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Seoul is a unique and exciting city that should be on everyone’s radar. Seoul perfectly blends the past and future like few other cities can. While it loves to embrace its history and has beautiful sites dating back hundreds of years, South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Seoul’s history is fascinating, and the city is full of places where you can learn about its culture and traditions. Seoul is also known for its many forms of entertainment. It’s a great city for nightlife with lots of late-night restaurants, bars, and clubs open across the city. Seoul is also full of incredible food and shopping. It’s a fairly affordable city for Australian travellers, so you can take advantage of all the activities on offer when you book cheap flights from Melbourne to Seoul.
About 665 return flights from Melbourne to Seoul depart each week, giving you lots of opportunities to visit Korea. Several of the top Australian and Asian airlines offer cheap airfares from Melbourne to Seoul, including Qantas, Virgin Australia, AirAsia, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines. While there are currently no direct MEL to ICN flights, several flights offer a short stopover to get you to Seoul in a little over 13 hours. Each of these airlines will keep you comfortable for the journey, so you’ll arrive to Seoul refreshed and ready to explore.
It’s time to tick Seoul, South Korea off your bucket list! Webjet compares cheap airfares from Melbourne to Seoul Airport to get you great prices. Book your return flights from Melbourne to Seoul with Webjet so you can spend less on airfare and more on planning the trip of a lifetime. Start packing your bags, and use Webjet’s guide to Seoul to start planning your adventure from MEL to ICN.
Things to do in Seoul
Bukchon Hanok Village
For the most part, the architecture of Seoul is pretty modern. But head to this neighbourhood north of the city centre, and you’ll feel like you travelled back in time. Houses built in traditional Korean architecture line the street and date back to the Joseon Dynasty. They’re a great example of what Korean cities were like several hundred years ago. Many of the houses have been converted into tea rooms, guest houses, and cultural centres, but some are still lived in. The village is a great spot to learn about Korean history and culture.
Located right beside Bukchon Hanok Village, Gyeongbokgung Palace was the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty, which ruled from 1392 to 1897. Of the five Joseon palaces, Gyeongbokgung is the largest, and many consider it to be the most beautiful. Although the palace is no longer lived in, you can still watch guard ceremonies that are performed as they were back in the Joseon days. The Changing of the Royal Guard takes place at 10AM and 2PM. The Gwanghwamun Gate Guard on Duty Ceremony takes place at 11AM and 1PM. You can also see Gatekeeper Military Training at 9:30AM and 1:30PM. These ceremonies are held every day apart from Tuesdays.
Jogyesa is a Buddhist temple that was built back in the 14th century. The temple is the centre of Korean Buddhism. Ceremonies and rituals are still held at the temple regularly, and every year, there is a lantern festival on Buddha’s birthday. Another interesting thing about the temple are the trees that surround it. They are almost as old as the temple itself. The temple is free to visit and is a great spot to learn about the spiritual side of Seoul.
Mount Namsan is located right in the middle of Seoul. It’s a popular spot to visit to take in the beautiful views of the city. You can hike up Mount Namsan, or if you’d rather relax on the way up, you can catch a cable car. From the top, you can go even higher by heading up the Namsan Seoul Tower. The top of the tower sits 480 metres above sea level and has fantastic panoramic views of Seoul, the surrounding mountains, and the sea off to the west.
This neighbourhood became internationally known after it was the subject of a popular song several years ago. Located south of the Han River, Gangnam is the entertainment centre of Seoul. It’s popular among K-Pop stars and Korean celebrities as well as some of the country’s largest entertainment companies. Gangnam has some great shopping and is one of the hottest nightlife areas in Seoul. It’s also a great place to experience Korean food, including Korean barbecue, bibimbap, and bulgogi.
Check out the many Seoul Markets
Seoul is home to lots of different markets, each offering a different experience. Namdaemun Market is one of the oldest markets in Seoul and has stalls selling a variety of items, including souvenirs, clothing, cosmetics, homeware, and food. Gwangjang Market is the place to go for some of the best street food in the city. Dongdaemun is a late-night market selling lots of affordable Korean fashions.
Right in the heart of Seoul, there’s a long stream and recreation space that is a favourite among locals. Over the years as Seoul became industrialised, the stream became neglected and started to dry up. Then in 2003, the city’s mayor started a project to restore the area. The stream started flowing again, and small parks were created along either side. It’s a great place to experience some nature right in the heart of busy Seoul.
When should you book return flights from Melbourne to Seoul?
Seoul has four distinct seasons throughout the year, giving visitors who book cheap airfares from Melbourne to Seoul very different experiences.
Summer and winter both have extreme weather that may not be enjoyed by all travellers. Summer (June to August) is monsoon season. During this time, it’s hot and humid, and rain is common. Winter (December to February) gets cold and experiences a lot of snow. However, winter can still be fun if you book cheap airfares from Melbourne to Seoul for Lunar New Year. This marks the first day of the lunar Korean calendar and is an exciting time to book return flights from Melbourne to Seoul. The date changes each year, but it always falls between late January and mid-February. During Lunar New Year, Seoul is full of festivities and celebrations.
To experience the best of South Korean weather, plan your trip from MEL to ICN for spring or autumn when weather is mild and crowds aren’t too large. Both seasons experience very little rain, and Seoul comes alive with colour during both times of the year. Spring is full of flowers blooming, including cherry blossoms, and autumn has beautiful and vibrant foliage.
Departing from Melbourne
Melbourne Airport (also known to locals as Melbourne Tullamarine) is located north of the city and is the departure point for most international flights leaving Melbourne. There are close to 100 cheap flights from Melbourne to Seoul every day on many of the top airlines, including Virgin Australia, Qantas, AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, and Korean Air. Avalon Airport is Melbourne’s second airport. It’s a small airport with flights within Australia, but some international flights depart from Avalon if they are connecting through Sydney. Qantas and China Eastern Airlines have some MEL to ICN flights that depart from Avalon Airport.
Getting to Melbourne Airport (MEL)
The SkyBus is the most stress-free way to get to Melbourne Airport with five different express routes. Each bus route runs every day of the week and is equipped with Wifi onboard.
The Melbourne City Express gets you from Southern Cross Station to Melbourne Airport in less than 45 minutes. Buses run every 10 minutes between 4:30AM-midnight, so you’ll be to the airport and on your way to Seoul Airport in no time. The City Express runs 24 hours, so even in the early hours of the morning, you can catch a ride to the airport every 15-30 minutes. Tickets for the City Express are $18 online or $19.50 at Southern Cross Station.
The Southbank Docklands Express has six different pick-up points around the Southbank and Docklands. This SkyBus runs between 7AM-7PM and departs regularly for the airport. Buses leave every half hour during the week and every hour during the weekend. Tickets for the Southbank Docklands Express can be purchased online for $18.
If you’re travelling from St Kilda, you can catch the St Kilda Express from four different locations. The bus runs every half hour during the week between 6:15AM-8PM and every hour during the weekend between 6AM-7PM. The St Kilda Express to the airport is $19 and will get you to Melbourne Airport in about an hour.
Coming from a bit further south of the city? The Peninsula Express has 16 pick-up points along the Mornington Peninsula and southeastern beaches, including Brighton and Frankston. Fares vary between $22-$55 based on your departure point, and there are buses scheduled throughout the day. Check the SkyBus website for your stop’s timetable.
If you’re coming from the western suburbs, you can catch the Western Express with pick-up points in Werribee and Tarneit. Tickets are $21, and buses depart each hour between 6:15AM-6:30PM.
Prefer to take a taxi or an Uber? Leaving from the CBD, a taxi will have you at Melbourne Airport in less than a half hour. From the CBD, taxi fare to the airport costs about $55-$75.
Parking at Melbourne Airport
If you plan on driving to the airport, Melbourne Airport has a couple of parking options to choose from. The best option for budget-conscious travellers parking for more than a couple days is the Long Term car park. You can park for less than $10 a day, and the sooner you reserve your spot, the lower your rate will be. A free shuttle bus is available to take you from the car park to the airport terminals in less than 5 minutes, so you can be on your way to Seoul Airport in no time!
Getting to Avalon Airport (AVV)
Avalon Airport is located about 50 km southwest of Melbourne’s CBD, just outside of Geelong. The Skybus has an Avalon City Express route, which picks up passengers from Southern Cross Station and on Synnot Street in Werribee. Tickets from the CBD cost $22, and tickets from Werribee are $19. The Skybus Avalon timetable changes a little bit each day, but has buses scheduled to meet all departing and arriving flights. The Skybus will get you to Avalon Airport in 50 minutes from the CBD and 30 minutes from Werribee.
Parking at Avalon Airport
Avalon Airport has a “tap and go” system for its car park. When you arrive, you can either take a ticket or tap your credit card. If you choose to get a ticket, you can pay via a pay machine at the end of your trip when you’re leaving the airport. With the tap and go system, you simply tap off with the same credit card you used when you arrived, and you will be charged the corresponding amount. The cost of parking varies and the price per day goes down for each day you are parked. A short 4-day trip from MEL to ICN would cost $77 to park. However, if you book cheap flights from Melbourne to Seoul for two weeks, you’ll only pay $132 to park. The car park is under 24-hour surveillance and is located just outside the airport, so you can be inside the terminal within a few minutes.
Arriving in Seoul
Seoul is the largest city in South Korea. It’s home to two of the country’s three busiest airports, Incheon and Gimpo. Incheon Airport (ICN) is the primary airport for visitors to Seoul and the largest airport in South Korea. It’s located 48 km west of Seoul and is made up of two terminals, which both receive international flights. Gimpo Airport (GMP) is Seoul’s second airport and is located 15 km west of the city. While most international flights arrive at Incheon, your flight may arrive to Gimpo if you have a stopover in another Asian city. Gimpo Airport (GMP) has two terminals, and all international flights to Seoul arrive into Terminal 2. Both airports offer quick and easy options to get into central Seoul.
Getting to central Seoul from Incheon Airport (ICN)
The AREX train line offers a couple of routes into Seoul. From Incheon Airport (ICN), you can catch the Express train. It runs on a direct route from the airport to Seoul Station in the city centre, arriving in 45 minutes. The train picks up passengers from both terminals, and tickets cost 8,000 won (about $9.75 AUD). AREX also offers an All Stop train, which arrives to Seoul Station in about an hour. As well as Seoul Station, it makes stops at other stations, including Gimpo Airport (GMP), Hongik University, and Gongdeok. Tickets for the All Stop train cost 4,750 won. For both AREX routes, if you have a ticket from Korean Air or Asiana Airlines, you can also receive a small discount.
The newest mode of transportation from Incheon Airport (ICN) is the magnetic levitation train, called the Maglev. The Maglev travels at 110 km/h and is free to all passengers. It departs from the airport every 15 minutes and makes a few stops. The final stop is Yongyu Station, which you reach in 12-14 minutes. From there, you can connect to the Seoul Subway. Subway ticket fares are calculated by the distance you travel between stations. A ticket is 1,250 won for the first 10 km travelled and an additional 100 won for every 5 km after that.
The Korea Train Express (KTX) is the country’s high-speed bullet train system. Five KTX routes pass through Incheon Airport (ICN) and have stops at Seoul Station in the city centre. Trains to Seoul cost 12,500 won and arrive to the city in 30 minutes. KTX Trains don’t run as often as the AREX and Maglev. Trains into Seoul only run every couple hours. Be sure to check the KTX timetable in advance to check if any of the train times are close to your flight’s arrival time.
If you would like to take a taxi from Seoul Airport into the city, they are available from both terminals. Ubers are also available, but cost a bit more than regular taxis from the airport. In normal traffic conditions, you’ll be able to get from Incheon Airport (ICN) to the city centre in about 60-70 minutes. A taxi from Incheon Airport (ICN) into central Seoul costs between 105,900 won and 137,500 won.
Getting to central Seoul from Gimpo Airport (GMP)
The AREX All Stop train from Incheon Airport (ICN) also passes through Gimpo Airport (GMP). From there, you are only four stops away from the city’s main train station. Stops include Digital Media City, Hongik University, Gongdeok, and Seoul Station. The train from Gimpo costs 1,450 won and gets you into Seoul Station in about 20 minutes.
You can also take the Seoul Subway from Gimpo Airport (GMP) into the city. From the airport, catch line 5, which will take you into the city centre. You can transfer lines during the trip to get exactly where you need to go for your hotel. If you are staying by Seoul Station, change to Subway line A at Gongdeok station, and travel one more stop to Seoul Station. Subway fare in Seoul is calculated by distance between stations. A ticket starts at 1,250 won for the first 10 km and costs 100 won for each additional 5 km travelled.
A taxi from Gimpo Airport (GMP) will get you into central Seoul quickly and easily. Catch a taxi from outside the terminal, and you will be into the city centre in about 20 minutes. Taxi fare from Gimpo Airport (GMP) into the city costs about 13,500 to 20,100 won.