International travelers visiting Seoul, South Korea’s capital, typically reach the country via the Incheon International Airport. From here, there are varying options for them to conveniently reach the city. The country’s extensive train and bus lines are readily connected to the airport and are very helpful for both tourists and locals.
Free or Packaged Transportation Options
There are hotel accommodations that offer free airport shuttles or limousine buses for their guests. Those attending festivals, conferences, business meetings, and other related events or activities would usually get free rides to and from the airport through pre-arranged transportation options from hosting parties. Travel packages and even the country’s popular Seoul Stopover Program, which is meant for international travelers stopping over the country for six hours or more, can also get free airport transportation for a more convenient short stay in Korea.
The airport has direct access to the Incheon International Airport Station and the Korail Airport Railroad. The train station leads airport travelers to different destinations around Seoul. The first available rides for both the express and regular trains arrive at the airport at approximately 5:20 a.m. The last express train arrives at 9:30 p.m., while the last regular train arrives at 12:00 a.m. As of 2011, the express train fare traveling from the airport to the Seoul Station costs 13,300 KRW. Meanwhile, the cheaper regular train only costs 3,700 KRW from the airport to the Seoul Station. The nearer commuter train stations cost a few hundreds less than this amount.
The A’REX (Airport Railroad Express) features a high-speed train service that goes straight to the Seoul Station without making any stops to other train stations on the way. This mode of transport takes about 43 minutes and the train coming from the airport departs every half-hour. For those going to the airport, this station is a very fast, effective, and convenient choice — complete with check-in services and immigration desks.
Meanwhile, the all-station service is a normal subway option that requires a slightly longer travel time of about 53 minutes. The commuter train service coming from the airport departs at a faster interval of every six minutes. This provides many connections to other subway lines leading to the various parts of Seoul.
The commuter train stations directly passing through the airport line are as follows: Gyeyang (Incheon Subway Line 1); Gimpo Airport (Seoul Subway Line 5 and 9); Digital Media City (Seoul Subway Line 6); Hongik University, also known as Hongdae (Seoul Subway Line 2); and Seoul Station (Seoul Subway Line 1). Current expansions are being done and more stations and lines are being added to accommodate even more places around the Seoul metropolitan area and even the nearby suburbs.
Passengers at Incheon can easily get information about limousine buses and premium buses upon arrival. Currently, ticket booths are located at Exits 4 and 9 (indoors) and Exits 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, and 9C (outdoors). Bus routes are quite extensive, which makes it easy to go to more specific areas around the city, including those that are not very near the subway stops. When going back to the airport, a significant number of airport bus stops are located around the metropolis as well.
Transportation cards and regular train and bus tickets are available for purchase by both international and domestic passengers from the airport. These are also typically sold in markets, street stalls, malls, specialty shops, schools, and convenience stores around Korea.
Bus and Train Options from Seoul to Other Korean Destinations
If traveling to other Korean cities and provinces, passengers can use any of the extensive bus services from Incheon. The Korea Train Express or KTX, Korea’s high-speed rail system that also has extensive routes to various destinations around Korea, is easily accessible from existing subway lines connected to the airport. In the near future, there will also be direct access to it within the airport grounds.