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Guide to KORAIL's O Train & V Train

Sightseeing trains are gaining popularity in Korea and it is one of the things you have to try when you're there! Today I'll be sharing on O Train & V Train which started its operations sightly more than a year ago on April 2013. These trains journey through Korea's inland valleys with the O-train looping around the central inland region, running through the provinces of Chungcheongbuk-do, Gangwon-do, and Gyeongsangbuk-do. While the V-train, connecting Buncheon in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province and Cheolam in Gangwon-do Province, runs through scenic valleys. Detailed information on these trains can be found on VisitKorea.

I realized there is a lack of information on the site as to how you can purchase the tickets online or offline and how to best plan the route if you would like to take both trains plus return to Seoul on the same day. So here's a simple post on how I purchased my tickets on the spot and the mistake I made(and you can avoid if you read this post), but thanks to 2 lovely Korean ladies I still managed to board these trains! :)

To start off, there are 2 options for you to purchase the tickets. You can do it online via KORAIL's website for a one-day pass(which I think is more worth it if you're taking both O&V Train), do note that this is in Korean only, the English site only does reservation for KR Pass which I think is different as the price differs quite abit. I bought mine on the spot, the day I arrived at Seoul for 38,300won for youths and 54,700won for adults. If you're there for a longer stay like me, you can buy it on the spot, otherwise reserve your pass online with help from a Korean friend as the train passes sell fast on peak seasons like April-Spring, October-Autumn and January-Winter.

*13/10/2014 Update: O & V Train passes are not available to be reserved online, you can only buy them separately so best to head down to Seoul Station to get the passes! You can also contact KORAIL at +82-1599-7777 for more information.
Next, if you reserved your passes online or if you want to purchase the passes, visit these ticketing counters on the day you arrive at Seoul via the airport railroad. This is not only more convenient(not having to travel there on purpose just to do this) but also to better plan your itinerary in case the dates are not available. I bought mine on the spot and the dates that I wanted initially were taken up, luckily my trip was long and my itinerary was flexible. One mistake I made here was, I didn't know that you will still need to arrange your seating arrangements at a separate counter. Do note that the staffs at the ticketing counters speak very limited/simple English, so most of the time they might not understand what you're asking, if you have any questions, ask the ladies at the information counter.

*Please double check your passes that the right date is printed, my mum's pass was printed wrongly and we had to make an extra trip to get it changed.
So after you purchased your passes, make your way to this information counter(all located near each other) and inform the lady as to how you wish to plan the route(whether you want to return on the same day or stay over at a certain region for a few days) and they will do the seating arrangements for you plus plan out the train timings that you need to adhere to. The V Train is more popular among Koreans so this step is important if not you might not be able to get a seat on V Train!
Remember to keep the pass and tickets with you at all times and take note of the timings, if you missed the only train from Seoul (Train 4851 7.45am) or towards Seoul (Train 4852 7.50pm), you will be stuck till the next day or you can try to seek for an alternative route by visit the ticketing counters at the various stops. They might not be able to speak/understand English well though.
Do take note of the stations as well, for O Trains, most of the stations they only stop for a minute or two, and even at stations (Chujeon Station) where they mentioned there will be a 10 minute stop, please take note of the time the train is suppose to leave the station. It is more useful to request for a timetable from the information counter at Seoul station. The trains in Korea are always on time and hardly late so if they are behind schedule, they will not stop for long. I remembered the train arrived at Chujeon Station slightly behind schedule and this station had a 10 minute stop so I wanted to exit the train to view the scenery but all of a sudden the train closes it doors and departed from the station in approximately 1-2 minutes, I was so glad I didn't leave the train.

In summary,
1. Reserve your passes online via KORAIL website or visit Tickets counters at Seoul Station
2. Double check the passes and ensure the correct details and date is printed
3. Proceed to Information Counter to plan your route
4. Arrive early on the day of travel to board the train at Seoul station and take note of the train timings
5. Enjoy your trip and take lots of pictures!

I hope this post will be useful to planning on taking these trains soon! :)


Moving on, I will share my experience and some pictures from my trip on O Train & V Train! As I mentioned earlier, I didn't know that you have to get the seating arrangements from a separate counter as I had trouble communicating with the staffs at ticketing counter in English and there is hardly any information online as to how it should be done. They only understand very basic English and during the process of changing the pass for my mum due to an error the previous staff made, the staff serving us mumbled to herself in Korean that she's going crazy from doing this :/ I understand certain Korean words and she was really annoyed while helping us so I'm pretty sure I heard her correctly. Lol.

So on the day we were supposed to board the train, I forgot that there was only one O Train leaving Seoul at 7.45am and we arrived just 5 minutes late; the trains in Korea are punctual so obviously we missed the train. Thankfully there was a really helpful Korean staff who understand English pretty well, led us to the information counter where she discussed with her colleague for an alternative solution to this. Her colleague then helped to plan the route and we took another connecting train to Cheoram station where we board the V Train first before going down to Buncheon station to take the O Train back to Seoul. I'm so glad we bought the one-day pass instead of separate O & V Train tickets as the pass can be used to take any connecting trains on the same day so we took more trains which was pretty fun too.
I didn't take pictures of the connecting trains though, the only picture I took was Pony on board the connecting train :)
On board V Train!

It was a Friday when we took this train and I was surprised to find it empty except for 2 other couples and a young lady traveling on her own. It felt like we booked the whole train! V Train is designed with a large portion of the train walls as glass windows which can be opened to enjoy the fresh air and cooling breeze as the train moves down the tracks.
Glow-in-the-dark flowers are stuck to the ceiling of the train so whenever the train goes through the tunnel, these pieces will light up which is really beautiful. Unlike the O Train, V Train is non-stop and only make a 5-10minute stop at Yangwon station and Seungbu station.
V Train only takes 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete the route which was really short! I enjoyed taking V Train much more than O Train as there were more things to see and I loved the fact that windows can be opened to feel the cool breeze. If there's a chance for me to visit Korea again, I will definitely take the V Train! :)
A picture of us at Buncheon station before we board the O Train! And because of the connecting trains we took earlier, there weren't much time left for us to stop at any stations for a quick sightseeing trip before boarding the next train so it was rather rushed but good in a way because I overheard from 2 other tourists complaining that they had too much time to spend at one of the stations and it was boring.
O Train is designed differently from V Train and looked very much like the connecting trains we took earlier except this four-car train has different seating arrangements such as couple and family room to cater to different crowds.

For this ride, I didn't managed to take any pictures of the scenery as it was getting dark and the train didn't make a 10 minute stop at Chujeon station as promised so I didn't get to see the beautiful scenery from Korea's highest train station. What a waste. Anyway, I find the train ride to be a tad too long and boring, I should have brought along something to read because it wasn't that comfortable to sleep too.
The food on board was pretty good in my opinion, I bought the beef with rice and the side dishes was especially tasty. I could have finished another bowl of rice with that if it weren't for the price. This bento costs 10,000won by the way. Do try it and your trip on board O Train & V Train would be complete ;)
thatrandomgirlįƒ¦

Comments

  1. Hi...Would to check with you. If I would to buy the one day pass online. It should be one type only right? No need to specify is for O and V train right? I still very confused on the ticketing. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Patrick, I can't read Korean but I did try a few options with the help of Google translate and I didn't get to the part where you can get a single pass for both O&V Train. I think it's best to get a Korean friend to help you with it or go down to the ticketing counter to get it. Sorry I can't be of much help! :(

      Delete
  2. Hi Candy, do you have any information on the connecting train you took to Cheoram? We are more keen to take the V Train only but not too keen on the O train cos the travelling time is much longer. Any info you have on the connecting train or V Train, would be much appreciated :) Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pamela,

      You can visit the Information Counter (http://i1289.photobucket.com/albums/b516/thatrandomqirl/Blog%20Pictures/CIMG6373_zpse76b46a4.jpg) and ask them to help plan the route for you before purchasing tickets from the ticketing counters :)

      For my case, I went over to Cheongnyangni station to board a train to Yeongju and then changed over to Cheoram where we took the V Train. Journey took almost 4-5 hours so it's about the same as O Train which was 5 hours ride for one way trip. Hope that helps! :)

      Delete
  3. Hello Candy, Thanks for giving a detailed acct on O&V train. Unfortunately I'm still not sure how it works on the ticketing part. Hope you can help. Here are the questions:
    1) Do we need to purchase both the Korail Pass and the tickets (2 items) only on reaching Korea or do we need to apply for the pass online while at home, then present this pass to buy the tickets when we reach Seoul.
    2) Can we just buy the OV train tickets without the Korail pass.

    Thanks.


    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there, so nice writing about traveling to Korea! Taking a O&V train in Korea is very good experience for foreigners. There are so nice and great places out of Seoul and the best way to visit those cities will be KTX. Here is more KTX tip in Korea for you. There is 'Korail pass' and it means if you have that pass, you can take all KTX line incluse O&V train. There are normal, saver(between 2 and 5 people), youth(ages between 12 and 25) and also you can choose 1day, 3days, 5days and 7days pass whatever you need for you journey. Just one way tickets are all pretty expensive but Korail pass make your traveling money save. If you are interested in this pass, please visit 'Korail' homepage, 'http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizBfKrPassAbout.do' and get more information and you also make a reservation with homepage by yourself. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Candy, are the tickets one-way or return? If one-way, how do we get back to Seoul?

    ReplyDelete

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