Incheon Airport is the gateway to Korea. It is located an hour west of Seoul, on an island outside of Incheon. Incheon is a beautiful, modern airport that opened in 2002, just in time for the World Cup. Incheon's 35 million passengers per year makes it the eighth busiest airport in the world.
The airport has been named the world's best airport each year from 2005-2012. Its features include an ice rink, on-site spa, a small movie theater, free shower facilities, a library, and a multitude of restaurants and duty free shops. There is also a free shuttle to nearby golf courses and a casino.
To get from Incheon Airport to Seoul take a bus, taxi, or the new subway line called AREX. The distance from Seoul to the airport is just 30 miles, but plan on about an hour no matter which mode of transport you choose.
Incheon is located at the end of Seoul Subway Line 1, so is easily accessible from Seoul. Incheon also has its own subway line that runs north/south intersecting Line 1 at Bupyeong Station.
Subway trains run every 6 to 10 minutes on weekdays from about 5am to midnight. From Incheon to Seoul Station is about 40 km, it will take perhaps an hour, and the fare was 1500 Won in 2007.
The newest line in Incheon is the Arex (Airport Express) line which runs from Seoul Station to the Incheon Airport, making transportation to and from the new airport cheap and easy! The future of this high-speed route will be a train directly to Seoul Station from the Airport, taking about 45 minutes and costing 8,000 Won. Local service will also be available, making more stops, but costing jest a few thousand Won. The Arex also has a stop at the Incheon Line making local transportation to and from Incheon simple, too.
There are two AREX services, one which goes non-stop from Incheon Airport to Seoul station, and the other that stops at all stations. Unseo is 2 stops from the airport. From the station it is a short walk to the hotels.
The most beautiful airport which I have ever seen was the almost nine-year-old airport at Inchon in South Korea which serves Seoul and (at least indirectly) all of South Korea. This airport, designed by Fentress Architects of Denver, Colorado. Not everyone agrees with me that it is the "most beautiful" but it has frequently appeared at, or near, the number one spot on various lists of the world's best airports. Not only is it efficient and welcoming, it beautifully showcases much of Korean culture. The bow of the roofline reflects a traditional Korean temple, the arrival hallways are lined with Korean artifacts from the past 5,000 years, and the train terminal is one of the few places on earth that still looks genuinely futuristic. We did not go into Seoul during my last trip but I understand that the train service from the airport to the center of Seoul is a wonder all to itself.
There are at least two relatively out of the way places well worthy of a visit if at all possible. They are the Pine Tree Garden in Millennium Hall and the Wildflower Garden in the basement of the Transportation Center.
A Tourist Information Booth is located just outside Incheon Subway station to the left. Look for the big, brown "i". The workers here are very friendly and helpful. They provided us with plenty of maps and directions, and got us on the right buses to visit Wolmi-do and the Incheon Landing Memorial Hall. Definitely worth a stop if this is your first time in Incheon.
Here are some links to other tourist inofrmation websites I have found useful when visiting Incheon:
Incheon's Official Home Page (http://english.incheon.go.kr)
Incheon's Subway ([www.urbanrail.net/as/inch/incheon.htm)
Life in Korea's Incheon Page (http://www.lifeinkorea.com/travel2/Inchon)
If there are a few persons travelling together or if there is no constraint on your budget, then you can take a taxi from Incheon International Airport to Seoul. There are lots of taxis waiting outside the arrival hall, but do note that the cost is expensively (at least US$70 one way per taxi).
Travelling time is about 1 hour to Seoul and the taxi driver should know the major hotels in the city. If you are travelling to some other lesser known places, it will be best you show the location on a map or prepare a written note of the location name in Korean language (this really helps a lot based on my travels in Korea). Be prepared that some taxi drivers cannot understand English well, as for other languages it wlll be worse.
There is a very good network of airport buses from Incheon International Airport to different parts of Seoul as well as to the major cities all over South Korea. There is a airport bus counter at the arrival hall with staff who can communicate in English. Simply tell them where you want to go and they will help you. The buses are very frequent, comfortable and the bus stops are just outside of the arrival hall.
For more information on the different routes, bus numbers, destinations, cost etc etc, please check out the website below. Personally, I think the airport buses are very good with wide coverage, and the cost is not too expensive.
The Incheon International Airport is the main airport of South Korea, so most of the tourist will arrive via this airport. The main carriers using this airport are Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, and of course it is served by many many other airlines all over the world.
More information is at the official airport website below. One important thing to note is that if you were to buy the famous Korean dish Kimchi back to your own country, you need to put it in the main check-in luggage and not the hand carry luggage because there is liquid inside and this may exceed 100ml (which is not allowed nowadays because of security reason). Some of my friends encounter problems and have to go through a lot of trouble bringing the kimchi back home to my country Singapore.
You need not to move around much out of the airport essentially, as Incheon International Airport consists of only one terminal building at the moment.
If you are just wanting to travel around the immediate vicinity of the airport, there is a free airport shuttle service. The pickup points are located at the Departure level (not the Arrival). But I can assure you there is nothing to explore there. There are only some office buildings and 2 high rise hotels. The shopping complex (Airjoy) on the first stop is very quiet and has a very low occupancy, except for the large supermarket that is located at the basement.
Other alternatives to get to Airjoy - just get on the Hyatt Regency Hotel Shuttle bus, or the Best Western shutte bus, then just walk nearby. The buses for these hotels are located at Arrival level, near exit 13.
Buses are the only way to go to move out of Incheon to Seoul and other parts of Korea. Their high speed rail system is not ready yet. The price of the bus tickets to Seoul is ~ 7500 won (Seoul Station (Hi Speed train station) (Nr 601)), ~ 8000 won (Gangnam, Myeongdong, Jamsil). Take note of the area that you want to go to, because these areas in Seoul are quite a far off from each other, but they still have accessiblity to the city's metro system. If you want get straight into the shopping experience in Seoul, get on the bus to Myeongdong.
If you need to travel out further than Seoul, there are buses going to Daegu (~27,000 won / 4.5 hours), Gyeongju (~29,000 won, 5 hours) and Busan (most furthest away from Incheon). To Seoul is takes around 1 - 1.5 hours. You can check the whole listing of destinations at : http://www.airport.or.kr/eng/airport/
Or if you can enquire at the tourist information counters where they speak english.
The ticket booths sells the tickets but generally they do not speak much english to help you out on how to get to a certain place.
Korean Air was great value; it's more of a budget airline compared to some of the more well known ones. As it is cheaper, it doesn't have a lot of the luxuries that the some more expensive airlines provide. That said, I really enjoyed my flights with them. The in-flight staff offer great service and were always very friendly and cheerful.
The stopover was also an adventure in itself. Korean Air put us up for a free nights accommodation at the Hyatt Regency. Which also included meals both dinner and an awesome buffet breakfast.
Korean Air also offers a selection of short programs along with a variety of movies and music, both Korean and English. The meals were average but what do you expect for airline food ;-)
If you can’t afford to go on a better airline, I would definitely recommend Korean Air for the cheaper option.
I have just taken the ferry from Tianjin (China) to Incheon in Sth Korea. The trip took about 26 hours but in business class, the time went by so quick. The cabin was a 4 berth and included a tv and DVD player (ideal if you've just bought a bunch of cheap DVD's in China).
Cost was about 1,000 Yuan or 804 for students (business class). Economy was slightly cheaper, and featured dormitory type rooms.
From Incheon International Airport,
- take the bus no. 112 to Sammok Wharf.
- At the Sammok Wharf, take the ferry to Sindo Island