This is probably one of the most practical TL;DRs we’ve answered in a while. Back in the day before the world of these TL;DR videos, we used to have a huge FAQ section on our website that we updated regularly and religiously with tons of helpful info, but we soon discovered that taking the time to update the FAQ page was…a total waste of our time. We still received tons of emails asking us questions for just about everything we had taken the time to write about. Even when we replied to someone’s email with a link to that page, some people still emailed us back asking for a direct response! Grumblecakes!

And so, that was how our TL;DR videos started: to answer commonly asked questions in video format since it seems most people are unwilling to read the answers. Reading’s dead! People want videos instead! But not you guise, since you’re clearly reading this blog post right now. Or maybe you’re not? Maybe we should make a TLDR video about why we made TL;DR videos?

Okay! On to the extra tips and tricks for flying to Korea! If you already watched the video we mentioned briefly about packing and travel on the plane but we didn’t get the chance to talk about what it’s like to arrive at Incheon Airpot.

Just Arriving

First off, if you need to make a phone call, do it at the pay phones while you still can. There aren’t a lot of pay phones in Korea, so you might not get the chance to tell your family that you arrived safely.

Secondly, grab a snack at the local convenience store in the airport. For less than a $2.00 you can get a lovely rice triangle and bottle of water or head to the Paris Croissant for a pretty decent sandwich or some baked good that you can pop in your bag. Trust me, it’s going to take you at least 30 minutes to get to wherever you’re going from here on our.

The Subway

If you’re taking the subway from the airport, you can buy a T-Money card (“tee-cah-duh”) in either plain old regular card format, or as a slightly more expensive cute dangling thingy that hooks onto your cell phone at the local GS25 convenience store inside the airport. You buy the card (just once), then put money on the card and just “beep” it to get on the subway, bus, or even taxi. The advantage of these are that they save you money with every trip and they are rechargeable at convenience store and at the subway themselves but NOT on the buses or in taxis. Plus, you don’t have to know where you are going, you beep to get on the subway, and beep to get off the subway and the machine does all the math for you. If you don’t want to buy a t-money card, head to the subway located under the airport (there are tons of signs) and you’ll have to buy a ticket BUT you’ll have to know the name of the subway stop you are going to in order to buy a ticket. See why t-money card are great? ROBOT TAKE MY MONEY BEEP! We did a video about Korean subways a while ago… a LONG TIME AGO

The subway in Korea is awesome but if you have lots of luggage it will be awful. The airport subway line is pretty empty and spacious but as you transfer lines onto the more populated lines, you’ll have a hard time getting through the crowds and finding an elevator to take you between levels, so I really recommend the bus or a taxi if you have lots of luggage.

The Bus

When you exit the airport, the first ring of roads are for the buses while the second ring is for taxis. There are tons of buses that take you in many directions so I recommend you check out this site to help you with where you are going and how long it will take.

Img busroute01

If you bought a t-money card, you can just beep onto the bus and depending on if it’s a fancy bus (the driver will come down to help you load your luggage under the bus) or if it’s a normal bus (driver stares at you struggling to get your luggage up the stair and onto the bus) it will cost between $2.50 – $15.00. We normally take the bus when we are traveling light and don’t have any animals. Here’s another video we did about using T-Money cards


Once you leave the airport, the taxis are divide according to where they will travel (for example, some go to Seoul, some don’t). There are also English speaking helpers waiting by the taxi stand and help people communicate with the taxi driver. We didn’t have those when we arrived five years ago!

Img 1021

There are three kinds of taxis available. The standard taxis, starting at roughly $2.40, the luxury taxis (it’s just a black taxi with leather seats…oooohhh) starting at $4.50, and the “jumbo” van taxis also at $4.50. If you have two people and four pieces of luggage plus carry-ons, you’ll have to take the jumbo taxi to fit in everything. Advice for using taxis: if you pass by a toll both, which you probably have to, you’ll have to pay an extra $7.00 or so that will be tacked on at the end of your journey so don’t be surprised.

Buuuuut, if you travel between midnight and 4:00am the normal taxi’s meter will start at a higher price (that’s normal anywhere in Korea) HOWEVER if they try to suggest a flat cash rate or refuse to use the meter they are trying to rip you off, so get a different taxi. To give you an idea, going to Seoul in a normal taxi has cost us around $70.00 during crappy slow traffic in the early evening, and around $50.00 for quick moving traffic. Honestly, if you’re really exhausted from both jet lag and a bagillion hours on the plane, then falling asleep in the taxi is the way to go. You don’t have to worry about missing your stop and you can always save money on the way back to the airport by taking the subway and bus once you’re fully awake.

Ok! So those are your options! Let us know if you have any other travel tips. Wow. This blog post feels like a government page or something. Too much information!

Oh, and lastly, if your noodles come undercooked while you’re on the flight, feel free to abuse the flight attendants. HA JOKING! We’re not CEOs

  1. lmao thank you so much martina and Simon im planning to go to korea soon,,, by the way can you tell me some useful phrases when i first arrive … lol

  2. Oh damn it seems so difficult i don’t even know where we (my family and me) are going to go to… and we don’t know the lenguage at all (i know a bit..just a bit..)

  3. My name is Stefan i’m From Geneva Switzerland.
    I made the trip to Korea last Friday, 14 hours flight with a stop in Dubai i got some tricks:

    -1 Buy some chewing gums befor the fly. That for to balance you ear pressure for the landing and Take off by chewing.
    -2 Try to get some sleep during the flight. I didn’t sleep at all for the 14 hours, next day in Seoul i needed about 20 hours of sleep.
    -2 When you arrived in Incheon you will need to fill 3 different Form to enter Korea. 1 quarantine 2 Immigration 3 Custum. The problem you can’t get all 3 at the same time. You find itch Form befor the desk. I lose about 10 to 15 minutes just on that.
    Sometimes the Airlines have this form, you could ask the steward if you can get one. (With a big smile, it’s work ever times :) )
    -3 Print befor your trip, a map of the localisation of your Hotel. I got following problem, I take the train from Incheon to Seoul and I wanna take a taxi and none speaks english and didn’t know where my hotel was. (and GPS can’t find it nether)

    So i hope it’s will help some. I wish you a nice trip to Korea.


  4. I’m going to be travelling to Korea in August with EPIK. I was wondering… can you take a pillow on the plane with you and not have that count as carry-on? Have either of you ever done that?

  5. This is probably kind of relate to this tl;dr, but the immigration in Korea is awesome. Last time I went there it took me 15 minutes altogether from stepping off the plane, through the immigration, and on to the luggage claim. (unlike London Heathrow that I had to wait 2 hours before >:/)

  6. Soo..I don’t know if this has been asked before but I’m going to ask again.

    Who exactly does the art that I’ve been seeing around here? Like the cute pictures of you and Spudgy and Meemers, do you pay for someone to do them or are they fan art?

  7. The luxury taxi aren’t just more expensive for their ‘nice’ seats….

    those drivers get more because they earned their license by driving regular taxi for more than 20 years without tickets or accidents and so. They are also obliged to do community services occasionally (usually traffic control)

  8. I was wondering if it is true that there are Latin Dance Clubs at Seoul. If it is true, you guys should totally do a TLDR. I really want to see you guys and whoever is in the club to dance Latin music (^_^).

  9. Hey Simon and Martina~,
    Now, I have a pretty serious question. Have you guys ever experienced, or heard of violence against foreigners while you’ve been in Korea? I’m American and I’m enlisting in the Air Force later this year. So, there’s a possibility that I could be stationed in Korea. I was searching for a site that would give me some pretty good priced apartments(I plan on living off base if I’m allowed) and I came across this article about violence against foreigners. I do realize that it’s really dated, but there’s still a chance that it could be going on. So again, have you heard anything? What are your thoughts about it?


    A link to the article I found:

  10. My tip for long flights is to make sure you get up and walk around. This will make you feel less crappy, get your blood flowing, and give your muscles a new position. Or, stand up by the bathrooms/food storage for a bit while you read or with a friend. You’ll feel better in the long run :D.

  11. do u use the site allkpop? if you do what do you think about the new layout

  12. So IDK if you would even consider this question, since you have kinda answered it in two posts (“…fat and ugly foreigner” & “Korean vs … American Beauty” but I still would like to ask your opinion specifically about the plastic surgery craze in Korea, I came across this article http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/the-k-pop-plastic-surgery-obsession/276215/ and it struck me as interesting, as they used the phrase “self-racism”. I will warn you that it is a lengthy article but I think it has some interesting insights that I thought you may have an opinion on.

    Also, you know what there used to be for submitting questions, kinda like a kpop chart, but for TL;DR questions? Is there any plans on bringing that back? I know that EYK stopped using the old “question chart” (if you will) because the same questions would keep coming to the top but I’m sure that there is a way to mark it as “answered” just as EYK does with the reviewed kpop videos?

  13. If you’re flying out of the U.S. (at least, with most U.S. carriers), you ABSOLUTELY do NOT want to put pills in a contact lens case! All pill should be brought in their original bottles, or they may confiscate them (OR EVEN DETAIN YOU!). Also, I would suggest making sure any pills you will need in the next few days are taken in your carry-on, in case something were to happen to your luggage. In fact, that pretty much goes for anything you can’t live without…. (i.e. money, tech stuff, medicine/medical supplies, etc.).

  14. Can you talk about the Black Ocean? I recently saw something on Tumblr about T-ARA getting “black ocean”. Do you hear about this often? What are you personal views on black ocean? I personally think it’s wrong, even for a group like T-ARA where they’ve kinda gone to an extreme (bullying…or not bullying, I don’t know the story). I think this is something every kpop fan should know about because it’s honestly heartbreaking and I’m pretty sure these kpop fans (international) will listen to what you guys have to say ^^

  15. Question.. Is it possible to fly directly into Jeju Island’s airport now, or would we still have to fly into Incheon first and then get to Jeju from Kimpo or Busan?

  16. Omigosh do i know the pain! My lil family and I just got back from Taiwan, and holy smokes was the a 14 hour flight of death. Luckily for us we have an awesome baby who slept nearly the whole way. Still didn’t change the fact that it was loud, long, and over all uncomfortable. We do this once a year. YAY!

  17. Other than EatYourKimchi, do you guys know of another useful site that often gives away free Kpop things? :)

  18. here on *OUT sorry typo i just saw!

    ALSO, can you please do a video where you compare korean wealth and american wealth? like why in kdramas do they have rich people living in mansions when im pretty sure most koreans even the wealthy live in the city in spacious apartments. how do koreans perceive American wealth and America in Korea?

  19. What I did was, spend the night before packing and when I boreded the plane at 10am in Germany I slept right through until we arrived “the next morning” in Korea. Not tired at all and could spend the rest of the day exploring the area (shoppiiiiing~~)

    We took a bus and the driver helped us with our luggage and then explained to us that we have to wear seat belts and helped us put them on…I’m not sure if that’s normal or if he simply thought he has to help the poor foreigners that don’t know anything…

    I ended up having to buy another suit case, even though I arrived with only a half full one..but that was fine because I had been eyeing it since I arrived because it was so cute^^

  20. very useful! I actually have a ~13hr layover in Incheon on my way to Beijing in about a month.
    for those of you who have been in Incheon before: which restaurant(s) did you like? I looked on their website and there are soooo many to choose from. I’d really like to eat something super good while I’m there. C: thanks!

  21. Do Korean people believe in one time marriage or are their a lot of divorce cases in Korea? Is there any specific age for a male/female to get married and what is more common, arranged marriage or love marriage?

    • Divorce is quite frowned upon in Korea. If you’re divorced, it would be quite difficult to find someone else who’d want to marry you. There are of course divorces in Korea too, but it’s not at all as common as in the west. And it’s not taken as lightly as here either. You never ever ever get married thinking “well, if it doesn’t work out… there’s divorce!”, which I know some people think here in the west.

      And there are other cultural differences. Like here in Sweden, for example, having a family together without being married is extremely common. In Korea, it’s extremely rare.

      When I told my boyfriend about my family history, he was in absolute shock and he still doesn’t think telling his family about it would be a good idea, because it’s too vastly different. (My mother was married before, then left her husband for my father and had two children -me included- with him without marrying, then broke up. As well as she had two other children with her ex husband, and my father has six children with four women (her included) but was only married once etc)

      Regarding love or arranged… It’s definitely love marriage, not arranged, BUT! there is a Lot of preassure sometimes to marry someone that your family deems “good enough”. You don’t really Have to listen to your family, but many feel preassured when choosing a life partner cause they have to be up to a specific standard.

      Regarding the age, I’m not 100% sure but my guess is standard 18 years+.

  22. hi martina, how much did it cost you to buy that fancy dangling Tmoney on your celphone? Thanks!

  23. 3:54 I believe the word you are looking for is a tote :) You should hire me. I can help you with these things lol

  24. What is it like traveling with Spudgy to and from Canada? My wife and I
    live in Taiwan with our dog and are wondering if we should take her back
    when we go to visit, or if we should find a place for her to stay. Do
    you take Spudgy on short trips, or just the longer ones? What special
    things do you have to do when you travel with a dog?

    when you`re up there in the air for that long, your face gets horribly dry and starts burning, and if you don`t have chapstick you run the risk of not only suffering on the awful flight, but suffering for a few days afterwards
    I made that mistake when I flew to Japan and it was a nightmare T-T

  26. I’m a pretty avid flier, and I follow a lot of the same rules. Korea is the second country outside of Canada that I’ve lived in (I’ve also lived in the high north part of Norway), and with my job it has me on a minimum of two flights every two-three weeks.
    If you’re flying in the winter, don’t pack up your coat! Just throw it above or use it as a second blanket.

    Also, I make sure to always pack antihistamines in my carry-on. I have the same issue on descent where I’m literally in tears from pain. It’s worse if I’ve been waiting in an airport with poorly ventilated smoke rooms (curse you Frankfurt!). Antihistamines work for me, and you never know when you’re going to have an allergic reaction to something.

    I also like to pack a toothbrush/toothpaste for use after the meal. Nothing worse than sitting on a flight for 12 hours and having the taste of airplane food the whole time. Individual-use face cleanser wipes are a must for me. Once I get off the flight I never feel like I’m myself until I’ve cleaned myself up a bit. They’re great especially is you have a long layover!

  27. Actually last year when I arrived at Incheon and went to buy a T money card, I got a tourist version that saved us a lot of cash apparently, so I recommend asking for the tourist card instead of a dingely thingy :D

  28. Super helpful :D
    Thanks for all the information/tips – this will surely be of great help for my trip to Seoul :D

  29. Thank you guys for doing this week’s TLDR on this topic. I’m leaving in August to study in Korea for a year so these tips will be very helpful!

  30. This was a very informative TLDR. ^^ A lot of the things you said I already do though, hah hah, so no new information for Sara.
    I will say this though! A lot of places sell little pill boxes–yes they’re more expensive-blahblahblah– but I got mine in Korea and I absolutely love it. I think it was a dollar at Daiso and it’s one of the best things I bought over there.

    Oh, I want to add this too. Wear your coat onto the plane :) They take up tons of room in the suitcase and even if it’s really hot out you can take the coat off and use it as a blanket on the plane. That’s what my plane is to do this fall… wear my hoodie and my jacket.

    the double suitcase thing is really awesome. You can save tons of space by getting a giant duffel bag to pack inside of the other one. It weighs next to nothing (mine weighs less than 3 pounds empty?).

    Oh! A good purchase would be a luggage scale. Most flights have weight restrictions so it’s good to abide by that… I brought one with me to my study abroad trip to Korea and every one else on the trip thanked me for it when it was time to leave lol.

    Thank you both for giving us nasties a great informative TLDR! Makes me happy and reminds me that it won’t be long until I’m in Korea as well!! :)

  31. I personally agree with basically everything you said (and wrote). Honestly it is much better to take the subway (if your traveling somewhere in Incheon / Northern Seoul) or a bus. I would only take a taxi if you arrive between 12.30am and 5am (limited service) or if your part of a large group 3-4 people. Splitting the cost between you will make it only a little more than a bus.

  32. Those are great tips for any long flight! :) I definitely could have used those on my long flight 7 years ago. It’s killer Toronto-Shanghai = 19 hours….even with a stopover in Vancouver, our stopover was only 20 minutes long and you weren’t even allowed out of a corral because you have already passed security :P. Since we were flying west, even if I had been on a plane since 5am, it was still only 7am by time I got to Vancouver and there wasn’t any good lunch food out yet at the vendors (sushi store = moldy from days before – ewwwww) For some reason they also played every single movie/tv show about being trapped, which didn’t help – “The Island”, “The Prisoner”, even the chinese movie was similar but I don’t remember what it was called. I will add a couple of extra tips for a long flight since my husband also had to fly to Beijing for work several times:

    1) If you stay up late the night before stressing and packing for your trip, don’t think “well, it will only be a couple of hours, I may as well just stay up until I go” – get what sweet sweet sleep you can get in your bed, if you don’t do this flight regularly, you will NOT sleep on the plane.
    2) Getting to the airport 3-5 hours early is for suckers, especially for early morning flights. If your flight is before 7am, 2 hours at the most is all you’ll need, (really probably only 1 hour, but better safe than miss your flight) there are very few flights before that and they are mostly arriving, you will breeze through security.
    3) Those pillows for babies to sleep in a car that look like “U” , get one – so awesome because you may not have room to sleep on your side.
    4) Noise cancelling earphones. Even if they give you a headache, they will give you LESS of a headache than the plane noise and you can actually hear the in flight movie with them. Go for earbuds because you can’t lean on big headphones.
    5) Bring your own movies and/or music on your device, let the on-flight line-up be a bonus because it may suck or be the same on your way back if you’re not staying long.

    6) Bring aspirin or blue gel advil and maybe even Gravol (anti-nausea). There is nothing worse than a headache on the plane and nothing you can do about it for over half a day.
    7) Don’t bring fruit on the plane for a snack, either there or on the way back – if you buy it last minute, it may not be as tasty as you think and then you will be forced to eat it or declare it.
    8) On your way back, if customs confiscates something that should have been in checked luggage, don’t give up. Take it back to check in and check it in your carry-on bag, put your essentials in your pockets or a plastic bag. Unless you were already late for your flight, you will have time.
    9) No matter how tired you are, shower after a long flight before you collapse into a bed, you are stinkier than you think.
    10) Hard candies (or gum in a pinch). Helps with the air pressure in the ears/sinuses. They used to offer them on flights, but not any more. I think you can even find sugar-free ones these days.
    11) If you can afford an upgrade to first class – DO IT! It makes a big difference compared to “coach”.

    12) People will also try to trade seats with you to be with “their friend” – they secretly want your aisle seat/window – don’t do it unless they are offering an aisle/window seat in return. You can’t really see anything out of the windows from the aisle. There is only ocean most of the time from North America to Asia but the coasts are cool, even at night.

  33. I’m really glad you did this TL;DR. I was seriously foolish when coming to Korea. I ended up falling for the taxi driver shpeel and paid 40,000 for a 6,000 won ride. Also, I had a momentary lack of insanity and took a taxi from Busan to Gwangju because I was exhausted and didn’t know how to do the bus thing yet.

    Taxi ride from airport to hotel fifteen minutes away: 40,000 won
    Taxi ride from Busan to Gwangju: 300,000 won.
    My parents and friends and pretty much every person I’ve ever met never letting me live that down? Priceless.

    I still cringe about it. I’m cringing now.

  34. from here on our.

    OUT! is what you’re looking for.

  35. I actually prefer direct flights because I can take the 14 hours and honestly, how many of us are on the computer for that long (i see you internally raise them hands!) :p

  36. really good TLDR!

    one thing i can add… i’ve done a similar route several times, living in Japan and being from Canada, and whenever i’m on these long flights, i used to always get a “fake cold” because of the recycled dry air in the plane. (does that happen to you?) like allergies where i’d just start sneezing like crazy or get a runny nose, and then, it doesn’t leave you for 2 days even though you’re off the plane!!! well, i found that the way to remedy that is to wear a face mask! here in Japan, they even sell some special ones at the convenience stores in the airport, that have little “moisture” packs in them so your nose doesn’t get dry… so pretty sure they’d have them as well in korea! but for people back home, a normal mask would be fine, i think…

    anyways, my 2-cents! lol.

  37. Just to make everyone jealous, I can sleep in any flight, even if it’s only the 3h London-Romania flight. :p

  38. I would say even flying in and out of Incheon is probably one of the best airport experiences I had so far. I just recently took a trip from the Eastern US back to my home country of Laos with stops in Atlanta, Seoul, and Bangkok. The 15 hr flight from Atlanta to Seoul really drains the life out of you. Lucky, the travel agent booked us on Korean Air from ATL all the way to Bangkok and I must say if you can shell out the money, fly with them. Either them or Asiana Airlines, which also uses Seoul Incheon as a hub if you are flying in and out of Asia. The flight staff are extremely attractive, super friendly, and very professional. (Here’s a tangent, have you ever noticed that flight crews from other countries only hire the most attractive people?) The standard meals are great too, with a choice of either a Korean or Western dish. Take the Korean dish people, specially if they are serving Bimipap. For the love of Pete, do not fly a US domestic airliner to Korea. PROTIP: Delta codeshares with Korean Air, United codeshares with Asiana Airlines. Research the flights to see if the codeshare flights are operated by Korean or Asiana, you will be much happier.

    If you are doing a layover in Incheon, you will need to go thru a security checkpoint before you go back into the terminal so don’t freakout. If I had one complaint about the airport there is that there is just one big blue board for all flight information (or maybe i was just stupid and tired when i got there, i arrived there in the early mornings for my layovers) so just remember to look up if your trying to find your gate. Now the good things about the airport. First off is that it’s probably one of the most cleanest and nicest looking airports I’ve ever been in, they really take good care of the place. There is free wi-fi blanketed all over the airport, but there are so many open wi-fi hotspots so I just tend to use the ones labeled like KT or SK (usually named after the cellphone providers). There are charging stations between each gate (which are not hard to find, they are sponsored by Samsung, go figure) but I don’t know if they have regular 120v outlets since I didn’t use one when I was there. More than likely they probably do since they clearly mark the outlets on the walls as 220v and a big red plate that’s says not compatible with 120v devices. Otherwise, the food choices are excellent, there’s TV’s everywhere so you maybe able to catch some K-drama or variety show (I was lucky enough to catch a Super Junior concert on MBC on one of the food court TV’s.) Hell if your even lucky, you may even bump into your favorite idol since everybody flies out of Incheon.

    If, even by a planning “mistake”, you happen to be doing a ridiculously long layover in Seoul, get the heck out of there. I know US passport holders don’t need a Korean Visa to get out of the airport, but I didn’t get to do it :( (for more info on this and a list of countries that support the no visa entry – http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/GK/GK_EN_2_1_1.jsp)

    Hope this helps :)

  39. Oh my god I can never sleep on airplanes either! I have to fly 2 times a year on an 8 hour flight home and back and I never sleep…not one bit. My family once took a trip to Singapore from Montreal, which was a total of 24 hours flying and I did not sleep at all….O.O What really helps me during take-off and landing is eating those giant bubblicious gums (oh childhood ^^) because they really help with the relaxing of jaw muscles or something that makes your ears hurt less. Also, the extra pillow thing is awesome *props*

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