When is the Cheapest Time to Fly to Seoul?
The cheapest times for flights to Seoul are the during the ‘shoulder’ seasons: April to June and September to November. Summer, especially July and August, is the most expensive time to travel and the weather can be unpredictable – the monsoon season falls between July and August, and typhoons are also a possibility. Seollal, the Lunar New Year national holiday, usually takes place in February and is a peak time for travel.
When is the Best Time to Book your Flight to Seoul?
Book at least six weeks in advance to find cheap flights to Seoul. The best prices for return flights to Seoul are available for travel in autumn and spring, though it’s worth booking as far ahead as you can because they’re also considered the best times to visit, weather wise. If you can’t book that far in advance, look out for deals on last-minute flights. Being flexible with your arrival and departure dates will also help you to find the best price.
Flying to Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)
Seoul Incheon International Airport ICN is one of the busiest airports in Asia. It’s located 48 km west of the city centre, and its facilities and attractions include an ice-skating rink, cinemas, a museum, an observatory and the Sky Garden Park.
Most major UK airports offer indirect flights to Seoul, including London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast City and Aberdeen. However, only London Heathrow offers direct flights to Seoul, with British Airways, Asiana Airlines and Korean Airlines.
Air France, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Finnair, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic all fly from London to Seoul with one stop. Layovers are usually in cities such as Madrid, Dubai or Istanbul.
On Arrival and Getting Around the Airport
Seoul Incheon International Airport ICN is a two-terminal airport. The main airport, Terminal 1, is the largest in South Korea and connects to a passenger concourse with two underground passageways. The new state-of-the-art Terminal 2, which opened in January 2018 in time for the Winter Olympics, features the latest automated check-in technology. The airport offers a wide range of passenger amenities, including duty-free shopping, restaurants, bars and cafés, a prayer room, a hotel and showers. A shuttle service connects the different parts of the airport.
Getting to the city from Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)
Getting to the city centre from ICN is easy by rail. The Airport Express (AREX) takes you directly from Terminal 1 or 2 to Seoul Station in just under an hour. There’s also a stopping service, the All Stop train, which from which you can alight at subway stations along the way. Airport buses run to different areas of the city, and you can buy tickets from the booths outside the arrivals hall at both terminals. There are taxi ranks outside the arrivals hall at both terminals too. You can also book an international taxi (where the driver speaks English, Japanese or Chinese) from the arrivals hall in Terminal 1, or reserve it in advance online.
Why visit Seoul?
Seoul is a city of contrasts, both fashion forward and futuristic, and deeply traditional. You can lose yourself in the grounds of the majestic Gyeongbokgung Palace, or in Gangnam’s sprawling Coex Mall, Asia’s largest underground shopping mall. Wherever you go, you won’t struggle to stay connected: even the subway has high-speed internet. As one of Asia’s biggest cities, Seoul is a popular destination for British business travellers as well as tourists looking to discover South Korea.
Seoul’s public transport is famously efficient and clean, but there’s nothing like exploring the city on foot. Take a walking tour of Bukchon Hanok Village, where you can see hundreds of traditional Korean houses, known as hanoks, and visit a variety of craft shops and art galleries. For spectacular views of the city, hike one of the trails to the peak of Namsan mountain, and visit the N-Seoul Tower. Afterwards, refuel by eating like a local at one of the city’s hole-in-the-wall restaurants, which are hidden down back streets or behind unassuming doors, and are the best places to find authentic Korean cuisine.
Don't Forget Before you Fly
Before travelling to Seoul, it’s worth exchanging money so that you have some local currency, the South Korean Won, when you arrive in the city, especially if you plan to take a taxi from the airport. British passport holders can enter South Korea as a tourist for up to 90 days without a visa, but you must have an onward or return ticket. You should also make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of three months from your date of entry into South Korea.