queen_beetle_ferry_fukuoka_busan

Ride the Queen Beetle Ferry: Travel Between Fukuoka, Japan and Busan, Korea

One of the great things about Fukuoka is its proximity to other nearby travel destinations like Korea and Taipei.

With lots of delicious street food, unique attractions, and cultural highlights to take in, spots like these are perfect to add to your itinerary if you are looking for fun international trips just a stone’s throw away.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read the full disclosure for more information.

Easy Travel Between Japan and Korea

Did you know that it’s faster to travel by plane from Fukuoka to Korea than to Tokyo?

From Fukuoka Airport to Incheon Airport, the flight only takes an hour and a half. And to Busan Airport, it’s even shorter – just 55 minutes!

If you’re not into flying, then water transport is also an option as several ferries run between Fukuoka and Korea each day.

I recently went on a weekend trip to Korea via the Queen Beetle Ferry and was surprised by just how easy and nice the trip was. Keep reading to learn what it’s like to ride the Queen Beetle from Fukuoka to Korea!

Queen Beetle Ferry and Route

The Queen Beetle is a midsized ship painted a stately red and black. It is named after its beetle-like appearance and makes daily trips between Korea and Japan. Riding the Queen Beetle is a great alternative to flying for those looking to travel by sea.

The Queen Beetle departs Japan from the Hakata International Ferry Terminal and arrives in Korea at the Busan International Ferry Terminal.

Hakata Port

The ride takes approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes. (Plan for additional travel time before departure to pick up tickets at the ticket counter and pass through immigration and baggage screening).

Depending on the day and month, the Queen Beetle makes 1-2 trips each day with departures at 9 am and 3 pm. Find the most updated timetables here.

Booking Queen Beetle Tickets

Tickets for the Queen Beetle can be reserved online here. (Reservations can also be made by calling the ticket office directly).

There are two different ticket classes (Standard and Business) with 3 prices for each class. If you want the cheapest fare, book early!

Prices vary depending on the day, but Standard Class is generally between 4,000-13,000 yen and Business Class is between 11,500-18,000 yen (*one way).

Business Class tickets provide more luxury seats and snacks during the trip. Priority disembarkation is also given to Business Class riders.

Boarding the Boat

The ticket counter at the ferry terminal opens 2 hours before departure. On the day of travel, it is recommended to arrive at least an hour in advance as you will have to wait in line to pick up your tickets, pass through immigration, and complete baggage screening.

Since riding the Queen Beetle involves crossing international borders, immigration and security stations are set up to check passports and bags.

* Depending on your nationality, a visa or K-ETA waiver might be necessary to enter Korea.

Riding the Queen Beetle

After passing immigration and security, you will be able to board the ship. Near the entrance is space to store large suitcases as well as bikes.

Business Class passengers are seated on the second floor while Standard seating is on the first.

The Standard seating area surprised me as it was more stylish and fancy-looking than I had anticipated.

Depending on the seas, the boat can rock quite a bit. When I rode, the waves were 1-1.5 meters tall. Before the ride, seasickness prevention pills were distributed for free.

To be safe, I took the pills and was able to sleep soundly through much of the ride.

For those prone to seasickness, a seat in the center of the boat may be better as these rock less than those by the windows.

Onboard Amenities

  • Vending machines are located onboard and there is a small stall that sells snacks and drinks.
  • The bathrooms are easy to access and are clean
  • Bike parking is available for those transporting bicycles.
  • Eating and drinking are allowed at your seat.
  • There is a Sundeck Observation room on the 3rd floor and Duty-free shopping.
  • As of November 2023, there is no wifi on the ship. (If you need data while in Korea, I recommend getting an eSim like this one!)

Disembarkation

After reaching the ferry terminal, passengers disembark starting with Business Class. In Busan, there is a bit of a walk from the disembarkation point to the inside of the ferry terminal.

Inside the building, you will need to go through immigration before being free to explore the country.

Enjoy this super convenient way of traveling between Japan and Korea!

Final Thoughts

Although traveling between Busan and Fukuoka by ferry is not as fast as flying, I found the trip quite enjoyable. Skipping the airport made the trip overall much less stressful. Additionally, since you can easily walk around the boat to stretch your legs, enjoy the view, and talk with friends, the trip is more comfortable and fun compared to being on a plane.

I was a bit worried about getting seasick, but since I was able to fall asleep during most of the trip, the rocking wasn’t a problem.

If you are thinking of visiting Korea from Fukuoka or vice-versa, I recommend giving the Queen Beetle ferry a try!

For ideas on what to do in Korea, see below for some tips!


Data Service in Korea – eSim

If you are traveling to Korea but don’t have an international data plan, an eSim is the easiest way to go. Many smartphones these days allow for eSim use, but it’s best to check your model’s compatibility in advance.

Electronic sim cards are easy since you purchase and install them into your device before your trip so there is no need to pick up anything once you arrive.

I have used Airlo and eSim Korea for my international travels and have had smooth installation and usage!

If you are only staying for a few days, eSim Korea has some super affordable plans. For my trip, I got 2GB of 4GLTE/day (with throttled data after) for $9.99. Check out eSim Korea’s plans here.

Airlo’s Korea eSim plans are below.

If you will be in multiple regions, consider getting a regional eSim that covers multiple countries.

Using an eSim: Complete the purchase online and a QR code will be sent to your email. Scan the QR code with the phone you want to install the data plan on and follow the installation steps.

eSims won’t activate until they connect with a local network, so you don’t have to worry about using it until you arrive. When you get to the destination country, switch your cellular plan to the eSim, make sure you are not on airplane mode, and you should be good to go! (If you have questions or problems, customer service via email is very communicative.)

Where to Stay

I stayed at the SOYU Hotel which was about 20 minutes away from the ferry terminal. It was within walking distance of Busan highlights like BIFF Square and Jagalchi Market as well as several delicious Korean restaurants!

If you want to be more in the city with bustling restaurants and nightlife, I recommend staying in a place like SeomyeonHotel tt Seomyeon was a place I stayed at with comfortable rooms in good proximity to Busan’s nightlife.

What to Eat in Busan, Korea

There are so many things to eat while in Busan, so this list is just to get you started. If you want to read the complete foodie guide to chowing down in Korea, be on the lookout for one of my next posts, coming soon!

Spicy Hot Pot: Korean cuisine is full of delicious soups. One of my favorite meals was a spicy braised short rib soup with whole octopus. This hot pot was packed with ingredients and even though we chose medium spicy, it was hot! Try out this dish at Sinchon Yangpuni, Seomyeon.

Fried Chicken: When I visit Korea, I eat Korean fried chicken almost every other day. Korean fried chicken is delightfully crispy and there are lots of flavors like sweet, spicy, and garlicky. The fried batter is light making it pair perfectly with beer. Since there are many fried chicken shops, try many and find one that suits your taste.

korea_fried_chicken

KBBQ: Of course, you should also experience Korean BBQ! Typically pork or beef cooked over charcoal coals, Korean BBQ is a meal that’s easy to enjoy with friends. There is no end to KBBQ restaurants in Busan, but one that I especially liked that had great meat was here.

Makgeolli: Korea’s special alcoholic rice drink is called makgeolli. Sweet, milky, and a bit bubbly, this drink can be sipped by itself or paired with freshly grilled Korean BBQ. Deogbun-E is a great place that makes makgeolli using traditional methods and real fruit. The servings are huge so one order goes a long way!

What to Do in Busan, Korea

In addition to eating and drinking, here are some things to do on your next trip to Busan!

Walk around  BIFF Square and Jalgachi Market for lots of shopping, street food, and fresh seafood. Inside the markets, restaurants will cook the seafood fresh from the tanks any way you want. St the small food stalls, enjoy tasting an assortment of small finger foods.

jalgachi_market_busan_korea

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: Further up north and right by the water on a cliff is this is an ornate temple. It takes a bit of time to get to but it’s a cool thing to see that is worth the trip!

Learn to Cook Korean Food: Take a cooking class to learn how to make authentic Korean dishes and shop for ingredients at a local market. I had an awesome time booking through Cookly for a cooking class in Seoul, but there are also classes in Busan you can try out!

Gamcheon Culture Village: This is a beautiful place to walk around that offers views of colorful buildings and the sea.

A full guide of things to do in Korea is coming soon. Stay tuned!

2 thoughts on “Ride the Queen Beetle Ferry: Travel Between Fukuoka, Japan and Busan, Korea”

  1. Hi, I have been watching your youtube on fukuoka and really want to thank you for the tips you gave on your video. I like your youtube. they are very informative and helpful.

    How long did you take to disembark from the queen beetle ferry when you arrive and finally get to clear the immigration an
    d walk to Busan station? I am getting a bit worried as my disembark time from fukuoka to busan is 12.40pm and i need to catch a KTX train to Seoul at 13.25pm. ..sigh… will i make it?

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for watching the videos and reading the travel guides – I’m so happy to hear you find the information helpful.

      It took a while to disembark the ferry. I recall waiting about 20 minutes for Business class travelers to disembark first before the economy passengers. After getting off you have to walk to to the inside of the ferry terminal then go through immigration. I exited the building after everything around 13:50. Since you will have to transfer from the Ferry terminal to the KTX station after, it seems that it will be very difficult to make your currently scheduled train.

Share your thoughts here!