Getting to Seoul (and other cities) from Incheon Airport
The Korean public transportation system has been nothing but marvelous, and it blew me away completely.
Looking at my country’s public transportation system (touted to be “world class” but breaks down every other week), I can’t help but feel that the efficiency and affordability of the Korean public transportation has been super understated— it’s awesome! ^^
Okay, so in Korea, once you arrive in the Incheon Airport (you’re in Incheon city, not Seoul), you’d still need to ferry yourself to Seoul City or Busan. And you can choose the following ways to do so (ranked according to price, 1 being the cheapest and 4 being the most costly) :
The Incheon Airport Railroad Express offers a cheap way to get to Seoul station within 56 minutes and within 43 minutes if you take the express train. It stops at Gimpo Airport station too so if you’re travelling within Korea, e.g. from Ulsan to Seoul or Incheon to Gimpo to Jeju, you’d want to take the subway to navigate between Incheon Airport-Gimpo Airport-Seoul. This train also passes by Line 6 Gongdeok station (direct train to Korea University) and Line 2 Hongik Station (a hot favorite for cheap guest houses and direct train to Yonsei University, Sogang Univ, and Ewha Women’s Univ)
The up side of taking the subway is that the timings are regular and you don’t have to worry about missing one, because the next one will arrive within 10 mins. I remember having missed the airport limousine bus while rushing to return, and ended up having to cab to hongik station to take this train, and still made it in time for my flight.
If you’re going towards other cities, you’d need to take the train to Seoul Station and then transfer to KTX trains. (Korea’s bullet trains) not sure how much those cost. If you’re willing to sit in the trains for a few more hours, then you can probably stick to the normal mugonghwa subway, the cost is a lot lower.
Price: up to 8000 won for Express train. The normal one should cost around 4000 won (can’t remember clearly)
2) Airport Limousine Bus
My travel mode of choice has usually been this one and I always check the routes before hand on this site. The buses travel to more of Seoul, and it offers a really fast and cheap way to get to Gangnam area (40 mins). The seats are comfy and wide with plenty of leg room plus you get more privacy to catch some snooze.
Price: somewhere around 9000 won to 14000won (may have increased)
If you happen to arrive in Incheon Airport past the last bus or train (after 11pm), then your only options left are to either wait till 6am or take a taxi straight to your hotel/hostel. There’s a taxi stand in front of the exits with areas allocated to different areas.
This is usually not advisable because it can get very costly depending on where you’re headed to. We did this once and managed to share a cab with another girl going to Yeongtong in Suwon as well and the taxi driver got mad at us for sharing the cab. So do take note that some cab drivers may not allow multiple drop off points.
Stick to the orange and silver taxis!
Tip: Avoid black taxis (mobeom taxies) as their meter tends to increase at a higher rate. They’re the more “sophisticated taxis” though we can’t really feel the difference, just a lot more costly.
Price: Varies. Charged via meter. Usually above 80,000won for cities near by and around 100,000-200,000 won for further cities.
4) Call van
If you have to take a taxi and have loads of luggage to move, then this is the best option. Although the site states you can book their services beforehand, don’t worry, you’d see them (not sure if they’re all registered) swarming the arrival exits looking to solicit customers. So, just look for those ahjussis and negotiate on the spot. The price is comparable to taxis going by meter but it’s a lot more roomy and the drivers are usually more friendly and less grumpy.
Price: Usually 150,000 won but occasionally can haggle down to a flat rate of 80,000-100,000 won by discussing with the driver
Have a smooth journey! ^^