[Korea] From Incheon Int’l Airport to Seoul by Subway (Airport Railroad All-Stop Train)
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The biggest challenge for budget travelers as they arrived at a foreign country is finding a way to leave the airport. Since money is a limited resource, we often turned to public transportation. In Seoul, the most cost-effective way to get to Seoul from the airport is by the subway. In this post, I will share with you our experience this summer on taking the Seoul Metropolitan Subway to get to Seoul station!
The important thing you need to know is that Airport Railroad is part of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway system, linking Incheon International Aiport and Gimpo Airport with Seoul (shown in blue in the subway map below, for easier identification it was marked with a red star).
Airport Railroad provides 2 types of service: all-stop train and express train.
- All-stop train stops at all stations (11 in total), takes approximately 55 minutes, and costs 4,250 won per ticket (4,150 won with transit card).
- Express train travels non-stop from Incheon International Airport to Seoul Station, taking only 43 minutes and costs 8,000 won per ticket (this is a special adjusted rate valid until December 31, 2015).
We made our way to the heart of the Seoul city via the all-stop train from Incheon International Airport and making our way back to the airport via the express train. Which one is better? Does the express train worth the extra dollar? Having had both experience, I would share with you our experience and let you be the judge!
So… How to take all-stop train from Incheon International Airport?
- As you arrived at the Arrival Hall (1st Floor) at Incheon International Aiport, look for 7-11 convenient store (near Exit 5). Ask the cashier for T-Money card. The card costs 2,500 won and has no value in it. You will need to top it up at the vending machine outside the subway station.
T-Money card functions similarly to the EasyCard in Taiwan. When using T-money, the public transportation fare is 100 won cheaper than when paying with cash. Moreover, it can be used to transfer between buses, subway lines, or from bus to subway or vice versa (within a transfer time limit) at no extra charge. When you are finished using the T-money card, the remaining balance can be refunded after a 500 won service charge.
- Take the elevator down to B1 level. Head towards the subway station by following the “Airport Railway” sign.
- You know you’ve reached the station when you see a gigantic “All-Stop Train” sign over the top of your head and an array of ticket vending machines.
- Top up your T-Money card at the ticket vending machine. Select English on the screen and follow through the instructions.
- Once you’ve recharged your card, tap your card and enter through turnstile for all-stop train. Since Incheon International Airport is the terminal station, just follow the arrows and you’ll find the platform.
After arriving at Seoul station, you can transfer to other subway lines if you’re planning to travel further.
When we took the subway, the all-stop train was already fully packed with travelers with large luggage and local commuters at Incheon International Airport Station. As there were no assigned seats, we had to be quick to steal a seat for our 1-hour ride. As it got closer to Seoul Station, the train became even more crowded. It was a bit of a hassle for us to fight through the crowd to get off the train and carry our huge luggage up the stairs/escalators. My overall impression of Seoul’s subway stations was that they were not very traveler-friendly, and that remained true throughout our 1-week stay in Seoul.
My next post will be our experience on getting to Incheon International Airport from Seoul Station via express train. If you’re a shopaholic and always pack your luggage until it reaches the max weight limit, you should definitely read that post!
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Hi, there. Good writing about Korea trip. Here is more tip going to the Central of Seoul. If you take an express train, you can go to the Seoul station with fast and convenient way. It costs 8,000won and if you have a ‘Korean Air’ , ‘Asiana’ and ‘Jejuair line’, you can get a discount as 6,900won’. Also, there is group discount for over 4 people, fare will be 6,000won per person. If you want to get more information, you can visit to ‘travel center’ in ICN(located in B1). Thank you.
Thanks for sharing the tip! I have actually written another post about getting to the airport from Seoul downtown by AREX 🙂 It costed us 8000 won pp as you mentioned, but great advice on getting the discount through airline companies! We will try booking through Korean Air next time if we visit so that we can get buy cheaper tickets for AREX. We loved the AREX!
hi! your post does help me as i’m really looking for an easy explanation on travelling in seoul. thank you! <3
Hi! i would just like to ask what time does the subway closes. my arrival is 10:40 pm. will i be able to catch the subway? thanks ahead.
I guess you’re a Cebupac passenger. I have same problem. From what I’ve read the last train is at 11 PM. Plane arrives at 10:40 PM, the you’ll have to go through immigration and wait for your luggage so I doubt you’ll catch the last train. Let me know what happened though! thanks!
Below is what I found on Korea Tourism Website. Hope this helps!
Express Train: Incheon International Airport Station → Seoul Station 05:20 (first train) – 21:50 (last train) / interval of approx. 35 minutes. Adults 14,800 won (Standard fare) / Children 6,900 won
* Special discount is currently available as follows until further notice: Adults 8,000 won*
All Stop Train: Incheon International Airport Station → Seoul Station 05:23 (first train) – 23:40 (last train) / interval of approx. 10 minutes. Adults 4,250 won
* Above fare is based on a standard one-time use transportation card (excluding 500 won refundable deposit). Deposit can be refunded at the arrival station.
One of the picture shows Hongik University, is the train going to stop there, or should I transfer to another train? Thanks
Hi, I will be travelling to Seoul.
Just wonder if Incheon Intel Airport is the right place to land if my destination is Gil 40, Jung-gu, Seoul.
New to Seoul. Please advise if it is better to arrive at the airport in the morning to get away from the subway hustles and bustles.
Gimpo International Airport will actually be closer. In terms of arrival time, it is always best to avoid rush hours. Hope this helps!
Thank you! I’m actually in Incheon airport now and your step by step Instructions are a godsend. ?
How to take the train/subway from Incheon Airport Terminal 2 to Unseo Station?
I appreciate to your response.