The Skyscanner guide to Seoul: Kick off your Korean adventure  

Skyscrapers. High-tech subways. Fashion forward locals. K-Pop and Buddhist temples. Seoul is a city of contrasts across 600 square kilometers.

Get ready to throw yourself into the heart of this quirky, fun, and sometimes crazy metropolis with our guide to Seoul. We’ll help you navigate flights, travel from the airport, and where to stay.

It’s time to join the crowds and feed your Seoul.

A captivating scene of a stunning Buddhist temple in Seoul, featuring a vibrant-colored bridge and building. The surroundings are adorned with numerous trees, their yellow leaves creating a picturesque autumn landscape.

Flying into Seoul

Fly direct into Seoul from Sydney on airlines including Korean Air and Asian Air, as well as budget carriers like JetStar.

Direct flights from Sydney take between 10 hours 30 minutes and just over 11 hours.

Check out the major routes below:  


Seoul Airport

Airlines operating direct flights from Australia to Seoul include:

Korean Air

Flights from Sydney, Brisbane

Asiana Airlines

Flights from Sydney


Flights from Sydney


Flights from Sydney

Visa and travel insurance requirements

 a woman, seen from behind, confidently navigating a bustling Seoul street.

Australians need a visa authorisation to travel to South Korea, called a K-ETA. It’s technically not a visa, but a visa waiver and allows you to enter the country visa-free for trips of up to 90 days.

It’s a simple process to apply online. Simply fill out the form, pay the fee (around ₩10,000) and you’ll get the electronic travel document by email. It usually takes around two working days to process but give yourself at least three before you travel.  

Travel insurance is essential, with coverage for medical expenses, cancelled flights, and loss or theft of valuables. If you’re taking tech like laptops or camera gear you might have to pay an extra premium, but it will be worth it.  

Reputable travel insurance companies include: 


Insider tip:

In celebration of Visit Korea Year (2023/24), the K-ETA is temporarily suspended for Australians and visitors from 21 other countries. This means you don’t need one to enter Korea from 1st April 2023 to 31st December 2024.   

How to get into Seoul from the airport  

Seoul has two international airports – Incheon International Airport and Gimpo International Airport. Most flights from Australia land in Incheon, but you may be able to find options for Gimpo.

Incheon International Airport

You’ve touched down in Seoul, it’s time to make your way to the bright lights of the city or lay your head down in your hotel. You’re 48km away from the city, and your options are:  

Inside Seoul Airport Railway station, a dynamic scene unfolds with people patiently waiting on the platform and others eagerly boarding a recently arrived train.

Airport Railroad Express (A’REX)

This is Seoul’s airport railway line, connecting Incheon and Gimpo to downtown Seoul. Jump on the train for a 45-minute journey into Seoul Station. Tickets are around ₩9,000 for adults and ₩7,000 for kids.   

Airport Limousine Buses

Airport Limousine Buses
They run into most parts of Seoul from the airport and will cost you around ₩15,000 for a deluxe limousine bus or ₩10,000 for a standard limousine bus.  

A close-up view from behind of a stylish woman with short black hair, donned in a tan coat and carrying a black leather rucksack, gracefully stepping into an airport limousine bus.
A mesmerising birds-eye view of Seoul city at night, showcasing a vibrant urban landscape illuminated by countless lights. The scene unfolds with a bustling network of cars and traffic, creating a captivating display of glowing city streets.


You can always hail a cab at the airport but expect to pay serious bucks for the pleasure. The ride from the airport can set you back up to ₩100,000 with an extra ₩8,000 for the toll on the Incheon Bridge. 

Gimpo International Airport

A little closer to the city, at 35.2km away, Gimpo Airport was the major international airport in Seoul until 2001. If you do land into Gimpo, choose your transport from: 

A close-up perspective of a taxi cab roof at night, featuring a brilliantly lit taxi sign on top of the car. In the background, a row of lined-up taxi cabs adds to the dynamic nocturnal urban scene.


The airport railway line will have you in downtown Seoul in just 20 minutes

An alluring shot inside an artistic tunnel adorned with spotlights in the ceiling. The tunnel is meticulously tiled, displaying a captivating mosaic of various shades of white and grey tiles, each unique in size and arrangement.

Airport Limousine Buses

Tickets start at around ₩6,500 for an airport limousine bus into the Seoul. 

Car Hire

Both airports are very well-connected to the city, and tourists need an international driving permit to hire a car here ($49). However, there are car hire options available at both airports.

Where to stay



Love to shop? Head to Myeong-dong and join the other million people that pass through the area every day. You’ll find Korean and western brands and some amazing skincare and K-beauty spots – don’t forget to ask for samples. Expect crowds, bright lights, and the hum of activity – just what you came to Korea for.  

It’s a popular spot for tourists with the full range of accommodation available, including luxury 5-Star (rooftop terraces, yes please) and budget options. 

A close-up of a bowl filled with traditional Korean street food. The image includes text that reads, 'If you're craving traditional Korean street food, satisfy your palate in Myeong-dong.'
A woman seated on steps in front of a charming traditional Korean house. The exquisite front door, crafted from beautiful wood, is adorned with numerous small windows.



Close to Myeong-dong, Insa-dong offers a taste of more traditional Korea. This neighbourhood’s tight streets and winding alleyways are packed with tea houses and traditional spots to eat. You’ll also find plenty of traditional souvenirs on sale, as well as 100 art galleries showcasing classic Korean art. Expect 3-4-Star hotels and budget offerings too.  



Home to Hongik University – one of the most prestigious fine art universities in Korea – Hongdae is vibrant and full of life. Students buzz around its streets enjoying indie music venues, street art, independent cafes, and art galleries. Options for accommodation include well-known hotels like Marriott as well as hostels and guesthouses. 

An engaging shot capturing the vibrancy of a bustling night scene on a busy street. The thoroughfare is alive with a multitude of people, and the atmosphere is illuminated by a myriad of brightly colored neon shop signs, casting a captivating glow across the lively street.
A shot of a white stone Buddhist statue. Beyond a wall, you can see trees with leaves in shades of orange and green in the distance



Yes, you know the song. But Gangnam style is so much more than the global hit from PSY. This affluent neighbourhood which means “South of the River” runs along the southern bank of the Han River. It’s one of the city’s busiest areas and its style is focused on high-end shops, malls, restaurants, and cafes. Think high-rise buildings and luxury hotels.  



Now this is luxury living, Seoul style. Cheongdam-dong is home to the wealthy elite of Seoul – business moguls, movie stars and K-Pop idols. Stroll the streets for luxury fashion and homeware and check out Cheongdam Famous Street for the real fashionistas. If you want 4- and 5-Star luxury and style, this is it.  

Two women admiring their recent purchases
A scenic view captured in Seonggwak Park, featuring a skyline adorned with numerous buildings, flags, and architectural art.



You can get your shopping fix on the streets of Dongdaemun – it’s home to 20 shopping malls and over 30,000 traditional shops. But, if you want a true cultural experience, this is the place. Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid and is home to a selection of museums and art galleries. You’re also covered for luxury, mid-range, and budget hotels.



This multicultural district is just south of Myeong-dong and north of the Han River. And it’s the place to party. Visit in the evenings and at the weekend when locals and tourists alike flock here until the early hours. If you want the fun times right on your doorstep, you’ll find quality hotels with rooftop pools right down to budget-friendly guesthouses.  

A close-up of two hands toasting wine flutes in a celebratory gesture. In the background, a laid-out picnic blanket, a delicious pizza, and lush green grass set the scene for a joyful outdoor gathering.
Within a cozy Hannam-dong café, a woman sits at a table, cradling a dog, and gazing thoughtfully out of the window.



Close to Itaewon, Hannam-dong is a hipper neighbourhood compared to its neighbour’s boozy streets. Expect cool music venues, chic cafes, lifestyle stores, and intricately designed restaurants – it’s also a bit lower key than flashy Cheongdam. Perfect for hip boutique hotels.  

Seoul prices


Seoul is actually a lot more affordable than you’d think. In general, food and drink won’t be what makes a dent in your budget (unless you are going for upmarket options), neither will transport. Usually the bulk of your budget will go on your accommodation, but even then, there are very reasonably priced hotels. If you’re spending time in Seoul, the majority of your expenses will be incurred in the shops – and be self-inflicted given that Seoul’s reputation for fashion, beauty products and tech precedes it.

Street food snack $5
Bottle of beer $3
Litre of petrol $2.14
Meal for two in a fancy restaurant $200
Night in a hostel $50

Now you’ve got an idea of what to expect in Seoul, discover how to get around, where to sample the best street food, where to pick up your K-Beauty essentials and the best budget places to rest your head.

Thinking of travelling to Seoul? Skyscanner can help you find the best flights, hotels and car hire deals for your next trip.