Monday, April 25, 2011

"Mind" -> Getting to the InterContinental COEX in Seoul

This is one of those very practical blog posts for the very specific reason of getting from the Seoul internal airport to the Intercontinental Hotel near COEX.  When we asked the office to help us get to the office, we found out that it would cost $150 for a dedicated limo.  Our company culture is basically cheap, so we said that we would take a bus from the Incheon Aiport.  Going by bus would cut $135 out of the fare.

So I was into the country first, with my travel companion 12 hours behind (he says he can sleep on the plane).  I figured that the least that I could do was document how to get the bus trip done for somebody that wants to follow.

Now, I was coming in from LAX, but is really doesn't matter, because obviously the first thing you need to do is get off of the plane.  They should give you a couple of forms to fill out on the airplane before you land.  One is a normal form to present at passport control and the other is a folding form for customs.  Pretty standard stuff and not worth pictures or more description.

Now, I don't try and take a lot of pictures around airport security people because I think they are told to tell everybody no pictures.  There are so many people with cameras, however, they can't catch everybody.  However, I normally don't take super obvious pictures.

 It was interesting this year as they had a quarantine type area behind me.  I stopped to get our my passport and boarding pass.  Once I got into the terminal, they completely waved me through as they waved everybody else through.  What was going on.

You keep going looking for the baggage claims signs like every other airport in the world.  I always marvel how English is used as such a universal language.  Good for me.

The picture below is where I'm trying to be subtle, but the purplish/red video sign is for foreigners.  We didn't tarry long here, as the line was quick.





Once you get through passport control, you should see some type of a arrival sign, which is just above the baggage claim.  Because I fly business class, I take two pretty good sized bags with me (one for basically electronics and the  other is a standard rolling bag.


 I'm not showing the baggage and customs area, because it is like any other customs and baggage area in the world.  I'm also worried that they'll spot me as a crazy picture taking guy and take away my camera.  However, I will say that you should look at the people taking your customs declarations.  There were two exiting the area before you get out to the transportation area.  One was a young eager guy that was backing up quick as he was looking inside bags and looking suspiciously at little children and checking their stuffed animals.  I looked up and I was in this line.

I quickly switched to the other line which had an old guy grabbing the forms and waving people through.

Once you get out of customs clearance, you have the normal areas for arriving passengers like about any other AP international airport.  To get the ticket for the bus you need to go outside.  Any door like the following



The ticket booth is in the picture below.  The great news is that they take all credit cards, including American Express.  The most important thing to know is you bus number. If you look at the very first picture in this post, you can see that they highlighted bus is 6103.  I'm glad that I had my PC, because this what the guy at the window wanted, and without this picture, I probably couldn't have communicated as well, although he did speak some English.




The ticket looks like the picture below, although I have no idea where 6103 is listed. The most important thing is the gate to leave, which is really just a sign on the street behind me.  And that number is circled.  It was 10B.  Although you can walk out into the middle of the street, these bus are the ones right next to the airport.  So don't go out too far.



I have no idea why the image is rotated up, because this was not how it was taking, but I don't know if there are assigned seats.  It really didn't matter as there was only three people on the bus including the driver.  They will put your bags down under the bus and hand you a claim ticket.  Make sure to hold on the claim ticket!  Although I was the only one with the check bag, at the other end they really wanted my claim ticket.  Must be the rules.



As you can see the bus was deserted and the hour was fairly late at about 7pm.


I took the video above, but my voice is a little hushed.  I didn't want to seem to be the crazy American tourist taking pictures, although I guess that I am.  I was surprised at the length of the trip.  Although it was 8pm when going through Seoul, the traffic was pretty strong during the final 30 minutes or more.  It took  1:22 hour:minutes to get to the picture below.


Although this is an express, they do stop about 2 blocks before the final stop for the Samsung subway entrance.  One guy got off and I was the only one left. They only minor tricky part, is once you are in the bus terminal, make sure to take the following elevator down to the first floor so you can walk the final distance.  If you just go out the doors, you will be taken to the taxi stand, which may be okay if you want to take a taxi.  There are a lot of them ready to go.  Really slick.






Now the hour  was late so I look these the next day.  In my case, I have a Blackberry from work and the great thing is that I have Google Map loaded.  Because my work will allow international data, my google maps was working.  However, it was dark by the bus stop, so I didn't take any pictures.  The only thing you should know, is you go down the elevator and it will take you right outside.  If you go to the right, you will be going south.  If you go right, you will be going north.  It is about a 5-7 minute walk to the north.




 Here is the front of the hotel.



The check-in is to the right. You just right over my collar is the elevator.

If all goes right, you should be in your room in 17 minutes after leaving the bus, and the next morning you should wake up to the local scene looking like this.

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