Korea Train Experience (Mugunghwa): Seoul to Jeongdonjin.
Mugunghwa train (Mugunghwa derived from Korea's national hibiscus flower) is a non express train service in Korea. It is said to be the cheapest train travel for cross country in Korea.
We booked this train last weekend heading to the east coast of Korea for a short beach holiday and romantic sunrise view for our babymoon trip. Our destination started in Cheongnyangni Station terminal and we arrived 30minutes earlier.
First, we need to go to the ticket counter with our online booking printout. Once we received our ticket, we need to wait at this area (pictures below) 15minutes before our scheduled departure. Please note that train departure/arrival in Korea is usually on time.
People lining up usually heads to the same train, so follow the crowd or ask the staff beforehand to confirm.
We booked on first class coach for KRW 24,500 for one person.
First Class Seat or Economy Class Seat?
For difference of KRW 3,200 between this two, there's not much difference.
For first class, one could get bigger leg room, less people in a coach, more comfortable seats and easily access toilet for first class passenger only. However, economy class is quite comfortable too.
Economy class coach is more colder (during the summer) and nearer to Caferia facilities.
First Class Seat
Second Class Seat
But one cool thing, all seats can be turned backwards so you can face your friends or family of four.
For budget hunter, a cheaper option of seat, which is unassigned or standing is available.
This cost for only KRW 18,100 for our destination.
Apart from train toilets and sink, there's cafeteria.
Personally, it's better to bring your own food. However, there's lots of snacks and drinks are available in the cafeteria.
Other than cafe, there's massage chair, mini karaoke room / noraebang, drinks vending machine, video arcade and even computer pc! Lots of plug available in the train for you to charge your handphone. Lot's of things to do to kill our 6 hours time train travel.
Now, back to our experience...
As we leave Seoul, big buildings are replaced with large paddy fields view in the area of Gyeonggi-do province where Seoul and other satellite cities are located. Occasional small cattle farm are being seen from far. Sometimes, I wonder how beef is being supplied in Korea, lots of demands but I only saw small farms. We then head further east and enter towards Gangwon-do province. From our non express train window view, large paddy fields are replaced with small farms with village houses. As it is summer, we found corn, onion and other vegetables are being planted. Occasionally, we saw farmers in their farm doing their daily chores.
The further we head east, river streams flow are getting larger. It looks clean from far, but it seems there's nobody swimming in there. Gangwon-do is blessed with mountainous topography, such as Seorak and Taebak Mountain. During winter, this area becomes ski resorts. However, it's summer, our view is now replaced with muscular mountain peak, and it was pleasing to the eyes to see such greenery. Later did we know that before 1945, Gangwon-do and it's North Korean neighbour used to form a single province. (Reference). As our train heads nearer to our destination, gorgeous sea view alongside our window started to show off, teasing us to get to the beach.
After much 6 hours ride, we finally reached Jeongdongjin, a station that's closest to the seashore. As we hop off from our train, the sea is just next to the station.