Have a long layover at Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)? Lucky you! It’s one of the best airports in the world. There’s free massage chairs, places to sleep, numerous quality restaurants, cultural performances and activities, and much more.
But the highlight of our recent 15 hour layover in Incheon was the Free Transit Tour offered by the airport. If you take the five hour City Tour 1 or 3 it costs about US$10 each, which includes an amazing lunch, entrance fees, and transport into Seoul and back (about 1 hour) on a nice bus. The other tours are completely free!
Itinerary as of March 2016
(Click to enlarge)
Here are the options for the tours as of March 2016. Click on a tour below to see the description from the actual brochure, or check out the whole brochure at the bottom of this post.
Signing up for the tour
In order to sign up for a tour you need to be at the Free Transit Tour kiosk at specific times when there is an employee to help you. As of March 2016 the times are each half hour from 7:00AM to 2:30PM (7:00, 7:30, 8:00 etc). Note that this is not the time of the tours, only the times when you can arrange the tours!
There are numerous kiosks throughout the airport, here’s what they look like.
As you can see they can be easy to miss. The helpful employees at the numerous Information desks can direct you to the nearest one.
If you have a long layover, arrange your trip as soon as you can as they fill up and are first come, first serve! I showed up right at 7:00. The wonderful friendly employee gave me a form or two to fill out and told us to meet back at the kiosk at 8:30 for our tour that started at 10:00 to make sure we get a spot.
Important things to note:
You can do more than one tour if you have a long layover. Ask the Korean Transit Tour employee and they will help you arrange the best tours to pair up.
You can stay in Seoul after the tour ends if you find your own way back to the airport (taxi, train, bus etc.), just let the tour guide know you are planning on this so they don’t think you’re left behind.
Bring some extra cash for amazing Korean souvenirs. Some vendors charge more if you use a credit card (click here for current USD to Korean Won conversion).
We were directed past immigration to the Korea Transit Tour desk in the Arrival Hall Floor 2. We paid the tour fee and withdrew a bit of cash for souvenirs
There are lots of restaurants in this area if you need to grab a snack before the tour. They don’t allow eating or drinking on the bus (water is okay).
If you have carry on or hand luggage, you can store them safely in the bus luggage compartment during your tour.
The trip into Seoul takes about an hour, but the bus is clean and comfortable.