Getting to Seoul from Daegu & Incheon International Airport

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Outside the Daegu Express Bus Terminal (across the street of Dongdaegu Station/metro stop)

Getting from Seoul to Daegu is what every new Daegu expat (and traveler of Korea) wants to know.  Landlocked between mountains, I’ve found there’s only so many things to do in Daegu. As an EPIK English teacher living in Daegu, a mere two to four hours away,  a weekend in Seoul is a lovely Korea vacation in itself.

Taking the Express Bus in Korea

The Korea express bus (aka kosok/gosok boseu ) is a comfortable and cost-efficient way to travel long-distance in Korea. Express buses are reliable, cheap and fast. Korea express buses are run by private companies so some may be a little nicer than others, but in the end, it’s all still good.  Bus companies servicing Daegu will be either Kumho, Dongyang, Jungang, Choneil, or Samhwa.

There are two types of express buses in Korea

There are two types of express buses in Korea:  regular express bus and deluxe express bus. The latter is a small upgrade like cloth seats, shared satellite TV or DVD and slightly more spacious seats. The cost difference is roughly around 5,000 won (approx $4 -$5).

Remember, Gangnam Style? The inside of that bus was the inside of a deluxe express bus. Midway, it makes a rest stop at a rest station, where you can get out, stretch your legs, use the restroom and buy snacks. There are no bathrooms on the bus, so if you have a small bladder, you may want to rethink this choice.

The seating won’t be as spacious as a train, but this difference isn’t by much. But there is a next pouch in front of you for you to store things small things and sometimes, a drink holder. There is luggage storage available overhead for small items like brief case or day pack and the underneath cab of the bus is for large luggage.

Buses in Korea are punctual. They leave exactly on the minute. I appreciate this, but not when i’m running late.

Taking the express bus in Korea

Taking the express bus in Korea: Bus drivers are punctual

Taking the Express Bus to Seoul from Daegu (the cheap option)

 I  often book my bus ticket the day of travel. If the bus is full, I catch the next bus. So if I’m concerned with time or if it’s a holiday,  I try my best to buy my bus tickets in advance. If you’re traveling during a holiday, seats will be sold out early; definitely make reservations early.

There is no on-board bathroom in the bus but the bus driver will make one rest stop 1/3 way from Seoul.

This is the cheapest way to get to Seoul and equally as comfortable as the train. It also takes the same amount of time as the Mungunghwa (slow train) but not as fast as the KTX.

express bus korea from daegu to seoul

express bus korea from daegu to seoul

Where is the Daegu Express Bus Terminal ?

This one took me a while to figure out – there are four major bus stations in Daegu and they all serve different regions of Korea. The south bus station serves south of Daegu, north bus services the north of Daegu and … you get the picture. For Seoul or Busan, you’ll need the  Daegu Express Bus Terminal and it is located across the street from Dongdaegu metro station (the same station for the KTX train). Do not get the bus terminal confused with the smaller bus station next door to the metro station– this is for smaller long-distance towns.

daegu express bus terminal 2

daegu express bus terminal 2

How to book your express bus to Seoul

 Kobus.co.kr is the main online site for making reservations online. At the time of writing, you needed a Korean credit card in order to make any online purchases from Korean companies. If you cannot book your ticket, you need to go down to Daegu Express Bus Terminal in person to buy the ticket yourself.

Korean transportation sites aren’t easy for foreigners or tourists. They’re made for Koreans and often they list stations by region. Most foreigners don’t know the Korea regions unless they have a map. So instead, the keywords are:

Dongdaegu (that is Daegu or the main terminal station)
Seoul Gyeongbu or East
[feature-box] Travel Essentials: Get your 4G SIM Card  for Korea  or here(KR Airport Pick Up) [/feature-box]

Arriving at Seoul Express Bus Terminal

Seoul (Gyeongbu/Yeongdong Line- 경부/영동) vs Dong Seoul

Seoul Express Bus Terminal has two express bus stations : Seoul (Gyeongbu/Yeongdong Line- 경부/영동) vs Dong Seoul

I have gone to both stations. Cost of a one-way ticket is approx. 15,500 W for General and 17,000W for Excellent and will take 3 hrs and 40min.

inside daegu express bus terminal

inside daegu express bus terminal

express bus schedule daegu to seoul

express bus schedule daegu to seoul and dongseoul

Express Bus Terminal (Gyeongbu/Yeongdong Line)

The bus enters into (Seoul’s) Express Bus Terminal which is the larger and busier station. This terminal has its own Express Bus Terminal subway stop (Line 7, Brown Line) which is approx. a 5-8 minute walk downstairs to the subway. I enter this terminal more often and I like that it has a large underground mall. I don’t like it because it is very big and between the large underground mall and station, I’m hitting traffic and running a long way dodging traffic to make it back to my bus on time.

Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (East or Gangbyeon)

Dong Seoul station (East or Gangbyeon) is a smaller station located on the eastern side of Seoul and is adjacent to Gangbyeon Subway Station,  a 5 minute walk. You’ll need to ask for directions to re-orient yourself.

Seoul has two bus terminals

Seoul has two bus terminals (see the map and their related stations)

Leaving Daegu


You will probably do a 10 minute fast food/bathroom stop at a rest stop like this

.

Getting from Daegu to Seoul by Train

Taking the train Mungunghwa to KTX will cost you anywhere from 20,000W to 50,000W one way.  There are two train stations in DaeguDaegu and Dong Daegu.

dongdaegu station daegu

dongdaegu station daegu

All trains come into Daegu and Dong Daegu Stations.

Mungunghwa train to Seoul (the cheapest and slowest train)

The cheapest train tickets cost 16,000W for standing room on the Mungunghwa train,  a four hour ride! The cheaper and slower Mungunghwa does not ensure speed over the bus. In fact, its slower and more expensive, but it has a toilet on-board.

Taking KTX from Daegu to Seoul Station (pricy, but speediest option)

Getting from Daegu to Seoul by KTX train will take approximately 2 hours. If you’re traveling with a group, then buy a set of four tickets and you will get a  50% discount. It is actually cheaper than buying three single tickets.  Seats are comfortable and you will depart from Dongdaegu Station to arrive directly into Seoul StationKorail website: http://www.korail.com/ (English site avail)

Note: Unless you have a Korea credit card, you will not be able to make reservations but must go the station in person.

[feature-box]Travel Tip: Buy a Korail Pass for 2/3/4/5 days in advance [/feature-box]

Me and my family on the train to/from Seoul.

Luggage storage in Seoul Station & Subway?

Seoul Station is large. There are storage lockers from carry on to full luggage size. Seoul Station looks like a luxury mall and has some stores in it too (i.e. Lotte Mart, Smoothie King, etc…)

Both stations have their own subway stop and offer lockers to store luggage in, but it doesn’t always guarantee an empty locker. There are other passengers who have the same idea as you. When you arrive, look for a locker with a key hanging from it. If there are no visible keys and they are all taken, that signals that lockers are full. In Seoul, your secondary bet is to go downstairs to the subway lockers of which there are a few.  Koreans like to use the lockers, not only to store bags and luggage but to drop off things for others to pickup.


Seoul Station’s locker system is a bit tricky and confusing. The computer screen is all in
Korean and certain lockers alternate as drop-off/delivery services!

…which is good to know there’s that kind of service available in a subway station!

Getting To Incheon International Airport

Airport Limousine Bus from Daegu

You can buy tickets for the airport bus from Daegu to Incheon International Airport.  You can buy tickets and catch the bus from Daegu Express Bus Terminal.

Need a lift from Seoul? Buy advance tickets for the airport limousine bus for various pickups in Seoul.

taking the airport limousine bus to incheon international airport

You can take the airport limousine bus to most cities main cities in Korea.

AREX from Seoul Station

If you need to get to the airport, you can easily connect to the AREX airport train from Seoul Station. AREX stops at both, Gimpo Airport (domestic airport) and Incheon International Airport . AREX hours: 5:23am (first train) to 10:48pm (last train). Duration: 43 min ride . Buy your one-way AREX ticket in advance here.


The street in front of Seoul Station- equally impressive.

 

Getting to Seoul from Daegu… how do you do it?

 

 

Related Reads on Transportation:

Life in Korea: getting around rural Korea by bus

Life in Korea: taking a train to all parts Korea

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16 Comments. Leave new

Good day! I’m currently here in daegu and will go to go to seoul this Aug 5th. Last night, Insaw Daegu station, I just wanted to know if its different in Dongdaegu station? Thanks!

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Hi there — do you know if there are luggage lockers at the Daegu train station? Will be stopping in Daegu for a day trip between Busan and Seoul, but will have all our stuff with us.

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Hi there, Good writing about going to Dondaegu. Here is more tips for you. If you are planing to visit Korea and travel to out of cities like Dondaegu, I strongly recommend to purchase ‘Korail pass’. As you already know, there are some ways to go to the Dongdaegu. But KTX is the fastest and convenient way. KTX is high fast train connected to out of city places like Dongdaegu, Busan, Singyeongju etc. So for traveling to out of city, ‘Korail pass’ will be so reasonable. If you are interested in this pass, please visit this homepage, ‘http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizBfKrPassAbout.do’ and you can get more information and reservation too. You need your passport and credit card for booking and you can check your type of pass by yourself. Thanks.

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I’m so happy I stumbled upon this page. I will be moving to Daegu with my daughter this summer. I vacationed in Korea two summers ago, but never made it to Daegu. Looking forward to navigating my way around with this helpful information☺

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Great information as always~ Thanks GRRRL Traveler! 🙂

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love the information here and hope to read more. It’s very helpful. I’ll be moving to Daegu to teach English so this would come in handy.

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Thank you so much for posting this with pictures!! My sister and I are travelling to Korea in the Fall and we do not speak the language nor can we read Korean! Do you know if we can bring our luggage on the train with us? Do you have any other travel tips for a 1st time visitor to Korea? We will stay in Taegu for 2 days and then go to Seoul for 4 days. Do you have any suggestions for things to see and do?
Thank you again for sharing! The pictures are so helpful!

Reply

    @Jean: My pleasure- Pictures help! I think its frustrating to not be able to see things so that you know how to prepare for them in advance. Yes, you can bring your luggage on the train. But you’ll either have to store them above your seat (a size equivalent to luggage storage in a small jet airplane carrier like Delta) or near the door of your car.Space is limited with this option & you will be far from your bags.Wouldn’t bring many big bags.

    Seeing as you’re in both places for such a short time, I’d definitely recommend the city bus tours. They give an overall tour to highlights of the city at a very inexpensive cost– cheaper than a taxi too. I’m reluctant to sell Daegu unless you want to do day trips from it– i’d probably choose someplace like Busan, where there’s more to do. Also, I have a blog on places to see in Seoul but it doesn’t include the main shopping spot– Dongdamneun– some people love this. Hope you have fun & any further questions, feel free to ask!

    Reply

    @Jean: BTW– I just thought of some additional travel things. The public transportation in Korea is pretty good all the way around and it is easy and comfortable getting around Korea. Korail offers tourist K-passes which covers unlimited KTX travel for a set price which is actually good if you plan to zip around to a lot of places. Also, my tip for first timers– If some of your sightseeing sights or hotels websites have addresses written in Hangul (Korean characters), print them out or have your concierge or a friend write them down for you. Many taxis DONT speak English — unless you’re going to a major site, there’s a possibility they may not know where know where a location is or the english translation (this is normal- & it’s kinda funny to watch the extent they go to find the place, tho you may have to suffer a bit of the additional cost). They DO READ hangul, so presenting them an address in it, will make it easier for both of you. Good Luck!

    Reply
Avatar
Raymond Hahn
June 5, 2010 3:15 am

When I take the bus I find that I always have to go to the bathroom (there is no in-bus toilet) either before or after the bus makes it pit stop. If you have a sensitive bladder take the train!

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