On Track In South Korea

When in beautiful South Korea, take the KTX to travel across the country
Busan's Haeundae Beach

IF you're obsessed with all things hallyu (Korean wave), and want to explore South Korea, but don't know where to start – here's a quick guide to get you started.

Your adventure begins in Incheon International Airport – which is only about six-and-a-half hours from Kuala Lumpur via AirAsia X.

From there, you can travel around the country via South ­Korea's high-speed rail system, the KTX (Korean Train Express).

Running on four main lines (Gyeongbu Line, Honam Line, Gyeongjeon Line, and Jeolla Line) and designed to reach speeds of 305km per hour, the KTX remains the top choice for locals and tourists alike because of its efficiency, safety and ­comfort.

The most heavily-travelled line is the Gyeongbu Line, which ends in the iconic metropolitan city of Busan, located at the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula.
The entire journey takes less than three hours via the KTX, cutting the original travel time by almost half.

Most people are already ­familiar with the city's ­sweeping Haeundae Beach, but ­another great place to visit is the ­Bujeon Market, a large indoor ­marketplace where you can buy all sorts of produce, seafood, clothing and souvenirs.

You can also find peace in Hardong Yonggungsa, one of the more popular Buddhist temples situated on the coast, or shop in Shinsegae Centum City, which holds the Guinness World Record as the largest shopping complex in the world.

But of course, don't forget to make stops along your way before you arrive in Busan.

You can stop at Daejeon ­Station and visit the Daejeon Museum of Art, which features modern art by both South ­Korean and international artists.

Or stop by Dongdaegu Station, and take a walk through Daegu, the fashion capital of the country, and experience the nightlife in Banwoldang which is filled with restaurants, bars, cafes, shopping spots
and more.

Otherwise, hop onto the Jeolla Line to get to Jeonju, South Korea's most popular destination among the locals.

Turn it into a foodie trip and try the Jeonju bibimbap (rice topped with vegetables, chilli paste and egg), makgeolli (­traditional unfiltered rice wine), and more at Jeonju's thriving street food scene.

You could also take the Honam line and stop by Mokpo Station in Jeollanam-do province for cultural sights and ­sightseeing activities.

Or visit the Yeosu Hanwha Aqua Planet which is the second biggest aquarium in South Korea.

Alternatively, board the Gyeongjeon Line and stop at Changwon Station.

Changwon, which is the capital city of Gyeongsangnam-do province in the country's southeast, is an ideal place for those who appreciate the ­artistic side of things.

From murals in alleys to colourful buildings, this city has dozens of parks, gardens, trails and plazas to explore.

AirAsia X flies two times daily to Seoul, and four times weekly to Busan. For more, visit the AirAsia X website.