Incheon International Airport lies 38km west of Korea's capital, Seoul. It's a large and busy, but efficient, airport that has won numerous awards (best airport in the world by Airports Council International every year since 2005), and is known for its cleanliness and for being a good international transit hub.
Immigration and security moves quickly here – the airport claims that the average time for arrivals is 12 minutes, and departures 19 minutes.
It consists of two terminal buildings:
Travelling between the terminals
To travel between the terminals at the airport, you can make use of the free shuttle bus. The bus takes approximately 15-20 minutes and operates every five minutes.
Terminal 1, before security, level 3, boarding area, Center Exit 8
Terminal 2, before security, level 3, boarding area, between Exit 4 and 5
The airport is quite far from Seoul, and so taking the inexpensive high-speed train makes the most sense.
A’REX, the Airport Express train, takes you to Seoul Station in 43 minutes. Trains leave around every 30-40 minutes from 05:20-21:40. Wi-Fi is available on board.
Some airlines will also allow you to check in to your flight at Seoul station before boarding the A’REX train. Immigration officers are on-hand to stamp your passport to speed up processing times.
Tip: You can also take the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, stopping at 11 stations for a cheaper but slightly longer journey (56 minutes).
Cost: KRW 8,000 one-way (KRW 4,250 on the stopping train)
Buying tickets: In the Airport Transportation Center before boarding the train, or Booth 45 on 1F with cash or credit card
Location: Follow the yellow signs down to the Airport Transportation Center on B1F and head to the right
Airport (limousine) buses are also an option, but you won't save money and the journey will take longer - over an hour.
Cost: Around KRW 9,000-10,000 to central Seoul (more if you take a more comfortable deluxe bus)
You need to choose from three types of taxi: Normal (white/yellow, cheaper), Deluxe (black with gold stripes, more expensive) and International (orange, offering services in English, Japanese and Chinese).
Cost: From KRW 60,000-100,000 (plus KRW 8,000 road toll, plus 20% night-time surcharge from 00:00-04:00)
Location: Go through Gates 4-8 of the passenger terminal, cross the street and the taxi ranks are between areas 4D-8C
There is a reason that Incheon Airport is considered the best in the world, and it’s because people enjoy travelling through this airport. Pass the time skating on a synthetic year-round ice rink.
Cost: KRW 2,000 – 4,000 / USD 1.70 – 3.40
Transportation Center Area 1B, airside
Hours: 10:00–20:00 daily
Enjoy a traditional Korean jimjilbang bathhouse experience with a number of luxurious hot tubs and massages at Spa on Air. The spa is open 24-hours a day and offers private sleeping rooms, showers, snack bar, and complimentary luggage storage. Spa on Air is located on B1 in the East Wing of the Passenger Terminal and admission costs KRW 15,000 (USD 12.80) or KRW 20,000 KRW (USD 17.10) after 20:00.
Showers in lounges
Incheon Airport offers free transit tours that allow travellers to explore destinations in Incheon and Seoul such as Yonggungsa Temple, Incheon City, Shingi Market, and Gyeongbok Palace. Tours are 1, 2, 3, or 5 hours long and include return journeys to the airport and a tour guide. Some tours offer optional insurance, lunch, and admission to palaces for an extra fee.
Sign up in advance (email@example.com) or head to one of the five Transit Tour desks (1F near Gate 8, 2F, and 3F at the end of the halls of every concourse. There are 1-5 tours running daily, typically leaving first thing in the morning the last one in the early afternoon.
KRW 8,000 – 18,000 / USD 6.85 – 15.40
Transportation Center Area 1B, airside
Hours: 09:00–02:00 daily
If you’re looking for a way to pass the time, visit one of the many Korean culture exhibits. The Korean Culture Museum (Level 4F, Transfer Lounge; 07:00 – 22:00) has ancient relics covering 5,000 years of history, art, music, and clothing. Some even have UNESCO World Heritage status.
The Korean Cultural Street (Level 4F) is a symbolic landmark of Incheon Airport where you can see replicas of traditional architecture, regularly scheduled performances and enjoy local snacks. You may even see a re-enactment of the Korean Royal Family’s regular procession (4 times per day).
The Traditional Korean Cultural Experience Zone (Center, 4F Concourse; 07:00 – 22:00) allows international passengers to make their own handicrafts, try on traditional clothing, and hear local Sanjo music.
Car hire desks are available near the airport complex, provided by Lotte, AJ Rent-A-Car and Sixt.
Be aware that you must have an international driver's lecense issued in the same country as their regular driver's license, and some agencies require both.
If you have a long layover, you can play 18-hole golf (free shuttle bus to course; 06:00 – 16:00 tee times). The shuttle bus to the SKY 72 golf course can be found at Arrivals Exit 3 (thurd floor) – get off at the third stop called International Business Complex. Call +82 32 743 0025 for details.
A minimum 7-hour layover for 9 holes is recommended; driving ranges start at KRW 2,000 / USD 1.70 for 30 minutes.
Most foreign phones don’t work in Korea because of the frequency band that most Korean networks use.
There are several shops that allow you to rent a phone for as little as KRW 2,000 (USD 1.70) per day. SK Telecom, and LG U+ have shops on the east and west wings on 1F of the Passenger Terminals (open 24 hours).
for access to departure times, security waiting times, Airport Wi-Fis, lounge access and more Incheon International Airport