Seoul Travel Guide

People say, you have to start the year right so that the rest of it can follow suit. So I started my 2015 with a trip to Seoul, South Korea, with two other friends. What better way to start a year than to travel, right? ;D

I spent 8 days in Seoul, including a skiing day trip and another day spent in Everland, a popular theme park at the outskirts of the city. The weather was FREEZING cold, but other than that everything else about the city was fantastic!

Seoul Travel Guide

Everland Theme Park
Nami Island, from the popular Korean drama "Winter Sonata"
Nami Island, from the popular Korean drama “Winter Sonata”
Glimpses of Seoul: Changing of the Guards ceremony at Gyeongbok Palace
Glimpses of Seoul: Changing of the Guards ceremony at Gyeongbok Palace
Glimpses of Seoul: love locks at N Seoul Tower, up on Namsan Hill overlooking the city

This guide is a compilation of all the information that you would want to know for a (first-time) trip to Seoul. I’ll write another post on my Seoul highlights, experiences and places that left the most impression on me, so watch this space 😀

Note: It’s a long comprehensive guide so to ease navigation I broke it down into a few pages. You can skip to the section(s) you’re most interested about.

PAGE 1 – Arriving: Incheon Airport to Seoul City Center
PAGE 2 – Getting around Seoul on Public Transportation
PAGE 3 – Seoul Neighbourhoods
PAGE 4 – Where to Stay, Shopping
PAGE 5 – Food (because you need to devote a whole section to just food 😀)
PAGE 6 – Wi-fi and Connectivity, Weather and Survival, Useful Phrases

Arriving: Incheon Airport to Seoul city center

The last train departing Incheon Airport for Seoul Station is at 1142pm, so if you arrive later than that, you have to take either the night bus or the taxi. My flight with Scoot from Singapore was delayed during a stopover in Taipei and landed at Incheon past midnight, so the train was out of the question.

As a side note, starting 29 March 2015 (Sunday), Scoot is revising their SIN-ICN flight schedule to arrive Incheon at 945pm. This new flight timing should allow people ample time to catch a train to the city.

So anyway, back to the question at hand: night bus or taxi? The night buses cost KRW 9000 (~SGD 11) and have a set of drop-off points around the city. This means you will most probably have to take a taxi, or walk, from the drop-off point to your accommodation. On top of that, the buses are not very frequent, and at the time we would have to wait an hour for our bus. We really could not be bothered – it was late and freezing and we were starving. The taxi it was.

To get a cab from Incheon Airport, exit the arrival hall through Door 5 and walk straight to the taxi bays across the road. You get taxis from different bays depending on your destination. Just let the airport staff know where you’re headed and they can direct you to the correct bay. There are two types of taxis, regular and jumbo, with jumbo rates pegged at 25-50% higher. The staff took one look at our luggage and told us to take the jumbo taxi. However, we insisted on regular taxis and managed to squeeze everything in! Yeah.

The ride to our guesthouse in Hongdae took around 45 minutes – the highway was empty and our driver was speeding like crazy – and cost us around KRW 68000 (including highway toll charges). This was split between the three of us so it wasn’t too bad. But as much as possible, especially if you are alone, do get flights with better timings. Train fares to Seoul Station are around KRW 4000 (all-stop train, ~1 hour) to KRW 8000 (express train, 43mins) – WAY cheaper than cabs.


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    1. Hi! My money was initially in SGD and I exchanged it in Singapore. The rate was around KRW 824 to SGD 1 at that time. Sorry can’t help much with this, but I found the rates in Myeongdong to be generally quite okay. They weren’t much different from the ones I got in Singapore, so I think you should be able to find acceptable rates for USD as well!