Located west of South Korea’s capital, Seoul, Incheon International Airport is built on reclaimed land between Yeongjong and Yongyu islands. The airport serves the Seoul Capital area, which comprises of Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi Province. It is the largest airport in South Korea and one of the busiest in the world. Incheon Airport has been consistently ranked as the world’s best airport, which is of little surprise considering its efficient customs process. Additionally, the establishment also boasts a golf course, an ice-skating rink and a casino.
There are several modes of transport you can choose from to get from the airport to destinations within the Seoul Capital Area. For starters, you can take limousine buses conveniently available outside the arrival areas. There are more than twenty different routes for getting to various places within Seoul and Incheon. Inter-City buses are also available for those who are looking to get to outer cities such as Gwangju, Daejeon, and Busan. Another option is to board the train operated by the Incheon International Airport Railroad Express (AREX) that has a station just adjacent to the main terminal building. The train provides high-speed services to Gimpo Airport and Seoul. Several stations along the AREX line are also connected to the Incheon Subway and Seoul Metropolitan Subway. Otherwise, you can take a taxi, though it is not the best option to do as traffic congestions are a common occurrence. For affordable aboveground transportation, look no further than the extensive bus service. The buses are colour-coded according to the zones they serve: yellow for buses serving tourist destinations, green for buses connecting with the subway, blue for buses that travel across town, as well as the red and green ‘G’ intercity buses that head to Gyeonggi.
Thanks to the pervasive reach of Korean pop culture, Seoul has become a top destination amongst tourists and continues to grow in popularity. Nevertheless, despite being the source of catchy K-Pop tunes, captivating K-Dramas and leading digital technology, the city still retains much of its ancient traditions. In Seoul, you will find a fascinating meld of modernity and tradition, a delicate balance between Eastern elements and Western influences.
A trip to Seoul, or to South Korea for that matter is incomplete without a visit to Gyeongbok-gung (Gyeongbok Palace), the capital’s grandest Joseon (or Chosun) Dynasty-era palace. The palace is a culturally important place as the Joseon period’s influence is felt in many aspects of modern Korean life, including etiquette, cultural norms, societal attitudes toward issues and the Korean language. Many of the palace’s weathered buildings have been restored, with a portion of the compound housing the Joseon Palace Museum and the Korean Folk Museum. It is a must-see site for those who are looking to understand Korean history and culture, so do try to spend a couple of hours touring the palace grounds.
Next, partake in one of the country’s most popular pastimes, hiking. A route favoured by the locals can be found in the Bukhansan National Park, which contains forested areas, temples and granite peaks. There are many other trails available, with the most well-known routes leading to the peaks of Baegundae and Insu-dong, measuring at a height of about 837m and 810m respectively. However, do note that due to its popularity with hikers and Seoul residents, some trails are closed on a rotation basis to protect the local environment.
Finally, head to Myeongdong to buy purchase all the Korean cosmetics and fashion you would need. The street is one of Seoul’s busiest and trendiest, with thousands of people streaming in and out at any given time. There’s something for everyone at this popular shopping district, home to numerous mid-priced international and local brands, cosmetic shops, novelty shops, cafes, eateries and famous department stores.
If you’re tired from battling the crowds, walk over to Cheonggyecheon, a restored 8.4 km creek flowing west to east through downtown Seoul. The public recreation space running alongside the stream is popular with both residents and tourists. Lined with flora and fauna, it is a great place to unwind. Plus, you are welcome to dip your feet in the cool water after a long day’s walk in the city.
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