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Know Before You Go
- Spend some time learning the Korean alphabet. There are tons of YouTube tutorials that can help you get to grips with the basics in less than a day. By learning some of the letters, you'll have an easier time navigating the city and ordering the correct food items from restaurants.
- It's not part of the South Korean culture to tip. But if you feel the service was exceptional, the amount you choose to leave behind is up to you.
- Keep toilet paper in your bag as it's not uncommon for public toilets to run out. You'll also need to remember to throw your paper into the bin as flushing it will cause the toilet to become clogged.
- The black cabs are the city's premium transportation option. Fares are much higher than the regular taxis, and it's not the best idea if you're travelling to the city on a budget.
Getting Around Seoul
Seoul has an extensive public transportation system that makes it easy to get around the city.
Take the subway. It's an inexpensive option with an extensive route. The trains run from 5:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and you can save money on fares by purchasing the T-money card.
Go on an adventure and use the local bus. The system is complicated for first-time visitors as most routes don't have an English translation. But if you're comfortable using the service, you'll save money with most fares costing between KRW 1,000 to 1,300.
Hail a cab. It's easy to flag down a taxi from the street corners in Seoul. Fares for the silver, orange and white taxis start at KRW 2,800 for the first two kilometres and go up by KRW 100 for every kilometre after that.
Rent a car. If you want more freedom getting around the city, you can rent a car from the airport or from a company in town, but you'll need to be at least 21 or older.
When is The Best Time to Visit Seoul?
The best time to visit Seoul is between March and May. The city will be full of cherry blossoms blooming, transforming the city into a sea of pink hues. Flights and hotels are usually reasonable during this period but do increase once the flowers start to bloom.
The summer months are the city's high season. From July to August, many festivals take place, attracting and local and international visitors. If you're planning a trip during these months, make sure you book your hotel room a few months in advance to lock in a cheaper rate.
If you're on a budget, fall is one of the more affordable times to visit Seoul. The summer crowds leave the city, and you'll have shorter lines at the top attractions. For those that want to experience one of South Korea's biggest holidays, plan your trip around Chuseok. It's usually held in September and is a three-day harvest celebration.
December to February is Seoul's winter months. You'll find better deals on airfare and plenty of opportunities to visit the city's nearby ski resorts. If you're on a budget, plan your holiday around the Lunar New Year. It's one of the most popular celebrations with prices skyrocketing around the three-day festivities.
Airports in Seoul
Incheon International Airport
Incheon International Airport is the largest airport in the country. It's held the title for Best Airport Worldwide for 11 years in a row and boasts an ice skating rink and even a golf course. The airport is a hub for regional airline Air Incheon and is a focus city for China Southern Airlines and VietJet.
Seoul has another smaller airport, Gimpo International, but it serves a limited amount of domestic and international flights.
Getting To and From Incheon International Airport
Take the A'REX train if you need to transfer between the two airports or reach the city centre. The line runs from 05: 20 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and costs KRW 3,700 to get into the city. You can also take an express service that leaves Incheon Airport every 30 minutes and costs KRW 8,000 per person.
Another way to get into the city is with the high-speed rail service. It operates from the airport to Seoul station and stops at Daejeon, Ulsan and Busan.
Use one of the airport buses. There is a limousine bus that travels to major areas in the city for KRW 15,000 per person. If you're on a budget, you can take one of the local buses for KRW 8,000 and the pickup area is outside the first floor or arrivals.
Grab a taxi. It is the most expensive option, but a comfortable way to get to your hotel. Fares cost between KRW 50,000 to 70,000, and you'll also have to pay any road tolls.