Korea, Seoul Life, Travel

Using Happy Rail Pass for KTX

In my post about Gyeongju, I mentioned about using the Happy Rail Pass to save money when using the KTX trains. Here’s how you can buy and use the pass to travel around Korea.

How to Buy the Pass

UPDATE (18 March 2018): Looks like Korail have stopped the sale of Happy Rail Passes and now every foreigner regardless of duration of stay in Korea can just buy the Korail Pass. You can book your passes directly on the Korail site or if you would like to support this blog, make a purchase here instead.

After purchasing the pass online, you need to exchange the reservation for the actual physical pass within 180 days of purchase in KTX stations. I exchanged mine in Seoul Station, one of the major KTX stations around.

Make sure to bring a printed copy of the reservation confirmation (I did not print it and had to go to a printing shop nearby to do it before I could get my pass), the credit card you used to make the reservation and your passport. Once you ensure that you have all these three documents, go to the information counter (see photo below) in Seoul Station to get your pass.


When you exchange your pass, they will ask for the dates that you’ll be using the pass so make sure your travel plans are set before you exchange your reservation for the pass. If you fail to exchange the pass you reserved after 180 days, you will be refunded 100%. However once you exchange the reservation for a physical pass, it can not be refunded.


How to Use the Pass

Once you get your pass, go to any KTX ticketing booth (not the vending machine) to reserve your actual train seats.

The ticketing booth in Seoul Station

Give the staff your pass and then tell them where you’re heading to, which train timing you want and you will get your boarding ticket with the seat number printed on it. Simple right? You can claim as many tickets as you want as long as the travel time falls in the validity period of your pass.

17 thoughts on “Using Happy Rail Pass for KTX

  1. Hi Jennifer! Thanks for sharing various useful travel tips in Korea (Y) Really helpful esp when I don’t really have time to plan my trip next month – so I just mix-and-match multiple travel blogs for my itinerary :p Btw, may I know the difference between Happy Rail and Korail Pass? seems the same but there’s slight price difference there. Any idea? Thanks so much again!

      1. Oh I see. In that case, do you know if short-period travellers (like me) can use Happy Rail pass? because apparently the 3-day pass price for Happy Rail is cheaper than Korail one haha.

        1. Hmmm You may need to show a valid residence card showing that you are staying more that 3 days. But I am not very sure, because they did not ask me for it 🙂 so it’s your choice but my advice is to not risk it 🙂

      2. I see.. well the price diff is not much because i just need to take KTX twice (seoul-yeosu and gwangju-seoul), so i guess it’s fine to just buy normal ticket instead of pass.. thanks for the prompt reply!

  2. Hi – can i check if i buy the KORAIL Pass i cant choose the timings till i am at the station right? Will it be fully booked by then? what pass should i get if i want to reserve in advance for the timings?

    1. Hi, yes you’ll need to book the tickets in the station directly if you are using the pass. However, you can go there the day before to get your tickets if you’re afraid you wont get tickets. I got all my tickets when I collected my pass in Seoul Station, the day bfore I started using the pass. 🙂 booking a day in advance should suffice 🙂

  3. Thanks for all the info!! Do you know if the 2 or 3 days need to be used consecutively? I was planning a trip on a Sunday of one week, then the following weekend would need to book a round trip from Busan and Seoul. Thanks!

    1. For the 2 and 3 day pass, you need to use it consecutively! But korail just released a new type of pass korail pass called the “Flexible 2-day pass” where you can use the pass for any 2 days within 10 days. There is also the flexible 4 day pass. The updated info is on the korail website linked in the post 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *