Incredible Incheon: Why Seoul’s Airport is Awesome

Incheon Airport Seoul

If you travel throughout Asia, chances are high that you will spend some time at South Korea’s Incheon Airport, just outside Seoul. Recently I spent 14 hours in this airport, giving me plenty of time to enjoy some of the many features.

Incheon Airport Seoul

Buddha statues in Jogyesa Temple

Here are the four reasons I look forward to transferring through this Asian hub again:

Free Wifi

First and foremost I appreciate an airport that provides free Wifi to its passengers. Thanks to the perfect price tag, I was able to pass some time by uploading pictures from my trip, catching up on email, chatting with friends and even making several Skype calls.

Free Concerts

Piano Concert at Incheon Airport Seoul

Piano Duet

Not far from my gate was a stage for classical concerts and stools set up for people to sit and enjoy the music. I was lucky enough to experience a concert featuring two pianists performing classical music. What a great way to distract yourself from the otherwise boring waiting game.

Free Museums and Galleries

The government goes to great length to ensure that people don’t leave the country without learning at least a little bit about the culture of South Korea. Whether you are interested in traditional crafts, history or classical chamber music, the Incheon Airport has something to offer.

Walk of the Royal Family - Incheon Airport Seoul

Walk of the Royal Family

And if you are simply too tired to head to one of the five museums/galleries, sit back, relax and simply wait for the Korean culture to come to you. I witnessed the “Walk of the Royal Family” which is a procession of about a dozen people, fully clad in traditional dress, walking throughout the airport. If you have a long layover you are bound to get a good photo op eventually.

Free City Tours

The airport offers six unique city tours, ranging from two to six hours, to all passengers in transit. Simply by showing both your inbound and outbound ticket you can sign up at the “Free Transit Tour” desk on the ground transportation level.

Tour to Jogyesa Temple - Incheon Airport Seoul

Jogyesa Temple

While the term “free” is a little misleading, it is still a pretty good deal. They will charge you $3US for insurance and around $5 for lunch, both of which you can decline. You will have to pay for the entrance into any museums or, in my case, the $3 admission fee to visit the Gyeongbok Palace.

Tour to Gyeongbok Palace - Incheon Airport Seoul

Gyeongbok Palace – Where the Korean alphabet was invented

All tours, led by English-speaking guides, use a chartered bus with plenty of room underneath for any heavy carry-on luggage you might have. Taking one of these tours is a great way to sightsee a bit of Seoul and learn a bit about South Korea, as well as to meet fellow travelers coming and going all over the world. I love chatting about places people are traveling from and to!

If touring in a group is not your thing, staff at the airport will even assist you on a self-guided city tour using the AREX or the Maglev Train.

Tour to Gyeongbok Palace - Incheon Airport Seoul

Gyeongbok Palace

Whatever your pleasure the Incheon Airport seems to have something for you.

What airport do you not mind having a long layover in?

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6 thoughts on “Incredible Incheon: Why Seoul’s Airport is Awesome

    1. Mindy & Ligeia

      Hi Nicole,
      Good food is such an important aspect to any airport. I’m sure the masala dosa would really help the time pass. I must admit that I simply hate it when airports to not have free wifi – I think this should be a standard for airports around the world. Can you believe that JFK doesn’t have free wifi?! Ridiculous! 🙂

  1. Laurel Swan

    I loved Incheon too! They didn’t have the tours when I was there, darn it: would’ve loved that (or perhaps because I was traveling standby, I wasn’t eligible?). Other things I loved there that you didn’t mention: they have benches you can lie down on, to nap (lovely after overnight flights). Some are fairly public, but there is a quiet elevated area that is kept dark-ish as well. They have pots and pots of gorgeous orchids lining the concourses (or did in 2006). And there was a cultural area where children (or adults who are still children at heart) can try their hands at small Korean crafts. I painted a traditional fan, and learned to tie a complicated special decorative knot: great souvenirs!

    1. Mindy & Ligeia

      Hi Laurel, Wow, it seems that I missed out on several activities – I would have loved the craft making. And yes, the flowers were lovely, bringing some color to what could otherwise be a very sterile environment. I too took a nice nap on one of those benches. I hate it when airports put bars in between seats so you can’t lie down. And btw, standby passengers would not be eligible for the free tours I don’t think as you must be confirmed on both your inbound and outbound flights – but I say the next time you find yourself in the airport, try anyway. It couldn’t hurt. 🙂

  2. Yara Coelho

    Seriously???? I will keep that in mind and try to get a layover there, just to take advantage of all the free perks. That’s so funny! I’ll be sharing this post on my fb page, this is great!

    1. Mindy & Ligeia

      Hi Yara,
      It really was amazing. I wasn’t not expecting to learn so much about a country I was simply passing through. The Korean government really did a good job at reaching out to the public. And it worked as we plan to go back and spend some time in South Korea. 🙂

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