Transportation Icon

Transportation

Transportation Icon

Transportation

How to get you and yout bike to and from the bike path.

Let’s go cycling! Where do you want to go? First, choose a route. Second, get a bike, prepare it, check the weather, and pack. Third, get to the starting line.

But, how can you find transportation for you and your bicycle in Korea?

We’ll guarantee this. Traveling in Korea is a package deal. Free of charge, you’ll get some stress, a dose of unpredictability, and those long-loved layovers.

However, with some preparation and this helpful Bike Transportation Guide, you save yourself hours. We’ll give you your options and tell you the do’s and don’ts of moving you and your bike around Korea.

Intercity Buses

A guide to buying tickets and getting your bike on board.

Subways

How and when you can bring your bike onto the subways.

Trains

A rundown of which trains do and don't allow bikes aboard.

Cars & More

Info on driving and parking your car while biking.

Bikes on Transportation

You’re down to three options: subways, trains, and intercity buses. However, once you familiarize yourself with transportation systems, you’ll be hopping around Korea in no time.

A picture of a highways in South Korea.
Highways and intercity buses will take you to the bike path promise land.

Most of the sidewalks in Korea have commuter bike lanes. In smaller cities like Chungju and Gumi, cycling is the fastest way to get around. Hop on! And don’t be afraid to squeeze passed pedestrians!

Intercity buses are your best bet to jump around Korea with your bike. Most cities in Korea are small. They dropped their bus terminals in the center of the city. Bigger cites have more than one bus station.

If it’s the weekend or a public holiday, subways or metros will make your life easier in Seoul, Daegu, Incheon, and Busan. Just slip your bike through the handicap turnstile and hop in the first or last train cars.

A few ITX trains welcome bikers with full-size bikes. In the past, KTX and Mugunghwa trains allowed cyclists to remove their wheels and board. However, policies changed. Most lines officially only allow folding bikes.

Intercity Buses

A picture of an intercity bus with the luggage compartment open.
Pop your bike in the luggage compartment and hop on board the intercity bus.

Stuffing your bike into the underbelly of an intercity bus is the best way to move around Korea. It’s cheap and reliable. They service every city along the cycling paths in Korea.

Buying Your Tickets

Korean intercity bus terminals ruels are relaxed. Walk into the terminal with your bike. Visit the automated ticket machine or teller and buy tickets. There are no additional charges or restrictions to boarding with your bike.

Ticket machines have English language options. In major cities, some tellers speak English. However, clearly pronouncing the name of your city to a teller might be enough to get the right ticket.

Some cities in Korea sound the same to foreign ears. Visit a machine if you’re not confident with your pronunciation.

Standard class buses have two sets of double seats. Four people per row, with an aisle in the middle. It can get a little cramped and muggy inside.

Premium buses have three seats to a row. One side of has two seats. The other side has one. The seats are larger and have footrests. Tickets are a few more thousand won. They’re worth the splurge on long trips.

Tellers and machines accept cash, domestic and major foreign cards. The automated teller machine lets you choose your seat number.

Get on the Bus

A picture of the inside of a premium intercity bus in Korea.
Premium buses provide large seats, free WiFi, and USB charging ports.

Intercity bus stations buzz. Giant buses swarm in and out of platforms every few minutes.

If you arrive too early, you might think you’re at the wrong platform. Don’t worry, buses don’t usually pull into the platforms until ten minutes before departure.

If you’re not sure you’re getting on the right bus, check the bus’s windshield. They list the destination a plaque near the boarding area. Though usually written in Hangul, you can reference the city on the plaque with the city on your ticket.

Once the bus driver opens the stow doors, walk to the luggage compartments on the side of the bus. Choose the last compartment to stay out of the way of the other passengers. Yank the handle until the door rises.

A picture of a bike in the luggage compartment of an intercity bus in Korea.
Find an empty luggage compartment and lay your bike on its left side to avoid damaging bike components.

Slide your bike into the luggage compartment. Lay your bike flat on its left side. This avoids damaging the front and rear derailleurs on the right side of the bike.

If you are traveling in pairs or more, push the first bike as far back as possible. You can fit two, maybe three bikes in one compartment.

Some bus drivers might take an unkind tone. They’ll tell you how to angle or adjust your bike. Just repeat “Ye” (예; yes). “Gam-sa-hab-ni-da” ( 감사합니다; thank you).

Subways

A picture of the inside of a subway in Seoul, South Korea.
Stick you bike in the front or back cars of a subway on the weekends.

There are four metro (subway) systems you’ll encounter on your cycling trip through Korea. Seoul, Incheon, Busan, and Daegu. They allow cyclists to ride with their bikes on weekends and public holidays.

Seoul Metro Map

Cyclists may board only the first or last train cars. As long as your bike doesn’t have a gasoline engine attached, you can wheel it aboard.

Be polite and stay against the back wall of the cars. Some metro lines removed a row of benches to accommodate bicycles. You can like your bike here.

Busan Metro Map

To get into the metro station, carry your bike down the metro stairs. Or, even better, find a street-level elevator to whisk you to the station below. (Metro works may insist you do this.) Do not take your bike on escalators.

Daegu Metro Map

To enter the paid area, go through the handicap turnstile. You can scan your T-money card or pass a ticket through. If you can’t find a handicap turnstile, a friendly metor way worker can assist.

Incheon Metro Map

Naver Maps and Kakao Maps give the best metro route information. You can search or pin a location with your finger. Select the metro only route option.

Trains

A picture of a train near the city of Yangsan in South Korea.
Trains conveniently follow the Cross-Country and East Coast Routes.

Trains in Korea can get a little complicated. There are four major train classes to choose from. Here’s a breakdown.

Can my bike hitch a ride on a train?

The rail companies only guarantee a spot for your full-size bike aboard the ITX-Cheongchun line.

Some additional ITX lines designate areas for your bike aboard their trains. But, check the train route by using the Korean-language version of the KorailTalk app. Instructions below.

The high-speed KTX and SRT lines, and the slower Mugunghwa lines, allow only folding bikes aboard. They’ll ask you to store your bike in the luggage area.

In the past, you could sneak a full-size hybrid, MTB, or road bike aboard a KTX or Mugunghwa train if you had a nice conductor.

But, complaints were made. Rules were changed. If you arrive at the KTX station without your bike, there’s a good chance they’ll turn you and your greasy machine away.

You could ask at the station if the trains along your desired route allow bikes aboard. However, again, check the app beforehand. You don’t want them to turn away at the platform.

Here’s a breakdown of the railroad lines, from A to (KT)X:

A picture of a train near the east coast of South Korea.
Trains criss-cross the peninsula. However, it can be difficult to find one that accommodates full size bikes.

KTX

The KTX (Korean Train eXpress) is the famous high-speed train in Korea. It is by far the fastest way to get to from Seoul to Busan. It travels 305 km/h (190 mph) along the Gyeongbu railway line or the Honam railway line.

The Gyeongbu line flows from Seoul Station to Busan Station, northwest to southeast. Major stops along the way include Daejeon, Dong Daegu, and Ulsan.

The Honam line will take you from Seoul Station to Mokpo Station, northwest to southwest. Major stops include Iksan and Gwangju.

In the past, some conductors allowed cyclists to board with their full-size bikes. They allowed them to remove their wheels and store your bike in luggage compartments between train cars.

But, they officially only allow folding bikes aboard these days. If you bring your folding bike aboard, store it in the luggage compartments.

SRT

The SRT (Super Rapid Transit) is a high-speed line similar to the KTX. They have similar prices, use the same railway lines, and travel at the same speed.

What’s the difference? The SRT is newer (2016) and privately owned. In Seoul, the SRT starts in Suseo Station, south of the Han River in Seoul. They end at either Busan Station or to Mokpo Station. (Same as the KTX.)

The SRT also has three privately owned train stations: Suseo Station, Dongtan Station, and Jije Station.

The SRT has the strictest policies regarding bicycles. They have never allows full-size bikes. They allow only folding bicycles in their luggage compartments.

Train trestles hop across the Nakdong River near Yangsan.
Train trestles hop across the Nakdong River near Yangsan.

ITX

ITX-Saemaul

The ITX (Intercity eXpress) are a newer class of trains in Korea. The government railway company phased out the older Saemaul trains with ITX models.

Unlike the KTX and SRT, ITX trains are not high-speed (165 km/h). However, they make fewer stops and are a little faster Mugunghwa diesel trains (140 km/h).

Some ITX trains have portions of some cars designated for full-size bicycles. Before buying tickets, check the KorailTalk app for availability.

The ITX-Saemaul runs along the Gyeongbu, Honam, and Gyeongjeon Lines.

ITX – Cheongchun

The ITX-Cheongchun runs from Yongsan Station (용산역) in Seoul to Chuncheon Station (춘천) in Chuncheon.

Riders flock to this scenic line. The trains are the only double-deckers in Korea. They meander up to Chuncheon, the self proclaimed romantic city.

Two or three train cars will have bicycle cradles (자전거거치대). This is the only line where every train allows you to bring your full-size bicycle aboard.

Mugunghwa trains are the oldest and slowest trains operating in Korea. However, they serve more cities than the KTX, ITX, or SRT.

In the past, some Mugunghwa trains had craddles and rails for you to place your bike during the journey. Conductors would also ask cyclists to stay in the dining cars or luggage compartments.

However, recently Korail changed its policies. They only officially allow folding bicycles aboard.

You might find a Mugunghwa train with bicycle cradles (자전거거치대) . But, check the train and the route using the KorailTalk app before heading to the station.

Cars & More

Keep and eye out for Bongo Trucks. Korea’s version of a pickup truck, they’re used for everything: moving apartments. Hauling explosive materials.

You’ll often find them parked outside bus stations or near certification checkpoints. For a small fee, they’ll take you to the start line or local motel.

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