January 10, 2008 08:35
A regular weekend round trip between Seoul and Busan by bullet train KTX costs W102,400, but everyone wants a cheaper ticket (US$1=W941). The Chosun Ilbo offers tips on traveling at a bargain price.
◆ If you plan to travel on weekdays, first check on tickets on a surprising 30 percent discount on the website of Korea Railroad. Follow these steps to take advantage of the cheaper opportunities: log on to the KORAIL website (you must have membership) and click on the reservation section and then the discount corner. The cheaper tickets are not provided in large quantity and are therefore soon sold out. If your are an early bird, you can make a round trip between Seoul and Busan for W70,000. But one problem is that the cheaper tickets are for trains running at inconvenient times like early morning.
◆ Buy a ticket seven days before your planned weekday trip and you can get a 7 percent discount. If you purchase a ticket two months before a trip, the discount is up to 20 percent.
◆ If you get your ticket issued as a form of mobile text message instead of a printout, you can get an additional 2 percent discount. If you choose a seat in reverse to the moving direction of the train, you get an additional 5 percent discount.
◆ If you travel with three other adults, take advantage of a group discount. A set of four tickets for group travelers is up to 37.5 percent cheaper. To use the opportunity, some people find travel companions on the Internet and form a group with strangers. But take extra care in case you fall prey to swindlers. And there is another problem: adjusting a trip schedule to that of strangers is difficult.
◆ Some credit cards offer a 5 percent discount on the bullet train to their customers.
◆ If you plan a trip to Mokpo or Busan with friends, don't miss the special offer for travelers to the southern port cities. It runs through late February (except for the Lunar New Year's holiday period) and offers a 35 percent discount to 100 travelers on a first come-first-served basis. Remember the conditions attached to the special treat: the discounted tickets are valid for only a small number of trains and you must purchase them at least three days before the departure date.
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