Guide: Getting to/from Incheon International Airport

seoulguide

안녕하세요!

If you’re traveling to South Korea via a plane, you’re probably trying to figure out how to get from the airport in Incheon to Seoul. Even though almost everything is in English, if you don’t speak Korean, getting out of the airport might be intimidating (and even if you do speak Korean, it still may feel a bit overwhelming). Here are your options. 

Limousine bus

kal_limousine_at_icn

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

Limousine buses are express buses that cycle from Incheon International Airport to major destinations, primarily within Seoul. If you’re lucky, it might land you right near where you need to be; otherwise, you may need to take the subway or a taxi briefly, but considering that you can ride the bus for an average 45 minutes to an hour in relative comfort without worrying about your luggage (which is stowed below), with air conditioning and a flat rate for your ticket, it’s the best deal in my opinion. I’ve ridden on 6002 several times, both coming and going, and it is perfect for students going to the Hongdae, Sinchon, or Edae areas, because it drops off right nearby and you can walk or snag a taxi easily.

Location at airport: both the ticket counters and bus pick-up locations are directly outside the arrival gates after you collect your luggage and clear customs

Cost: about 10,000 – 15,000 won depending on where you’re going and can be bought from a machine via debit/credit card or via cash from a person (though if your flight arrives extremely early, the buses may be running but the workers who can accept cash payment may not be there yet)

Time: varies, usually begins around 5:30AM (leaving Incheon)

Downsides: depending on the time and destination, the bus may be mostly empty or completely packed. I recommend making sure you’re ready and waiting well before the bus is scheduled to depart, because people board as soon as it arrives at the airport to pick up its next batch of passengers

More information:

Limousine bus routes website

Incheon Airport Bus Guide

 

KakaoTalk_20160616_132422200

Sample ticket for Bus 6002 from Incheon to Hongik University Station (Hongdae)

AREX

arex_airport_railroad_commuter_line_entrance_at_incheon_international_airport

arex_commuter_line_from_incheon_international_airport_to_gimpo_international_airport

Images sourced from the Seoul Guide.

This option is a train that runs between Incheon and Seoul Station starting around 5-6AM. You can ride either the commuter train, which stops at many major stations, including Hongik University, between Incheon and Seoul Station, or the express train with no stops between Incheon and Seoul Station. When I’ve done this, I take the commuter train and I’ve always manage to get a seat simply because it’s such a long ride and eventually seats open up as people get off the train. You can take the commuter train for a cheaper rate than the limousine bus (about 3,000 won), but the downside is that you have to corral your luggage on your own and prevent it from sliding into other people. If you have one suitcase, go for AREX. If you have two or dislike long subway rides with lots of people, take the bus. If you’re going straight to Seoul Station, take the express train and ride more comfortably.

Cost: 3,000-8,000 won and tickets can be bought with cash from machines, though I am not sure if you can purchase via credit/debit card when ticket counters are open. Follow the signs to get to the train station with both ticket counters and trains (the station is connected to the airport via walkways over a few parking lots/roads)

Time: 40-60 minutes

Downsides: if you’re on the commuter train, your luggage is your responsibility, you may have to wait a stop or two for a seat, and the seats aren’t as comfortable as a bus

More information:

Korea4Expats Guide on Airport Trains

Express Train Guide

The Seoul Guide – AREX

KakaoTalk_20160616_132422615

If you’re buying a single journey ticket for the commuter train, you will receive a card like one of these. If you return it, you get 500 won back…Oops, looks like I’m out 1,000 won…

Taxi

Don’t do this. It’s expensive and runs well above 30,000 won one way. Just don’t.

tumblr_mm5wk8r0fc1r5xzspo1_500

Friend | “마중 나가다”

Perhaps do this. 마중 나가다 is the verb phrase for someone going out to pick someone else up (i.e. if you go visit your Korean friend and they come to the subway station to get you, or if they drive out to the airport for you). If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who is willing to drive all the way out to pick you up and bring you back (through tolls both ways so you might want to offer to pay for at least the tolls) and it’s not a crazy early or late hour, this can be a good option. If you have two suitcases or are worried about getting lost, you could also ask a friend to meet you at the airport and take AREX together so that each of you takes one suitcase, making suitcase herding easier.

tumblr_mfxjauvtp01rv8jpzo1_500

Shout out to all the friends who have helped me on my travels. You are all the real MVPs. And…I am Bilbo.

Hopefully this guide has removed some of the stress associated with traveling. Don’t fret! Even if you get to Incheon and are still confused, just ask a worker for help. And after all, if traveling was completely simply and easy, it wouldn’t truly be an adventure.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Guide: Getting to/from Incheon International Airport

  1. Reading this article made me a little less nervous about my upcoming trip to Korea. How did you get those cards? Are those similar with the T-Money card? I’m so clueless, it will be my first time to travel outside the country. 에휴.. 마중 나갈 수 있는 친구를 찾아야겠어요. ㅜ ㅜ
    Meloncreme

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Meloncreme!

      Glad this helped a bit~ As for the cards, they are indeed similar to T-money but the difference is that they are single-use tickets whereas you can refill the amount on a T-money card. These single-use cards can be purchased right outside the gated entries to the subways at little automatic machines by using cash. If you’re at Incheon Airport, there are also people manning booths where you can purchase cards, though I don’t know if you can use debit/credit cards instead of cash if you buy from a person. Cards cost a little bit extra to buy but you receive your deposit of 500 won back after returning them to any automatic purchase/card return machine in any subway station^^

      Thanks for reading and best of luck with your travels 🙂 Hope you can find a 나갈 수 있는 친구 ㅎㅎ They’re the best!

      Like

Say something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s