KTX Ride: My first bullet train experience

5:26 PM

Awesome was an understatement for my first bullet train experience in Korea! It was my first time riding a bullet train and my first time to travel alone in a very foreign place. The experience was both scary and liberating at the same time. Literally, I was lost in translation. 

I have shared here my very first international conference held in the most southern part of Korea, Changwon City. My ride to KTX or the Korea Train Express was one of my many firsts experience  in my travel to Korea.Though it was not the fastest bullet train, it was relatively efficient being able to traverse Changwon to Gwamyeong in two (2) hours (5 hours ride if you take a bus). 

I came from Chagwon (in green mark) to Gwangmyeong via KTX
So from the CECO, I bid goodbye to Kuya Alvin and Kuya Paulie. I was the first one to travel up north to Seoul since I am meeting Miniee, Jenny and their family in Incheon. So despite my hesitation and fears in travelling alone in a country where only few can understand and speak English, I composed myself and braved travelling alone. I took a cab and while on my way to train station, I was able to took some pictures of Changwon since I haven't explored it thoroughly.

Sights in Changwon City

I already have a printed ticket since our liaisons have already arranged it all for us. The ride from Changwon to Gwangmyeong costs me 41,900 won (around 1,800Php). It was quite expensive but it was all worth it. By the way, if you want to travel Korea, they have this program wherein you will be given an unlimited KTX pass. It's cheaper because if you are to travel for 7 days and you want to explore South Korea from North to South using the KTX, it will only cost you 75,000 Won (around 2500-3000Php). For more information about the fares and train schedule, you may check the KTX website here.  

Upon arrival, I really don't know what to do, so I used my common sense and proceeded to the ticketing station. My scheduled trip was at 5:35PM, I queued at 4:45PM, to my dismay I waited for 30 minutes, I thought there was a problem with my ticket since the ticket lady called someone on the phone, who was not answering. I was just standing there, not being able to understand a thing. My patience was being tested. When it has been 20 minutes since I queued, I asked her, what's the problem? They just keep on saying, no problem. I am explaining but they don't seem to understand what I'm saying. Eventually, I was approved and they told me to proceed to the train station without giving me anything. They told me to just show my printed ticket. Damn! If I have known, I should have skipped going to the ticketing office.  Anyway, at that time I was still tense. I don't know where should I go and it was really hard asking people. I just go with the flow. In the train station, I asked the guard if where should I wait since there was a seat number provided in my printed ticket, however there were two numbers and I don't know what that stands for. So I rely on him in good faith and waited on the place where he asked me to wait. The train arrived. I immediately ride on it and look for the seat number 12 as indicated in my ticket. But, I was approached by another person saying that it was his seat. Goddamnit! I already put my luggage above and it's not easy to take it our since it's very heavy. Grrr. He told me that I got the wrong couch. So I took out my luggage and proceeded to the next couch while the train is moving. My problem in the next couch was, I didn't know where to sit since I can't see the seat numbers, maybe brought about by anxiety and mixed feelings. I just sat in the first vacant seat I saw. Fortunately, a guard arrived and I asked where my seat is located. Finally, I'm at peace.

KTX Changwon Station, Korea

What to expect in KTX

It's a bullet train, yes, but you won't feel that it is moving while inside it.  Although when you look at the window you can see that it was really moving fast, but everything inside was at still.  What I particularly like was the fact that the KTX is equipped of wifi, so you will not be bored. The experience was like riding a plane. It has foldable table. I was in economy class, that it why, its a bus type. But they also have a special seat. The special seat is more spacious and it's four-seater, two-seats facing each other. It also have a big table in the middle. 

I was really thankful for the wifi since I ran-out of prepaid credits to contact Minhee, who will pick me up at Gwangmyeong. I used my Kakao Talk to call her. I was really excited and exhausted at the same time. I slept after I talked to her but I alarmed my phone so I will not miss my station. I was scheduled to arrive at 8:10PM. 

There are eight (8) stations between Changwon and Gwangmyeong. After every station, people come and go, and my seatmate changed twice. You really need to prepare yourself if you are alighting since I think based on my estimate, you need to alight for three minutes only. So I was ready to meet Minhee and Jimin in Gwangyeong, only to be shocked that the Gwangyeong station was like an airport. I have a hard time looking for Minhee and Jimin since I thought it would be easy as there will be only one (1) exit, but no there are 8 exits, left and right.

Gwangmyeong Station, Korea
Since I have no phone credit, I looked for a phone booth. Luckily, I have a lots of coins. Finally, I contacted Minhee, but since they are on the other side, it still took them a while to find me. But I was ok, the station was very high end, there are LED TV's to entertain you while waiting.

Finally, after three (3) years, Minhee, Jenny and I were reunited! I was picked-up by the whole family of Minhee and I was really flattered. They brought me to restaurants in Incheon where we ate dinner together and afterwards, had some bonding time and enjoyed the nightlife of Incheon.

Over all, the train experience was superb! and the feeling of being lost, weirdly, was my favorite part!

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  1. Awww ang cute na nakakatakot siguro malost mgisa hahaha

    namimiss mo na siguro talaga si te di bale ilang months na lang and mganyong ha seyo ka na ulit hahah :)

    1. hahaha.. tomo! dapat lang matuloy ang aking Ultimate Korea trip! LOL :)


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