Transport in South Korea

Travelling around South Korea
Updated 2017-10-05 14:03

Are you planning to live in South Korea and travel around the country? South Korea has a highly developed transport network with a variety of means of transport to choose from. Whether you choose to travel by plane, train, bus, ferry or taxi, you can easily reach all parts of the country. Also, you can rent a car if you have an international driver's licence or get a Korean driver's licence and rent a car or buy your own.


Major Korean cities are well served by national and international airlines. South Korea's largest airport is located in Incheon, west of Seoul. It is one of the largest airports in Asia and replaced Gimpo International Airport in 2001. Today, Gimpo Airport mostly flies domestic routes and to locations in East Asia, such as Japan, China or Taiwan. However, there are a great variety of smaller airports around the country creating a well-developed domestic air network. Ticket prices are usually reduced from Monday to Thursday due to low passenger flow, but higher during weekends and holidays.

Good to know:

Expatriates in South Korea must always be in possession of their passport and Alien Registration Card on domestic flights.

Useful links:

Korean Air
Eastar Jet
Air Busan
Fly Asiana


South Korea's railway network is highly developed and almost covers the entire country. It is managed by the Korea National Railroad and is known for its clean and comfortable trains. Nowadays, a lot of trains are equipped with a bar, wireless internet, and a relaxation spot. There are three categories of trains in the country: the Korea Train Express (KTX), "Saemaeul" and "Mugunghwa'.

The KTX is known to be the fastest train in South Korea, while "Saemaeul" connects big cities only. If you want to travel long distances in a short period, you could opt for the "KR Pass", which comes at special rates. Prices usually vary depending on the distance and number of days covered. Children can travel half-price and those over 65 years old can enjoy discounted fares on certain weekdays.

Good to know:

Given that the reservation system is computerised, it is best to book a seat in advance, especially if you are planning to travel during weekends or holidays.

Useful link:

Korea National Railroad

Most major Korean cities, such as Seoul, Incheon, Busan, and Daejeon also have an elaborate subway system, and ticket prices are quite affordable.


Most cities are connected by thousands of buses run by different regional companies. There are also long-distance buses which serve small South Korean towns and villages. Buses usually run every 15 minutes at major bus terminals. You can buy your ticket directly at the terminal or online.

Express buses connect major cities without stopping. However, for very long distances, the driver often stops for a ten-minute break at rest stops along the highway. Note that express and intercity buses often use separate terminals.

Moreover, bus tickets are very affordable but note that prices are increased by 10% after 10 pm, especially for luxury buses.

Useful link:

Visit Korea


Most Korean islands are connected by a ferry network operated by several companies. Ferries not only allow you to travel from one island to another but you can also take your car or motorcycle on board. Rates are also very affordable. Korea's ferry system does not only cover domestic locations but you can even take a ferry boat to China or Japan.

Useful links:

Visit Korea


To take a taxi, make sure the light for 'vacant' is turned on and wave the taxi to you. Each taxi has a counter meter which indicates the duration and price of the trip. Rates are rather low and are paid at the end of the journey in cash or also by debit or credit card. You usually pay some 2,800 won for the first two kilometres.

Good to know: Tips are not required.

There are two types of taxis in South Korea. The ordinary taxi called "ilban" and the luxury taxi called 'mobeom", whose rates are higher. If you are travelling on the highway, toll charges will be added to the fare. As for rural routes, fares can be negotiated with the driver.

Useful link:

International Taxi

Rent a car

If you prefer to travel alone or with your family, it might be a good idea to rent a car. In order to rent a car in South Korea, you must be at least 21 and in possession of a valid international driving license issued in your country of origin or a valid South Korean driving license. Rental rates usually start at about 60,000 won per day, but prices and discounts can be negotiated with the rental company.

You will also need to purchase insurance offered by the rental company. Otherwise, you can rent a car with a driver.

Useful links:

Car Hire Centre

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