What are the Best Ways to Travel to Seoul?

There are 2 international airports in Seoul, both of which have spacious terminals, modern facilities, dining and shopping outlets, together with efficient public transportation to the city center:

  • Incheon International Airport (ICN) is Seoul’s primary and largest airport, located about 48 km west of our Host City. The airport offers several travel options into Seoul year-round, including the Airport Railroad Express/A’REX (~45 minutes, ₩9,000), airport limousine buses (approximately ₩15,000), and taxis (approximately ₩180,000 including fare and the Incheon Bridge tollgate fee).
  • Gimpo International Airport (GMP) is about 20 minutes from Seoul Station via the the Airport Railroad Express/A’REX train. You can also opt for airport limousine buses (₩2,500), intercity buses (₩6,500), or luxury and regular taxi services (₩30,000).

International passengers are required to submit completed forms for immigration and customs clearance forms upon their arrival in all Seoul airports. Please note that passengers coming from countries with a high risk of infectious diseases are also required to fill out a quarantine questionnaire.

For members residing outside of South Korea and requiring a visa for entry, we strongly recommend you begin your application as soon as possible since processing times may be lengthy. By popular request, we have created a step-by-step guide to the Short-Term General C-3-1 Visa application process. Navigate to the South Korean Visa application website and follow the guide’s instructions to complete the process without need of a letter of invitation or company registration information.

Members who need an invitation letter in order for their university to grant them travel authorization or funding approval can request a Letter of Invitation via our AIB member login portal.

How do I Get Around Seoul?

Consistently voted as one of the best in the world for its ease of use, cleanliness, and frequency of service, the Seoul subway system is one of the most efficient ways to travel around the city. Trains run non-stop from approximately 5:30 am until midnight. All subway lines are color coded and stations display signs in Korean, English, and Chinese. Please note that individual subway fares must be paid in cash. Detailed information on routes and fares can be found on the Seoul Tourism Organization’s Transportation Guide

Taxis in Seoul are another cost-effective means of transportation. Abundant and inexpensive, it’s easy to flag one down on the streets, or find one of the many taxi stands located around major tourist destinations. All taxis use a meter, with slightly different base rates for regular, international, deluxe, and jumbo cabs. Most taxis accept cash and credit cards for payment. Rates depend on the class of taxi, length of journey, and time of day.

The most popular app for booking rides in Seoul is Kakao T which is available for download on both Apple and Android devices. Uber also functions well within the city limits, though after landing in Seoul and connecting to the local data network you may notice that its name has changed to Uber Taxi.

For political reasons, South Korea doesn’t let any navigational data be stored outside of its borders, so non-domestic apps such as Google Maps will not be useful for getting directions. Citymapper functions as a good alternative navigation app for people unfamiliar with the Korean language. Locals and people fluent in Korean often use apps such as KakaoMap and NAVER Map for the same purpose.

What Else Should I Know to Prepare for My Trip?

Electricity:  The standard voltage in South Korea is 220 volts and 60Hz. Outlets take plugs with two round pins. If the standard voltage in your country is between 220 and 240 volts, like in the UK, Europe, Australia, and most of Asia and Africa, then you can use your electric appliances in Korea. If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100 and 127 volts, as in the US, Canada, and most South American countries, then you’ll need a voltage converter. If you’re in the latter group, then you should consider getting a combined power plug adapter/voltage converter before traveling to Korea.

Local Currency: The currency of Korea is the won (₩; KRW). You can easily exchange foreign currencies into Korean won at banks’ exchange offices in the airport, banks in downtown Seoul, and private currency exchange offices.

Language: South Korea has one official language: Korean, although Japanese, English and Mandarin are widely spoken and understood. For those seeking communication assistance, Papago and Google Translate are the most commonly used apps for Korean-to-English translation.

Communication: KakaoTalk is the most commonly used messaging app in South Korea and it is free to use on any device with an internet connection.

Weather: July marks the arrival of summer in South Korea, with humidity levels and temperatures rising across the country. Highs of 81°F/27°C can be expected in Seoul during this month. July is also typically the wettest month of the year, meaning occasional heavy rains can be expected.