A'REX between ICN and Seoul Station

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by kwai, Mar 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    I recently had a 24 hour stay in Seoul and decided to experience the train for the first time. While it might not be the most convenient for many it was a quick and relatively painless trip... but it did present certain hassles.

    Getting to the A'REX is well signed.
    IMG_6831sm.jpg

    It requires about 10 minutes of walking, toward the parking structures, but there are some travelators (which can be seen above). Two trains are available, the express, at W13,300, 43 min, and the commuter W3,800, 53 min. Departure times can be found here. Because it was getting close to rush hour I thought about taking the express train, but changed my decision when I realized that there would be a long wait for the next express (it was 3:35). I turned around 180o and went to the commuter entrance.

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    The cost was W3,800 + W500 for the card deposit. A receipt was issued along with the card. Once through the entry this is what is seen:
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    Heading down to the tracks:

    IMG_6834sm.jpg

    A rather nice station.
     
  2. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    As mentioned above, I was somewhat reticent about taking the commuter train at this time in the afternoon. Probably due to my experiences in Bangkok. However my concerns were allayed.

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    It was just not that crowded. There are eight stops in total on the train, one of them being Gimpo and there were a few pax who used the train to transit. The train never was more crowded than what is shown above.

    Upon arrival in Seoul Station it was different. At 4:20PM i still needed to take Metro 4 to Myeongdong. After walking completely across Seoul Stations (well signed, more of that later) to line 1,4 I was met with this at the subway entrance:

    IMG_6837sm.jpg

    With a camera/computer backpack, a duffel and another carry-on, this was not an easy task on a crowded subway. It was also a 10+ minute trek to actually get to the line 4 entrance. Due to the crowds and my full hands I don't have further pics for this direction. I did think about altering my plans, but didn't know how easy it would be to direct a taxi to my destination... and frankly thought it would be a good challenge. It was.
     
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  3. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    The next day, after breakfast and coffee:

    IMG_6843sm.jpg

    I checked out and headed back to the airport. It was almost noon and there were no hassles to speak of. Arriving in Myeongdong station just after a train to Seoul Station left... but the subways run frequently, so there was only a short wait. And few people (thankfully).

    IMG_6844sm.jpg

    Two stops later I was at Seoul Station and now needed to backtrack on the underground trek to the actual station.

    Although it was a walk with a few series of steps, it was at least well signed (though if you just walked blind you would eventually get there).

    IMG_6847sm.jpg

    There were some of these types of signs on columns, and others on the wall. After walking all the way through the 4 station area you needed to walk past the line 1 station area.

    IMG_6846sm.jpg
     
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  4. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    Upon getting to the underground exit there were a series of escalators.

    IMG_6848sm.jpg

    Up top the signs were continuous.

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    Inside Seoul Station.

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    This last picture you can see the entrance to the A'REX area, on the other side of the station from the subway entrance/exit.
     
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  5. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    Since I was not in a rush, and already knew the commuter train wouldn't be crowded, I decided to completely forgo the express train. Saving 10 minutes for an extra W10,000 doesn't make any sense to me. As well, you need to be there at a specific time to even save those 10 minutes.

    Heading downstairs to the A'REX:
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    And still more.

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    The above picture is B2. To the left is where the express train is accessed and the two women in black were flustered that a foreigner would not want to take it. This is no different from Bangkok actually!!! Instead I continued down the next series of escalators.

    Below is level B6. But still not there. One more floor to descend to.

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    Finally at the tracks on level B7.
     
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  6. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    Now I ran into something I didn't quite expect. Inside and above the doors to the train (I don't ahve a picture of this, it would have been good) is an LED display of the stations. Yellow denotes stops yet to come, red those that have already been departed from. In between the stations LEDs change over from yellow to red as the train moves along, giving you an indication of how far you've traveled (and yes, it does appear that each LED represents a certain distance).

    I bring this up because, after sitting down, I noticed that the lights to ICN were not lit. Rather, they only were to Geomam. I had no idea that some trains only went a partial distance on this line. Then I heard the announcement and confirmed with a young woman who took an interest in this foreigner on the commuter train. By the time I got my bags to get off the doors had closed. I had plenty of time, so this wasn't a concern. What was a concern was Geomam station is outside and elevated. I was wearing shorts for my flight to Bangkok. It had warmed up at this time to 0C.

    But, no fear. In between was Gimpo station and off I got. it allowed me to see this cool advertisement for the train.

    IMG_6866sm.jpg

    The next train into the station was announced as going all the way to ICN.

    Again, not many people.

    IMG_6867sm.jpg

    The A'REX station, again, at ICN.

    IMG_6868sm.jpg
     
  7. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    After retracing my steps toward the terminal it was another 5 minutes before the escalators to level 3 to get my bag at left luggage and to check in. I was about an hour early to check in so I enjoyed the free wifi and the bottle of makgueli that I brought along.

    Other than the transfer to the subway it was fairly painless. I would probably take the limo bus if arriving during rush hour, but for other purposes the train is quick, cheap and relatively painless.
     
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  8. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Looks nice! Makes me miss Korea... The limo bus is a great deal since it is quite comfy also. Personally, it would be a hassle to take the train imo to ICN.
     
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  9. DHahn
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    DHahn Silver Member

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    Thanks for the report. I too considered using the A'REX but used KAL bus instead due to luggages specially if you are staying at one of hotels served by KAL bus.
     
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  10. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    I've used the limo bus each of the last 3 times in ROK. This time i stayed in a different area, Myeongdong as mentioned above, and the bus stop required a bit of walking anyway, so it was a toss-up as to which was more convenient.

    Last trip, in Oct 2010, we arrived in Seoul via KTX from Busan and received a discount on the limo bus (deluxe). All things being equal (such as already at Seoul Station) I'd take the train as there's no traffic, it's relatively empty and clean and still affords views when above ground.

    IMG_6865sm.jpg
     
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  11. Jimgotkp
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    Wow that is a nice view! I don't blame you then if there's no traffic. Doesn't surprise me that the train is clean ;) Don't recall being in a dirty bus, subway or train in Seoul :p
     
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  12. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    Thanks for the report and the reminder about another ground transport option to & from ICN & GMP.
     
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  13. savydog
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    Very informative :) Now where are the korean food pics ? :D
     
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  14. Jimgotkp
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    I have to second this! However, since I'm Korean and my mom is a great cook I see this pretty much everyday so it isn't that great... :oops:
     
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  15. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    I'll eventually give you some pics from PNH. Of all the foreign food here I'd say that the Korean food is probably the truest to it's roots. If I'm not cooking Thai food at home I'm probably out at a nearby Korean resto. :D
     
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