0

Traveloka Team

06 May 2024 - 31 min read

Explore the World During Layovers with Airport Free Tours

Travelers often opt for indirect routes to save on flight costs, but these routes often mean enduring layovers. Short layovers allow for stretching one's legs, refreshing in larger restrooms, and exploring Duty-Free shops. Longer layovers offer the chance to venture into a new city. However, layovers of 5 or 6 hours can be particularly challenging, as they provide insufficient time to leave the airport yet too much time to linger around the gate.

Fortunately, some airports and tour operators have recognized this dilemma. Instead of leaving travelers to navigate a new city's public transportation system under time pressure or incur the expense of a private tour, they offer organized excursions. These excursions efficiently showcase the main attractions before returning passengers to the departures lounge in time for their next flight. It's a convenient solution for making the most of layovers without the stress or cost. Below are our recommendations for top airports offering these swift and budget-friendly layover experiences.

Traveloka has a list of the best airports for these cool layover trips. Whether you want to quickly see big cities or take a walk in small towns, there's something for everyone. Don't wait! Use your layovers wisely and go on an amazing adventure with tours from the airport.

1. Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan

Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan, offers complimentary layover tours for both transit passengers and nearby hotel guests. These tours are available in guided or self-guided formats and accommodate various interests, from cultural exploration to culinary delights and shopping sprees. Travelers can visit nearby shopping centers, dine at local eateries, and explore temples and shrines, immersing themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of Tokyo. Whether you're a culture enthusiast, a food lover, or a dedicated shopper, these layover tours provide an excellent opportunity to experience the best of Tokyo's offerings during your stopover. Before heading out of the airport, there are a few details you need to know. Check them out!

Singapore to Japan flight

Scoot

Start from US$ 135.40

Singapore (SIN) to Tokyo (NRT)

Mon, 10 Jun 2024

ZIPAIR

Start from US$ 182.31

Singapore (SIN) to Tokyo (NRT)

Tue, 11 Jun 2024

T’way Air

Start from US$ 183.08

Singapore (SIN) to Tokyo (NRT)

Wed, 29 May 2024

Duration and Booking

Plan for at least five hours, as tours typically last around three hours. No maximum stay limit exists, so travelers can partake in these excursions upon arrival. During your layover, take the opportunity to explore diverse attractions such as Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple and Omotesando Street. Moreover, engage in local cultural activities like the Sutra Copying Experience, trying local dishes, renting kimonos, or experiencing the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. These immersive experiences offer a deeper insight into Japanese culture and traditions, making your layover more memorable and enriching.

To arrange a layover tour, visit the Narita Transit Program Counter located in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at Narita International Airport, depending on your arrival terminal. Ensure to have your departure ticket and complete a consent form for participation. Select between a guided tour led by a volunteer or a self-guided exploration.

Visa Requirements

No visa is necessary if your arrival and departure fall within the airport's operating hours from 6 AM to 12 AM. Japan permits visa-free airside transit during these times. However, if you plan to exit the airport for activities like meeting a friend or sightseeing, a transit visa is mandatory similarly, if you intend to stop over in Japan while en route to the USA or another destination, a transit visa is required.

A Japan Transit Visa remains valid for 15 days and is exclusively for tourism, sightseeing, or rest purposes. Applications for a Japan Transit Visa can be made at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate. Necessary documents include a completed and signed Japan Visa Application Form, a passport valid for at least six more months with two blank pages, a cover letter specifying the purpose of travel, and a recent passport-sized photograph taken within the last six months. Certain exemptions from transit visa application may apply if you hold a valid visa for the destination country, possess a diplomatic passport, or if bilateral agreements between your country and the transit destination exist.

Cost

The Narita Airport Transit and Stay Program provides complimentary tours led by local volunteers in training as guides. However, participants must cover transportation and associated costs. While some tours include bus transportation for an extra fee, others rely on public transit. It's important to budget for these expenses when planning your layover excursion. Self-guided tours incur a fee ranging from 350 to 600 yen.

Explore Tokyo with the Narita Airport Transit & Stay Program

Extended layovers at airports can be boring. Even if it's just for a short time, you're in a new place—why not explore and experience some of the local culture? The Narita Airport offers a program called Transit & Stay Program, which makes it easy for budget-conscious travelers by providing various guided and self-guided tours. They also provide English-speaking volunteer guides who are entirely free—you only need to pay for things like transportation—so you can enjoy the tour without worrying about money.

These are the five guided tour options offered by the Narita Airport, which include all the places during certain periods too, depending on your layover duration.

Tour 1: Full Japanese Cultural Experience at Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple

*time required: 3 hours

minimum budget: 500 yen

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple has a long history of more than a thousand years, making it well-known and beloved by both Buddhists and tourists. Its reputation for making wishes come true and bringing good luck started in the Edo Period. Legend has it that the famous kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro prayed at the temple for a son to inherit his legacy, and in 1688, his wish was granted by the temple's main deity, Ofudo-sama. The name "Shinshoji" means "new victory," highlighting the temple's significance as one of Japan's holiest sites. Next to the temple is Naritasan Park, which boasts scenic walking trails, ponds, a waterfall, and the impressive Great Peace Pagoda.

Omotesando Street

Omotesando Street in Narita leads visitors to Naritasan Shinshoji Temple and is filled with traditional shops offering hand-grilled rice crackers, sake tastings, and handmade crafts. During the Edo Period, this street marked the final kilometer of the pilgrimage route from the capital. Tired pilgrims could find inns to rest in and plenty of places to eat. Unagi, a grilled eel dish served over rice, is said to provide an extra energy boost and has become a local favorite among visitors to Narita. Nowadays, there are many unagi restaurants to choose from along Omotesando Street, some of which allow you to watch the chefs prepare and grill the freshly caught eel.

Additional Activities

Sutra Copying Experience

Known as shakyo, sutra copying is a meditative practice similar to sutra chanting. Experience this unique activity at the Great Peace Pagoda in Naritasan Park. Choose between two different sutras: the ten-character Gohogo sutra (costing 1000 yen, approximately 15 minutes required) or the Heart Sutra (costing 2000 yen, requiring between 1 and 2 hours). Reservations are not needed.

Renowned Unagi Cuisine Restaurant

Enjoy some locally caught unagi (freshwater eel), grilled with a special sauce and served on top of rice. It's known for being healthy and giving you energy, and people have loved it in Narita since a long time ago. At this famous restaurant, you can watch the chefs cook the eel right in front of you. Expect to spend around 2500 to 5000 yen for a meal.

Kimono Rental

Wearing a kimono adds an authentic touch to the Japanese experience. If you've never worn one before, Omotesando Street's Edo Era ambiance, with its numerous traditional shops, is the perfect setting. Kimono rental is available Wednesday through Friday, from 10 am to 3 pm, at Machikado Fureaikan, located just off Omotesando Street. Kimonos are suitable for men, women, and children, with sizes ranging from 100 to 180cm (39 to 71 inches) in height. The cost is 800 yen per adult and 500 yen per child. Please note that Machikado Fureaikan is closed from the end of December to early January, mid-August, and during major Narita events.

Sesame Fire Ritual

The Goma Fire ritual, also known as the Ogoma Kito prayer, is a daily tradition at Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, dating back to its founding in the 10th century. During this ritual, worshippers invoke the temple's main deity, Ofudo-sama, the God of Fire, to fulfill their wishes and protect them from misfortune. The ritual occurs several times a day, lasting 20–30 minutes, and is free of charge. No reservations are needed, but photography is not allowed during the event.

Tea Ceremony

Every Thursday morning, visitors can attend complimentary tea ceremony demonstrations with English explanations of its traditional customs and significance. Held at the Narita Tourist Pavilion, located midway along Omotesando Street on the route to Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, this tea ceremony offers tourists the chance to enjoy hot matcha tea and small wagashi sweets in a tatami room while learning about Japanese tea culture in a relaxed setting. Schedule: Every Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30, except in January.

Access

To access Narita-san Omotesando Street from Narita Airport, take the train, which will take approximately 7 minutes. Once you arrive at Omotesando Street, you can explore for about 30 minutes before continuing to Narita-san Shinso-ji Temple, which is approximately a 60-minute train ride away.

Tour 2: Discover Authentic Japanese Cuisine and Experience Japan's Aviation History

*time required: 3 hours

minimum budget: 2000 yen

Fu-Wa-Ri Restaurant

Fu-Wa-Ri Restaurant has a buffet with lots of Japanese and international food. It's in Narita and uses local farm food and food from different parts of Japan. Adults pay 1500 yen, seniors pay 1300 yen, kids aged 6-13 pay 900 yen, and kids aged 3-5 pay 500 yen. You get one hour to eat all you want.

Shisho Shrine

At Shisho Shrine, you can learn about Japanese traditions. It's a small shrine in the countryside with cherry trees. It's really peaceful, especially in spring when the cherry trees bloom.

Additional Activities

Museum of Aeronautical Sciences

This museum is all about airplanes and aviation history. There are real and fake planes, aviator stuff, and even a cockpit you can sit in. You can also try a flight simulator. From the observation tower, you can see planes taking off from Narita Airport. Adults pay 500 yen to enter, and 100 yen more for the flight simulator.

Airplane Hill

Next to the museum, Airplane Hill is an outdoor area where you can watch planes take off from Narita Airport. It's exciting to see and hear the planes. After visiting the museum, you can go here for more plane-watching fun.

Access

To reach Shisho Shrine from Narita Airport, take the bus, which will take approximately 15 minutes. Your first stop will be at Restaurant Fu-Wa-Ri, where you can enjoy an hour-long buffet. Afterward, continue your journey straight to Shisho Shrine.

Tour 3: Experience the charm of rural Japan in Tako Town

*time required: 3 hours

minimum budget: 600 yen

Rural Charm

Tako Town is surrounded by picturesque rice fields and is famous for its tasty rice. You can enjoy this rice in bento boxes by the Kuriyama River or at a dining spot on the second floor of Roadside Station Tako Ajisai-kan. You can also take a short boat ride on the river (available on weekends) or rent an electric bicycle to explore more of the area.

Nichihon-ji Temple

Nichihon-ji Temple is an important temple of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism. It's famous for Nakamura Danrin, a school for monks. The temple is also called the Ajisai (hydrangea) Temple because, in June, its grounds are covered with 10,000 colorful hydrangea flowers.

Additional Activities

Electric Bicycle Rental

You can rent power-assisted bicycles at Roadside Station Tako Ajisai-kan. They're a fun way to explore the countryside. You can ride along narrow paths between rice fields or up the hill to Nichihon-ji Temple. You can also ride along the Kuriyama River and visit Hydrangea Park if you like. Renting a bicycle for the day costs 500 yen. (You must be 12 or older to ride. You need a passport or other photo ID for rental. There's a limited number of bicycles available.)

Shiraishi Confectionary

This small shop sells handmade Japanese sweets made with locally grown ingredients. From mitarashi dango to sakura mochi, and even Japanese shaved ice in the summer, there's something delicious for everyone.

Hydrangea Park

Hydrangeas are symbolic of early summer in Japan. Tako's Hydrangea Park is a beautiful place to relax. In spring, the park is covered in yellow mustard flowers, and in fall, colorful cosmos flowers bloom against the blue river.

Access

To get to Nichihon-ji Temple from Narita Airport, take the bus. It'll take about 25 minutes. Your first stop will be at Roadside Station Tako-Ajisai-Kan after 30 minutes. Then, it'll take around 20 minutes to reach the final stop, which is Nichihon-ji Temple.

Tour 4: Cosplay in Edo Period attire at Sakae Town's cosplay event

*time required: 3 hours

minimum budget: 1600 yen

Boso no Mura Theme Park

Enjoy the Edo Period vibe at Boso no Mura Theme Park. It's famous for its old-style Japanese town seen in many TV shows and movies. You can even dress up as a ninja or samurai! Entry costs 300 yen.

Additional Activities

Cosplay

Next to Boso no Mura, Cosplay no Yakata lets you dress up as historical Japanese characters with the help of friendly staff. You need to book ahead for cosplay. If you join the Volunteer Guided Tour, you get a discount, starting from 500 yen for kids and 1000 yen for adults. Remember, you can't wear cosplay costumes in bad weather.

Farmers Restaurant Yume Terrace

Yume Terrace at Farmers Restaurant is surrounded by greenery and serves delicious food made from fresh, seasonal ingredients. In the summer, try their famous soft-serve ice cream from Yume Farm nearby. You can sit inside or outside on the terrace. Meals cost around 1000 to 1500 yen.

Access

To get to Boso no Mura Theme Park from Narita Airport, first take the train from JR Narita Station. This ride takes about 10 minutes. Then, switch to a bus and ride for 20 minutes until you reach Ryukakuji-Dai, 2-chome bus stop. From there, it's a 10-minute walk until you finally arrive at Boso no Mura Theme Park.

Tour 5: Experience the Riverside District Sawara's Edo Period Ambiance

*time required: 4 hours

minimum budget: 1430 yen

Discover Sawara's History

Sawara sits by the Tone River, with a long history dating back to the Edo Period. It used to be a busy trading center, connecting rural areas to Edo (now Tokyo). Sawara thrived with many canals for transporting goods and people. Nowadays, it's a popular spot for Japanese tourists who want to experience Old Japan's peaceful atmosphere. You can enjoy strolling along the charming canals, visiting old merchant houses, and browsing cute souvenir shops.

Additional Activities

Suigo Sawara Dashi Kaikan

Learn about Sawara's lively traditions at Suigo Sawara Dashi Kaikan. You can see the big floats, called dashi, used in the Sawara Grand Festival. This festival happens in July and October and features tall floats decorated with figures from Japanese stories or history, some reaching up to 8 meters high. You can also see the musical instruments used in the festival. Foreign visitors get a discount: 350 yen for ages 16 and up, and 150 yen for ages 7–15.

Ono River Sightseeing Boat Ride

Take a peaceful boat ride along the Ono River to see Sawara's historic waterways from a different angle. It costs 1,300 yen for ages 13 and up, and 700 yen for ages 7–12.

Katori Jingu Shrine

Experience ancient spirituality at Katori Jingu Shrine, which has a long history dating back to 643 BCE. It's one of the most important shrines in the former Shimousa Province. Explore the beautiful main hall, which was built in 1700 and is now a designated Important Cultural Property. You can visit on weekdays and take a taxi from Sawara station, costing around 3,500–4,000 yen for a roundtrip.

Access

To get to Sawara Street from Narita Airport, first take the train from Kaisei Narita Station (JR Narita Station). This ride takes about 10 minutes. Then, switch to another train from JR Sawara Station for approximately 30 minutes. Finally, you'll need to walk for about 10 minutes to reach Sawara Street.

2. Incheon Airport, Seoul, South Korea

As the lively capital of South Korea, Seoul offers a diverse range of experiences. From ancient temples to modern K-Pop concerts, the city exudes an infectious energy. Incheon Airport, emerging as a major hub for flights across Asia, Australasia, and North America, provides an excellent opportunity to explore Seoul through its 10 free transit tours. Whether you're interested in history, shopping, or modern life, there's a tour to suit every taste. Here are a few things you need to know before exiting the airport!

Duration and Booking

Tours at Incheon Airport, ranging from one to five hours, suit layovers under 24 hours, but extending your stay in Seoul is advisable for a deeper experience. Booking is easy; visit any of the three dedicated information desks in Terminal 1 or four desks in Terminal 2. Online reservations add convenience. For added convenience, online reservations are also available, allowing passengers to plan their layover activities and ensure a seamless experience upon arrival. Whether you're interested in exploring historic landmarks, sampling local cuisine, or simply soaking in the bustling energy of the city, Incheon Airport's layover tours offer something for everyone to enjoy during their time in Seoul.

Visa Requirements

For travelers from the 110 countries enjoying visa-free access to Korea, you're eligible to join the tour. However, if your country isn't on the list, you'll need to arrange the appropriate visa beforehand. Here's what you need to know:

※ Re-entry Permit Holders:

Foreign nationals with a valid re-entry permit can enter Korea within the permitted period without a visa. Nationals from countries like France, Suriname, and Germany are exempt from re-entry permit requirements and can enter Korea visa-free during their initial stay.

※ Recognized International Organizations Passport Holders:

UN or special organization staff with a LAISSEZ-PASSER document issued by the UN office can stay in Korea for 30 days without a visa.

※ APEC Business Travel Card Holders:

Eligible individuals from countries like Australia and China can enjoy visa-free entry with an APEC Business Travel Card, granting them 90-day stay.

For more details and to check your country's eligibility, visit the K-eta website: K-eta Website

Cost and Considerations

The best part? These tours are completely free! After going through immigration, head straight to the first floor for the information desks. Even if online slots are full, you can still secure a spot on the waiting list, awarded on a first-come, first-served basis 30 minutes before the tour. It's important to check in before the deadline if you've been allocated an advanced spot.

Exploring Seoul by Incheon Airport Transit Tour

Discover the different tours you can take during your layover at Incheon Airport. The airport offers options to make your stopover more fun. Whether you like sightseeing, shopping, or trying new foods, there's something for everyone. Let's make the most of your time between flights!

1. Fun with the Seagulls

Location: Gueup Ferry Terminal, Wolmi Park

Time Required: 4 hours

Minimum Budget: Free

Course: Incheon Airport → Gueup Ferry Terminal (Feeding Seagulls Experience) → Wolmi Park → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 from 09:00 to 13:00 (Tue, Sat, Sun)

Gueup Ferry Terminal (Feeding Seagulls Experience)

Start your journey by taking a ferry from Gueup Ferry Terminal in Yeongjongdo to Wolmido Island. Experience the beauty of the Korean coast and observe the many seagulls that flock to the area. The ferry ride lasts about 15 minutes, offering a relaxing way to enjoy the scenery.

Wolmi Park

Situated at the heart of old downtown Incheon, Wolmi Park is a delightful escape for both locals and tourists. Located on Wolmido Island, this park serves as a vibrant hub of leisure and recreation. With its scenic waterfront views and lush greenery, it provides a serene environment for relaxation and enjoyment.

2. Find Your Fun at INSPIRE

Location: INSPIRE Entertainment Resort

Time Required: 3 hours

Minimum Budget: Free

Course: Incheon Airport → INSPIRE Entertainment Resort → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1 from 15:00 to 18:00 (Wed, Thu, Fri)

INSPIRE Entertainment Resort

An innovative destination offering a variety of experiences from food to entertainment, perfect for spending a few valuable hours. Explore INSPIRE Casino, Le Space (Immersive Media Art Exhibition), and INSPIRE Mall.

3. Green Lovers

Location: Seoul Botanic Park

Time Required: 3 hours

Minimum Budget: $4

Course: Incheon Airport → Seoul Botanic Park ($4) → Incheon Airport

Schedule: This tour serves as an alternative option in case of inclement weather, such as rain or snow.

Seoul Botanic Park

Immerse yourself in the beauty of native plants and horticulture from 12 different cities worldwide, fostering ecological awareness within the city. This park combines a botanical garden with a public park, sprawling across an area equivalent to 70 soccer fields.

4. Presidential Legacy

Locations: Cheongwadae, Gwangjang Market

Time Required: 5 hours

Minimum Budget: Free

Course: Incheon Airport → Cheongwadae → Gwangjang Market → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 from 09:00 to 14:00 (Mon)

Cheongwadae

Formerly the official residence and office of the President of the Republic of Korea, Cheongwadae is now open to the public as a museum featuring art and history exhibitions since May 10, 2022.

Gwangjang Market

Nestled in the heart of Seoul, Gwangjang Market stands as one of the country's oldest and largest traditional markets. Explore its bustling food street offering a wide array of culinary delights.

5. Royal Heritage and Charm

Locations: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Insa-dong

Time Required: 5 hours

Minimum Budget: $3

Course: Incheon Airport → Gyeongbokgung Palace ($3) → Insa-dong → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 from 09:00 to 14:00 (Tue~Sun)

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Constructed in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is the first palace of the Joseon dynasty, meticulously restored during King Gojong's reign in 1867 after its destruction during the Japanese invasion of Korea.

Insa-dong

Explore the charm of Insa-dong, where ancient treasures abound in its alleyways. Discover galleries, traditional craft shops, antique stores, traditional tea houses, cafes, and more nestled within its maze-like streets.

6. Embracing Peace on Divided Land

Location: Imjingak Pyeonghwa Nuri Park, Dokgae Bridge

Time Required: 5 hours

Minimum Budget: Free

Course: Incheon Airport → Odusan Unification Tower → Imjingak Pyeonghwa Nuri Park → Dokgae Bridge → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 from 09:00 to 14:00 (Wed, Fri)

Imjingak Pyeonghwa Nuri Park

Imjingak Park, established in 1972, serves as a poignant reminder of Korean history, offering solace to those separated by the division of Korea.

Dokgae Bridge

Once the sole link between the North and South before the Korean War, Dokgae Bridge now stands broken due to wartime bombings.

7. DMZ

Location: The Third Tunnel, Dora Observatory

Time Required: 5 hours

Minimum Budget: $4

Course: Incheon Airport → The Third Tunnel ($4) → Dora Observatory → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 from 09:00 to 14:00 (Thu)

The Third Tunnel

Known as the Seoul Tunnel, it's a stark testament to Korea's division, built by North Korea for invasion purposes.

Dora Observatory

Situated within the DMZ, offering views into North Korea, including the statue of Kim Il-sung and the town of Kijong-dong.

8. Tranquil Temple

Location: Jeondeungsa Temple

Time Required: 4 hours

Minimum Budget: Free

Course: Incheon Airport → Jeondeungsa Temple → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 from 09:00 to 13:00 (Mon)

Jeondeungsa Temple

A historically significant temple with roots dating back to 382, offering spiritual solace amid ancient surroundings.

9. Trendy Hub of Youth

Location: Hongdae Street

Time Required: 4 hours

Minimum Budget: Free

Course: Incheon Airport → Hongdae Street → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 from 14:00 to 18:00 (Mon, Tue, Sat, Sun)

Hongdae Street

A vibrant hub of youthful energy, featuring cafes, clubs, street art, and cultural festivals.

10. Petit Shopping Delight

Location: Sinpo Traditional Market

Time Required: 3 hours

Minimum Budget: Free

Course: Incheon Airport → Sinpo Market → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 2 from 15:00 to 18:00 (Everyday)

Sinpo Market

Established in the late 19th century, it's a bustling market known for its delectable fried chicken among other treats.

11. Golf Tour-1

Location: Orange Dunes Golf Club

Time Required: 5 hours

Minimum Budget: KRW 170,000

Course: Incheon Airport → Orange Dunes Golf Club → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 from 08:00 to 13:00 (Everyday, Pick up service)

Orange Dunes Golf Club

Offering a challenging course amidst coastal dunes, providing a unique golfing experience.

12. Golf Tour-2

Location: Club72 (Hanul Course)

Time Required: 5 hours

Minimum Budget: KRW 180,000

Course: Incheon Airport → Club72 (Hanul Course) → Incheon Airport

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 from 08:00 to 13:00 (Everyday, Pick up service)

Club72 (Hanul Course)

A tournament course nestled amidst natural rock formations, offering scenic views and challenging play.

13. K-Culture Zone

Location: Hanbok Experience, Hangeul Craft (Airport tour)

Time Required: 30 minutes

Minimum Budget: Free

Course: Hanbok-wearing experience, Hangeul craft (bracelet, scroll, mother-of-pearl, tuho, etc.)

Schedule: Terminal 1, 2 (4F East Transfer Lounge) from 09:00 to 16:30

K-Culture Zone

Immerse yourself in Korean culture at the airport, with experiences like donning hanbok and crafting traditional souvenirs.

For inquiries, contact:

(T1: +82-32-741-3139, T2: +82-32-741-0060 / E-mail: transferinfodesk@gmail.com)

Managed by: Airline Marketing Team

Exploring Seoul's Hidden Gems

Seoul, South Korea offers a plethora of attractions for travelers with layovers, ranging from historic palaces to vibrant neighborhoods. Here are some top options to consider:

Gyeongbukgung Palace

A visit to Seoul wouldn't be complete without exploring Gyeongbukgung Palace, one of the most iconic landmarks in South Korea. This grand palace, built in 1395, served as the main royal palace during the Joseon Dynasty. Visitors can marvel at its intricate architecture, expansive courtyards, and beautiful gardens. With its central location, Gyeongbukgung is perfect for a short visit, allowing travelers to explore the rich history and cultural heritage of Korea.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Located between two of Seoul's main palaces, Bukchon Hanok Village offers a glimpse into traditional Korean architecture and way of life. Wander through its narrow alleyways lined with well-preserved hanbok (traditional Korean houses), each with its unique charm. Visitors can explore quaint tea houses, art galleries, and cultural centers, immersing themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Korea. Don't forget to snap some photos of the stunning panoramic views of the cityscape from Bukchon's hilltops.

Myeongdong

For those craving a taste of Seoul's vibrant street life and shopping scene, Myeongdong is the place to be. This bustling district is a mecca for shopping enthusiasts, with a plethora of boutiques, department stores, and street vendors offering everything from trendy fashion to traditional Korean souvenirs. Myeongdong is also renowned for its diverse culinary scene, with an array of restaurants, food stalls, and cafes serving up mouthwatering Korean delicacies. Whether day or night, Myeongdong pulsates with energy, making it a must-visit destination for travelers exploring Seoul.

Paradise City

Located just 2.4 miles from the airport, Paradise City offers a convenient option for travelers seeking relaxation and entertainment during their layover. This integrated resort complex boasts a range of amenities, including luxury hotels, a casino, shopping malls, and entertainment venues. Guests can unwind in the resort's indoor and outdoor pools, indulge in a spa treatment, or enjoy a stroll through the landscaped gardens. Paradise City also provides a free shuttle service at scheduled times, ensuring easy access for airport passengers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the terminal.

Additional attractions to explore during a layover in Seoul include:

Insadong
The Cat Cafe
Gwangjang Market
Cheonggyecheon Stream
Changdeokgung Palace and Secret Garden
N Seoul Tower
Itaewon
The Fortress Wall Trail
Seokchon Lake
Gangnam

3. Zayed International Airport, Abu Dhabi

When you have a layover at Abu Dhabi Airport, take the chance to explore the vibrant city. Discovering Abu Dhabi's rich culture and modern attractions is easy and convenient, with many sights located close to the airport. Whether your layover is short or long, there's plenty to see and do in the dynamic capital of the United Arab Emirates. From historic landmarks to futuristic architecture, Abu Dhabi offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers. Don't miss the opportunity to make the most of your layover and explore this cosmopolitan city on your terms. Before you venture beyond the airport gates, here's what you should know.

Duration and Booking

For travelers with layovers in Abu Dhabi, plan for at least six hours to take advantage of the two to three-hour city tour. This typically includes one hour after landing and two hours before departure. Alternatively, if you have an overnight layover, you may qualify for a complimentary hotel stay courtesy of Etihad, depending on your flight booking. You can book your stopover tour online or inquire with Etihad Airlines for details on the free hotel night offer. You can book from one of the known tour services in Abu Dhabi here.

Visa Requirements

Citizens from Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe, and the Americas can enter the UAE without a visa, allowing them easy access to explore the country. Also, citizens from Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia enjoy the privilege of freedom of movement within the UAE due to regional agreements. Meanwhile, travelers from other countries must obtain a visa in advance to enter the UAE, to ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.

Cost and Considerations

Passengers flying certain Etihad routes can enjoy a complimentary hotel stay during layovers, while the most affordable stopover tour option begins at $39.50. To avail of the free hotel stay, travelers must arrive and depart with an Etihad flight. For those selecting the stopover tour, it's essential to arrive at the designated pick-up location one hour before the tour commences. Modest attire is advised to honor local customs, with changing facilities accessible at the airport.

Places you can explore during the tour

Abu Dhabi, a well-known stopover point for travelers flying between the Americas and Europe, as well as Asia and the Antipodes, offers numerous places to explore near the airport. These include attractions, recreational spots, and waterfront areas. Here are places you can stroll or experience during layovers!

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

When you're in Abu Dhabi, make sure to visit the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It's a stunning mosque known for its amazing architecture and peaceful atmosphere. It's free to visit and considered one of the most beautiful mosques globally, so it's worth seeing while you're in the city.

Yas Island

Just a short distance from the airport is Yas Island, a lively place with lots to do. There's Yas Waterworld for exciting water rides and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi for thrilling entertainment. With so many attractions, Yas Island offers something fun for everyone.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

If you're interested in art and culture, check out the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It's a fascinating museum that displays artworks from all over the world. You can explore its interesting exhibits and learn about the diversity of human creativity.

Corniche Beach

For a relaxing day by the water, head to Corniche Beach. It's a beautiful beach with soft sand and clear blue waters, perfect for sunbathing or taking a leisurely walk along the shore. It's a great spot to unwind away from the city's hustle and bustle.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

If you're craving excitement, don't miss Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. It's a thrilling theme park with fast roller coasters and interactive racing experiences that will get your heart pumping. It's a must-visit for anyone seeking an adrenaline rush.

Emirates Palace

This famous hotel is super fancy, blending Arabian kindness with top-notch amenities. When you step inside, you will feel super comfy and treated like royalty. Take your time to explore the amazing grounds with big buildings and beautiful gardens. Then, treat yourself to yummy food at the hotel's awesome restaurants, where you can try dishes from all over the world. After that, relax in your super fancy room with amazing views and great service. Whether you want to chill out or feel super fancy, Emirates Palace is the place to be during your layover in Abu Dhabi.

4. Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei, Taiwan

If you find yourself with a layover in Taipei, Taiwan, you have the opportunity to discover a complimentary tour provided by the Tourist Service Centre. Taipei offers a diverse of attractions to explore during your layover. From iconic landmarks to bustling markets and serene temples, there's something for everyone to enjoy. The complimentary layover tour, organized by the Tourist Service Centre, allows travelers to make the most of their time in Taipei by providing guided visits to popular destinations such as Taipei 101, Longshan Temple, and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours offer insights into the city's rich history, culture, and traditions. Additionally, travelers can indulge in authentic Taiwanese cuisine at local eateries and shop for souvenirs at traditional markets. With convenient transportation provided, travelers can relax and enjoy their layover while exploring the vibrant city of Taipei.

Before stepping out of the airport, here are the things you need to know:

Duration and Booking

Each tour lasts approximately four hours, catering to passengers with layovers ranging from seven to 24 hours. To secure your spot, head to the Tourist Service Centre located in the arrivals area, where you'll find well-signposted desks ready to assist you. These tours offer a convenient way to make the most of your layover in Taipei, ensuring you get to see some of the city's highlights without any hassle.

Visa Requirements

Travelers should be eligible for visa-free entry, but it's essential to ensure your passport has at least six months of validity remaining. It's also wise to check any specific entry requirements or restrictions based on your nationality to avoid any potential issues during your layover in Taipei.

Cost and Reservations

The tours are completely free of charge, but availability is limited. Online reservations for six out of 18 seats per tour can be made between two and four weeks before arrival. The remaining seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis upon arrival at the airport. It's recommended to book online in advance to secure your spot, especially if you have a specific layover time in mind.

Exploring Taipei

Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) offers travelers an opportunity to discover the vibrant culture and rich heritage of Taiwan's capital city. With free half-day city tours available for layovers lasting 7–24 hours, passengers can make the most of their time in Taipei.

To qualify for these free tours, passengers must hold a valid R.O.C. visa or be eligible for visa-exempt entry from select countries. Additionally, citizens from India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos who have obtained an R.O.C. "Travel Authorization Certificate" online are also eligible to participate.

The free half-day city tours offered by Taipei Taoyuan International Airport are available on different schedules, with morning, afternoon, and evening options available:

Morning Tour (8:30 AM–12:30 PM): Explore Taipei City landmarks such as Lungshan Temple, National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, and Yongkang Street.
Afternoon Tour (2 PM–6 PM): Discover Taoyuan City attractions, including Daxi Old Street, Daxi Bridge, Daxi Puji Temple, and the Musical Note Wall of Singer Fong Fei-fei.
Evening Tour (6 PM–10:30 PM): Visit New Taipei City highlights like the Observation Deck of New Taipei City Hall, Jieyun Temple, and Nanya Night Market.

For those looking for organized tours, several companies offer guided excursions to major city attractions, ensuring passengers are returned to the airport in time for their next flight.

Organized Tours

Discovering Taipei during a layover at Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) is made convenient with organized tours offered by various companies. These guided excursions are provided to passengers with limited time, ensuring they get to experience the city's major attractions while being returned to the airport for their next flight. From iconic landmarks to cultural hotspots, these tours provide an easy way to explore Taipei's culture and rich heritage.

Mass Transit

Getting around Taipei's famous tourist spots is easy because of its good public transportation system. Travelers can quickly get on trains or buses to see famous places and important cultural spots all over the city. The public transportation system in Taipei has lots of routes and runs often, so it's easy for passengers to get around and enjoy their layover.

Airport Activities

For those who prefer to stay within the confines of Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) during their layover, there are plenty of activities to keep them occupied. From relaxing in designated areas to exploring the 24-hour convenience stores, passengers can unwind and recharge before their next flight. Additionally, outdoor observation platforms offer the perfect point for plane spotting, allowing travelers to enjoy the thrill of watching aircraft take off and land while feeling the busy vibe of the airport.

5. Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar

Duration and Booking

To join a layover tour in Doha, you'll need at least six hours to spare. Qatar Airways recommends selecting a tour that ensures you're back at the airport at least two hours before your departure. Booking in advance online is an option, or upon arrival, you can visit the Discover Qatar Transit Tours desk.

Visa Requirements

Passengers flying through Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, with layovers of at least five hours on Qatar Airways, can enjoy a complimentary transit visa which is valid for up to 96 hours (four days). However, those staying within the airport during their transit do not need a transit visa.

To request a transit visa, passengers must meet the following criteria:

Have confirmed tickets for flights arriving and departing from Qatar on Qatar Airways.
Possess a passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival in Qatar.
Ensure that the name on the passport matches the name provided on the application.
Submit a clear copy of their passport to Qatar Airways.
Complete the Qatari Transit Visa Application Form and the required declaration.
Provide an original valid visa for citizens of other countries, along with a copy.
Present evidence of Qatar travel insurance, along with a copy.
Confirm airline ticket reservation for Qatar, along with a copy.

At Hamad International Airport, passport control counters only accept credit cards and debit cards for visa fees. Alternatively, cash payments can be made at the designated bank counter.

Cost

The expenses for layover tours at Doha Airport vary, ranging from QAR 36 to QAR 700, depending on the tour type. For instance, a guided group tour of Doha may amount to QAR 75, while a desert adventure or a private car city tour could total QAR 250.

Other Considerations: Arrive at the tour desk at least 90 minutes before the scheduled start time to secure your place. Modest attire is recommended, particularly when visiting religious sites. Allow ample time for changing at the airport if needed.

Explore Doha

For those finding themselves with a layover in Doha, Qatar, there's an opportunity to explore into the city's rich culture and attractions. One convenient option is to explore the Transit Tours available within the Duty-Free area of Hamad International Airport. For those with a minimum layover duration of 8 hours, getting on a tour of Doha or its surrounding desert can provide a fulfilling experience. These tours offer views into the city's vibrant culture, stunning architecture, and natural landscapes, ensuring a memorable stopover experience.

Here are a few options for layover tours available from Doha Airport

Doha Airport Transit Private Tour

This comprehensive tour encompasses visits to prominent attractions such as the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum (FBQ Museum), The Pearl-Qatar, Katara Cultural Village, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Aspire Zone (Doha Sports City), and Souq Waqif. It's an immersive exploration of Doha's heritage and modernity.

Transit Tours by Discover Qatar

Passengers meeting the criteria for visa-free entry, holding a valid transit visa, or qualifying for a visa on arrival can avail themselves of these tours. From guided group tours offering insights into iconic landmarks like Katara, The Pearl, Museum of Islamic Art, and Souq Waqif, to personalized desert adventures or city tours with a private car, there's something to suit every traveler's preferences.

Guided Group Tour

For 75 QAR (about $20), enjoy a guided drive past iconic landmarks such as Katara, The Pearl, Museum of Islamic Art, and Souq Waqif, while learning about their history and significance.

Desert Adventure or City Tour with Private Car

Experience both city and desert wonders with this exclusive tour package. Explore the vibrant city of Doha, with highlights including The Pearl and Souq Waqif during a guided city tour. Then, venture into the desert for an exhilarating 4x4 dune bashing experience at a traditional Bedouin-style camp. Enjoy the convenience of chauffeured private transportation, hotel transfers, and flexible start times included in this comprehensive tour. A private car tour starts at 250 QAR (approximately $69).

6. Istanbul Airport

Istanbul is a city mixed with different cultures and history. Known for its busy markets, stunning buildings, and fun nightlife. If you're stuck at Istanbul Airport for a layover, why not explore the city's interesting spots? You can take a tour of its charming streets and famous landmarks. It's a chance to make the most of your time and experience the unique vibe of Istanbul. Before you set out to explore the city and leave the airport, there are a few important things you should know.

Duration and Booking

Istanbul Airport (IST) suggests allocating at least 1.5 hours for transit, covering customs and immigration procedures. During extended layovers, travelers can make use of the airport's facilities like eateries, stores, lounges, and resting pods. Some airlines provide stopover programs to enhance lengthy layovers. For instance, Turkish Airlines presents Touristanbul, catering to passengers with connecting international flights and layovers ranging from six to 24 hours. Touristanbul offers various tours, including sightseeing, half-day, full-day, and more, to make the most of the layover experience.

Visa Requirements

Effective April 15, 2024, citizens from ten nations require an Electronic Airport Transit Visa to transit via Istanbul Airport to Colombia, Mexico, Panama, or Venezuela. You can obtain e-visa at www.evisa.gov.tr/ website. This e-visa is complimentary and can be acquired through the ministry's official website.

To request a transit visa, you will need:

A valid passport
A credit card
An email address
Personal details such as name, date, and place of birth
Contact information, including phone numbers and email
A digital photograph of yourself
Evidence of travel insurance
Confirmation of onward travel

While it's possible to obtain a transit visa at Istanbul Airport, the processing time can take up to three hours. A transit visa is unnecessary if you intend to remain within the airport's transit lounge and not exit the premises.

Cost

Istanbul layover tours range from $200 to $350, with Turkish Airlines offering a free service called Touristanbul for passengers with layovers of 6–24 hours between connecting international flights. Touristanbul provides eight tours, including sightseeing, half-day, full-day, Turkish Historical Series, afternoon, and evening options. Longer tours may have fewer stops but offer ample exploration time. Guests should be prepared for admission fees at certain sites, while shorter tours provide quick photo opportunities at landmarks, with no obligation to purchase anything at the restaurant.

Explore Istanbul

If you have a layover of over three hours before your next flight from Istanbul, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your time. One option for making the most of a layover in Istanbul is to book a full-day sightseeing tour through Istanbul Airport Layover Tours. This comprehensive tour, lasting approximately 7 hours, provides visitors with a curated experience of Istanbul's iconic landmarks and a glimpse into its daily life and culture. So, why not store your bags at the airport and go on some exciting activities instead of waiting around?

Travelers can choose from other tour alternatives, like Touristanbul, a complimentary service Turkish Airlines provides for passengers connecting internationally with layovers between 6 and 24 hours. Touristanbul offers eight tour variations, ranging from sightseeing to half-day and full-day tours, enabling visitors to customize their experience according to their schedule and preferences. Personal expenses, such as tickets, are to be covered by the travelers themselves.

For those who have already seen the typical tourist attractions in Istanbul and want to explore something different, hop on the T1 tram and head to Karaköy. Once a bustling port and commercial hub, Karaköy is now brimming with trendy boutiques, cafes, galleries, and restaurants scattered along streets like Necatibey, Hoca Tahsin, and Mumhane. Don't miss the chance to indulge in Turkish classics with a modern twist at Karaköy Lokantası.

If you're eager to visit the iconic landmarks of Sultanahmet Square, catching a Metro ride from the airport to Sultanahmet is a breeze. From Hagia Sophia to the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern, these historical treasures are within easy reach from the Sultanahmet tram stop. You can also explore Topkapı Palace and, if time allows, venture into the Istanbul Archeology Museum.

For a memorable shopping experience, take a ride on the T1 tram to Çemberlitaş and step into the vibrant Grand Bazaar. As one of the world's largest covered markets, it offers a labyrinth of stalls selling a wide range of items, from ceramics and antiques to textiles and jewelry. After browsing through the stalls, treat yourself to some delicious and affordable street food.

If you have a bit more time and an interest in historic architecture, make your way to Balat. Hop on the T1 tramline to Eminönü and catch the 36CE bus to the Fener stop, where you can explore the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and wander through the charming streets lined with old Greek Orthodox houses, cafes, and shops.

Lastly, food enthusiasts shouldn't miss the chance to visit Mısır Çarşısı, also known as the Spice Bazaar, in Eminönü. Take a stroll through the market to sample fresh local cheeses, spices, Turkish delight, tea, dried fruits, and nuts. And if you're craving some kebabs, head to Hamdi Restaurant for a delectable dining experience with a stunning view of the cityscape from the top floor.

Book Your Next Adventure with Traveloka!

Make the most of your layovers with airport free tours and discover new destinations while waiting for your next flight. With options like complimentary city tours and transit tours, you can maximize your time and experience the highlights of each city. Whether it's visiting iconic landmarks, sampling local cuisine, or immersing yourself in cultural experiences, there's something for everyone to enjoy during a layover. And with Traveloka, booking your flights, accommodations, and activities is easier than ever. Don't let layovers be wasted time – turn them into memorable adventures with Traveloka!

Always Know the Latest Info
Subscribe to our newsletter for more travel & lifestyle recommendations and exciting promos.
Subscribe