Free Layover Tours Quell Airport Boredom

Say bye-bye to boredom during airport layovers! From cultural landmarks to city hot spots, several international airports are offering transit passengers complimentary tours to get a glimpse of the city they are passing through. Here’s a look at some of the most intriguing options.

Seoul

Incheon International Airport (ICN) offers eight different tours, depending on the duration of the layover. Starting with an hourlong visit to Yonggungsa Temple, a Buddhist temple built in 1376 that offers several tours that are two, three, four and five hours long. Incheon Temple, Incheon Grand Bridge, Heungryunsa Temple and Gwangmyeong Cave are some of the tour destinations.

The airport also offers Songdo City Tour and Seoul City Tour. Songdo Tour is four hours long and features destinations such as Songdo Central Park, Ocean Scope and the famous Singi Market. Seoul City Tour is five hours long and includes attractions such as Seoul Tower, Bukchon Hanok Village, Gwangjang Market and the historic Samcheong-dong neighborhood.

You can make tour reservations online or upon arrival at the transit tour desks at the airport. You can also do more than one tour, based on the length of your layover.

Singapore

Changi Airport Singapore (SIN) offers two tours for passengers with at least five to six hours of layover. The Heritage Tour runs four times a day and includes visits to Singapore’s ethnic neighborhoods, including Little India and Kampong Glam. City Sights Tour is offered twice a day and visits Singapore Flyer, Merlion Park, Marina Bay Financial Center and Gardens by the Bay.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) offers a morning and afternoon tour that highlights cultural and historical attractions for visitors. The morning tour visits attractions such as Sanxia Old Street, Daoist Sanxia Qingshui Zushi Temple and Yingge Ceramics Old Street. The afternoon tour begins with an introductory glimpse of Taipei, and stops include Longshan Temple and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Park. You can book your trip upon arrival at the tourist service center in the arrival lobby.

Istanbul

If you are flying Turkish Airlines and have at least six hours layover at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST), you are eligible to take one of the five daily tours. They offer a 2 1/2-hour tour in the morning, while the others are six hours long.

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Visitors on these tours are served with a complimentary Turkish-inspired breakfast and a traditional Ottoman cuisine lunch. Blue Mosque, Walls of Constantine, Hippodrome Square, Grand Covered Bazaar, Eyup Sultan Mosque & Square, Basilica Cistern, Spice Market, Hagia Sophia, Dolmabahce Palace and Galata Tower are some of the tour destinations.

Tokyo

Narita International Airport (NRT) offers three different types of tour packages—bus tours, self-guided tours and volunteer-guided tours. Bus tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday and last six hours. Visitors need to pay approximately $32 for the bus and driver. The tour covers landmarks such as Boso no Mura Theme Park, Hakko-no-Sato Kozaki, Suigo Sawara Dashi Kaikan, the historic streets of Sawara, Tako Ajisai-kan and Shibayama Nioson Temple.

The airport offers five different self-guided tours, and each can be completed in three hours. Visitors are provided with a map and directions to each destination, and they can enjoy them at their own pace. These tours can also be customized according to the length of the layover and budget. Tours cost from $5 to $80.

During volunteer-guided tours, an English-speaking volunteer accompanies visitors on their journey around the city. These tours may also be customized, and cost from $5 to $20, based on the package. You can book a tour online or upon arrival at the transit tour desk.

Qatar

Hamad International Airport (DOH) offers paid tour packages for passengers who wish to escape the airport and experience the destination’s Arabian heritage. Qatar Airways, in collaboration with Qatar Tourism Authority, offers nine different daily tours, lasting two hours and 45 minutes to six hours, depending on the package. Doha City Tour is among the most popular, costs $20 and covers the traditional Souq Waqif, Museum of Islamic Arts, Dhow Harbour, The Pearl and Katara Cultural Village.

You can book your tour online until 48 hours before arrival, or you can book it upon arrival (subject to availability) at the Discover Qatar Transit Tours desk.

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