, 1800W.
- Budget Travel
- Work Abroad
Busan Ferry Terminal
Across Jungang-dong station (Busan Subway).
You can go to/from Jeju from this Ferry terminal, the journey will take around 11 hours.
The Ferry Terminal
The Ferry Terminal is a modern one directly at the harbourfront and just 15 minutes away from the main markets.
- Sailing and Boating
Go around by Subway
The Subway in Pusan is fairly small compared to Seoul, which makes it easier to ride. It's still convenient to get almost everywhere.
From Japan(Hakata City),you...
From Japan(Hakata City),you can take ship to South Korea. It takes only 3 hours to Busan by high speed ship. If you take ferry (rather slow pace),then it takes about 13-14 hours.