Most people hate the idea of a long layover at an airport when they’re travelling between countries. I can certainly understand why as most airports are boring and have few things to do. If you have an Incheon Airport Layover, however, then you’re in luck. There are so many things to do, see, buy, eat, and experience at Incheon Airport during a layover that you’ll wish you had more time!
From free tours into the city, to casinos, saunas, cinemas, and even free cultural events, there’s so much to do during an Incheon Airport layover!
Find out why Incheon Airport has been ranked as one of the world’s best airports for so long and uncover some of the secrets of turning an Incheon Airport Layover into a holiday in itself.
I want to share with you 14 amazing Incheon Airport layover secrets with you to help you make the most of your layover. Whether you’re in the airport for a few hours, or even a whole day, you’ll find loads of great things to do. You might be surprised that an Incheon Airport layover can turn into a real dream!
For those who are travelling into Seoul, then you will definitely want to check out my really useful guide to getting from Incheon Airport into the city, whatever time of day you’re travelling.
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1: Take a Free Transit Tour From Incheon Airport
Did you know you can get a free transit tour into Seoul when you have a layover at Incheon Airport? This is a great way to see Seoul for free when you have a layover. Use your time on your layover and see a small part of beautiful Korea.
This is an amazing idea and I wish every major airport offered free transit tours.
The tours are open to anyone who is eligible to enter Korea. However, you must be leaving on a connecting flight within 24 hours. You can book the tour when you arrive (30 minutes prior), and there are a number of different course available.
Please note: these suggestions assume you have the freedom to travel outside of the airport without a visa. Here’s a list of all countries that are allowed access into Korea during a layover.
2: Make Your Own Way Into Seoul Or Incheon
It takes about an hour to get into the heart of Seoul. From here you can explore lots of different places, such as Myeongdong, Hongdae, or Insadong. Take a limousine bus from Incheon Airport to Myeongdong Market and experience some delicious street food, do some tax-free shopping, and even take a trip to N Seoul Tower. You can also go to Incheon, which is an often overlooked city with lots of attractions and is closer than Seoul.
There are lots of ways that you can get from Incheon Airport to Seoul. Your options for getting into Seoul include the Airport Express train, local trains, airport buses, and taxis. I’ve written a guide about how to get to Seoul from Incheon Airport. Follow the link below to find out more and start planning your quick trip into Seoul.
3: Rest & Refresh During Your Incheon Airport Layover
A lot of people can’t sleep well after a long flight (I certainly can’t) and feel exhausted by the time they land on solid ground again.
If that’s the case, then make use of the many facilities you can find at Incheon Airport to help you relax and unwind, including:
Showers – clean up and refresh with a hot shower for free.
Free shower locations
Resting beds – there are lots of free comfortable beds to lie down in.
Resting area locations
Massage chairs – 20 minutes of massage all for free!
These are located in the ‘Rest Zone’ on the 4th floor of Terminal 1.
Business lounges – there are business lounges throughout Incheon Airport for those with access.
Business lounge locations
4: Unwind At A Korean Sauna
If those free facilities aren’t enough, then why not take some time to visit the sauna at Incheon Airport?
There is an excellent Korean sauna (jjimjjilbang in Korean) called Spa On Air that offers a range of hot tubs and resting facilities to refresh weary bodies.
You can even sleep in the communal sleeping area (pajamas are provided), or alternatively they have private sleeping rooms available.
For those who are unfamiliar with Korean saunas, the hot tubs are gender-separated and everyone is naked.
5: Travel To Paradise City Hotel For CIMER Spa
Outside of Incheon Airport you will find the Paradise City Hotel, which provides a lot of awesome facilities for people with an Incheon Airport layover.
Besides offering somewhere to sleep, there’s also the Paradise City CIMER Spa – a luxurious spa with a wide range of facilities, including saunas, hot springs, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and peaceful relaxation areas.
The hot springs include rejuvenating ingredients, such as sea salt, honey, and even coffee (don’t drink it, though).
The Paradise City Hotel is located just outside the airport and is easy to get to by shuttle bus or public transport.
6: Sleep Soundly At Darakhyu Capsule Hotel In Incheon Airport
Inside Incheon Airport there is a small, but very comfortable, capsule hotel called Darakhyu Capsule Hotel.
Despite the name, this is not actually a capsule hotel like you’d find in Japan, but a hotel with small, functional and convenient rooms. They’re perfect for a short rest or overnight sleep.
This where I sleep at Incheon Airport when I have to catch an early flight and is perfect for any Incheon Airport layover.
This hotel can be busy so if you plan to stay overnight at Incheon Airport, it’s best to book in advance.
The price of the rooms can be seen in the picture below (as of September 2019).
7: Book A Hotel Outside Incheon Airport
A very common option when you need to rest and recover during your Incheon Airport layover, is to rent a hotel.There are many hotels located nearby Incheon Airport that provide a comfortable bed and place to freshen up at all different price levels.
Here are a few of the best ones to suit various budgets. They’re mostly located directly outside the airport and some may provide free transport directly to the hotel, too.
Budget (under $50)
Coco Guest House **
Comfort ($50 – $150)
Incheon Airport Transit Hotel Terminal 2 ***
Joel’s Tip: In case you’re not sure how to get to the hotel, contact the hotel directly, or ask at one of the friendly information counters at the airport. You should be able to find someone who can help you in English or other languages.=
8: Enjoy Some Family Friendly Entertainment
There are lots of different options for entertainment during an Incheon Airport layover, so many that you probably won’t even want to leave the airport.
For those travelling with a family, there are lots of fun ways to kill the time between flights.
For young children, there are many play areas known as ‘Kids Room’ located throughout Incheon Airport. You can find these at both terminals.
Families can enjoy all the latest movies on offer in Korea, which usually sees films released at the same time as other countries, at the CGV Cinema in Terminal 1.
The good news is that the screenings are usually in English (with Korean subtitles), but be sure to check for animated films as they’re sometimes dubbed.
Finally, if you have enough time during your Incheon Airport layover, why not head over to Paradise City and check out the Paradise City Wonderbox theme park?
This is an indoor family amusement park full of rides and festivals. Wonderbox is ‘a theme park unlike any other, filled with dynamic attractions and fantastic performances’.
There are spectacular events going on throughout the year, such as the Luna Carnival and Masquerade Show.
You can get there from Incheon Airport via shuttle bus or public transport.
9: Delight In Some Adult-Oriented Entertainment
Whilst all the aforementioned entertainment options are open to those travelling without children, adults will find a lot more on offer in the nearby Paradise City.
This grand resort has a number of different entertainment facilities for those who want to spend the night (or daytime) having fun.
Firstly, there is the Paradise City Casino. Gambling at casinos isn’t allowed for Koreans, and only foreigners are allowed to enter them. Therefore, remember to bring your passport if you visit. With over 150 tables, and 289 slot machines, this premium casino is a luxurious place to spend your layover.
Secondly, party-goers who want to dance and drink should visit the Paradise City Chroma Club. Featuring several floors of dancing, live music, DJs, and entertainment, this is a great place to spend time between flights. The club even has guest DJs from around the world, such as Tiesto (December 2019).
You can access Paradise City via shuttle bus from the airport, or public transport.
10: Swing Away At Sky 72 Golf Club
With 4 18-hole golf courses, as well as a 330-yard driving range, just outside Incheon Airport, those who love golf will find plenty to keep themselves busy during a layover at Incheon Airport.
The Sky 72 Golf Club is a 5 minute shuttle bus ride (free) from Incheon Airport and can easily be accessed for a quick round or two.
Prices vary during the year and you can rent clubs, carts, and caddies in case you don’t have your own.
11: Sample Korea’s Delicious Foods
Whatever you do during an Incheon Airport layover, you’re going to get hungry. Good news for food lovers, Incheon Airport has a whole load of good food on offer for all different tastes.
If you’ve never sampled Korean food before, then be sure to head to the Korean Food Street in Terminal 2 to sample a broad selection of sumptuous dishes from across Korea.
There’s plenty to discover, but I’d recommend some kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) or budae jjigae (Korean sausage stew). I love Korean food and I would definitely recommend that you use this chance to sample some of Korea’s wonderful traditional foods.
Of course, if you want food from other corners of the world, there’s Asian food, Western food, fast foods and all sorts. For example, you can find the famous American hamburger chain Shake Shack opposite the Korean Food Street.
Joel’s Tip: This is a great chance to try some famous Korean street food, even if you can’t make it out of the airport and into Seoul. Explore the various restaurants and see what snacks and meals you’ve never tried before. You won’t regret trying something new – Korean food is very delicious.
You can also sample some of Korea’s unique street food, such as fish cakes, rice cakes, Korean-style hot dogs, and more.
Or pop into a convenience store and sample some of Korea’s many interesting tastes, such as sweet potato milk, spicy cup ramyeon, the various flavours of crisps (chips), and more than you can imagine.
12: Spend, Spend, Spend At The Duty Free Shops
This is probably a lot of people’s favourite ways to spend a layover at Incheon Airport – checking out the many duty free and popular stores.
The main shopping centres each have their own outlets here, including Shilla, Lotte, and Shinsegae, you’ll find many big international and Korean brands inside.
Fans of Korean cosmetics and fashion, both of which are spreading around the world, will be happy with the stores at Incheon Airport. You can find stores such as Club Clio, Etude House, Innis Free, and Olive Young here.
Besides the regular duty free shops where you can buy an assortment of duty free goods, there are also some wonderful Korean shops that introduce you to Korea’s unique culture.
Fans of Korean culture from K-pop, K-movies, and K-dramas will probably be familiar with some of the items on sale. These include hanbok (Korean traditional dresses), Korean crafts, instruments and other Korean goods.
You can find these in the Traditional Korean Culture Experience Centres in various locations. Be sure to pick up some unique souvenirs from your layover in Korea.
13: See Skies & Nature At Incheon Airport
I love looking out the windows at airports and watching the planes come and go. If you do, too, then head to the Oseong Mountain Observatory Deck to get great views over Incheon Airport.
There is also the Incheon Airport Observatory Deck in Terminal 2. From here you can watch the planes, see 3D models of the airport, and explore in the VR experience zone.
If you feel like stretching your legs, then head to the Haneul Jeongwon (Sky Garden) outside the airport. A free shuttle bus will take you directly there. Spend a few hours walking around this large swathe of nature and recover your senses.
Of course, there’s also the big windows where you can stare out into the blue skies and watch the planes take off and land again. Also a good option if it’s raining outside.
14: Learn About Traditional Korean Culture
Korea is very keen to share its culture with the world. There are a lot of cultural activities, sights, performances, and exhibitions for you to enjoy.
Firstly, the Korean Traditional Culture Experience Centres will show you the vibrant colours used in Korean traditional clothes, goods, and instruments.
Even better than that, however, is the chance to try out various cultural activities yourself. You can wear Korean hanbok, make traditional craft goods to take home with you, and watch traditional music performances.
The best thing about these cultural programmes is that they are all FREE.
As well as the 5 culture centres, there is also the Korean Cultural Street to explore. See the replica Korean tiled houses and pavilions, watch the regular cultural performances, and sample some of the traditional Korean snacks from the nearby shops.
The Korean Cultural Street is located on the 4th floor in the General Area of the Passenger Terminal 1.
There are many other cultural exhibits, performances, shops, and souvenirs for you to enjoy throughout the airport.
Useful Facilities Available At Incheon Airport
Besides all these great things to do, you might want to just sit down and wait for your next flight.
The good news for you is that Incheon has a lot of other great facilities, all of them free.
Leave your luggage at the left-luggage counter. You can also borrow a blanket, book, or tablet to keep you company from here. Visit one of the many comfortable sleeping or rest areas and watch some TV, read, or sleep.
There are phone charging stations, internet lounges, prayer rooms, showers, nursing facilities, play rooms, and lots more to support you during your layover.
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