Layover In Seoul: Incheon International Airport, South Korea

Layover In Seoul: Incheon International Airport, South Korea
| 8 min read

Introducing Seoul, South Korea’s capital and a dreamland that many teenage girls yearn to visit. Known for its popular dramas and drop-dead gorgeous guys, this modern metropolis is one that is worth visiting.

The dynamic city is the perfect blend of modern and traditional, a mixture that not all cities can pull off. Day or night, Seoul will never be a bore. From an early morning temple visit in Bukchon and non-stop shopping in Dongdaemun, to partying until dawn at Hongdae, get blown away by the culture that Seoul so carefully follows and the fun that Seoul never misses out on. With so many fascinating things to see and do, this is one city that has more soul than you can ever imagine.

Even if you just have a few hours on a layover in Seoul you can have some fun. Here’s how to make the most of your time with a layover at Incheon International Airport:

Incheon International Airport

Incheon International Airport departures
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pmsyyz used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Despite Seoul having two international airports, Incheon International Airport (ICN) is the main airport serving the Seoul Capital Area. It is one of the biggest and busiest airports in the whole world. Each year since 2005, this stunning airport has been rated as the best airport worldwide by Airports Council International. Additionally, Skytrax rated Seoul Incheon International Airport as both the world’s cleanest airport and the world’s best international transit airport.

Hence, if you are only in Seoul for a short stopover and are unable to leave the airport, there are tons of activities for you to kill time right inside the airport. There are several pay-to-use lounges, as well as comfortable rest and seating areas. There are also showers, prayer rooms, and numerous restaurants and shops. If you need to catch up on sleep, there’s an airport hotel. Relax in a massage chair or be pampered in the spa. There’s free Wi-Fi to stay connected, or you can visit the well equipped IT Experience Center.

Several pretty gardens provide a soothing place while you wait for your next flight, and there’s even cinemas, a golf course, a skating rink, and a casino! Young flyers can have fun in the various kid’s play areas. Alternatively, learn a little more about South Korea with the Korean Culture Experience, which has a museum and a cool interactive area.

For information, the other airport that serves Seoul is Gimpo International Airport (GMP). It serves mainly domestic destinations, as well as several locations in China, Japan, and Taiwan. Be sure to check which airport you fly in and out of.

Incheon International Airport

Website: Seoul Airport

No visa requirements for most, so knock yourself out!

Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 C-D Counter
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user hyolee2 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The good news for most international travelers in transit at Incheon International Airport is that with a layover of 72 hours or less you can now tour Korea without having the burden of getting a standard issued entry visa. If staying at the airport it is not enough, you can explore the city’s vibrant culture and sights, but be sure to come back when the time is right! It is only open to people who join a special transit tourism program as designated by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the fee is 10,000 KRW (8.80 USD), which pays for immigration assistance.

Visa For Layovers

Website: Transit Guide

Less than 12-hour layover

1. Visit not one movie theater, but two!

Movie theater
Source: Pixabay

If the movies and shows on the plane weren’t enough to satisfy your inner film fanatic, film buffs will be elated to find out that they can watch the latest blockbuster in not one movie theater, but two! Both theaters are under Korea’s culture giant, CGV. Worried about the language barrier? The cinemas have films with seven different languages to choose from.

CGV Movie Theater

Address: Gate 1B, Incheon International Airport

Price: from 7.12 - 8.12 USD (weekdays) and 8.12 - 9.12 (weekends) *Prices may vary depending on the movie type *Early bird price also varies depending on the movie type

Opening Hours: 9 am - 1 am (weekdays), 9 am - 2 am (weekends)

Access: Transportation Center (CAT and KTX Station)

Contact: 82-32-743-8580

Website: CGV Movie Theater

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Seoul Tour Guide



Discover a vibrant mix of past, present, and future of Korea on a journey you'll never forget. Our tours unlock the secrets of Korean history and culture, offering a profound understanding of the people who make this nation unique. Explore ancient temples, bustling markets, and iconic landmarks, each whispering stories of Korea's fascinating past. Immerse yourself in traditional practices, savor delicious cuisine, and witness the dynamic modern scene. Engage with warm and welcoming Koreans, gaining insights into their lives and perspectives. Share your interests, and we'll tailor a personalized experience that ignites your passion. Join us and create unforgettable memories in Korea. Let us guide you on a journey that will touch your heart and enrich your soul.

Tours by 연경바람

2. Be at one with the ice!

Ice skates
Source: Pixabay

Be (almost) at one with the ice on this all-season skating rink. Though there isn’t exactly ice on the rink, you can spin and skate as though you are a world champion on the synthetic ice. It’s free to enter, though you will need to pay for skate hire. You’ll also get a set of gloves and a helmet. Children of six years and under must be accompanied by their parent or guardian in order to skate. What are you waiting for? It’s time to hit the rink!

Ice Forest Ice Rink

Address: Travel Center(Public area, B1F)

Price: from 1.78 USD (children) 2.78 USD (teenagers) 3.78 USD (adults)

Opening Hours: 10 am - 8 pm daily

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3. Win some, lose some at the casino

Source: Pixabay

Located a very short distance from Incheon International Airport, Paradise Casino is a top tourist spot for foreigners. Unlike general casinos, it is obvious how it got its name; with its state-of-the-art interior to keep you engaged and special heating to keep you toasty and warm, this casino is one that you can rightly call paradise. It also constantly gives off a special forest-like effect that will definitely calm your nerves as you play the various games. The games include Blackjack, Baccarat, Russian Roulette, and Tai Sai, as well as over 50 slot machines to keep you wanting more.

Paradise Casino Incheon

Address: 208, Yeongjonghaeannam-ro 321beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon

Price: No entrance fee

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Access: 2-minute shuttle bus from Incheon International Airport

Contact: +82 32 745 1234

Website: Paradise Casino

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4. Unwind at Spa on Air!

Source: Pixabay

For those feeling tired after a long-haul flight, head over to Spa on Air and experience a time of tranquility and relaxation. Enjoy the sauna, soaking tubs, private sleeping rooms, meeting rooms, a snack bar, and Thai aromatic massages all in this one spot. Even better, the spa operates 24/7, so you don’t have to worry about getting chased out when you are just about to doze off. Feel free to keep your baggage here as you sweat out all the toxins and relax.

Spa on Air

Address: 271, Gonghang-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon

Price: Around 13.35 USD for daytime use and 17.80 USD for night time use

Opening Hours: 24 hours daily

Access: Landside, B1F, East Side

Contact: +82-2-1330

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5. Relax a little, play some golf!

Golf club
Source: Pixabay

The Sky72 Golf Club has a 330-yard (302-meter) driving range and an 18-hole putting course. Though it is not technically in the airport itself, it is only a 5-minute free shuttle bus ride away. It is considered as one of the many airport facilities. Fares depend on the days of the week and the type of course you would like to do. For example, the fee for one person on a weekday will be 26.70 USD for a 9-hole game and 53.40 USD for an 18-hole game. On weekends and holidays, prices are slightly higher, starting at 42.72 USD for one person for nine holes and 85.44 USD per person for 18 holes. Golf cart and caddie fees are extra.

If you don’t have time to do the whole golf course you can just try out your golf swings at the driving range. The driving range prices are also significantly cheaper, starting at 1.70 USD for 30 minutes on a weekday and 5 USD on a weekend.

Sky72 Golf Club

Address: 2029-1 Woonseo-Dong, Joong-Gu, Incheon, Korea

Price: Varies depending on which course you choose

Opening Hours: 5.30 am - 11 pm

Access: Take a free 5-minute shuttle bus from Arrivals Exit 3 (third floor) and get off on the third stop, named International Business Complex

Contact: +82 32-741-8200

Website: Sky72 Golf Club

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Layover of 12 hours and more

Downtown Seoul

Downtown Seoul (3) (27257507598)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Richard Mortel used under CC BY 2.0

Experience the vibrant culture and the rich traditions first hand, even if it is just for 24 hours! Any time is still precious time, so how about a teaser before you embark on a fully fledged trip to Seoul the next time?

1. Take a train to the city

Seoul Metro Line 2 train arriving at Guro Digital Complex (2-09)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mtattrain used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you are restless and have time to spare, how about heading to downtown Seoul for some fun? It is very simple and straightforward to get to Seoul Station; all you have to do is use the Airport Express (AREX). AREX is the fastest and most convenient option for transit passengers to explore Seoul at their own time and pace. Despite having two lines that go to Seoul Station from Incheon International Airport, we recommend the non-stop express train. Compared to the normal commuter train that will take you a 53-minute journey, the non-stop express train is only 43 minutes. However, the express train departs Seoul every 30 minutes, so be sure to be on time!

Seoul Train Guide

Website: Train Guide

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2. Shop till you drop!

Clothes rack
Source: Pixabay

With the wide-spread popularity and influence of many K-stars and idols, there is no surprise that Korea is also counted as one of the trendsetters in the world. Experience first hand the styles that are trending right now; this is one shopping spree you cannot miss out, no matter how short of a time you are staying in Seoul!

Shop in one of the most popular departmental stores in Seoul, Lotte Outlet. Offering more than 140 brands at very affordable prices, you can find clothes, cosmetics, shoes, and accessories. You name it, they most probably have it!

Lotte Outlet at Seoul Station

Address: 405, Hangang-daero, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 11 am - 9 pm, Friday - Sunday 11 am - 10 pm

Contact: +82 2-6965-2500

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3. Satisfy your cravings for authentic Korean food

Korean BBQ-LA Galbi-01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user SauceSupreme used under CC BY 2.0

All that walking and shopping must be making you hungry! Plus, it’s only right that you try the authentic taste of Korea when you are right in Seoul!

Yedam Table Namsan is just 400 meters (1,312 feet) away from Lotte Outlet. Just a quick walk and you will be there in a jiffy! With three main mouth-watering set meals that you can choose from, this restaurant has 15 years of tradition to offer you an authentic experience of Korean cuisine. Feel the charm of Korea with the top chef’s recommendations of the raw crab set, the marinated beef set, and the barbecued pork belly set. All have a taste that will leave you wanting more!

Yedam Table Namsan

Address: 11, Sowol-ro 2-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 04326

Opening Hours: Open till late

Access: 400 meters (1,312 feet) from Lotte Outlet / Seoul Station

Contact: +82 2-6489-8286

Website: Yedam Table Namsan

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4. It's all about the view at N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower on Mt. Namsan
Source: Photo by Flickr user Katie Haugland Bowen used under CC BY 2.0

The hustle and bustle of city life sure is great, but we all need some tranquility and serenity in our life sometimes. Head up the 236.7-meter (777-foot) N Seoul Tower that sits atop Nansam Mountain (243 meters / 797 feet). Witness the panoramic views of the city and its surrounding areas. First opened in October 15, 1980, this tower has constantly been a major tourist attraction. Thirty years and countless visitors later, this tower has been renamed as N Seoul Tower, the letter ‘N’ meaning a new look, as the tower was refurnished in December 2005 with a whopping price tag of around 15 billion KRW (13 million USD). With a new lighting system and changes to the tower’s overall color scheme, event coordinators are now free to decorate the tower for the different seasons or events.

Walk up, take a bus, or take the cable car to get to the highest point in Seoul. We recommend you to take the cable car if there isn’t a long queue, but you can hike up if you are looking for good exercise. Visitors are encouraged to try the N Grill, a western-style revolving restaurant that rotates every 48 minutes, and the Sky Restroom. Both places provide spectacular views of the cityscape.

N Seoul Tower

Address: 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Price: More details on the website

Opening Hours: 10 am - 11 pm

Access: 1.4 kilometers (0.9 miles) from Seoul Station

Contact: 02-3455-9277

Website: N Seoul Tower

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5. Locks of love on the Rooftop Terrace

Love locks seoul (5719334368)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tom Page used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lastly, the most romantic spot in the tower would have to be the Rooftop Terrace, a spacious wooden viewing deck that gives visitors breathtaking views of Seoul. It sure is even more romantic if your significant other is there to witness the views with you. Couples can now pledge their love for one another by attaching a “padlock of love” to the fence, and wish that their love will last forever.

Thanks to TV dramas and many infotainment shows, the “Locks of Love” is one of the must-visit sites in Seoul. Tourists from all over the world travel to witness the beauty and power of love, the fences brimming with multilingual messages on stained padlocks.

Locks of Love

Address: 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 04340

Price: More details on the website

Opening Hours: 10 am - 11 pm

Access: 1.4 kilometers (0.9 miles) from Seoul Station

Contact: 02-3455-9277

Website: Locks of Love

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Seoul many things to discover

Seoul Night View
Source: Pixabay

The list of things to do in Seoul goes on and on. While just one day isn’t really enough for you to experience Seoul’s full beauty and vibrant culture, a long layover can give you just the inspiration and incentive to return for longer! Arrive at the airport and there are already so many activities that are welcoming you with wide smiles. Have a great layover in South Korea’s cool capital of Seoul.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Clara likes to spend her time daydreaming about countries she has never visited before, and while she is at it, exploring new cafes and cool spots in Singapore. She is passionate about reading and...Read more

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