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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Taking The Premium Bus To Seoul

Taking the bus to Seoul is an economical way to get across the country. For many it is the preferred option but one that takes a bit of getting used to. However, since 2016 there have been significant upgrade to the usual buses which resulted in the creation of the premium class bus. During the initial stages these buses were only running from Busan to Seoul but a number of years ago, they expanded their service to include Ulsan as well.

What Is “Premium” Class?

The premium class buses are basically first-class busses modeled after the first class seating on airplanes. What this means is that you have  more room to stretch out in and a bit more privacy. By eliminating a row of seats, there is now the option of choosing a single seat. However, the other seats are fitted with a privacy curtain as well.

Each seat has a lot of features to make the 4 hour journey a lot more comfortable. Each seat is extremely comfortable with a reading lamp, a cushioned foot rest and numerous ports to charge your devices. The seats recline 160˚ to make sleeping much easier.

The seats are equipped with a 10-inch monitor that allows you to watch TV and has the ability to mirror your smartphone too.  There are USB charging ports all over and even a wireless charging station in the foldout ledge. There is also a larger pull-out table as well. If you require a toilet, there is an emergency call button that allows you to choose the “toilet” option to inform the driver to find the next rest stop and pull over.

What is it REALLY Like?

If you like taking the bus and really want to catch some zzz’s on your way to Seoul, then this is a good option and it is cheaper than a KTX ticket (average price). However, the trip that I took up was TERRIBLE. It started off with the realization that the so-called “premium” bus did not have a few of the features noted in the online articles that I read. No worries, there was still a tv to catch up on some Korean Dramas. Sadly, unlike the articles stated, this particular premium bus didn’t offer headphones and the tv was choppy at best.

Some of the features like the route indicator did not function as well. So the handy feature of knowing where you are and how much longer the trip will just left me hanging as it was trying to find the location. At least there was an English option. However, these minor setbacks paled in comparison to what shook me from my slumber somewhere past Tongdosa.

Out of nowhere, the bus driver braked abruptly and he let out a loud “shi-bal!” Which I am sure was not an announcement for the next bathroom stop. I looked down the aisle to see him tailgating a sonata. He was so close that had the other driver been of similar temperament and did a brake-check, we would have been in a serious accident.  I thought for sure that the other car had cut off our brave bus driver and that once we got passed that guy it would be smooth sailing. That however was not the case.

Shortly after, we soon found ourselves swerving through traffic like the movie “speed”. At this point, I was generally concerned. The driver now was swearing at Chevy Orlando for which he deliberately swerved and tried to hit. I am not lying when I say that the bus came dangerously close to clipping the white chevy. For at least 15 minutes, these guys when back and forth cutting each other off. Meanwhile other cars swerved around our bus, no doubt frustrated at how much of a jerk our driver was being. At one point, we swerved in another lane to avoid hitting a truck which pushed another car onto the shoulder. By the time that we got the the Seoul Express Bus Terminal, I vowed never to ride the bus again.

How Much Does it Cost?

The premium class ticket from Ulsan to Seoul costs around 45,100 won and can be reserved online or through their app. When you arrive, you scan your ticket and find your spot. According to the articles that I read, headphones and water were to be provided but on this trip they were not. Although we were allowed to leave the bus for 15 minutes for a bathroom break at a rest stop. The bus driver told us not order any food as it would take too long. The overall trip took around 4 hours and 10 minutes.

 

You can book your tickets here KORBUS English Site

Bus Timetable

The above link with show you the same table and you can also download the KORBUS app from there too. If you want a quick glance, here is the basic timetable and remember that times are subject to change.

Where to Catch the Bus

These buses leave from the Ulsan Express Bus Terminal and then stop at the Sinbok Bus Terminal as well. You can purchase tickets there if you’d like but with the app and site in English, you’d be better off booking in advance and selecting your seat as well.


Lastly, my experience on this bus may have been an isolated with one. However, I won’t be using this service much unless I am taking the last bus out of Ulsan and really wanting to sleep all the way to Seoul. The comfortable seats and privacy are worth the extra cost but sadly the driver ruined the trip for me. This may not be the case for all trips up but it is something to keep in mind when choosing your tickets.

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