CONTRIBUTED BY ZOE V.
I still remember the feeling of getting off that plane at Incheon Airport. The exhaustion of an 18 hour, 2 leg flight; the fear of the language barrier; and just the overall anxiety of stepping foot in a new country alone with no idea of what to expect.
This post is for those of you who are then tasked with finding your way from Incheon Airport to you new home at Osan Air Base.
The Military Shuttle Bus
It runs 3 times a day at 09.00, 18.30 and 22.30. A one way ticket costs $15 for civilian travel and $35 for official travel. You can purchase this at the USO counter at gate 1. It takes around 90 minutes and takes you directly to Turumi Lodge on base. Unfortunately, if your arrival time doesn’t coincide with the USO shuttle you could be waiting a long time.
This bus leaves on average every 40 minutes and takes approximately 90 minutes to reach Songtan bus terminal. After exiting customs, find desk #20 to buy a bus ticket. A one way ticket costs 11,400 won. Tell the people behind the desk you want to go to Songtan Bus Terminal. Then go out through the nearest glass doors and the bus will depart from either gate 8A or 8B. If there is no-one at desk #20 there is also a ticket desk outside, opposite gate 8A where you can buy tickets.
The bus is large and comfortable with A/C and reclining chairs. They will announce on the overhead speaker when you arrive in Songtan. From there you can take an off-base taxi. There is a taxi stand right outside the bus station. Simply say ‘main gate’ and they will know where to go. It will cost around 3000 won. Unfortunately, these taxis cannot enter base so you will have to get out and go through ID before grabbing another taxi on the other side to your final destination. This is the method I took and it was incredibly easy and stress-free.
Taxi from the Airport to Osan Main Gate
click photo for source
I’ve heard people pay anywhere from $150-$250 so you can definitely haggle with the driver. However, the journey time is the same and I personally don’t see the advantage of taking one. But to each their own!
This can be more difficult to finagle. Almost all taxis will refuse to take a pet (although I imagine if you have a small pet with a cage and you quote them the right price they might be flexible!) The other popular option is to hire a private mini-van to pick you up from the airport and drop you off on base. ITT currently quotes $250 for a one-way trip, which includes a driver. This is by far the most expensive option but also perhaps the easiest.
The cheapest and but also most laborious option is to take the subway. I would never suggest doing this for any other reason other than if you had a small pet or were seriously trying to save some money. One way will cost around 2000 won and will take 2 hours and 20 minutes with 2 line changes. While easy enough to navigate, it is a loooong journey and after arriving at Songtan train station you will then have to grab a taxi from the line outside to the main gate (a 3 minute/4000 won ride or walk (10 minutes maximum). Technically, small animals are allowed on public transport in Korea if they ‘are kept inside a pet carrier or bag at all times, and do not make other passengers feel uncomfortable’. As long as you are discreet and your pet is well-behaved, I really can’t see it being a problem and for some the hassle of the journey is worth saving the $250!
If you know of any options I’ve missed please drop a comment! It’s a question I hear a lot of people and I hope this can help some people with their planning!