Gangneung KTX (Pyeongchang bullet train)

Gangneung KTX latest update (November 2017): Welli Hilli Park, Phoenix Park, and Yongpyong/Alpensia have all confirmed they’ll have shuttle buses from their nearest stations (schedules yet to be announced). High1 have confirmed they will have no extra arrangements for the KTX. Oak Valley yet to confirm.

The line is now set to start service in December, with the schedule yet to be announced. Tickets will be available 30 days in advance.

A special Pyeongchang Pass is now available allowing unlimited travel for 5 or 7 days during the Olympics & Paralympics. This is exactly what you need if you’re staying in Seoul and travelling back & forth repeatedly to the events. Full details here; sales period is October 10th to December 10th. You must book your pass by December 10th if you want one!

The newly-built Gangneung KTX bullet train line links Incheon Airport to the port of Gangneung, crossing the north of the country from coast to coast and connecting Seoul to the Winter Olympic venues in Pyeongchang.

Map showing the route of the Gangneung KTX

Construction of the line formed a key part of the Pyeongchang 2018 bid, shortening the Seoul – Pyeonchang travel time from 2.5 hours on the highway to just an hour by train. The line was actually planned regardless of the Olympics, but the awarding of the Games to Korea provided the impetus to finally get it built; the Gangneung KTX is therefore arguably the main legacy of Pyeongchang 2018, along with the purpose-built Jeongseon Alpine Centre.

The new line runs from the city of Wonju across to Gangneung; trains will run along existing tracks from Incheon & Seoul to Wonju, and then onto the new tracks from there.

The stations on the new line are:

Manjong (in Wonju)
Hoengseong
Dunnae
Pyeongchang
Jinbu
Gangneung

The stops in Seoul – Incheon are set to be Incheon Airport, Seoul Station, Cheongnyangni, and Sangbong. The majority of trains (35 per day) will start from Cheongnyangni or Sangbong, both located in the northeast of the city; 16 trains per day will originate from Incheon Airport and stop at Seoul Station then Cheongnyangni Station. Cheongnyangni will therefore have by far the greatest frequency of service.

There’s an accurate map here (and that’s a cool site if you’re interested in Korea and a bit of an infrastructure geek!). The other maps on this page are approximate (I knocked them up on Google Maps):

Map of korea showing the route of the Gangneung KTX

This line will of course be of great benefit to the population in the region, but also game-changing for us skiers and boarders wanting to get to Korea’s best ski resorts from Seoul – travel times will be significantly reduced for a number of Gangwon-do resorts, including but not limited to the Olympic host resorts, as follows (with closest station in brackets):

Map of the Gangneung KTX route also showing ski resort locations

1. Oak Valley (Manjong Station)
2. Welli Hilli Park (Dunnae Station)
3. Phoenix Park (Pyeongchang Station)
4. Jeongseon Alpine Centre (Jinbu Station)
5. Yongpyong & Alpensia (Jinbu Station)
6. High1 (via Gangneung, but still requiring a highway bus from there)

Click on each resort name for its Snow Guide Korea review, with full access details including how the journey is expected to work using the Gangneung KTX.

The journey time from Seoul to Gangneung is expected to be around an hour, with an estimated fare of around 30,000 won ($30 US)

Construction of the Gangneung KTX is already complete, and the line is scheduled to enter full regular service in December 2017.

Tickets can be booked up to 30 days in advance; you can do this on the Korail website, but note that it hasn’t yet been updated with the new stations. If you’re planning on staying in Seoul for the Olympics and taking the train to the venues, there are three key bits of advice – take advantage of the Pyeongchang Pass if you’re making repeated round-trips, reserve your train seats ASAP (i.e. 30 days before) as they’re likely to be at capacity, and try to stay as close as possible to Seoul’s Cheongnyangni Station (in the northeast of the city) if you’re concerned about journey times. If you’re more concerned about being close to good nightlife, sightseeing etc (and don’t mind having to take taxis if you end up back at Cheongnyangni after the Metro finishes), it’s better to stay near Seoul Station.

If you’re trying to work out your Pyeongchang 2018 transportation & accommodation options, see here for more details

For more on Pyeongchang 2018 generally, click here

Any questions about the Gangneung KTX? Leave a message below!

22 comments on “Gangneung KTX (Pyeongchang bullet train)
  1. Eric says:

    Any ideas on how much the train tickets will cost? Will it be better to rent a car?!

    • snorton says:

      Hi Eric, the ticket prices haven’t been confirmed yet, but based on distances the estimated price from Seoul to Gangneung will be 30000 – 40000 won (30 to 40 US dollars), and Seoul to Pyeongchang around 25000.

      Are you going for the Olympics and staying in Seoul? Personally I would prefer to use the KTX, with a rental car as backup plan in case you can’t get KTX tickets.

  2. Emily says:

    Would you recommend staying next to Cheongnyangni station or an area close to Gangneung such as Yangyang or Sokcho? I was also considering Hoengseong
    since it’s along the KTX line. Which one would make more sense?

    I’m leaning toward Cheongnyangni station because I feel like it’s safer to stick with KTX but I’m worried for the events ending close to midnight. Do you think KTX back to Cheongnyangni will still run past midnight?

    • snorton says:

      Hi Emily,

      Hoengseong would be good for sure, if you can find anything there – it’s a very small town.

      Getting back to Cheongnyangni from an event finishing at midnight probably won’t work – remember that you’ll have to take a shuttle bus from the venue to the KTX station, and this could involve some waiting time. We still don’t know the KTX schedule for sure, so it’s impossible to give a concrete answer; but it does seem unlikely you can make it back to Seoul after a midnight finish in Pyeongchang (or anyway, you’d need to leave early). Something close to Gangneung is therefore better for late-finishing events. See my accomodation page for more details:

      http://www.snowguidekorea.com/pyeongchang-2018-accommodation-winter-olympics/

  3. Hannah says:

    Any idea on what the KTX timetable might be? I’m planning to stay in Seoul since I only have tickets for 1 event in Gangneung. My primary concern is that event I am going to ends around midnight. 🙁

    • snorton says:

      Hi Hannah,

      I’m afraid we’re STILL waiting for them to announce the timetables… I feel your frustration!

      To be honest though, I’m not optimistic about your being able to get the KTX back to Seoul after a midnight finish in Gangneung. Even if there is a midnight train, remember you’ll still have to get from the venue to the KTX station.

      Hopefully they come up with some 1am trains to solve all these issues, but if they don’t you’ll need to either be ready to leave the event slightly early, or ready to spend the night in Gangneung and catch an early train back

      You might just be able to find a room available in Gangneung – see my accoodation page: http://www.snowguidekorea.com/pyeongchang-2018-accommodation-winter-olympics/ – but if not, or you don’t want to, it’s perfectly possible in Korea to safely wait out a few hours overnight in a 24-hr cafe or a (private) karaoke booth. Not ideal, of course, but it’s a last-resort option.

      Let me know if you have any more questions

  4. gina saylor says:

    i can’t get the url http://www.letskorail.com to work. none of the links work, either. grrrr.

    • snorton says:

      Hi Gina,

      Sorry you’re having issues… if you just google “Korail” that should get it for you.

      Or perhaps it’s a problem with your browser settings for popup windows? I say this because the Korail site usually tries to open one or two popups when you load it; if your browser is auto-blocking them, it could be preventing the site from loading. Try checking your settings and changing it if you have it set to autoblock popup windows, then try Korail again.

      Hope this helps!

  5. Yanni says:

    We will travel from Busan to Phoenix Park. What will be the best way?

    • snorton says:

      Hi Yanni,

      When are you going? If it’s after the new Gangneung KTX train opens in December, the fastest way would be to go via Seoul on the KTX i.e. main KTX line from Busan to Seoul Station, then the Gangneung KTX from there to Pyeongchang Station.

      Alternatively you could travel up the east coast by train or bus from Busan to Gangneung, then take the KTX from there to Pyeongchang Station. This route is much slower, but also cheaper.

      • Yanni says:

        Hi thx for the reply.
        il be going on 11dec. Do you think the Gangneung KTX will already open by then?

        • snorton says:

          hmmm, it’s really hard to say, sorry! The schedule still hasn’t been announced, we just know that the service will start some time in December. I’ll post an announcement when we finally know the start date!

  6. Dicky says:

    Hi Snorton,

    I would like to take KTX from Incheon airport to Pyeongchong station for my trip to Yongpyong during Christmas holidays. May I know when will KTX schedule for December be announced?

    • snorton says:

      Hi Dicky,

      I’m afraid we still don’t know when the schedule will be announced; however, as rail tickets are usually available 30 days in advance, I do expect it should be announced some time in November.

      This page will be updated as soon as the information is available!

  7. yanqiu says:

    Hi, i will like to bring my kids to play with real snow (if possible) around 11th to 14th december.

    may i know which ski resort with the best possibility of seeing real snow?

    my 3 kids are aged 8 years, 5 years and 3 years. I will also like to ask is there any ski resort with snow sledding and tube sledding while my 8 years old one learn skiing.

    • snorton says:

      Hi Yanqiu,

      All of the ski resorts will have real snow in mid-December; Alpensia has no skiing this season though, so definitely avoid Alpensia if your 8-year old wants ski lessons.

      Basically, if you want to do a day trip from Seoul, as you have 3 kids I’d recommend Vivaldi Park or Konjiam for the ease of access. Whereas if you want to go and actually stay at a resort, High1, Yongpyong, or Muju are probably the best choices. (they all have sledding & English-speaking instructors available)

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

  8. Serena Kuan says:

    Can I purchase the train ticket from Seoul to Jinbu station?
    I plan to visit Alpensia on 25th December 2017. Will it be available? If Yes, I have plan to stay in Terrace on the cloud, where is the nearer station? Is it Jinbu?
    Please advise.
    Thank you

    • snorton says:

      Hi Serena,

      Yes, Jinbu is the correct station. You can get tickets from Seoul to Jinbu, but they’re not available yet – Korean train tickets are usually available 30 days in advance, though we’re still waiting for the schedule announcement for the new train. This page will be updated as soon as we know the schedule!

      Until then, let me know if you have any more questions!

  9. Kevin says:

    Great information for those of us coming over for the Olympics, thank you for posting this! I plan to purchase a Pyeongchang Pass for the duration of my visit. You specifically mention “reserve your train seats ASAP”. Will KTX trains require a reservation for an actual seat on the train(s) that riders plan to use? I assumed with the Pyeongchang Pass you would be guaranteed admission and seats would be first come, first serve until capacity is reached. Will I need to make a reservation for a seat on the specific train(s)/time(s) I intend to travel on IN ADDITION to purchasing my PyeongChang Pass? Thanks for clarifying. Also, do KTX trains allow riders to stand if all seats are occupied?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Kevin, thanks for reading & commenting, good to hear it’s useful!

      First of all, yes Korail recently announced you’ll be able to stand on the Gangneung KTX if there are no seats available on the train you want to ride, so capacity should be adequate.

      As for reservations, yes from my understanding of it you do need to make a seat/standing reservation for the specific train you wish to ride, in addition to the pass you hold. If you want to actually have a seat, I suggest doing this 30 days in advance! Of course it’s hard to know which train you’ll be wanting to board, especially if coming back to Seoul directly after an event finishes in Pyeongchang, so it may not be practical in such a case to book ahead… in that case, I guess you’ll just have to make the reservation on the day and put up with standing for an hour.

      Btw are you planning to stay in Seoul, and have you booked yet? (You need to be careful not to stay too far from the KTX stations)

  10. barb says:

    how far is the new Le Meridien in Seoul from the Olympic station?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Barb,

      Le Meridien is in Gangnam, near Shinnonhyeon Station… from there it’s half an hour by Metro to Seoul Station (1 transfer) or 35 minutes (2 transfers) to Cheongnyangni Station (the latter has more KTX departures for Pyeongchang)

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