Busan a Guide to Public Transportation: Even though you may have never heard of Busan before, this South Korean port city of 3.5 million people has beautiful beaches, beautiful temples, and an extremely efficient, spotless, and easily navigable public transportation system. Road and transport signs are clearly posted in Korean and English (and sometimes Chinese or Japanese), and tourist information booths are located near the city’s main attractions.
Whether you prefer plane, train, or automobile, here’s how to navigate your way around Busan, South Korea.
Transportation from Gimhae International Airport to Downtown Busan
Busan’s main international airport is Gimhe International Airport (IATA: PUS, ICAO: RKPK). Although the airport is the fourth busiest in the country, passing through 16 million passengers annually, its compact size (only two terminals) makes it easy to visit whether you are flying domestic or international.
Once you’ve collected your bags, you’ll want to make your way from Gimhae to central Busan, which is only 12 miles from the airport. Taxis are readily available, take about 30 minutes, and cost around 30,000 won ($27), but more affordable are either light rail or city buses.
The Airport Light Rail connects to Busan’s Metro Line Two (Green Line) at Sasang Station. The journey takes 20 minutes and costs 1,500 won ($1.25).
Public buses depart regularly from the terminal to various locations in Busan. Travel time ranges from 30 to 60 minutes, and fares are around 1,100 won.
Limousine buses are another relatively affordable option and regularly run from outside the arrivals hall to various hotels and attractions in the city. One-way tickets cost 5,000 to 9,000 won, and buses run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
How to Ride the Busan Metro
The metro system in Busan is fast, reliable, and safe. Here’s what you need to know.
- The Busan Metro has only four lines and is incredibly easy to navigate. Maps can be found either on a handful of smartphone apps or at the information desks of large stations of the old-fashioned paper variety. Another bonus is that all station stops are announced in Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese. Interestingly, the sound of a chirping bird is used for stops that are transfer points to another line.
- You’ll need to start by purchasing a ticket, which costs between 1,300 and 1,600 won for a trip, depending on the distance to the line and your destination. If you use a refillable card like T-Money, Cashbee, or the Korea Tour Card, you’ll get a 100-win discount, which can be purchased at convenience stores (starting at $2,500) and top up at Subway ticket machines. -up can be done. These rechargeable cards can be used in taxis, subways, and buses.
- The Busan Metro operates from approximately 5:30 am to midnight and is considered an extremely safe option at any time of day or night.
- It can get very crowded during busy times, but luckily, the trains are air-conditioned during the hot summer months.
- In Korean culture, it is considered very rude if you do not leave your seat to someone older than you who is standing.
- Many stations are stair-only, so check the Busan Metro website for accessible travel options if necessary.
Navigating the bus system in a foreign city can seem overwhelming, but this is not the case with Busan City Buses. Each bus stop has a screen that displays the bus number and minutes until the next bus arrives, and the information is usually written in English and Korean.
Bus fare can be paid in cash or by transport card. If you use a transportation card, be sure to tap it when you get on and off the bus. Bus stops are announced in both Korean and English, so when you hear your stop being called, press the red button on the wall or railing to make sure the bus stops for you.
Taxis are typically found on every street corner, and although convenient and relatively well priced, they can sometimes be a time-consuming choice as they must navigate the sheer size of the traffic and huge city. While some taxi drivers speak English, be prepared with your destination typed in Korean on your smartphone; Unless the destination is a well-known tourist attraction, there is a chance that the driver will need to enter the address in their GPS.
There are two main types of taxis found in Busan, regular and deluxe, and both use meters. The starting fare for regular taxis is 3,300 won and covers the first two kilometers of the journey, with 100 won for every additional 133 meters. Deluxe taxis are black and are often found hidden outside hotels and tourist attractions. Fares won start at 5,000 for the first three kilometers, and an additional 200 won every 141 meters. The other main difference apart from price is that deluxe taxis generally accommodate more passengers and baggage.
Some more useful pointers when navigating Busan’s taxis:
- A late-night surcharge of 20 percent applies to all rides between midnight and 4 a.m.
- A 30 to 40 percent surcharge applies to any destination outside Busan city limits.
- Tipping is not customary in Korea.
- Taxis can be found on the street or at various taxi stands across the city.
- Taxis accept cash, and most also accept credit cards, CashBee, or T-Money cards (confirm with the driver first).
- A red light above the taxi means it is available.
- It is not uncommon for Busan taxi drivers to refuse passengers for any reason, including whether your destination is in the wrong direction from where the driver wants to go, the place you are going is too close or far away, or the driver does not Don’t want to deal with a language barrier. Although it is illegal for taxi drivers to refuse passengers, it does happen, and usually, a more capable cabbie will show up soon.
Various bike rental locations across the city offer bikes and helmets either for free or for a nominal fee.
Most visitors to Busan use public transportation, like parking, navigating, and traffic can be problematic for those unfamiliar with the city. If you want your own set of wheels while you travel, you must have a valid International Driving Permit along with your regular driver’s license. Cars can be hired at Gimhae International Airport.
Some ferry lines operate between South Korea and Japan, mainly between Busan and Fukuoka. Rates, departure times, and length of sailing vary depending on destination and time of year. Busan Ferry Terminal is a 10-minute walk from Busan Station.
Tips for Getting Around Busan
- If you are staying in Busan for more than a few days and plan to travel to multiple regions, you will definitely save time and money by purchasing a CashBee or T-Money card, which can be used for taxis, buses, and subways. can be done for.
- Subways close at midnight and reopen at 5:30 in the morning. Taxis are the best (and often only) choice during this time.
- Be careful while walking. It is also common in Korea to park cars on the sidewalk and ride a motorcycle on the sidewalk when there is traffic on the road.
Getting Out of Busan
If you arrived in Busan from Japan via ferry or via Gimhee International Airport, be sure to schedule a visit to Seoul. Not only is Seoul a picturesque capital, but the KTX high-speed train journey alone is well worth the trip as you are taken through wooded mountains and extensive farmland before reaching the megalopolis of the future.
The high-speed (190 mph) KTX train ride from Busan Station on the southeast coast to Seoul Station in the north takes about two hours 45 minutes and costs 56,000 won ($50). KTX also stops in several major cities in between, including Daejeon and Daegu.
Express and intercity buses are also an option for most areas of the country and are cheaper than KTX, yet more time-consuming, weighing around 20,000 to 35,000 won. Express buses usually stop in comfort zones so that passengers can stretch their legs and use the facilities, but there are no other stops. Intercity buses stop at various bus stations along the way.
Busan has two main bus terminals, Busan Central Bus Terminal (133 Nopo-dong, Geumjong-gu, Busan), and Cebu Inter-City Bus Terminal (201 Sasang-ro, Gwebip-dong, Busan).