Arriving in the Land of Sexy Boybands a.k.a Korea!!

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If you havn’t guessed from our FML post, this month is centered around our trip to South Korea.  This is some serious stuff okay, we’ll be sharing with you all the tips and tricks you need to know to experience Korean culture, particularly Korean youth culture, to its fullest as a foreigner.

This includes addressing important things like…going Korean clubbing, where do you go??? What do you do??  How do you make friends?? And most importantly…WHAT DO YOU WEAR!?

But!  First things first.  Before we get to the goodies, we need to address the basics.

Arriving In Korea

So you’ve just hopped off the plane feeling tired, grumpy and gross and all you desperately want to do is get to your hotel, shower, get comfy and sleep.

Never fear, you are not alone, this is exactly how Siree and I felt after 24 hours of barely any sleep.  Not considering that we wouldnt get our luggage back during our stop over in Beijing, we stupidly left our toothpaste and brushes in our main luggage, adding permanent morning breath to our already uncomfortable situation. joy.

Being the girls that we are, as soon as our luggage was retrieved in Korea, we ran to the nearest bathroom to brush our teeth.  This was both a blessing and a curse.  Whilst it felt so good to feel and taste something other than the overstayed taste of blackbean sauced plane food in my mouth, it also meant having to look in the mirror and see my oily hair and dead tired face. ARGH!  I mean there could be potential hotties I might need to impress on the way from the airport to my accomodation! Hahaha…I kid…I kid…but seriously.

Basically, there are 3 ways out of Incheon airport:

  • Bus
  • Train
  • Taxi

I’m going to focus on the bus and train, because I’m too much of a cheapskate to have considered the taxi (although I will say that travelling by taxi between towns during your trip is quite cheap and definitely recommended).

Bus

I highly recommend Korea’s airport limousine bus service as the most preferred mode of transportation to your accommodation ..its comfortable, you don’t have to hold your bags, you definitely get a seat, it is reasonably quick if the traffic is good and it is definitely recommended if you are going anywhere not directly serviced by the AREX. TRUST ME.

Before arriving in Korea, it is essential you plan your trip beforehand, so you know which bus to catch and where to catch it from.  Siree and I were staying in an apartment around 10mins from Gaebong station.

Excerpt from bus timetable chart

In the timetable above, you can see our bus services the Gwangmyeong area (Seoul West), its number is 6014, its service is standard limousine, you can see all the stops it stops at, and the bus stops location (6A and 12B)
To find the bus that goes closest to your destination click here.

In the table above, if you click the detail button, you get this little pop up which tells you the bus time intervals, prices, duration of the trip and so on.

So now that you know which bus to catch, you will need to know where to actually buy your tickets.  Although there is a pre-booking service available, there is no need to pre-book as you can buy tickets upon arrival (it is actually cheaper).

Tickets are located inside the airport at exits 4 and 9 (green icons on the map – this is where we bought our ticket) and in numerous places outside the airport.  Bus stops are spread out upon the coloured platforms.  Match up the bus stop number of your bus with its location on the map.
Our bus ticket. Sorry for the crappy image quality!

Bus Fares:

Standard Limousine: 9,000 – 10,000 won (less than AU$10)
Deluxe Limousne: 14,000 – 15,000 won (less than AU$15)

Bus Do’s: 

  • Plan and know where you are going, the bus number you are catching and where your stop is BEFORE you arrive.  It will minimise stress and save so much time.  You will also want to bring a print out copy of your plan, because you will forget it.
  • Sit as close to the front as possible.  The hardest part of catching the bus is knowing when to get off it, especially since the bus announcements are all in Korean, so even if you are listening carefully, you will probably miss your stop…at least that is what happened to us..

Train

The first time I travelled to Korea, I was staying in Suwon which is quite far from Seoul.  Being the noob that I was back then, I had decided to get there from Incheon by train…BIG MISTAKE.  Whenever I needed to transfer stations there was always a HUGE flight of stairs that needed to be overcome upon exiting and entering a platform – an unachievable feat with heavy bags of luggage (although Korean men were so nice and always offered to help carry my luggage) – but it was still extremely exhausting and uncomfortable.  This is definitely not something you want to go through after travelling for so long on a plane.

I would only recommend the train if you are not exhausted after your flight and are travelling anywhere between Incheon and Seoul station.  The train is, after all, the cheapest and quickest way to the heart of Seoul.

The service you want to catch from the airport is called the AREX train service, which consists of both a commuter line (catch this if you are going to Myeongdong, hongik etc.) and the express line, a one way stop to Seoul Station.

Length of trip:

Commuter train – Seoul Station: 53 Minutes

Express train – Seoul Station: 43 Minutes

For information on pricing and train timetables, click here

Check out only the best website for all your Korean train travel needs (seriously it’s amazing for planning out your trip, you will use it always), here.

Train Do’s:

  • Ask people for help if you need it.  In my experience, Koreans were always extremely friendly and always willing to take time to help.
  • Make sure you pick up a map of the train lines before exiting the airport, or have one with you before arrival.  Although Korean train lines are fairly easy to navigate, you will get lost without a map.
  • Plan your trip to you accommodation BEFORE you arrive.  You do not want to be making it up as you go along.
  • Consider how you will feel upon arrival…will you be tired from a long flight? Do you have heavy luggage?  Do you expect to be seated the entire trip to your destination?  If yes, consider the bus.
Finally, some things you may want to do ASAP when in Korea:
  • Buy a Tmoney card…it is like everything you will need transportation wise.  Basically you load money onto it and you can use all forms of public transport with it.  It is cheaper and more convenient than not using one.  Tmoney cards can be bought from convenience stores as well as some little street vendors…I would insert a photo…but I have temporarily lost my card T.T

 

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