Bus Booking Apps
Want to reserve your seat on an express or intercity bus. Korea has a few apps that allow you to get your tickets in advance.
Why would I book online? Can’t I buy a ticket at the bus terminal? Of course. But during major Korean holidays, like Chuseok, Seollal, tickets for trains, planes, and buses sell out in hours, sometimes minutes. So book ahead.
Also, tickets bought through apps a few days before departure receive up to a ten percent discount.
Before you read on, know this. Every bus booking app allows payment with domestic Korean debit or credit cards only.
Don’t have a Korean card? Become best friends with a Korean or expat. Or swing by a bus terminal and buy your tickets in advance.
The Big Three Plus One
Korea has three popular bus booking companies that compete for your patronage. Besides a booking website, two of them created apps. TxBus exists only on a website.
You’ll find English language options for both their app and website. The Kobus apps have a Korean language option.
The app and website only books intercity buses. For express bus reservations, go to Kobus’s apps and website.
You can download an e-ticket and keep it on your phone. However, you need to switch to the Korean language setting to check your reservation.
T-Money is a transportation service that competes with Cashbee. It operates the Kobus apps.
Both apps lack an English language setting. If you pick up some basic Hangul (한글), you can muddle your way to buying a ticket.
If you get through the payment process, you can download an e-ticket to your phone.
TxBus & Kobus Websites
Not only did T-Money create two different apps, they built two websites with different names.
The TxBus allows you to book intercity buses.
Unlike their associated apps, the websites have English language settings.
There’s a way around the Kobus app’s Korean language roadblock. Buy your tickets on the website. Open the app, find your reservation, and download your e-ticket.
Korean Search Engines
There’s a catch, though. You must read and write in Korean.
In English, type in your [departure city] and “intercity (or express) bus timetable.”
For example, “Ulsan intercity bus timetable” becomes “울산 시외 버스 시간표” after translation.
Tap copy on your app, then paste it into Naver. In the “View” results, you’ll find detailed blogs breaking down how the terminal operates. If you use the Chrome (Google Play; App Store) or Firefox (Google Play; App Store) browsers, you can translate the site, too.
When you select a terminal, in the listing’s information you’ll find twin drop-down boxes separated by double arrows (⇄). Above it, you’ll see 운행정보 (operation information).
Naver grays out the first box. Why? Because it’s the terminal you selected. The second drop-down box gives you the full list of destination terminals.
Tap the double arrows (⇄). The boxes will switch. Now the first box lists all the terminals leading to the selected terminal.