Since I’ve been traveling a lot lately, I have pretty much familiarize myself with the Korean bus reservation system (also with the help of my Korean friends)! I thought this post might be useful for those who are coming to Korea for exchange in the future!
What you need:
1. An alien registration card
2. A Korean check card (or ATM card)
3. A computer or smartphone (Download this application call “전국고속버스운송조합 (코버스)” or just key in “kobus”)
The alien card is the like the key to everything in Korea. With the card, you can basically do ANYTHING. Getting a telephone line, open a bank account, access Internet banking, sign up for music shows and so much more!
I have no problem opening a bank account since Hana Bank allows foreigners to open a bank account with their passport. But I believe this also means that I have limited access to the banking services they provide.
For example, before updating my details, I tried booking my bus ticket from Seoul to Busan but I wasn’t able to do it. My friend also didn’t manage to make a booking probably because of the same reason (I think..). So do remember to go to the bank to update your details once you receive your alien card!
You can check the bus schedule in English here: http://www.kobus.co.kr/web/eng/02_service/service01.jsp
Making a reservation through phone
Do the search! You can refine your search based on the “Bus Grade” but usually I just leave it and see what are the available timings for me.
The available timings will appear next. The bus grade are classified into 3 different types: General, Excellent and M/Excellent. There are 45 seats in General buses, 28 seats in Excellent and M/Excellent buses. Usually general buses cost the cheapest since there are more seats, which also means, less comfortable. But I think it’s pretty okay for me! The leg room is similar to a economy class airline seat. I took the general bus once to Seoul and it was a bearable 4.5 hours journey!
Select your seats that you want.
Check the two boxes. These are basically cancellation fees condition which I am not very sure about… If I am not wrong, there will be no penalty for it if you are to cancel the reservation 2 days before departure. Otherwise, they would be a 10%~20% charge on your ticket depending on when you cancel it. But I actually cancelled my Yeosu->Busan bus ticket on the day itself and I still managed to get my full refund back at the ticketing counter? Hmm. It might be because I paid in advance (via the Internet)! Read more below!
Fill in your details!
Reservation complete! To collect your ticket, pass your card to the officers in the ticketing office and tell them you made a reservation.
Making a reservation through Internet
Similar to step 2 of phone booking, do the search!
Select your seats and input your card details.
And you should be done! To double confirm, you could always retrieve for your reservation.
Retrieving and cancellation of your reservation
My reservation is confirmed! I could also make a cancellation on this page if I want to.
Now this is the part that I’m confused. All my friends told me to make the payment first since I purchased the tickets online. And I guess that gave me a 100% refund for my Yeosu->Busan bus ticket? But on the other hand, I was also afraid that if I were to make payment online, I wouldn’t be able to get the refund back since I already PAID for my ticket and Korea reservations system work such in a way that you are only charged when you collect the tickets.
Ah, anybody wants to clarify this?
But if your schedule is confirmed, you can just proceed to make payment!
After payment, you can choose to either print out your ticket or collect at the ticketing counter!
Happy traveling! :)