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Tips for a 13 hour layover in Seoul

Tips for a 13 hour layover in Seoul

Old Jun 27, 15, 5:07 pm
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Tips for a 13 hour layover in Seoul

We will be flying back to Hawaii from Saigon on November 9, 2015. We have a layover in Seoul at Incheon Airport on November 10th from 6:40 AM until our
8 PM flight. We may have been up much of the night before on our night flight.
We would like to tour Seoul a little, having never been in Korea. Any ideas would be very helpful. Do you know a good driver who could also narrate tour or a cab driver you trust? What sights would you recommend and how long would you suggest we might spend in each location? How much time does it take to get from the airport into town? What time would you recommend we get back to the airport to check in for our international flight? If you think it's a poor idea to leave the airport and tour Seoul, we would like to hear your input too. We welcome all comments with real appreciation!
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Old Jun 27, 15, 5:10 pm
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Moving thread to the FT Korea Forum.
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Old Jun 27, 15, 6:32 pm
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Originally Posted by konaflyer View Post
We would like to tour Seoul a little, having never been in Korea. Any ideas would be very helpful.
Originally Posted by konaflyer View Post
sights would you recommend and how long would you suggest we might spend in each location?
Fall is a lovely time in Korea but bring a long a light jacket as it will be getting colder.

Some suggestions: stay north of the river
Deoksugung palace - the first urban palace near city hall
Namdaemun gate
Gyeongbukgung palace - great Fall photos site
Samchungdong for cute cafes and artwork

Don't try to get too much in. An hour or two at the palaces. Maybe try to time it with the Changing of the Guard ceremonies.

Originally Posted by konaflyer View Post
do you know a good driver who could also narrate tour or a cab driver you trust?
I don't know of any guided taxi tours and it would probably be prohibitively expensive. Better to use the Seoul city tour bus. Get on and off.

Originally Posted by konaflyer View Post
How much time does it take to get from the airport into town? What time would you recommend we get back to the airport to check in for our international flight?
Use the AREX express in the morning as the all stop train will get very busy with morning commuters. Takes 45 mins.

Get to the airport by 6 or 6:30pm at the latest.
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Old Jun 28, 15, 7:11 pm
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We had a similar stopover from BKK to YVR (~7am to 6pm) last year and hopped into town on a "free" Incheon Transit Tour. It gave us enough of a taste to come back and do a week's tour this June.

We saw signs around the airport about the free tour but we weren't sure if they were legit but they are. The tours are free but we paid a nominal fee for a group lunch. I forget if you can opt out of the lunch. It's a group tour and everyone hops onto a coach bus. There was a bit of guidance and explanation with some time to wander individually.

Based on our initial layover tour last year and our visit this year, here are some thoughts:
- It's kind of a long ride into Seoul and back.
- I'd probably suggest doing a palace too, ideally Gyeongbokgung and try to align it with one of the changing of the guards. IIRC, the 1pm changing is more elaborate. Not the end of the world if you miss it tho.
- I'd probably recommend Namdaemun Market and Myeongdong Shopping District for a mix of traditional maze-like market vs more modern shopping district.
- We loved the vibe of Seoul at night. If you can swing an overnight stay, I'd recommend it.
- Other sites we really enjoyed but I'm not sure how much vibe there'd be during a weekday were Hongdae district and Cheonggyecheong Stream. Ewha Woman's University was where my wife found a bunch of bargains.
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Old Jun 30, 15, 5:01 am
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Originally Posted by Jay71 View Post
We had a similar stopover from BKK to YVR (~7am to 6pm) last year and hopped into town on a "free" Incheon Transit Tour. It gave us enough of a taste to come back and do a week's tour this June.


Based on our initial layover tour last year and our visit this year, here are some thoughts:
- It's kind of a long ride into Seoul and back.
- I'd probably suggest doing a palace too, ideally Gyeongbokgung and try to align it with one of the changing of the guards. IIRC, the 1pm changing is more elaborate. Not the end of the world if you miss it tho.
- I'd probably recommend Namdaemun Market and Myeongdong Shopping District for a mix of traditional maze-like market vs more modern shopping district.
- We loved the vibe of Seoul at night. If you can swing an overnight stay, I'd recommend it.
- Other sites we really enjoyed but I'm not sure how much vibe there'd be during a weekday were Hongdae district and Cheonggyecheong Stream. Ewha Woman's University was where my wife found a bunch of bargains.
Agreed. Seoul at night is definitely something special and more special than the day. Hongdae is also better at night. Ewha is okay but not a must-go place for a short layover.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Jay71 View Post
We had a similar stopover from BKK to YVR (~7am to 6pm) last year and hopped into town on a "free" Incheon Transit Tour. It gave us enough of a taste to come back and do a week's tour this June.
I did a tour this January, though I didn't have as much time.

Theoretically you can book online, which is what I tried, but tour I wanted showed sold out.

Person in lounge (*G traveling in Biz) made a call, and said they have seats, just go down. And seats they had, far more empties than pax.

Enjoyed it, and would recommend it. And best of all, it's FREE

OK, my tour included lunch, so there was a nominal fee ($8 IIRC) for restaurant, and the meal was rather lovely, especially for the price.

IIRC there's a thread about this somewhere in Korea forum - that's where I found my info.
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Old Sep 16, 15, 8:36 am
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[QUOTE=Aventine;25047571]Agreed. Seoul at night is definitely something special and more special than the day. Hongdae is also better at night. Ewha is okay but not a must-go place for a short layover.[/QUOTE

Hingdae is a great choice if you want a good night life and plenty of help for English speakers. It may not be exotically traditional but there are plenty of places to get real Korean food if you want to check it out.
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Old Sep 16, 15, 9:47 am
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[QUOTE=In2ishn;25433813]
Originally Posted by Aventine View Post
Agreed. Seoul at night is definitely something special and more special than the day. Hongdae is also better at night. Ewha is okay but not a must-go place for a short layover.[/QUOTE

Hongdae is a great choice if you want a good night life and plenty of help for English speakers. It may not be exotically traditional but there are plenty of places to get real Korean food if you want to check it out.
I recommend the Jopok Gangster ddeokbokki there and anything near the Su noraebang intersection.
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Old Nov 9, 15, 2:02 pm
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I have a similar amount of time but at night with a 6pm to 10:30am layover. We originally had closer to 24 hours but had to make a change for another reason. I'm wondering what would be the best use of our time since most of the tourist sites seem to be closed. This trip will be in early April in case that matters.

We're planning to stay at the Dragon Hill Lodge on the US Army base, but I'm not 100% set on that location. If we do stay there, I plan to walk over to the War Memorial just outside the gate - while the museum while be closed I understand that the outdoor monuments are accessible all night. Are there any other tourist sites that can be "partially" done like that even when they're closed? We're hoping to meet a friend living in Seoul for late dinner and maybe some bar-hopping (don't care too much about sleeping since we have a 13 hour biz class flight the next day), but I wouldn't mind some suggestions in case that doesn't work out and we end up being on our own.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Nov 9, 15, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by mattp1987 View Post
I have a similar amount of time but at night with a 6pm to 10:30am layover. We originally had closer to 24 hours but had to make a change for another reason. I'm wondering what would be the best use of our time since most of the tourist sites seem to be closed. This trip will be in early April in case that matters.

We're planning to stay at the Dragon Hill Lodge on the US Army base, but I'm not 100% set on that location. If we do stay there, I plan to walk over to the War Memorial just outside the gate - while the museum while be closed I understand that the outdoor monuments are accessible all night. Are there any other tourist sites that can be "partially" done like that even when they're closed? We're hoping to meet a friend living in Seoul for late dinner and maybe some bar-hopping (don't care too much about sleeping since we have a 13 hour biz class flight the next day), but I wouldn't mind some suggestions in case that doesn't work out and we end up being on our own.

Thanks in advance.
The Dragon Hill is close to Itaewon. Just take a taxi from post or walk from Gate 1. You can definitely grab dinner and drinks there.

Nighttime tourist things might include some of the palaces if they're still doing nighttours, a food tour, 63 building for sky high views of Seoul and the Han River.
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