Booking flights to South Korea will enable you to journey to a country of stunning contrasts, from the dazzling modernity and towering skyscrapers of Seoul to the natural playground of Gangwon, with its beaches and ski resorts. Whether you want to sample one of the finest cuisines in the world, explore archeological sites dating back as far as 70,000BC or hike the mountains of Seorak-san National Park, you’ll find a land which mixes old and new with unique inventiveness.
Choosing when to book a plane ticket to South Korea means choosing which of the four very distinct seasons the country has appeals to you the most. Summer, from June to August, is a time of rainfall followed by temperatures as high as 95F, and extreme humidity. Winter may be suitable if you like skiing, but the temperatures in January and February can drop as low as -4F. Spring, from March to May, and fall, starting in September, are probably the best times to visit, as it is still warm but not unbearably hot, and the spring flowers and fall colors are both equally appealing.
Travelling outside the peak tourist seasons of spring and fall might mean finding cheap flights to South Korea, but the Orbitz search engine can make that happen any time of the year. By being flexible with your travel plans, you can look up ‘Nearby airports’ to see if flying into or out from another city would be cheaper. When it comes to the date of travel, the ‘Show flexible dates’ option shows the cheapest direct and indirect flights if you don’t need to travel on a particular day.
Located 43 miles to the west of the capital city, Seoul Incheon International is one of the most stunning and well-equipped airports in the world. It is also one of the busiest, handling more than 57 million passengers. It has everything you’d expect from an airport which frequently wins prizes, and then much more besides, such as a golf course, an ice rink, a casino, a spa and indoor gardens to name just a few features. Transport links to Seoul include ‘limousine‘ buses and an express rail link which takes 43 minutes to reach the center of the city.
Smaller than Incheon, but still handling 7 million passengers a year, Gimhae International is located in the city of Busan. It takes domestic flights from other parts of South Korea, and the terminal, constructed in 2007, is clean and pleasant to use. Options for travelling on include a light rail service, standard or ‘limousine’ buses and taxis.
Airlines which fly to South Korea directly from the US include the following:
The rail network in South Korea has recently been revitalized after years of neglect. The result is that it provides express services between major cities, but is still somewhat limited if you want to travel to more rural areas. Tourists can purchase a KR Pass which, for a set fee, offers unlimited travel on South Korean trains. The most commonly used form of transport between major cities is the bus. South Korean busses are frequent, punctual and speedy. Driving a hire car in the bigger cities is difficult due to the sheer weight of traffic, although it helps that road signs are translated into English.
The South Korean capital Seoul is a huge city which is home to almost 12 million people. The ultra-modern infrastructure includes gleaming, futuristic skyscrapers and one of the biggest and possibly the best subway system in the world. Scratch beneath the contemporary surface, however, and you’ll find ancient palaces, shrines like the Bongeun Temple, and footpaths to the seclusion of the surrounding mountains.
For a more relaxing South Korean experience try Busan, the seaport which is the second largest city in the country. Visitors flock from the rest of South Korea and beyond to enjoy the sunshine and clean, warm water of half a dozen beaches, of which Haeundae and Songjeong are the most popular, although you’re more likely to escape the crowds by travelling to Imnang Beach.
Tips and tricks for traveling in South Korea
Visitors from the US need only a passport for stays of up to three months. Although the bus service between South Korean cities is first rate, take note that the buses have no toilets, and don’t usually have rest stops on trips of less than two hours.