I’m starting this blog with basic information on how to get to Sejong City from Seoul, specifically from Incheon International Airport (ICN). Given that Sejong City (or Sejong-si, pronounced in Korean “Se-Johng- She”, or for Spanish speakrs: “Se-yong-shi”) is a completely new city that in December 2014 finished receiving all government agencies it was supposed to host, a lot of information is still not available even in Korean. Therefore it is rare to see any info in English or in any other language for that matter.
That being said, the purpose of this first post is to give you some quick tips on how to get to the City when you arrive, considering that I have a non-Asian background. I will also add additional information in case you are going to KDI School.
Closest airport: Chongju CJJ International Airport.
Althoug most people arrive to Korea to ICN Seoul Incheon airport, it is not the closest airport to KDI School. The closest one is Cheongju International Airport (IATA code: CJJ; Korean: 청주국제공항). It is less than 50km away from the school, it is the ideal option. From there you can take a bus to Sejong city (40 minutes, about 3,000 won + trip to school) or a taxi straight to school (about 30 minutes or less for about 50,000 KRW)
When you search for your ticket or if your company or government pays for it, ask for the ticket to Cheongju CJJ. The airport has fewer international flights because it is smaller, but the benefit is that you will struggle much much less carrying your luggage, getting to school, and navigating Korean public transportation, especially if you don’t speak Korean or have never been to an Asian country. Since its closer to school, a Taxi straight to the dormitory is time and cost efficient. Also, when you return to your country, it will be infinitely easier and cheaper to carry your luggage and make it on time to your flight. If you do not pay for your flight, CJJ airport is hands down the best. If you don’t, measure the cost difference to see if you will rather pay less but deal with more inconveniences. CJJ flights are somewhat longer and more expensive, depending on your origin. Give it a try and see if it works for you. There are some flights to Shanghai and Beijing from there.
If you decide to arrive to CJJ airport, the bus to Sejong City is bus number 751. It takes you all the way to Sejong City for just a few thousand wons and 30 minutes.
It leaves the airport 8 times per day at these very precise times:
The stop you want to get off in is Sejong Government Complex. There are two stops with this name, you can get off at the North or South stop. (Korean: 정부세종청사남측 for South and 정부세종청사북측 for North), Pronounced: /Jong-Bu-Se-Jong-Chong-Sa-Nam-Cheuk/). From there, take a taxi for around 10,000 KRW to KDI School (Just say KDI, the drivers understand that in English) or take 215 bus with a free transfer with your T-Money card (don’t forget to tap the card when you get off!). You have to leave the BRT enclosed bus lane and cross the street to the stop of the same side you came from to take 215. In other words, take 215 going in the same direction you were going on board 751, but on the other bus stop.
FROM ICN INCHEON-SEOUL AIRPORT:
When you arrive at Incheon Airport, pass immigration, get your bags and pass customs. Once you’re in the public area of the airport, don’t be overwhelmed. Its quite easy and safe. Incheon Airport is an award-winning facility that has really worked to take care of traveler’s needs. (Yeah, that’s you!).
So, you will think: “Oh my god, now what? How to get to Sejong City!?” Fear not, its easier than you think. But first things are first:
1. Get Korean Won KRW. Although almost all merchants accept cards in Korea, you should still have cash around. Most currency exchange locations in the airport have almost the same rate, so I wouldn’t really bother searching for a better exchange rate. I’ve never really tried changing Mexican Pesos in Korea but as far as I know, there’s no law prohibiting certain currencies from being exchanged, like in China. So in theory, they should buy any currency, they even have exchange rates posted for a long list of countries, including some African nations. If you think your currency may have acceptance problems, be sure to carry a couple hundred dollars just to be on the safe side. You can also use any ATM in the airport and get money from your home banking institution. I recommend having about 100,000 KRW in cash just in case. Be aware that you can only recharge your transit card (T-Money) with cash. (next point)
2. Get a T-Money (transit) card. Unless you are really rich and will be taking a helicopter, or perhaps renting a car or getting taxis/private drivers for long distances, I recommend you use Korean public transit. Unlike systems in the USA or Mexico, they are extremely efficient and punctual. Although most drivers take cash, save yourself the hassle and get free transfers by using T-Money card. Just tap the card at the reader in any bus, subway entrance or taxi to pay. Its also accepted as payment in convenience stores.
At any 7-Eleven, GS25, CU or any convenience store you can ask the cashier for a T-Money Card. They will understand English. Be sure to recharge it with the cashier right after you buy it. I recommend you recharging it with about 100,000 for the first time to make sure you can pay for everything you may need. Don’t worry about over charging it: you will have a lot of time to spend it on transport or buy things in the on-campus convenience store.
Be sure the card actually has the T-Money logo somewhere on it:
There are other cards that are not T-money that do work on Seoul subway, but they may not be compatible in other cities or transit systems, especially in the Daejeon subway (closest neighbor city to Sejong City). So be sure it says T-money.
3. Get to Sejong City.
As you can see, there are many different ways of getting to Sejong City. It is a very well connected place.
There are two main ways to get to Sejong City on public transportation from Incheon Airport: Bus or KTX (High Speed Train).
3.1 By bus
Its a bit far (2 hrs ride), the fare is 21,200 KRW, and takes you non-stop to the Sejong Government Complex and then to the Sejong Bus Terminal. To get the ticket, you can either
-buy a paper ticket at any of the “AIRPORT BUS” ticket stands (they accept cash or credit cards)
-head directly to the bus and pay the driver with cash, credit card, or by tapping your new T-Money Card.
The bus to Sejong City leaves from bus stop 9D. Exit the Airport at door 9 (or whichever and walk to the 9). Cross the street to get to stop 9D. The bus is very punctual and arrives 5 minutes before its departure time.
The departures are, inconveniently, only 3 times per day as of August 2015:
1:20 pm and
If you don’t catch it, spend the night in Seoul or try another option.
3.2 By KTX
If your plane lands too late and you do not get a change to make it to the direct bus, you can consider Korea’s high speed rail, Korea Train eXpress: KTX. The KTX has its station in the airport. Once you get your wons and t-money card, head to any elevator and go down. Follow the signs to KTX. You can buy your ticket in the vending machines which are in also in English. Closest station to Sejong City is called Osong.
KTX Departures from Incheon airport to Sejong City are:
6:55 am (arrives 8:51 am),
9:07 am (arrives 10:45 am),
12:07 pm (noon, arrives 1:45 pm),
3:50 pm (arrives 5:35 pm),
and 8:35 pm (arrives 10:15 pm).
As you can see, the KTX travel time takes about 1:40 hours because some trains are not non-stop. Depending on the train, it could stop two, three or four times before you arrive at Osong Station. It is not a final destination, merely a stop on the way to Busan.
There is unassigned seating/standing tickets, economy class and first class on these trains. Ticket prices are 26,400; 31,000; and 43,400, respectively.
3.3 After Hours
What if you arrive after 8:30 pm? Here you either stay in the airport spa overnight (20,000 KRW for the right to sleep in the floor in the Korean style spa or jimjilbang) /airport hotel/hotel in Seoul or you can head to Seoul’s main train station (Seoul Station) and catch a later train to Osong. The last train to Osong departs from Seoul Station at 11:35 pm and arrives in Osong at 12:21 am. There’s no bus anymore, but taxis will be waiting. Taxi fare should be around 25,000 KRW.
To get from Incheon to Seoul Station, take a bus or the AREX Airport train. It takes about an hour.
Bus. Buses 6702, 6001 and 6015 go to Seoul Station. Buy your ticket at any airport bus stand or pay the driver with cash/T-money. Remember to tap the card when you get off. Tickets run about 10,000 won.
AREX train. Follow the signs that say “Airport Railroad”. It takes 43 minutes if you ride the express non-stop for 8,000 KRW and 56 minutes on the on all-stop train for 4,250 KRW. (fares with T-Money).
Shinhan bank has a promotion these days: if you exchange money with them, they will give you a discount coupon for the Arex non-stop.
Once you are in Seoul Station, buy a KTX Ticket to Osong. After 8:30 pm, these are the train departures and their arrival times:
9:30 pm arrives at 10:15 pm
10:40 pm arrives at 11:31 pm
11:30 pm arrives at 12:21 am * For this last train you will not catch 990 and it is unlikely but possible there may be taxis waiting at the station, be aware! Here’s a taxi phone number: 044-868-8253. A taxi will cost you at least 20,000. However, consider that taxi drivers constantly tr to rip of foreigners and may take you through unnecessary turns and loops just to ramp up the taxi meter. Expect to pay 30,000 or more.
**The absolute cheapest way to get to Sejong City from ICN Airport**
Take a slower Mugunghwa train from Seoul station to Osong (one departure daily at 6:05 pm, 1:30 duration) for only 7,200 KRW standing/no-seat ticket.
If you missed Osong, take it to Jochiwon (a small town near Sejong. It has many departures, first 6:05 am; last 10:50 pm, 1:30 duration) for only 7,100 KRW no-seat ticket. From Jochiwon station get on 601 or 620 into the city and then transfer to 215 to get to school. 601/620 departs in fron of the train station very often. If you’re brave and lucky, try to take 991 from behind the train station (get out of the station and cross the rail lines on foot, then get the bus that runs to the left (south). 991 goes directly to KDI School but it runs once every hour or so.
991 times from behind the Jochiwon Train Station:
This route will cost you, Airport to Dormitory total: 4250 (AREX all stops to Seoul Station) +7100 (train to Jochiwon) +1150 (991 bus to KDI): that’s 12,500 KRW. In terms of time, if you don’t have to wait too much, it should take around 4.5 to 5 hours. The bus and KTX about 2 to 3 from Airport to KDI School.
Of course, if you arrive at CJJ airport, the transport would cost you about 3,000 won to school and it would take 2 hours max.
Yes, you’re welcome!
Once you are in Osong, take 990 BRT bus. Follow the signs inside the station and pay the fare taping your T-Money card into the reader. 990 runs every few minutes. First departure is at 6:00 am and last departure is at 11:40 pm.
This bus route crosses Sejong City from north to south, passing through the main Government Complex and goes all the way south to the first station of Daejeon City Subway: Banseok.
If you are going to KDI School, I recommend you get off at government complex north or south. if you arrive at Osong station off hours or don’t wish to haul luggage in the bus, you can take a taxi which will charge you around 20,000 to 30,000 KRW to KDI School. KDI is known in Sejong City, so just say “KDI Ka Yu Seh Yo”, the driver should know what you’re talking about but may rip you off with the fare by taking unnecessarily long routes or laps around street blocks.
Once you get off at government complex, get a taxi or take 215 or 991 bus to school.