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Incheon 14 hr layover @ 4am Sunday - stay or go to Seoul?

Incheon 14 hr layover @ 4am Sunday - stay or go to Seoul?

Old Dec 22, 18, 8:12 am
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Question Incheon 14 hr layover @ 4am Sunday - stay or go to Seoul?

Coming home from Manila with a 14 hr layover at INC, then on to ATL, mid-January on a Sunday. Flying biz Korean Air MNL-ICN arrives 04:00 then Delta One ICN-ATL at 18:30. I believe these are all Terminal 2. Considering either:
  1. staying airside at the Walkerhill transit hotel, not sure on price, somewhere from $90 to $120
  2. staying landside at the Walkerhill "capsule" hotel, about $55 for 12 hrs
  3. take AREX train into Seoul, and wander around (thanks mikesaidyes for your great blog)
  4. #2 combined with #3
While the downtown option sounds much more interesting than hanging around the airport, weather could have a big impact on pleasantness of strolling around on a January morning. I've also read that not much is open until 11 in Seoul. And of course, need to allow lots of time to get back and through security for departure.

Option #1 is simple... and I'm stuck airside. From what I've read, ICN doesn't appear to be a "destination" airport like SIN, so thinking I'd be bored.

So I'm thinking #4 ; get the T2 landside capsule hotel for 12 hours. Check in to hotel at 05:00, take a nap, leave carryon/laptop bags in the room, then take AREX downtown at 10:00, wander for a few hours, then 14:00 back to hotel to grab bags, freshen up and back through security. And if it turns out to be blasting snow or whatever that day, I can always bail sooner & back to capsule room.

Thoughts on that idea?
EditingFX is offline  
Old Dec 24, 18, 4:15 am
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Saw your PM and will definitely reply!

If you want to try a Korean sauna (and you should as it's perhaps the best cultural thing you can easily do)....

I would take the first bus or train to Seoul Station. Directly behind Seoul Station is Siloam Sauna. You can pay like 10-12,000W maximum for the entire day. You can take a shower, enjoy the facilities, get some good sleep in the rest area/various rooms (they even have a room if you snore). Even the food is good! So you can enjoy there until like 10-11 AM. Siloam Sauna can also properly store your bags. OR look up Safex - Baggage storaging and delivering service in Korea they are luggage storage at both ICN airport and Seoul Station.

Then you're very close to all the palaces and markets for your day of touring around. Personal recommendation: Tongin Market Dosirak Cafe - get a bag of old coins and go around and buy anything you see that looks good. Fill up your tray then go back to the Cafe and get rice, soup, and water for a proper meal. Easy way to try a bunch of things in a short time. BUT CHECK THEIR HOURS CAREFULLY as sometimes they randomly close.

If your flight is at 6:30, you should be back at T2 by like 4:30-5 PM. So leave Seoul be on the train by 3:30-4 ICN is very efficient, so even if you're SUPER late, you can show your boarding pass to security and they'll let you skip the line to get through.

I wouldn't take the bus as traffic could really F you on the way back. Early morning of course won't matter. And it doesn't snow much at all here, so I wouldn't worry about snow hampering your plans. Even if it snows, it' just a few inches and then it clears quickly with city traffic and people walking around.

IMO the capsulte hotel not a bad deal BUT will kill your time getting there, checking in, going back out, etc. etc. Then again, you do arrive at 5 AM so you have A LOT OF TIME haha.
mikesaidyes is offline  
Old Dec 24, 18, 5:26 am
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ICN lounge option

I had this situation earlier this year returning from SGN. Spent the time in the lounge & had zero regrets (NB I have visited Seoul so this wasn't really an option!).
Why spend the $$$ on a capsule/transit hotel when you will have lounge access? You can definitely sleep & eat & sleep & eat. 14 h will go by pretty quick, IMO.
Antonio8069 is offline  
Old Dec 24, 18, 6:23 am
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My carryon will be loaded with pro camera gear, and I see that the KAL Prestige lounge has large lockers... wondering if I could lock my stuff, go to Seoul, then when I get back, grab a shower & my stuff? Am I correct in only having access to the Prestige lounge? (KAL Business inbound, Delta One out.)
EditingFX is offline  
Old Dec 24, 18, 8:58 pm
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U wont be able to have access to the lounges when u are inbound unless are u transiting directly.
After u land and want to get to Seoul, u have to clear immigration and customs.
At the ICN airport public areas, there are places where u can store your luggage for a small fee.

When leaving ICN, u can access the KE Prestige lounges after clearing security.
HawaiiO is offline  
Old Dec 24, 18, 9:20 pm
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While it looks like you have a plan, I just wanted to point out that there are transit tours that the airport provides. These are free and the first ones leave at 8:00 am.

We did did one of the later ones and really enjoyed it. While they bus you to and from the city, they make sure that you are back on time.

KathinJax is offline  
Old Dec 30, 18, 7:35 pm
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#4 sounds like the winner. Just letting you know that mid-January will be very cold, especially in the morning. Gloves, hat, maybe a scarf and definitely a thick jacket, in addition to base layers are all things you should consider bringing. However the bright side to this is that there will be less tourists about. Might be a good time to use that camera! Although I may go with mikesaidyes suggestion of heading to the Sauna just outside of Seoul station and making that your base to begin your exploration.
nme7 is online now  
Old Jan 3, 19, 3:09 am
Join Date: Dec 2017
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You can definitely take the Arex into Seoul for a meal and light sightseeing. Plenty of time!
superbobbay is offline  

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