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Seoul Layover At Incheon International Airport

| June 18, 2014

Stuck on a Seoul layover in the Incheon International Airport? Fortunately you’ve landed in one of the top ten airports in the world. This airport is the largest airport in South Korea, and one of the busiest in Asia. The airport is located 30 miles from central Seoul. If you’re not sure if you can leave the airport during your Seoul layover, check here for helpful tips. The city center is roughly an hour away from the airport, so take into account travel time and budget for delays.

Incheon Layover stopover Seoul
Not only is the airport considered one of the cleanest in the world, but here you can find over 40 duty free shops and a 72-hole golf course. There are also banks, a large variety of restaurants, a basement supermarket, mobile phone rental outlet and Internet kiosks, pharmacies, airport spa, hair salons, and a post office.

There is also a Korean Cultural Museum, a variety of eco-gardens, and an observation deck that gives you a bird’s eye view of planes taking off and landing. And located only two minutes from the airport is the Paradise Golden Gate casino.

If you’ve arrived at night or are looking for a place to rest, there are many hotels options. For a full list of Seoul’s hotels at varying price points, click here and for hotels specifically near the airport, click here.

If you’re looking to ditch your luggage during your Seoul layover, there are a couple of baggage storage facilities. Hanjin Express is East on the 3rd floor of departures (phone: 032-743-5804, operating hours: 06:00 – 22:00) and Korea Express is West on the 3rd floor of departures (phone: 032-743-5300, operating hours: 07:00 – 21:30)

As for transportation, an express railway currently operates between Gimpo Airport (which handles domestic flights) and Incheon International. It will reach Seoul central by 2010. Meanwhile, you can reach the city along the Airport Expressway, by bus or by taxi from the airport Transportation Centre. The trip takes about an hour. Private transfers can also be booked.

Layover Guide’s Suggestions of Things To Do On A Seoul Layover:

Seoul Tours

Tours are a great way to see the city and there’s no shortage of tours in Seoul to fit your specific interests. There are day, night, and half day cultural tours to the city’s premiere palaces and temples, walking and biking tours, boat cruises, shopping tours, spa tours, national parks, food, wine and nightlife tours, shows, concerts, sports, and much more.

The art district of Insadong is a great place to take in the sites of Seoul. Whether weaving your way in and out of antique shops and private galleries, grabbing a cup of tea at one of the many tea houses, or wandering through the Historic Tapgol Park where you can visit the Pagoda, the location that Korea’s Declaration of Independence was read in 1919.

Gyeongbokgung Palace
The Gyeongbokgung Palace houses the National Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum. The Palace, built by the Chosun dynasty six centuries, is one of the most famous and oldest Seoul attractions. You can also check out Dongshipjagak, the ancient watch tower.

If you’re looking to shop, the Myeongdong is a big street flea market as well as a historic walking area. If you’re looking for more serious shopping, check out Namdaemun Market. As one of Korea’s largest wholesale markets, it covers over 10 acres and is the one of the best spots to get some nice souvenirs and clothing, as well as some knock offs. It is closed on Sundays. For a comprehensive shopping tour, click here.

N Seoul Tower
If you’re looking for a good aerial view of the city, check out N Seoul Tower. With an observation deck 370 meters tall you can get a great birds eye view of the city (pollution and weather depending).

Deoksugung Palace
The Deoksu-gung Palace is one of Seoul’s smallest of Seoul’s palaces, built during the mid-fifteenth century. Known for its unique stone wall road and the wide bridge of Geumcheon. Here you can also find the Palace Treasure exhibition, and part of the National Modern Arts Center.

Have suggestions for a Seoul Layover? Leave a comment below!

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Category: Asia, layover, things to do, tours

Comments (36)

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  1. Milkman says:

    Nothing helps jetlag better than a massage. In the Passenger Terminal and Concourse A (inside security) there is a spa on the 4th floor near the lounges that offers massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures, and is open 7am to 8:30pm. They even offer free showers, or for a small fee provide soap, shampoo and a towel.

    I recently flew from LAX to China with an 8 hour layover in Seoul, so I had a shower and massage. I never felt better after a 13 hour flight! I can’t recommend this more, don’t waste a day with jetlag, get a massage and feel great.

    JES Massage Center at Incheon Airport, Seoul Incheon International Airport, 2 locations: Passenger Terminal 4th Floor Rest & Relax Zone & Concourse A, ☎ +82 32 743 6925

  2. Liz says:

    I have a 12 hour layover in Incheon International Airport in Seoul. Any recommendations on what to do over there?

    • Matt says:

      I also have a long layover, 17 hours in Incheon International Airport in Seoul. Liz, did you already end up doing your layover? Did you figure out some good things to do there?

      • Akbar says:

        I believe over 12 hours and if flying with asiana,you can either get a hotel room or a city tour,contact asian a at least 7 days prior

    • Aisa says:

      For anyone with a couple hours of layover at Incheon Int’l airport and if you want to get out and sample a little bit of S. Korea, then do a “transit tour”.

      The transit tour desk is between gate 6 & 7, after immigration.

      I was at Incheon Int’l Airport with a 10 hours layover returning home to the USA from Chiang Mai.

      I booked 2 different tours with Omi travel.

      The first one was the 2 hours temple tour, for about $12 USD

      The second tour was the 5 hours Seoul tour, normally cost $50 USD which I got for free due to the 50 million passenger milestone celebration.

      It’s an excellent way to sample S. Korea for future returning trip to S. Korea.

  3. maria says:

    i have a 9 hour layover in Incheon International Airport, any suggestions on what to do there? Also, does anyone know if there is a tour bus we can take to get out of the airport for a few hours. Thanks!

  4. jennifer serrano says:

    pleasehelp, i need some helpful advice. i have a 14hour layover in incheon on december going to phils. from what i know i am not allowed t go out of the airport. i chose this airport for special reason, i want to meet my sister who is working thre. anyone has any idea how it works? is she allowed to enter o pass through the meeting area? or am i allowed to go out at least to the meeting area? please help

    • Imee says:

      Jennifer, I am traveling to the PI this November. I called Asiana and you are allowed to go out. In-fact, they have different transit tours endorsed by their official Tourism Office that can take you as far as Seoul City. I don’t think if your sister can pass through to meet you inside the terminal. I was told that a boarding pass is required to go out and back in. If you’re staying less than 24 hours in Korea then a visa is not required for Filipino citizen, which I inquired about because of my Mom’s status as an Immigrant. Hope this helps. I would suggest calling the airlines as well.

  5. Liz says:

    I had a layover at incheon last month and was able to leave the airport just fine. If you’re a us citizen you won’t need a visa or anything.
    Best of luck.

  6. Maricor says:

    I have layover 9 hours my itenerary dubai-incheon-manila by KOREAN AIR.. can i go out the airport without visa? Im Filipino Citizen currently working here in Dubai..

  7. Farah says:

    Hi there, I have a 11 hr lay-over in Seoul and would love to tour the city. I’m a Canadian permanent resident holding a Sri Lankan passport. Do you know if I need a visa to leave the airport? Thanks

  8. Farah says:

    Re above, I found out that I can do so as long as I have an onward flight booked. In fact I can stay up to 29 days! Pretty cool. Very happy 🙂

  9. pam says:

    Do I have to fill out a landing card?thanks.

  10. John Patterson says:

    For those traveling and wanting a massage at South Korea Airport watch out.They told me that they Charge $50.00 american dollars for a 50 minute massage.They charged me $142.21 The company is called Jes West stay away unless you like paying $142.21 for a massage.

  11. MCGWakana says:

    Worries goodbye for transit pax in Incheon Airport. The Visa Consular of Korea in Tokyo informed me that if you’re a transit, you DON’T NEED a visa and allowed to stay up to 30 days. Just be sure that you have you’re printed airline e-ticket and boarding pass for your next flight that you have to show to the immigration officer. Try use your boarding pass as your special discount coupon in some attraction, shops, restaurants while you’re in Seoul as TRANSIT.

  12. AerithG says:

    I have an overnight layover at Incheon Airport traveling from Tokyo to Houston. Anything to do overnight besides get a hotel room? I figure I can sleep on the flight to Houston.

  13. Charmie says:

    Hi, im having 12 hrs lay over in korea, is there any close places to visit? Any recommendation? Thanks

  14. Rachel says:


    We are flying from Vietnam with 2 teenage kids with Korean airlines.
    Our connecting flight is at 15:00 from Incheon.

    option 1: arrive at Incheon at 7:00 AM and go tour the city a bit.
    Option 2: arrive at 20:00 the night before, get a complementary hotel room by Korean, and continue the next day at 15

    what would you recommend?

  15. christine says:

    2 – Dependent on which hotel where they give you … a layover in somewhere like Myeongdong with a very active nightlife market. 9-10pm is ‘early’ in Myeongdong/Dongdaemum/Namdaemun areas. You still get to do the city tour, if you can get up and about at 8-9am, you can try a city tour (I believe the city tour bus is US$12 per person and it stops just about everywhere, and covers many attractions – Namsan Tower, the palaces, Itaewon etc .. and you can see the city via coach.You can get off and get on anytime.

    Don’t leave it too late to go to airport if your flight is at 3pm – leave for airport by 1.00pm … Seoul traffic can be challenging, especially at peak hours like 5pm.

    Have fun! I am heading there soon myself on a short holiday at the end of August … for a wk.

  16. khan says:

    we are looking juje entery help

    • Layover Guide Staff says:

      Here’s the layover guide to Jeju – http://www.layoverguide.com/2015/01/jeju-layover-in-south-korea.html

    • Layover Guide Staff says:

      For Travel Visa inquiries, check this link – http://www.layoverguide.com/2015/09/how-to-get-a-travel-visa.html
      Your country of citizenship determines whether you need a visa for a particular destination. Check with your country to see what your entry requirement is into your layover country – what is acceptable is all dependent on your citizenship and your layover country. Some, for example, require visas even for very short visits, while others don’t. In addition, at certain countries you can pay for the visa when you arrive, but many destinations need to be planned ahead of arrival. A transit visa may also be available for those going through a country’s border control but leaving the country within a short period of time.

  17. randy says:

    hi.im a filipino citizen.im working here in k.s.a.im just planning to layover in korea during my vacation to my home country..can i avail the transit tour?just want to experience the beautiful life in korea….thank you…

  18. Jan IJmte says:


    I have an 9 hour layover next year in Seoul, is it recommended to go to the city or is it too far away from the airport?

    Greetings Jan IJmte

  19. mukesh says:

    in layover korea can give transit visa?

  20. Carrie Morrill says:

    Hi i am travelling from Australia and have stop over in Korea Icheon airport night stay 16 hrs layover getting in at 530 . wondering what there is to do at night that starts at about 7 or 8 pm and runs late . i have a hotel at airport . i dont mind getting in late as have a 13 hour flight to go on in morning to Canada . I leave i one week . wanting to do some shopping , see some sights , try the food , and maybe a show .
    Any help would be great , Thanks

    • Romina Madden says:

      Hi, Carrie! How did your layover go? I’m curious to find out whether you were able to join any night transit tours. I have a 17-hour overnight layover in 2 weeks.

      • Marion says:

        Hi Carrie and Romina, I am just wondering how you’re overnight layover went through? Were you able to do something aside from going to a transit hotel? Thank you

  21. Roman says:

    Hey guys, are there good possibilities to sleep at seoul intl airport beside to get a room at the transit hotel?

  22. Sheikha says:

    Hi. We have 15hours lay over in Seoul Korea, do we need a visa? And we can get a hotel room for free while we are waiting for our next flight? Pls help us. Thank you.

  23. Marie says:

    I am traveling to San Francisco from the Philippines, I have a Philippine passport and a Temporary green card, I have a layover of 10 hrs in Incheon Airport, is it okay for me take the city tour without getting a Visa?

    • Maria says:

      You do not need a visa, since you have an onward confirmed ticket to the US. You can actually stay for 30 days!

  24. Amy Narito says:

    I have a layover of 29 hours in Korean, do I get a free hotel?

  25. Nathan Nocom says:

    We are 3 pax traveling from the Philippines to Paris & have a 19 hours layover in Incheon. We are Philippine passport holders. Can we go out of the airport to see Korea for a few hours? Thanks