Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sleeping at Incheon Airport

If you've ever glanced out the window flying into Incheon Airport (ICN) before, you might have noticed that it's pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It is, in fact, on its own island. It takes at least an hour to travel to Seoul Station, and that's not even accounting for traffic.

If you have an early morning flight out of ICN - or a late-night arrival - you're probably on the hunt for accommodation close-by. And if you're on a tight schedule (and a budget!) there's no better bet for a quick night's sleep than the airport's own sauna and lounge.

Spa on Air (SOA)

For a mere 20,000 won (about 18USD) you can shower, soak, and sleep for the night in one of Korea's classiest sauna establishments.

[Note: if you don't want to spend the night, make sure you get to SOA before 8pm, when the price is only 15,000 won.]

Spa on Air is one of the most expensive saunas I've been to in Korea (most average around 7,000 won), but it's also one of the most regal. The individual semi-private showers with waterfall showerheads are a nice treat, and the all-granite interior lends a quiet elegance to the place.

SOA features gender-segregated bathhouses with hot and cold pools, dry and wet heat (steam) rooms, and individual shower stalls with frosted glass.

After winding down, throw on shorts and a t-shirt (provided) and head into the lounge area where couches, lounge chairs or floor mats are available to crash on.

If you want more privacy (or are a loud and chronic snorer!) you can book a private sleeping room for an extra 15,000 won (35,000 total).

Family room (extra bedding available)

If you're traveling in a group, you can book one of two family rooms for 40,000 won (per 12 hours). Each room sleeps up to 5 people.

[Note: This is in addition to the admission cost per person to the sauna.]

The best part: it's actually INSIDE of the airport! (Though not located inside of the secure terminal area; you don't need to be flying to visit.)

TIP: If you're stuck inside of the secure terminal area for a few hours on a layover, there are FREE shower rooms for use. It's reasons like this why Incheon is consistently ranked as one of the world's top airports!

[Spa on Air is located on the East side of the basement (B1) in the Main Terminal, past Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks.]

To make a reservation for a private room, or for more information, call Spa on Air at 032-743-7042. (For international calls dial +8232-743-7042.)

If you're in the market for a bit more luxury, there are a few hotels and guest-houses nearby ICN, and some of them are actually reasonably priced:

Best Western Premier Incheon Airport (from 115,000 won)
Hyatt Regency Incheon Airport (from 200,000 won)
Incheon Airport Guesthouse (from 50,000 won)
...and a bit further away:
Oceanside Hotel (from 90,000 won)


  1. I made a link to this post. Sounds fantastic and I plan to experience it for myself on my next trip through Inchon. Thanks

  2. Hi,

    I plan to have flight to Incheon and will be arriving late at 10.00 PM local time. I have to wait for the bus in the next morning.

    Do you know if I can spend a night in the airport? for example sleeping on the couch or bench?

    Thank you.

  3. If you don't want to sleep at the sauna (above) then sure, you can sleep in the airport. It is an expansive place, never crowded after 10pm, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies to curl up in. But for a more comfortable sleep (and a hot shower and a soak), I'd recommend the sauna.

  4. Anonymous6:44 PM

    i never knew this. if only i did! i spent 11 hours on the benches once because i missed my last bus home and had to wait for the morning bus. -_- . it was horrible!

  5. Anonymous7:59 PM

    Hi, is the spa accessible to anyone? do you have to be departing from or arriving at ICN to go there?

    I'll be coming from another airport but meeting friends who are arriving there. I have 6-8 hours to kill and don't want to head to Seoul on my own.

    Thanks in advance for your response.

  6. It is accessible to everyone, and it doesn't matter if you're departing or arriving - it's outside of the security area.

  7. This entry is so informative. Thank you.

    I have a question. Do they private rooms for families (my husband and me and a baby)? My husband and I want to try the services at Spa on Air so we're wondering if we could have a private room with our baby. Also, can we make reservations? Thanks again.

  8. @daughter unfortunately I'm not sure...I will try to check this weekend when I am there :) Thanks for the question!

  9. Anonymous6:22 PM

    Hi there, do we need to make advance booking for the private room? if yes, how? and one more question out of topic. what is the operation hours for buses and subway? Thanks alot =)

  10. Anonymous6:24 PM

    Hi!Is the lounge area separated for males and females? How long can you sleep in the private rooms? I have 14 hour layover from 6pm to 8am and I am planning to sleep for the night there, also I'll be there on a weekday.Thank you so much!!!!

  11. Jimjilbangs are popular in Korea and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than staying at a hotel.

  12. Anonymous4:00 AM

    Can you rent the sleeping room and use sauna during the day too? I will arrive in the early morning after an exhausting night with little sleep and go on in the early evening. Can you come and go in the lounge and what is the cost during the day?

  13. @Anonymous - the lounge isn't separated for males & females, but the shower rooms & saunas are. I'm not sure, but I would guess that you can rent the private room for at least 12 hours, probably longer.

    @Sharon - it depends on how many people you are traveling with, actually. To stay overnight, Spa on Air charges 20,000 won per person. If there are more than two of you in a party traveling together then you should head over to Incheon Airport Guesthouse (see above), where you can get a HUGE room for 50,000 won. They also offer free shuttle service to and from the airport.

    @ Anonymous - yes, you can use it all during the day, and you can come and go as you please. I've seen travelers wandering through the airport at 11pm in their jjimjilbang outfits (shorts and a t-shirt), visiting restaurants and getting snacks. The cost is 20,000 won ($20) for 24 hours, but if you're not planning on spending the night (an ACTUAL night), then it's 15,000 won.

  14. Thanks for explaining the sleep sauna so thoroughly...your blog was the first search result i found.

  15. Anonymous2:57 PM

    Hi Jonny, this is emily from worknplay.co.kr. We are planning to give the real infomation in Korea to everyone who is interested in South Korea in a couple months. Do you have in mind contributing your articles about Korea to us? It would be good to share your experiences with other visitors as well. I hope to hear from you soon. Please email me at emily@worknplay.co.kr I hope to hear from you soon. =)

  16. Anonymous7:18 PM

    Is it located inside ie. after you clear the customs? I will be extending my biz trip so I need to find a place to rest while waiting for my family to join me in Seoul. They will be arriving 6 am so I reckon I should find some place to rest at the airport and not rush in the middle of the night from the city to the airport.

  17. Great info, thanks. Could you also please tell me, where the free shower rooms are, in the secure area?

  18. Hello.Your blog is great!
    I will be arriving Incheon Airport in the early morning, and I am planning to head straight to the spa . Besides that, I am planning to store my hand carry luggage with them. Will the entrance fee be valid for the whole day or is it a per entry ticket? I am thinking of wandering around Seoul after the sauna then head back to collect my hand carry luggage before I fly off. Will I be able to access my luggage and roam around the lounge upon returning from my city tour ?

    Hope to hear from you soon.Thank you!

  19. Can I take my luggage with me to the sauna or do I have to store it at the luggage storage place?

  20. The entrance fee of 20,000 won is for 24 hours - I'm sure that you could make those arrangements with then, Genevieve. @Jonalee, you can store your luggage at the sauna. You'll see a bunch of tagged luggage in the lobby as you walk in. It's guarded 24hours by the staff at the desk.

  21. Hi, I just found this post and I was wondering... when you say outside of the security area, does that mean I would have to go through the airport security check again to get back into the airport? Or because you say it's in the airport, I can go freely between terminals and SOA?
    Thank you

  22. Firetraveler5:08 PM

    Thanks so much for your blog i am traveling from amsterdam via Incheon to australia with a 7 hour layover and dont sleep on the plane so i was dreading the trip now im looking forward to finding the spa thanks so much )

  23. @morgin - SOA is not in the terminal area, so anyone can visit it, with a flight ticket or not. So if you're in the terminal already, then YES, you would have to go through security again. But DON'T WORRY! Security at Incheon is an absolute breeze! Seriously.

  24. Great info, But I just want to spend there so how it be the expenditure.

  25. Can i still access the spa if i dont have a korean visa? I am just transiting in Incheon, but have 6 hours to kill.

  26. Anonymous5:20 AM

    Awesome info! A quick question: I have a Chinese passport and American visa (no Korean visa). Will there be a problem if I go outside of the secure area to the Sauna and get back in?

  27. Thanks for this info, it sounds great! And how abou cary-on and handcary luggage?

  28. Just a burning question, what about my luggage if i just want to take a spa bath before i leave for my flight?

  29. Hi Zhi - you can leave your luggage with the front desk at the spa. They will watch it for you, and although I never had a problem with mine, it's not locked away securely - they keep all of the luggage out in front of the check in desk.

  30. I'm going to be arriving a few hours ahead of my friend and will have to wait in the arrival area for her. Will I be able to get to SOA from the arrival area?

  31. Anonymous4:32 PM

    Can my husband and i get a private room together at the SOA?

  32. Anonymous7:52 PM

    My wife and I will be transitting fot the night at Incheon airport on our return trip in May 2015 and we would like to use the facilities as well as reserve a private room in Spa on Air. Instead of telephoning, does Spa on Air have an email address that we can email to in order to seek to reserve a private sleeping room for an overnight stay?


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