The Fastest Way to Travel South Korea

I love Korea.  I love it more than scotch, more than cheese, and more than turkey on Thanksgiving.  How do I know, you ask?  Korea doesn’t have any of those things outside of shady black market deals, and I still loved it there.

I even loved traveling through Korea.  Recently, Tawny took a three-day road trip to Missouri from Seattle and this caused me to reflect.  Primarily because three days in a car without air conditioning across the US in August sounds like hell.  Not only this though.  While I love road trips like a Brazilian loves futbol, I have done enough trans-national jaunts lately to make me miss the days of Korea.  What I wouldn’t give for a trans-America speed train.  Faster than a car, more spacious than an airplane, and hopefully as affordable as a bus.

Every couple of months, Tawny and I would take a trip across Korea.  We’d leave our sleepy little town of Pohang located in the center of Korea and head north or south to greener pastures (or denser cities to buy $150 turkeys in back alleys). While it would be fun to take the three-day road trip North to Seoul or the 8 hour bus trip, we would often opt for my favorite, the KTX.

The Korean Train eXpress is Korea’s bullet train. It reaches a max speed of 217 mph and makes the trip north feel like a vacation in and of itself. Don’t take my word for it, watch the video… and take my, uh, word for it. Damn.


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  1. Audrey
    August 9, 2012 at 4:51 am - Reply

    Nice one guys! I’ve taken the KTX once, but I’m a Mugunghwa girl at heart. 😉 I love taking the slow train and enjoying the countryside, and my wallet doesn’t mind either…

  2. Jim
    August 9, 2012 at 11:25 am - Reply

    I really loved public transportation in Korea. i usually took the bus, but the train was super awesome, too.

  3. Pola (@jettingaround)
    August 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    Great video, guys! I love trains, just love them… Now I know the best means of transportation is I go to Korea.

  4. @mrsoaroundworld
    August 13, 2012 at 7:08 am - Reply

    I love trains and haven’t used them enough. I actually recently read a book called fast trains and was all about various weekend trips you can do in Europe – worth having a peek if you venture to my side of the pond!

    Used the super fast train in Shanghai and was so impressed. We can all learn so much from Asia in terms of transportation!

    Loved the video 😉

  5. the lazy travelers
    August 13, 2012 at 9:33 am - Reply

    what IS it about traveling across other countries via train? it’s not nearly as exciting or romantic in the US!

  6. Leah Travels
    August 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    I’m with you. I love a train and wish the US had a better system. Those of us down in the South are very limited. Can you imagine the amount of steel it would take to make a Texas train system. My head spins! I definitely think I’d take more road trips if I had trains as an option.

    And who knew about the back-room deals on turkey in Korea?

  7. lola
    August 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    well. umhmmm. i haven’t stepped foot in Asia yet. you have a BIG leg up on this with me. BUUUUT…soon i will have done part of Asia & i’m already concocting ways to get back in 2013 without even gone yet. soooo KTX bring it.

  8. Raul (ilivetotravel in Twitter)
    August 14, 2012 at 5:50 am - Reply

    At first, I was wondering if the train was so popular why was the station empty!! Then I saw all the people in the train – whew, ilivetotravel could breathe again! And I once dreamt I was in a game of Tetris – that’s how I knew I had to quit. But I digress…

  9. London4Travelers
    August 15, 2012 at 5:13 am - Reply

    Thanks for the post. the video is fantastic. Korea is an incredible country. It is undoubtedly worth visiting.

  10. Traveling Ted
    August 15, 2012 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Old school Tetris makes a comfortable trip sublime. When I flew from Chicago to Narita on Japan Air, each seat had a computer console with your own video games including tetris and space invaders. I must have played for five hours. When I closed my eyes I was seeing pieces of tetris falling. Great video as usual.

  11. Vicky
    August 20, 2012 at 7:50 am - Reply

    217 mph?!?! That’s insane!! We start our backpacking trip in Japan and head to South Korea afterwards and I’m certainly looking forward to these super fast trains! With only 10 days in SK we will definitely be using only trains to get around as quickly as possible!

  12. Tom @ Waegook Tom
    September 3, 2012 at 8:44 am - Reply

    Ahh the KTX! I do prefer the mugunghwa (I love the slow trains and they can often wind up being only 30 minutes or so slower than the KTX depending on the line), but every now and again I’ll treat myself to the KTX and even after 3 years, I’m always amazed at how fast it goes! Also I love the free water bottles and sleeping masks that you get in 1st Class (for when I’m feeling extra fancy)!

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