Buses reach areas that trains cannot, which make them a great means of transportation for you to encounter the beautiful sceneries of Korea more up close. In particular, freeway sections that experience frequent traffic congestion have exclusive bus lanes for the fast, unhindered movement of buses. Buses are divided into two kinds, express buses and intercity buses, which may use different terminals, so you need to be careful. Buses do not have restrooms inside so buses traveling mid- to long-distance routes stop at a service area in the middle of the route. In Korea, service areas are equipped with nice, interesting facilities insomuch that they themselves can be the purpose of a trip, and they add another layer of joy and excitement to your trip.
* What is an exclusive bus lane?
It is an exclusive lane system to alleviate the traffic flow of freeway sections with frequent traffic jams and to control the amount of traffic by designating a specific lane for minivans and buses with six or more passengers. During traffic congestion, they typically experience a faster traffic flow than other lanes.
1. Types of buses
Express buses use freeways to drive to far away destinations without making any stops along the way. Bus fares vary depending on the facility and the number of seats on a bus and, extra charges apply during late-night hours.
Intercity buses use freeways and/or national routes to drive to destinations typically making intermediate stops along the way. Unlike express buses, there are intercity buses that only drive on national routes without driving on freeways. There are a greater number of intercity bus routes than that of express buses, which make them a great choice when traveling to small- to medium-sized cities. There are various routes that directly connect small cities so they are a useful means of transportation for such trips. Intercity buses are divided into general buses and luxury buses with larger seats, and extra charges apply during late-night hours.
2. How to use buses
Bus tickets can be purchased on online ticketing websites, via mobile apps or directly at ticket offices in bus terminals. You can print your ticket at the ticket office of the departing terminal before the time of departure and you must carry the credit card you used for the purchase. If you have purchased your ticket online, it is a good idea to confirm the purchase one more time in the [Check/Cancel/Change Reservation] menu. Check the platform number of your bus through a monitor or screen in the terminal’s waiting area and then board the bus at that platform. Typically, you can board a bus starting five minutes prior to the time of departure.
3. Major bus terminals and routes
You should take note that express buses and intercity buses often depart from and arrive at different terminals. Most terminals are located in city centers, which make them easy to find. However, in Seoul and some other regions, terminals may be located far away from one another so you must check the point of departure one more time before you leave. If a terminal is called “jonghap terminal,” it means that both express buses and intercity buses stop there so keep that in mind. Routes are subject to change so we advise to check in advance.
Korean freeways offer the can’t-miss excitement of stopping by service areas. Korean service areas are equipped with sanitary public restrooms, nursing rooms and tourist information centers as well as necessary convenience facilities including gas stations, restaurants, convenience stores and electric vehicle charging stations. It is fun to taste famous K-street snacks such as sotteoksotteok (sausage and rice cake skewer), potato corndogs and hotteok (pancake filled with brown sugar) that you might have seen on social media. Also, certain service areas operate leisure facilities or food markets based on different concepts from which you can discover unexpected delight.
This page was last updated in March 2023, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here.
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