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Seoul vs. Incheon: Food, Nightlife, and Transportation

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

If you’re planning to visit Seoul or Incheon, this is the perfect article for you. I’ve been to both cities multiple times last year and have had a great experience in both cities.

I’ll be comparing both cities in different categories like food, nightlife, and transportation. Make sure to reserve the entire day if you’re going to explore Incheon because it’s one of Korea’s best.

Seoul and Incheon both have their own unique style of food where you’re never going to be bored living here because you’ve got everything from street foods, Korean barbecue, Chinese food, Japanese Izakaya, and so much more.

In short:

  • Seoul is more expensive than Incheon
  • Seoul has more tourists than Incheon
  • You can enjoy nature without it being too busy in Incheon
  • Incheon has a great nightlife (mostly Koreans), but in Seoul, there are more tourists.
  • Seoul is the national capital, and it’s more modern than Incheon
  • Seoul has better-organized transportation vs. Incheon that can be slightly confusing.

It really depends on your personal preference, and some people prefer larger cities like Seoul. While others prefer Incheon because it’s cheaper, cleaner and there’s a lot more to explore in Incheon.

Make sure to decide which type of city you want because you’re never going to get bored living in either one of these cities.

Food in Seoul vs. Incheon

The food in Seoul is amazing. You can find almost everything except traditional American burgers, but you shouldn’t be eating that in Seoul anyway. There are lots of small restaurants and cafes to choose from, especially in Hongdae, Jongno, Myeongdong, Namsan area.

Seoul is more modern than Incheon, so there are a ton of global restaurants that you can enjoy. I’ve tried a lot of restaurants, but the food was amazing at these places.

In Incheon, you can find more traditional Korean food, but there are also a ton of restaurants to choose from. It’s also a lot cheaper in Incheon and less busy.

If you’re going to visit Seoul, you should definitely try the street foods, and if you’re visiting Incheon, you should try the Budae Jjigae, which is a spicy stew with all sorts of vegetables in it.

Make sure to find a restaurant in Incheon that is a bit more traditional and less modern. This will make it more authentic, and the food will taste way better.

Nightlife in Seoul vs. Incheon

The nightlife is very similar in both cities but if you’re going to try Korean bars and clubs, make sure to visit Hongdae in Seoul.

It’s one of the most popular places for foreigners because it’s so lively at all times. You can meet people from different parts of the world and listen to live music while eating delicious food.

I’ve also been to clubs in Hongdae, but there are a lot more bars and cafes than clubs. In Incheon, you can enjoy the nightlife too, but there are way fewer foreigners than in Seoul.

Many people think that there’s nothing to do in Incheon because of the lack of tourists but this is an advantage because you won’t be fighting for space on the dance floor.

In Incheon, I recommend looking for a club that is quite busy with fewer foreigners. You’ll meet new people that live in Korea and expand your social circle.

All in all, Seoul is better if you only go to Korea to go out. It has more variety and more to do at night but if you want a more relaxed experience, visit Incheon.

Transportation in Seoul vs. Incheon

The transportation in Seoul is great and easy to follow, even for foreigners. It shouldn’t be a problem. Most people at the metro station speak English, so if you have any questions, you can ask them.

The people that work there are happy to help you. I’ve been to Seoul many times, and the transportation has never been easier than other cities I’ve been to. Make sure to respect the people that also use the metro station.

Always give up your seat for an elderly or pregnant person because respect is very important in Korea. The transportation in Incheon is also great, but it can be slightly confusing at first.

The subway trains are usually easier to navigate, and the signs are in English too. However, I’ve been lost a couple of times because there aren’t many direct lines.

If you don’t know where you are, make sure to ask the people around you because they can help you.

Just be polite and ask as many questions as possible. The people that are working there will help you if they can.

Is Incheon Worth Visiting?

Yes, Incheon is definitely worth visiting. It’s a lot less busy and has fewer tourists, but the people that live there are just as friendly as the people in Seoul. The prices are lower too, which makes it more affordable for everyone.

I also enjoyed my time in Incheon because I felt more relaxed than being in Seoul. Also, if you want to enjoy delicious Korean food on a budget, then you need to visit Incheon.

I’d recommend visiting Incheon because the food is cheaper than in Seoul if you have more time and money to spend.

All in all, if you’re able to choose between the two cities, I recommend visiting both of them. If you just want to visit one city, then make sure to visit Incheon because it’s cheaper and less busy but if you don’t like the less populated area, go to Seoul.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here below are some frequently asked questions I’ve received from my readers:

Is Incheon and Seoul the same?

No, they’re two very different cities. Some people think that Seoul is Incheon, but they’re definitely not the same. Seoul has more people, and it’s way busier than Incheon. It’s also more expensive and has more tourists.

Is Incheon cheaper than Seoul?

Yes, Incheon is cheaper than Seoul. Incheon has fewer tourists, so you won’t find as many fancy hotels and restaurants as in Seoul. On the other hand, you can enjoy delicious Korean food for a very low price!

Overall Experience

My overall experience was great in both cities, and I enjoyed my time there. I would spend more time in Incheon if I have the chance to go back to Korea again because it was a lot less busy, than the food was amazing.

However, when I visited Seoul for the first time, I loved it because everything is so well organized and you can find anything you want easily. The transportation is amazing and easy to follow.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it’s up to you which city you’re going to visit. make sure to do some research about the cities and find out what things you would like to do in Seoul or Incheon.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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