By Air, Seoul
I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before, but there is no real tip on here about getting to Korea. Most travelers to Korea get there by air and the airport makes your first initial impression of how your trip will be in my opinion. Korea's main international airport is located at Incheon; about an hour west of Seoul. It is quite frankly one of the best airports i have ever had the pleasure of transisting through. It has all the conviences that any major world airport has but they seem to be more logically placed and easier to use than I have found anywhere else. For instance, there are lockers (free for one day use) for transit passengers located right in the transit area. You only have to ask the information desk for a key (which by the way is very multi-lingual). There is a reasonably priced shower and sauna service. There is even a transit hotel right on the 4th floor if you have a long lay over that doesn't give you time visit the city, but still too long to just sit in a terminal seat waiting for your flight.
After spending three quarters on the passport control, our bags were already out..
So we jumped out to the arriving hall, where people were waiting for their quests..
The first thing we have done inside the custom, is to move to the leftside to the exchange offices.. We have changed as small as possible due the rate was far below the officialcurrency.. During our visit time the currency was 1 USD=1024 KWR, Approx 1 USD=1000 Korean money, so it was easy to make calculations..
After a nine hours flight, we were there at the Incheon airport.. The second but the biggest airport of Seoul. All Major flights are arriving to this airport..
We left the plane and queued in front of the passport control..The first surprise to host us.. Waiting 50 minutes just for the pass control..Yep we were unlucky may be selecting the slowest one, but still this shall not be a nice way to start a journey...
Seoul's Incheon Airport is one of the few places in the Seoul area which has no metro or rail link, and it is a long way from the city.
Taxis are expensive, but there is a good network of express and bus services outside the arrivals terminal. Tickets are available from booths and also from helpers in uniform by most stops.
The buses all have clear markings in English. Korean Airlines operate four services and other companies operate a variety of routes.
Noticeboards and maps show information clearly in English, Japanese and Chinese and I noticed a leaflet in French. The Koreans know how to satisfy a lot of nations!
The buses are clean and the KAL buses have reclining business-class leather seats. The journey into Seoul varies enormously but count on an hour minimum at the weekend to the Dong-hwa area and 90 minutes during the week outside rush hours, perhaps double in the rush hour. Apparently locals use the express bus to the old airport at Gimpo, then the metro.
Tickets cost around Won 12,000 single.
Incheon Airport is very easy on arrivals, with very clear, very obvious signs in Korean and English.
The arrivals hall is on the ground floor, and just outside are the bus services to the downtown area. There is no metro to the airport yet.
The airport "limousine" (bus) services are frequent and get you downtown quicker than you might expect, especially if you are arriving at the weekend.
This is a well-planned, attractive airport!
In-Cheon Airport are North-East Asia hub Airport.
Airport to Seoul city center almost 60km
by bus, taxi transportation.
Seoul commission airlines,
China northern airlines.
China southern airlines.
KLM royal dutch airlines.
Lufthhansa german airlines.
Malaysian airline system.
China eastern airlines.
All nippon airways.
Miat mongolian airlines.
Qantas airways ltd.
Aeroflot soviet airlines.
Thai airwas international.
China northwest airlines.
Taking a flight out of Seoul is like taking a shuttle bus anyway really. It's a no-brainer, the fares are cheap and you can buy the tickets on the spot. Just head for GIMPO Domestic Airport and aim for any ticketing counter.
Going by Korean Air is always a cheaper option since this airline is state-owned. If you've got a bit of extra cash, aim for Asiana, the service is better and you can cash in on you star alliance points. Better still, they'll allow you to book your e-tickets online at a discounted price. Here's a sample of their fares(one-way)
Seoul->Cheju Island (52,960won)
I flew this time from Tokyo to Seoul(Kimpo International Airport) on Northwest Airlines http://www.nwa.com/
The airline offering the cheapest deal at the time I flew was United Airlines
Previously I have always flown from Fukuoka, Japan to Seoul on Korean Air
The cost from Fukuoka (buying your ticket in Japan) is around 20,000 yen return. From Tokyo my ticket cost 44,000 return but it's possible to get there for around 30,000 yen if you buy your ticket well in advance.
Korea's new International Airport at Inchon was opened on March 29,2001. This will probably add another hour to your journey into central Seoul.
For more information on the new airport go to Incheon International Airport
After passing through Seoul Incheon (ICN) airport I have to recommend it as the best transit airport I've been through.
The airport is clean, open and easy to navigate. There are tons of Restaurants and Shops to waste time in while waiting for a flight.
A first rate hotel is directly attached and you can rent rooms for hours if you have a long layover.
Showers and massages cater to overseas fliers and the transit lounges on the upper level are a great place to lose that airport feeling.
If you are looking for a good airport to hop through asia on and have tired of Japan, give ICN a try.
The new gateway to South Korea and Seoul, the impressive Incheon International Airport is now the international airport of choice for travelers. There are tons of flights arriving into the airport on a daily basis. Whether you are coming from America, Europe, Africa, Australia or other parts of Asia, this will probably be your first glimpse of Korea. The attendants are friendly and cheerful. Do take comfortable shoes as the distances are long in this huge airport.
All international flights arrive at Incheon International Airport. It is situated in Incheon which is about 50 kilometres from Seoul in western direction. It was openend it 2001 and built on an island.
Domenstic flights arrive and depart at the old Gimpo Airport. But some cities (like Busan) can be also reached directly from Incheon Airport.
Airport tax is 15.000 won for international flights and 4.000 won for domestic flights.
The picture on your left shows the new international airport in Incheon. Thanks to Radio Korea International in Seoul for this postcard! (It is not allowed to take photos of the aiport.)
Taking bus no. 602 is a good and simple way to get to Seoul from Incheon airport. Just get up, pay 6000KRW (~5USD), and it takes you to Hapjeong subway station, where lines 2 and 6 cross each other. Hapjeong is the first stop of the bus, and it takes about 35-40 minutes to get there from Incheon.
We always have to take Northwest due to the fact it's the only airline flying out of our small upper midwest town.
We didn't care much for the Seoul taxi system. Everytime we took the grey taxis the driver got us lost... When we did we took the black taxis and even though they were 3 times as much at least the drivers never got us lost. We actually like the Seoul subway system and have never had a hard time finding our way around ever... Most times if we're not sure where we're going, we stand in the subway under a map and someone always will come up and ask to help.
Incheon airport... pick up an English paperback at the bookshop, get last minute MAC lipstick, it's sunny and modern. Though I feel ashamed that I can't speak Korean, still it is an international airport... but don't be surprised if most of the airport staff DO NOT speak English! Japanese might help you! And I hear Chinese is gaining in popularity now... ;)
Use taxis, around $2US from most A-B locations. Again, don't expect the driver to understand English!
INCHON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - I've been told that all international flights will leave from and arrive at Inchon International Airport and that KIMPO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT will be mostly for domestic flights. Most hotels have buses or cabs at your disposal. If you're coming from other parts of Korea, you can opt for a train or bus, in addition to flying. You can take the subway/metro from the airport into Seoul.
Usually, the most efficient is the subway. Seoul is constructing additional lines, for the time being there are 8 or 9 lines, taking you to many points in Seoul and to the nearby suburbs. You can also take a bus, there are 3 types of buses (for travel within the city). One, the regular city bus, usually of orange/white color combo. Two, the express bus, which is a little more (still cheaper than bus fares in the U.S.). The express buses don't make as many stops and have more comfortable seats. Third, the 'village' bus. These exist as shuttle buses within a neighborhood of Seoul. They usually shuttle people to their local subway station. You can also take a taxi--make sure you ask how much it'll cost. Korean cabbies have fare meters, fares start higher in the evening until early dawn. There are 2 types of taxis: the normal silver colored ones and the black colored deluxe cabs. The black colored cabs base fee is double that of the normal cabs. Just remember that. In comparison to other large cities, transportation is cheap within Korea.