South Korea
Country profile

Transport and accommodation

South Korea has seven international airports, although some are far busier than others and some of the smaller ones are really international in name only. The main airport is Incheon International, which is around an hour outside of Seoul. Described by some as the best run airport in the world, it is a model of modern Korean IT and efficiency. Flights to South Korea take around 11 hours from Western Europe and around 12 -13 hours from the West Coast of the United States.

There are plenty of overpriced cabs waiting to take you into Seoul from Incheon, but it is faster and cheaper to take the express train, which delivers you straight into the heart of Seoul with no traffic jams or inflated tourist rates. Cheaper still are the many buses, however these will be slower and less comfortable.

National trains are run by Korail, who offer tourists a KR Pass that provides unlimited travel across the country for a set fee. The Korean rail system has been greatly improved in recent years and is a fascinating way to see the country. Within the cities there are extensive subway systems, and these are hugely preferable to the congested and polluted streets above. After all, Korean drivers are not known for their patience or their observance of traffic lights.

Given its geography, and local political tensions, it is all but impossible to get to South Korea over land. There are ferries from Japan to Busan, with a choice of either a 3 hour hydrofoil or an overnight traditional crossing.

Korean hotels are graded Super-deluxe or deluxe (5 star), first class (4 star) second class (3 star) and third class (2 star). Deluxe hotels can cost upwards of £150 / €180 / $240 per night, with first class from around £60-£120 / €70-€140 / $95-$190. Cheap third class hotels can be found from as little as £25 / €30 / $40 per night.

To meet the growing tourist demand, South Korea has also developed a number of super-luxury resorts, with bespoke facilities, first class service and unique additions and attractions that go above and beyond. These superb complexes are not cheap by any standards, but they do offer unrivalled levels of sophistication and luxury.

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