Do you look forward to a layover? I sure don’t. Mediocre over-priced food, stale air, no comfortable place to snooze, poor internet connection and ultimately, you just want to get to your final destination where the real exploration begins. I have good news for you!
Seoul Incheon International Airport in South Korea has shattered the mold. Their transit lounge experience includes a theater, lay flat chairs on a first come first serve basis, computer stations, an art museum and a hotel just steps away. If that isn’t enough to make you fall in love, get this, they help you get out of the airport to explore Incheon and Seoul for FREE as long as your layover is 2 hours or more. You can reserve your spot in advance, but I advise waiting until you get there. You never know if your flight will arrive late and you may not know which tour you should take based on the length of your layover. However, the staff at the Transit Tour Desk do know, so just show them your connecting flight info and before you know it, you’re on the tour bus listening to a local giving you a tour in English.
I opted for the 1 hour Incheon City Tour, because I had a 7 hour layover and was interested in catching some Z’s too. The tour went to a Buddhist temple overlooking the city below and then ended at the Incheon Landing Operation Memorial Hall, which centers on the successful operation led by UN Commander in Chief General McArthur during the Korean War. The mountainous views were beautiful, the air was fresh, the sights were a nice peek into the local culture, and it’s a great opportunity to ask a local about Korea.
If you are looking for a longer tour, you can also choose from the Seoul City Tour, Temple Tour, and many more. Tour durations are 1.5-hour, 2-hour, 3-hour, and 5-hour tours. Beyond the genius of allowing fliers to get out of the airport, it also gives flyover passengers a taste of what it would be like to make South Korea their next destination. I can tell you that their genius worked on me. This is now on my short list of places to visit soon.