Prepare for first time travel to Seoul, South Korea
With the eighth largest economy in the world, South Korea holds the status of one of the more industrialized countries. As such, one would expect that their bus stations, trains, and airports are top quality. Incheon and Gimpo International Airport are the two largest, and primary airports in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. There are several other airports that are displaced in different regions of the country. In my own experience Incheon Airport has been the cleanest, quickest and most easily understandable airport for an English speaking foreigner. Almost every terminal and sign has an English translation on it and as soon as you walk into the airport there are maps all over that indicate what terminal you need to go to. The large size of the airport makes it so that even during rush hour you don't feel like a rat in a cage, which as a frequent traveler is much appreciated.
American Airline Carries
For those of you flying from the United States to Korea, United Airlines provides the most inexpensive outbound flights. Despite their less expensive tickets United is known for its poor customer service and frequent cancellations. However, my experiences with them have always been great. An international flight with United usually runs around $900-$1,100. Delta and American Airlines are also common American carriers that arrive and depart from both airports. The most commonly used domestic airlines are, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, and Jeju Air. Jeju Air is the carrier used for travel to Jeju Island located at the southern most tip of South Korea.
Foreign Airliine Carriers
Any miscellaneous travel for those of you not looking to travel domestically in Korea, there are several other airlines that can get you to different parts of the world. European carriers include, Finair, Air France and Lufthansa German Airlines. Asian carriers include, Thai Airways International, Cathay Pacific Airways, Mongolian Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air China, Air Asia, Jin Air, Air Astana, and Singapore Airlines. As well as, Air Canada, Air India, Qatar Airways and a few others.
Taxis in South Korea look like your average compact rental car except they are white, black, and orange with large signs on the top indicating they are taxis. As soon as you exit the terminal to the ground level you will see a whole parade of people holding signs, looking for loved ones, and taxi drivers looking for their latest victim. While less expensive than in the United States, taxis are more expensive then buses and trains. Often times, the drivers are very pushy and can manipulate the prices if they think you cannot understand Korean. Unless you're destination is within 20 minutes of the airport I suggest you push on past them.
Incheon International Airport Railroad connects to downtown Seoul. It services all customers to Seoul Station in the center of the city. The quickest, express trains take, in total, approximately 40 minutes to arrive at the station. While the regular trains that make stops take about 50 minutes. However, luckily there are trains that depart every 6 minutes.
The easiest and most inexpensive transportation through the city from the airports are the buses. I myself have used them several times and they are always prompt, convenient, inexpensive, and easy to book. Airport buses are referred to as limousines, all of which are available and waiting outside the arrival/exit terminals. There are several different ticket booths near the terminal exit where tickets can be purchased. Most of the employees speak English which is very convenient. The buses service every single part of Seoul. The prices range from 9,000-15,000 won (approx. $10 USD) and buses depart every 5-15 minutes depending on your destination. I live in Nowon-gu, which is in northern Seoul off of line 7 on the subway. It costs only 15,000 for a bus ticket to get airport for me. Unlike Greyhound buses in the United States these bus limousines are very high quality, clean, quiet, and spacious. I highly recommend them.
Whichever airline you choose, Incheon and Gimpo will not disappoint. Especially those frequent travelers seeking a convenient and top quality airport.
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