Travel Guides

How to Spend a Layover in Seoul

I’ve been meaning to write about my quick little trip to Seoul for a while, but you know… life (& procrastination) happens. Earlier this spring I took a big solo trip across the Pacific to visit a very good friend in Cebu City, Philippines. I was able to find really cheap round trip tickets (only $600!) with Korean Airlines – which by the way was the classiest flight I’ve been on in my life!! One thing that always stresses me while searching and booking international flights is trying to find a “work-around” and then ultimately swallowing that big-long-layover pill.

My return flight to San Francisco included a 9-hour layover (ugh.) in Seoul and I had no idea what I was going to do with myself. Luckily my friend Crystal (of does all sorts of travel research and filled me in on why Incheon Airport is one of the premier airports in the world with tons of things to do! My activity of choice was the 5-hour City Tour of Seoul and it was awesome.

Here’s really all you need to know:

  1. Take a look at this link ahead of time and see what tour might fit in between your arrival and departure times. The tour agents will also help you figure out which of their 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5-hour Seoul tours fit best with your flight schedule.
  2. Be at the tour guide kiosk at one of the listed times and let them take you through the rest.
  3. Exchange your dollars for some Korean Won before you go and take photos!

That’s it. It’s that simple! This is an absolutely amazing opportunity when passing through Seoul because you’ll get to see places like these instead of waiting around in the terminal for 9-hours…

Layover in Seoul on Modern StripesLayover in Seoul Home Design on Modern StripesLayover in Seoul Traditional Home on Modern StripesLayover in Seoul Bukchon Hanok Village on Modern StripesLayover in Seoul Streets on Modern StripesLayover in Seoul Luis Barragán Museum on Modern StripesLayover in Seoul Shopping on Modern StripesLayover in Seoul Architecture on Modern Stripes

** I should also mention that it’s important to check if your country’s passport is allowed to enter South Korea without a travel visa. As an American, I was allowed to enter.

Additionally, if you don’t feel like leaving the airport premises there’s a lot you can enjoy inside the Incheon walls. They have a museum, plenty of shopping and lounges. I took advantage of the free shower rooms after my tour to freshen up a bit before my 11-hour flight back to the USA – it was a game-changer.

Thanks, Incheon!

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