There are several different ways to travel from Incheon International Airport to downtown Seoul: Airport Railroad Express (AREX) subway, Seoul Metropolitan Subway, airport limousine buses, and taxis.
The fastest and the most punctual way is the AREX subway. The nonstop ride from Incheon International Airport Station to Seoul Station is just 43 minutes, and there is no need to worry about traffic jams. Moreover, Seoul Station is a multimodal transportation hub providing access to different areas of Seoul and beyond. Another subway system, though not as fast and direct as the AREX, is the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, which services Seoul and the surrounding areas.
Next, Airport Limousine Buses are a cost-effective way to go from Incheon International Airport to different parts of Seoul including Gangnam, Myeongdong and Yeouido. Equipped with comfortable reclining seats and spacious leg room, these buses are popular especially among passengers getting off of a long flight. It takes a bit more than an hour from the airport to downtown Seoul traffic permitting.
Finally, taxis are convenient as they provide door-to-door service, which is useful for visitors who are not comfortable with riding the subways or the buses. A downside is the cost; taxis are as expensive as they are convenient, and passengers must pay the Incheon Bridge tollgate fee (~7,700 won). Still, as most taxis are now equipped with a portable GPS navigation device, passengers can reach their destination easily and safely.
Airport Railroad Express (AREX) has two lines: the nonstop express line from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station, and the commuter line with 10 subway station stops.
To take the AREX from the Incheon International Airport, follow the signs down to the Airport Transportation Center on Level B1. Free electric cart services for passengers with heavy baggage, senior citizens, and passengers with disabilities are stationed between the Airport Transportation Center and the passengers' terminal as well as between the airport parking lot and the passengers' terminal. Service hours are 07:00 to 19:00 every day.
* Fares are based on single-use transportation cards. An additional 500 won deposit is charged for the card that can be reimbursed upon returning the card via a card return machine located inside a subway station.
The commuter line train makes stops at all 10 subway stations from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station. Six of the subway stations allow transfers to other metropolitan area subway lines.
To use this train, passengers must use a single-use transportation card or a T-Money card. Foreign nationals may also use an M-Pass, a prepaid transportation card offering 20 rides per day. Also, passengers transferring from a commuter line train to a metropolitan area subway or bus may receive a transfer discount.
* Where to purchase Commuter Train Passes:
- Single-use transportation cards: Airport Transportation Center on Level B1 of the Incheon International Airport
- T-money cards: Convenient stores inside the Incheon International Airport
- M-Pass: Seoul Tourist Information Centers in front of Gates 5 and 10 on Level 1 of the Incheon International Airport
☞ Information of T-money Card (English)
☞ How to buy single-use traffic card (English)
☞ M-Pass related news (English)
The express line train travels from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station nonstop.
To take this train, passengers must use an Express Train Pass, which is sold at the Customer Information Center. No additional deposit is charged for the pass. Passengers of Jeju Air, Korean Air, and Asiana Airlines may receive a 20% discount on the pass upon presenting their flight ticket. Passengers who purchase both the Express Train Pass and the KTX ticket together at the Train Information Center on Level 1 of the Incheon International Airport may receive a 30% discount on the AREX pass. Since the Express Train Passes do not offer any transfer discount, passengers who wish to transfer to a metropolitan area subway or bus must purchase an appropriate transportation card.
* Where to purchase Express Train Passes: Incheon International Airport, Express Train Passenger Information Center located inside the Transportation Information Center on Level B1 of the Incheon International Airport.
|Upon entry, place your card on the yellow circle.||Upon exiting, place the card on the white circle if you are using either a single-use transportation card or a T-Money card. If you have an Express Train Pass, place it into the slot in the fare gate (see photo above).
Image courtesy of Incheon International Airport website(http://www.airport.kr)
Airport buses run from Incheon International Airport to most parts of Seoul. Tickets may be purchased at the ticket booths just outside the Passengers Terminal (Arrival Area) on Level 1. Detailed inquiries on bus routes and bus stops can be made at the Airport Information Desk, also conveniently located on the first floor. Night buses (22:30 – 05:50) are available, but hours vary depending on flight schedules. For more information and to check availability, please call +82-032-741-6400 before your arrival in Korea.
Check your bus route at the Airport Information Desk between Gates 3 & 4 or at Gates 11 & 12 on the arrival floor (1F), or the Airport Bus Ticket booth. Buy your ticket at one of the ticket booths. Look on your ticket to find the bus stop location. Go to the bus stop and check the bus route and departure time. When on the bus, make sure to listen to the English recording so you don't miss your bus stop.
There are two types of airport buses: deluxe and standard. Deluxe buses are KAL limousines that go straight to major hotels in Seoul. These buses make fewer stops (shorter travel time) and have comfortable seats with more space. Standard buses stop at more locations on their route.
Click on the link below, enter your destination, and press ‘Search.’ Under the search bar you will see a short list of bus numbers, bus stops, and more. Click on the gray ‘Detail’ button of your preferred route for information on the first bus, last bus, fares, and other important information.
Airport Bus numbers and detail information
If you find it difficult to take the AREX or the Airport Limousine Bus, or simply do not know the exact location of or directions to your destination, you might want to take a taxi. Exit the airport through any gate between Gates 4 and 8 on the Passengers Terminal (Arrival Area), cross the street, and go to the taxi stands (4D-8C). It is also not unusual to be approached by a taxi driver inside the Passengers Terminal.
In Korea, there are three types of taxis: Regular, Deluxe, and Jumbo. Regular and deluxe taxis can take as many as four passengers at a time, while jumbo taxis have a capacity of up to nine passengers. The base fare for a regular taxi is 2,400 won (for the first 2km) while the base fare is 4,500 won (for the first 3km) for deluxe and jumbo taxis. Please also note a regular taxi charges an extra charge (20% of the base fare) after midnight (24:00-4:00), while no such additional fare is applied for deluxe and jumbo taxis.
Though it costs more to use a deluxe taxi than a regular taxi, the former is more spacious and comfortable inside and provides higher quality service to the passenger. To become a deluxe taxi driver, you are required to have had no accidents driving a regular taxi for a decade. Also, you must take a specific service training course to be fully qualified as a deluxe taxi chauffeur. While riding a taxi, you may get great tips for traveling from a driver.
Depending on your destination, the fare for a standard taxi from Incheon International Airport to downtown Seoul can be anywhere from 60,000 won to 100,000 won. The 7,700 won toll for the Incheon International Airport Expressway is the responsibility of the passenger, not the driver. If by chance a driver tries to take advantage of you by demanding an inflated fare, take a picture of the license plate or driver's ID (usually displayed on the dashboard) and report the incident to the Seoul Global Center (+82-2-731-6800~1), which offers services in English, Japanese, Chinese, Tagalog, Mongolian, Vietnamese, and Russian. You can also report your complaint to the Dasan Call Center (02-120) or the Gyeonggi Call Center (031-120).
For more information on airport taxis, click here!
※ Differences between Call Vans and Jumbo Taxis
To get to Myeongdong from the Incheon International Airport, take the AREX from the airport to Seoul Station. Get off the AREX at Seoul Station and follow the signs to transfer to Subway Line 4. Get off the subway at Myeongdong Station. The total trip, including transfers, should take about 62-72 minutes.
The airport bus is a very convenient option since you do not need to transfer, and is still one of the most preferred and recommended methods to get from the Incheon International Airport to downtown Seoul. However, if you are traveling during rush hour, be prepared for the possibility of serious traffic congestion.
If you arrive late at night, have heavy baggage, or have several people in your travel party, you might want to take a taxi. If you go to Myeongdong by deluxe taxi late at night, you can expect to pay around 100,000 won. The fare varies depending on distance traveled. Deluxe taxi drivers are very kind and charge fairly by the meter. However, you should double-check to make sure that the meter is running as you start towards Myeongdong.