South Korea is a popular destination for travelers from all over the world, even after the pandemic. According to the Korea Tourism Organization, the number of foreign visitors to South Korea increased by 17.8% in 2023 compared to 2022, reaching 12.5 million people.
While most international travelers enter South Korea through Incheon International Airport (ICN), which is the largest and busiest airport in the country, there are other options for those who want to explore different regions of Korea with some benefits.
If you are planning to visit South Korea, and wondering which airport you can use to enter the country, we will introduce you to five other international airports in South Korea that you can consider for your trip.
Gimpo International Airport (GMP)
Gimpo International Airport is located in Seoul, about 15km west of the city center. It used to be the main airport of Seoul until Incheon International Airport opened in 2001. Now it mainly serves domestic flights and some international flights from-to the major cities of China, Japan, and Taiwan.
The best benefit of Gimpo International Airport is its great connection with the public transportation. You can take the subway line 5 or 9, or the airport railroad (AREX) to get to downtown Seoul only in 30 minutes. You can also take buses or taxis from the airport at much cheaper price than from Incheon International Airport.
Gimhae International Airport (PUS)
Gimhae International Airport is located in Busan, the second largest city in South Korea, and is the third busiest airport in the country. It serves both domestic and international flights to various destinations in Asia, Europe, and North America.
The benefit of entering South Korea through Gimhae International Airport is that you can easily travel not only Busan, but also around beautiful southern coastal cities in South Korea. Pohang and Ulsan are major cities in the region, and cities such as Tongyeong, Geoje, and Yeosu are ones of most beloved coastal destinations by Koreans.
Cheongju International Airport (CJJ)
Cheongju International Airport is located in Cheongju city, the capital of North Chungcheong Province. It has international flights to Japan, China, Taiwan, and Thailand and these international lines are quite popular for Koreans due to the airport’s location, the middle of South Korea.
As mentioned above, Cheongju International Airport’s location gives you a lot of options to visit in South Korea. When the flight ticket’s are cheaper than to Incheon, you can enter through Cheongju and move to Seoul within 2 hours. Also Cheongju well connects surrounding cities such as Jeonju, Daejeon, or Wonju by trains(KTX) and buses.
Daegu International Airport (TAE)
Daegu International Airport is the third largest airport in South Korea. Despite the growth of the nearby city of Daegu, passenger numbers at Daegu International Airport have been steadily declining by 2013. However, since 2014, passenger numbers have increased sharply due to the expansion of Low-Cost Carriers. Now it serves international flights to China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
The benefit of Daegu International Aiport is that it is only a few kilometers away from the city center, and has public transportation options such as bus and subway that take you to anywhere in the city convenient. You can visit most historic destinations of South Korea from Daegu such as Andong, Gyeongju, or Seongju.
Jeju International Airport (CJU)
Jeju International Airport is the main gateway to Jeju Island, which is a popular tourist destination for its natural beauty and cultural heritage. It is the second busiest airport in South Korea after Incheon Airport, covering about 30m passengers a year. It serves domestic flights from all over Korea and international flights from China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and more.
Without questioning, Jeju Island offers total different sceneries and experience that any other part of Korea cannot does.