Express buses (고속버스, 高速버스, gosok beoseu) and intercity buses (시외버스, 市外버스, sioe beoseu) operate similarly. Both require you to purchase tickets before boarding the bus, and both will take you to different cities. Express buses will typically only stop as a rest stop, if at all. Intercity buses will have more stops along the way.
Fares are affordable and many buses have a few seats open so you can arrive at a bus terminal and get a ticket on the next departing bus. Friday nights, weekends, and holidays have a greater chance of being sold out, so try and get tickets ahead of time. Buying tickets via a smartphone is only possible with Korean language apps and downloads are sometimes region restricted to Korea. As personal schedules can change, many people buy several tickets, use only one and cancel the other(s). This incurs a small fee and also opens up seats last minute. If your Korean is good enough to use the apps and the bus you want is sold out, keep refreshing the page to see if a ticket opens up before departure.
There are three types of express buses; general (일반, 一般, ilban), luxury, (우등, 優等, udeung), and from September 2016 premium (프리미엄, peurimieom). General buses have four seats per row and are slowly being phased out. Luxury have three seats per row with two on the left and one on the right, which means more personal space and the seats are more comfortable and legroom is extended. Premium have even more legroom, personal privacy curtains, UBS charging, and can recline farther than other seat types.
Many cities have multiple terminals. Not all terminals will connect with all cities. To check routes and schedules, go to www.kobus.co.kr (K, E, J, C).
Taxis (택시, taeksi) exist all over Korea. Common taxi colors and starting price can vary by city. Service has improved in recent years in exchange for a higher, yet still affordable starting rate. Taxi types include general (일반, 一般, ilban), deluxe (모범, 模範, mobeom), privately owned (개인, 個人, gaein), international, and vans.
The content on this page has been taken from the 2019 edition of Living in Korea. The book was created in support of our international researchers and has been completely rewritten. The book is available as a 6 MB download here and in paperback form in IBS Centers.