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.
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:
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.
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).
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!