What is a Korean Rail Pass?
The Korean Rail Pass (KR Pass) is a discounted ticket allowing unlimited rail travel throughout South Korea (Republic of Korea) over a 1, 3, 5, 7 or 10 consecutive day period. It is only available in 2nd class, however 1st class travel and overnight sleeper travel is possible upon payment of a supplement, usually half price the regular fare. The pass is valid to travel anywhere in South Korea, on all services run by Korail, including the fast KTX trains.
The KR Pass provides the visitor to South Korea with convenience and great savings if used wisely, and even if some restrictions on trains do apply, there are no restrictions on date or season. Please note that there is no similar pass available within Korea, and if travelling with any Korean friends or family, or any non-Korean people not entitled to use the pass, they will have to purchase full-price tickets.
A KR Pass in order to pay off its price will require a fair bit of travel, for example a Seoul-Busan return trip.
• The Korea Railpass is available to travellers entering the Republic of Korea on a non- Korean passport with “Temporary Visitor” entry status, which stays in South Korea for a period not longer than 6 months.
• It is very important to note that Korean citizens resident abroad can use the KR Pass only if they have a permanent residency status in a foreign country. It is up to the individual Korean citizen to present/declare full proof of his/her status when buying the rail pass and when exchanging the railpass voucher once in Korea.
What am I Buying?
Appointed agents sell the Korea Rail Pass across the world as an Exchange Voucher, only outside South Korea. On arrival in Korea the customer will exchange the voucher for the actual rail pass at any Korea Railway Station and proceed to make reservations for specific trains, free of charge.
The voucher must be exchanged within 60 days from the date it was issued – failing to do so, the voucher is automatically cancelled by the system and is no longer valid.
The exchange is possible at main exchange service area such as Seoul, Yeongdeungpo, Daejeon, Dongdaegu, Busan, Kyungju and Kwangju station.
To make the exchange of the voucher into the actual pass you will be requested to show your voucher and passport.
All trains operated by Korail, the national railway of South Korea, are included. KTX, Saemaeul and Mugunghwa trains can be used in 2nd class travel (also known as general or standard seating).
Non-KTX trains are poetically called as Saemaeul (새마을), “New Village”), Mugunghwa (무궁화), “Rose of Sharon”) and Tonggeun (통근), corresponding roughly to express, semi- express and local services.
Saemaeul trains are a little pricier than buses, while Mugunghwa are about 30% cheaper. However Saemaeul trains are extremely comfortable, having seats that are comparable to business class seats on airplanes. Unfortunately since the introduction of the KTX, there are much fewer Saemaeul and Mugunghwa services.
Tonggeun, formerly Tonggil, are the cheapest, but long-distance, non-aircon services have been phased out and they’re now limited to short stopping commuter services. Most long- distance trains have an entertainment car with a small cafe/bar, computers with internet access (KRW500 for 15 minutes) and a few trains even have private compartments with coin- operated karaoke machines!
Smoking is not permitted on any Korean trains or stations (including open platforms).
KR Pass holders can access the Cinema coach on KTX trains, at a discounted rate, currently KRW7,000.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
The KR Pass is not valid for travel in 1st class and overnight sleeper, however if a passenger wishes to travel in 1st class he is allowed to do so paying only 50% of the cost. At present, the 1st class upgrade can only be purchased in Korea.
The KR Pass does not include travel on subway/underground services and tourist trains.
Seat reservation in 2nd class, usually available free of charge, is not available to KR Pass holders if travelling during South Korea main holiday periods, i.e. Lunar New Year’s day, Thanksgiving day, Summer holiday, etc. – however customers can still board the trains with the KR Pass even without a specific reserved seat.
WHAT ABOUT REFUND?
A KR Pass voucher can be refunded only if it has not been ‘exchanged’ for a pass – and within 6 months from the Issuing Date; in such case only a small handling and/or administration fee is usually charged (currently 15%).
After the voucher has been ‘exchanged’ a refund is no longer possible; no refund can be made after the validity date has started.
Extension of the validity period of a KR Pass is not allowed, and if a pass has been lost or stolen no refund is possible – however if the voucher has been misplaced before it has been turned into a KR Pass this can be re-issued free of charge.
For the 2015 Korean Rail Pass Prices please call us on 0191 246 0708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org