Review: The Easy Way to North Korea – Introduction

Introduction
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Korean Air 604 A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon
The Westin Chosun Busan
The Westin Chosun Seoul
JW Marriott Dongdaemun Seoul
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 607 747-400 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong


Note: This is a combination of my trip and Jason’s trip, and we threw out each other’s installments based on how much the trip had already been reviewed to create a trip report for you guys. I’ll make a clear separation of the trips below.


Alvin’s Installments:

Korean Air Business Lounge Hong Kong
Korean Air A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon
The Westin Chosun Seoul
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 747-400 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong

In terms of countries that I haven’t been to, South Korea ranks pretty high up there on the popularity list. Of course, South Korea is also home to plenty of theme parks, sightseeing, and just about every product that my mother owns in her bathroom.

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Seoul, South Korea

Seoul jumped right to the top of our list, and we decided that April, due to the end of the cold, was the optimum time to visit.

Now, collectively, Jason and I have flown just about every business class product Cathay Pacific and Dragonair currently offer (Cathay Pacific’s new, old, new regional, Dragonair’s new regional and Dragonair’s A320), but there’s not really another business class product any of us have flown. I hopped onto Korean Air and Asiana’s fares, and since our dates didn’t match the A380, we settled on Korean Air’s business class. Can’t beat four hours in a flat bed and four hours in an angled lie flat seat on the upper deck of a 747!

After all, what’s better than breaking the streak of Airbus A330-300s I’ve flown continuously for over a year, especially with flying the Boeing 747-400 for the second time on the upper deck?

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Korean Air Airbus A330-300 Business Class Cabin

Korean Air Boeing 747-400 Business Class Cabin

I’d be crediting SkyPass miles to my new Korean Air SkyPass account on both flights, so it was a win-win.

So at the end my itinerary was quite simple:

03/04 KE 604 HKG – ICN 12:05 – 16:45 333 J
08/04 KE 607 ICN – HKG 19:45 – 22:30 744 J

map

Choosing a hotel in Seoul

Although ultimately there are better choices such the Park Hyatt, but they’re all pretty far out of town. Ultimately there are other options within five minutes of the city center, but we decided on the Westin Chosun Seoul.

The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room

I’ve tried a Westin just once before and it was too long ago to remember, and I was dying to reacquaint with the brand. It’s a Category 5 property, and we were staying for five nights so we could use their “fifth night free” promotion, which brought the rate down to ~HK$1350, which was awesome, much better than the 10,400 Starpoint deal that was otherwise offered.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Rate

As usual, all comments/questions are welcome! Jason has snippets from his trip to the same country as well, which he’ll be sharing…

Jason’s Installments:

Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge Hong Kong*
Cathay Pacific A330-300 Economy Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon*
The Westin Chosun Busan
Korea Train Express Busan to Seoul
JW Marriott Dongdaemun Seoul
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon*
Cathay Pacific A330-300 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong*

*Due to time factors, and since we’ve reviewed these before, we’ll refrain from reviewing these products again, and if you’re interested, you can click on the reviews which are linked above.

My family was really, really having trouble to use up their vacation days, thus we decided to have a trip during my Easter break. After the usual mull on where to go we also decided on Seoul (entirely coincidental), and later Busan.

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Busan, South Korea

In terms of flights we grabbed Cathay Pacific economy/business class flights straight to and from Seoul, though for time’s sake I won’t be reviewing them and will be leaving these reviews for my Nagoya trip and my first Seoul trip (which I’ll be publishing about soon through the summer).

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Business Class

My itinerary looked as follows:

05/04 CX 438 HKG – ICN 333 Y
09/04 CX 419 ICN – HKG 333 J

In terms of hotels, my mother really wanted to stay near the beach in Busan given that it was supposed to be the “relaxing” destination of the trip, which narrowed down our options to the Westin Chosun Busan, which is a Category 5 property. To add some extra fluff to the trip, we decided to book a club room, which cost us ~HK$2,000.

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The Westin Chosun Busan Executive Park View Room

The points rate and the rack rate was identical, so we went with the latter to earn more points.

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The Westin Chosun Busan Executive Park View Rate

We wanted to spend time in Seoul given that we were transiting through anyway, so hopped on Korea Train Express for a ticket and upgrading ourselves at the train station to First Class per way (for some reason online upgrading requires an extra HK$430).

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Korea Train Express First Class Seat

For the two nights we had in the capital I chose the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square, which is ranked as the #1 hotel in the whole of Seoul. It priced at HK$1,800 per night, which isn’t bad for what we got.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Rate

It was a whirlwind trip as you see, so stay tuned! Alvin has his reports all written out, but mine will take a bit of time, so please bear with me as the trip report speed fluctuates.

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Easy Way to North Korea – Introduction

  1. So if there is no connections about N. Korea why do you want to have this trip report named “The Easy Way to North Korea”? Just don’t get it.

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