Seoul has revamped itself over the past few decades. Today, the city is ripe with culture, activities, and tourism. The lively nightlife combined with the family-friendly attractions make this a premier spot to vacation. However, if you are not sure about the best time to visit Seoul, it is all about finding the right temperatures for you and your travel companions. Ideally, you want to venture over to this area of Korea from March – May or September – November. Temperatures around this time are quite mild. If you are coming to Seoul for winter activities, book your flights for December – February, but note that the average temperature is around the freezing mark and rarely bumps above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the past two weeks, users have booked deals to Seoul for $38/person, which is 95% cheaper than the average flight to Seoul. To find the cheapest price to Seoul from your area, use momondo’s Airport-to-Airport Pricing Tool.
In general, March is the cheapest month to fly from United States to Seoul. Due to it being the ‘off-season’ during this time, you can expect flight prices to be around $541. If you don’t want to visit Seoul in March, then you should wait until November to fly from United States, when ticket prices are also cheap, with an average price of $683.
The best time to book a flight to Seoul from United States is 56 days out, which is when prices tend to be around $885. Keep in mind that you might also find cheap flights to Seoul outside of this time window. In fact, momondo users recently found flights from United States to Seoul for $672.
The cheapest day to depart from United States to Seoul is on a Wednesday when prices can be found for as low as $956. The most expensive day to fly to Seoul is Saturday, with ticket prices averaging around $1,107.
Flying to Seoul from United States in the afternoon is the least expensive time of day to depart. momondo users have found prices as low as $639 when looking at flights departing in the afternoon. Flights at noon are often more expensive with an average ticket price of $1,317.
If you are planning a flight to Seoul and are looking to avoid the rain, you should avoid traveling during the months of May, June, and July. These months will typically see 5.1 inches or more of rain, meaning that rain is likely. If you do run into rain while in Seoul, there are still things to do and ways to enjoy your trip. While in Seoul you will find Korea House nearby which is a great museum to visit when you’re looking for things to do indoors. Shopping centers like Dongdaemun Market are very popular destinations for those visiting the Seoul area. Dongdaemun Market is a great place to go if you’re looking to spend some time inside.
Seoul has a lot of good places to hike, such as Namsan Park. Many locals as well as tourists enjoy hiking the mountains near Seoul, especially in the colder months for more of a challenge and some beautiful scenery. Hiking in the area is often enjoyed most when the weather begins warming up and the chance for rain is low. Considering this, it would be recommended to fly to Seoul during October, , and to take advantage of the warmer weather and go for a hike. During the warmer months, hikers around the Seoul area find that parks like Seolleung Park are the best for taking long walks with their families and/or pets. Those looking for this type of experience are likely best suited to fly to Seoul in October.
Incheon Intl Airport can be an alternative airport used for travel to Seoul.
Seoul Gimpo Intl Airport has an average price of $843 per person and is typically the cheapest airport to fly into when visiting Seoul. This average price does vary based on departure city. Try momondo’s Airport-to-Airport Pricing Tool to find the cheapest flight.
Currently, South Korea travel restrictions include travel to Seoul. South Korea has restricted the entry of all travelers who have been in the Hubei Province of China in the past 14 days. Chinese nationals with passports issued in the Hubei Province are also not allowed to enter the country. Korean visas issued by the Wuhan Consulate in the Hubei Province are invalidated. Nationals of China and travelers arriving from China must have visas to transit through South Korea. Travelers arriving from China with a diplomatic, consular, official, service or special passport or who are nationals of Albania, Andorra, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Ireland, South Korea, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, Palau, San Marino, Slovenia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Vatican City and Venezuela may still transit through South Korea without a visa. Short-term visas (type C-1 and C-3) issued on or before April 5 are invalidated. Visa exemptions for 90 nationalities with normal passport are temporarily suspended, except for airline crew.or passengers with an APEC Business Travel Card. Travelers with a visa on an expired passport must present a printed "Visa Grant Notice" and the expired passport to the immigration upon arrival. Foreign nationals residing in South Korea on most types of long-term visa will need to apply for a re-entry permit at a local immigration office or at the airport before undertaking any travel out of South Korea. Those traveling with a re-entry permit will also be required to have a medical examination no earlier than 48 hours before they plan to return to South Korea, and to obtain a medical certificate in English or Korean demonstrating COVID-19 negative status. Nationals of Mongolia, Russia and Thailand are restricted from transiting through South Korea on their way to or from those countries, and all foreign travelers who have been in Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Philippines or Uzbekistan in the past 14 days must have a medical certificate with a negative Coronavirus (COVID-19) PCR test result issued at most 48 hours before arrival to enter South Korea. The certificate must be in English. All travelers arriving in South Korea will be subject to PCR testing and a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days. In some cases, Korean authorities have permitted immediate blood relatives or spouses of long-term residents to self-quarantine at their family’s home. For this, travelers would need to provide proof of relationship (e.g., marriage or birth certificate), and should understand that Korean immigration officials have the final authority to approve quarantine arrangements. All travelers including airline crew members must also complete Health Declaration Forms and Special Quarantine Declaration Forms through a self-diagnosis app. Nationals and residents of South Korea are required to install a 'Self-quarantine safety protection app'. Chinese nationals who are traveling on business under the Fast Lane program and their family members are exempt from the quarantine requirements; however, they must self-monitor their health conditions for at least 14 days before departure and must hold a medical certification of a negative COVID-19 testing result issued within 72 hours before departure. They will receive an additional test upon arrival, after which they must stay at a designated quarantine facility for up to 1-2 days until receiving the result. Once receiving a negative test result, they will be allowed to end their quarantine. Merchant seamen with a visa must have a medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued at most 48 hours before departure. The certificate must be in English and the passengers must have two copies of the certificate. All flights must arrive at Incheon International Airport (ICN) between 5:00 am and 8:00 pm. Transit passengers will receive a temperature check on arrival in Korea. Symptomatic individuals will be subject to a COVID-19 test and hospitalization if found positive. Passengers who do not show symptoms and/or test negative may continue their journey. Transit passengers at Seoul Incheon Airport require a ticket/boarding pass for their onward flight to their final destination. Travelers should confirm with the airline(s) before departure that their bags have been checked through to their final destination (as transit passengers are not able to collect and re-check in baggage on arrival in Incheon Airport). If you are planning to travel to Seoul at this time, it is recommended that you stay up to date on current restrictions and follow proper safety measures while in public.
Direct flights from the US include American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Jin Air, Korean Air, and Asiana Airlines. Other airlines without direct flights include All Nippon Airways, KLM Airlines, Japan Airlines, China Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and many more. If you are looking for cheap flights into Seoul, stick to Asiana Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and you might snag a few deals from KLM too. However, cheaper flights include multiple stops and layovers, which you may want to take into consideration.
Incheon International Airport is the largest in South Korea and the premier airport for U.S. residents entering the country. It primarily serves the capital area and is extremely busy. Luckily, that means you have multiple options for reaching the city center.
Airport Railroad Express
The AREX operates two main lines including the Express Train from the airport into Seoul Station, and the All Stop Train. The latter halts at 12 stations on the way to city center and takes around 58 minutes. The Express Train operates every 40 minutes, while the All Stop Train comes in every 6 – 7 minutes. The Express Train costs approximately 8000 KRW with a discounted rate of 6,900 KRW for children. The All Stop Train is your cheapest option, averaging a fare of 4,150 KRW per person.
Airport buses run from the airport into the city center and other areas of Seoul. Booths are outside the passenger terminals on the first floor, and you can purchase tickets from the Airport Bus Ticket Booth by gates 4 and 9. Your particular bus stop is written on the ticket, and you can choose between the Deluxe and Standard Bus.
Taxis in Seoul include medium, large, and luxury vehicles. The fare is a flat rate applied to the section between Incheon Airport and your destination within the city. There are no additional charges and the flat rate applies regardless of the number of passengers that share a ride. Based on the destination and type of taxi, the rates vary between 55,000 KRW – 80,000 KRW for luxury or large taxis, to 750,00 KRW – 110,000 KRW for medium and large respectively.
If you feel confident to drive, it is definitely worth checking for deals on car rentals with momondo.
The subway in Seoul is by far the most effective way to travel. You skip the city traffic and get around quickly. Cash fare for the subway is 1,350 KRW per adult and 450 KRW per child. Lines 1 – 9 take you to most attractions and even outside of Seoul into Gyeonggi.
The bus operates throughout the city center. To make it easier, the buses are color-coded. The main line bus is blue and you also have the green line operating in the city. The yellow buses operate in a circle around city center, while the green ones visit suburbs and local villages. For express trips, you want to take the red bus. Each type of bus has a different fare, ranging from 1,000 KRW to 2,400 KRW per adult and 300 KRW to 1,200 KRW per child.
Taxis are available throughout city center and are the best option for getting to areas outside of the public transportation routes. Also, they accept T-money cards just like other public transportation units. Standard taxis are silver, white, and orange, and offer the best fares. If traveling with a large group, opt for the jumbo taxi, which is usually a minivan. Fares for a taxi are negotiable, but you should negotiate and mutually agree with the driver before getting in for a ride.
Take the ferry over to Jeju Island while you are in Seoul, which is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. There are two main ferries: the Seastar Cruise and Santa Luchino. The travel time is approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes. The Santa Luchino operates daily except on the first and third Monday of the month. The Seastar Cruise does not operate on Monday or Saturday. Ferries come with rooms and operate like a cruise ship. A standard room costs 30,000 KRW per adult and 14,950 KRW per child.
U.S. nationals can enter and stay in the Republic of Korea (ROK) for tourism purposes for up to 90 days without a visa, as long as they have a valid passport. For other foreign nationals, please check the Republic of Korea Visa Portal website.
Seoul is a vibrant city that has new and ancient attractions blending perfectly with one another. There are several historic sites and hidden gems speckled throughout the city. Whether you prefer something more modern or you want to go on a kaleidoscopic sightseeing adventure, consider these top items for your list:
As a first-time visitor to Seoul, your goal may be to save some money, but you also want to get the most out of your visit.
Get a T-money Card
The T-money cards are used on public transportation throughout Korea. They provide you with discounted fares and cost 2,500 KRW per card to purchase initially. Then, you can fill them with as much as you would like and use the card on all forms of transportation, including the airport express trains, metro subway, and buses.
Embrace the subway
You and the subway will become best friends in Seoul because it is by far the easiest way to get around. To make sure you are on the right track, use the Seoul Metro app on your phone.
Be strategic about hotel bookings
Get a hotel or hostel room near the Line 1 and Line 4 for the subway. This puts you within a short walk to the subway and from there onward, your options are endless.
Stand tall and be strong
Koreans are always in a hurry, and they have no qualms about pushing their way through large crowds. Therefore, be prepared to get pushed into doorways, pushed around on the subway, and even at local shopping markets. Do not be offended when someone pushes you out of the way without an apology; it is just a way of life in Seoul.