Programs: BMI DC Gold, BA Gold, LH SEN, Priority Club Platinum, Nectar purple
Assuming that you're already checked through to LHR, you will need to be at ICN for about 12:30 for a 1:30pm departure, (unless you're flying on a Wednesday then your departure is 2:15) although this doesn't allow you any contingency time.
If you are arriving in Seoul at 5:00am, then you will be outside the airport before 5:30, and if you take the Arex train to downtown you'll be there by 6:15. As the previous poster has said, not a lot will be open at that time, but you could still do some sightseeing before 10:00am.
The train to the airport leaves from Seoul Station, so you will need to be there by 11:00 to get back to the airport on time. This gives you not far off five hours in Seoul.
I recommend any of the following (have a search for opening times):
Cheongyecheon stream starts at City Hall which is not far from Seoul Station, so you could have a pleasing walk along it to pass the first couple of hours before everything opens. Namdaemun, Seoul Tower and Myeongdong are all very close too.
The subway in Seoul is very easy to navigate, buses are do-able but difficult if you speak no Korean.
And enjoy Asiana, they really are a great airline.
Programs: LH SEN; BA Blue; HHonors Gold; Priority Club Gold
Originally Posted by JONNYBOY
Hi, arrive into ICN at 5am and my next sector back to the UK leaves about 8 hours later.
I don't really want to spend 8 hours in the airport lounges so any touristy suggestions using public transport would be really welcome.
Although not using public transport, take a look at www.freedomtour.co.kr. They do transit tours of different durations.
There is a transit tour desk in the airport, groundside.
Or take AREX train to Seoul station, then nblue line to Jongno 3-ga (three stop northwards) and walk Insadong street or down into Myeongdong.
Just did it early this morning with a five hour connection. I didn't go all the way to Seoul, but took the airport train to the third stop, Geonam, or something like that, and walked around for an hour or so.
Last year, with a little more time, I walked around Incheon for a bit. There's a nice park with a pagoda and then you can have some breakfast or lunch. If you have extra time, head to the Spa on Air in the basement before you go through security.