Business travel management: Destination Guide to Seoul (PART 1)
8th January 2014
If you’re an international business traveller who spends time in Asia the chances are you have spent, or will spend time in Seoul, South Korea. In the world of international business travel management Seoul is one of the most in demand destinations amongst corporate travellers. And it’s no surprise when you consider that it is one of Asia’s leading business centres, a fact reflected in the incredibly high demand for hotel accommodation (its capacity is at bursting point) and that its airport is by far the busiest in all of Asia. As a consequence Seoul is ranked number five in the world for the amount of international conferences it hosts each year.
Today Seoul is known for its leading-edge technology and communications, sectors previously dominated by its near neighbour Japan. But just like its rival, Seoul shares many of the issues which can make business travel difficult for both the uninitiated and experienced corporate traveller alike. As experienced business travel management specialists, Flightline Travel are aware of these issues and make our knowledge and expertise available to all our business travel customers.
One thing to remember when travelling by air to Seoul is that, like many popular business destinations, the journey from Incheon (ICN) International Airport to the city can take a lot of time, and from our business travel management experience travel time is something which more often than not underestimated by many business travellers.
Seoul is a huge, sprawling megacity, the largest in the developed world, with a population of over ten million, which when expanded to include the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province rises to over 25 million people, making it the world’s second largest metropolitan area. For an idea of its landmass, Seoul is roughly ten times the size of Manhattan. Knowing these figure, the implications for the business traveller are clear – factor in plenty of contingency time when travelling anywhere, particularly if your trip involves having to cross the Han river. Be prepared to allow for an additional 30-60 minutes travel time just to be safe.
How to get around in Seoul?
If you’re travelling from Incheon International Airport, there’s the Airport Railroad Express (AREX) subway runs every thirty minutes which stops at Seoul Station, north of the Han river, ideally suited for the Myeongdong business hub. This is a non-stop journey and takes around 43 minutes. Single tickets costs ₩ 8,000 (approximately £4.60, €5.60, $7.50 as of 03.12.13). Surprisingly this route is often overlooked by business travellers, resulting in trains usually being quite empty, and is a great business travel management tip for getting into the heart of the city efficiently and cost effectively.
Alternatively you can hire airport limousine buses into Seoul for ₩ 10,000-₩15,000 (£5.75-£8.60, €6.95-10.45, $9.40-$14.10 as of 03.12.13). Of course a limousine bus offers the business traveller more flexibility of departure time and destination, just like taxis. Cabs into Seoul are considerably more expensive if you are travelling alone, costing approximately ₩50,000 (£28.75, €34.75, $47.00 as of 03.12.13) to reach Gangnam (south of the river) or Gangbuk (north of the river).
There’s also a bus service available, but our business travel management advise, particularly if you’re travelling during the morning or evening rush hours is to take the Airport Railroad Express (AREX) subway.
Business travel management services across the world
In the second part of our business travel management guide to Seoul, we will focus on the business traveller experience once you’ve arrived in the city. What are your favourite ways to travel across Seoul?