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Free City Tours: How to make the most of airport layovers

Lengthy airport layovers are a brain drain and a wasted opportunity to explore. If you ever thought that all the airport layovers have to be this way, this article may change your thinking about it!  Free city tours are what you need to look into.

Some airports offer tours such as in-airport movie theatres, museums, musical performances and gardens. They are available for FREE, and no visa is required as you are considered an ‘’in transit’’ passenger. You just have to bring all of your travel documents with you.

Here are some airports with free tours and activities.

SINGAPORE ( SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT):

Bustling Chinatown, the famous Gardens by the Bay, of the sparkling Marina Bay waterfront are some of Singapore’s highlights. If you have time to stay, you should check out some of the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurants.

Layover time which is needed here: 5.5-6 hours

Tour schedule and info:

There are two tours to choose from – a city lights tour and a heritage tour. The city sights tour runs twice daily, and the Heritage 4 times a day.

Other Changi Airport Freebies:

Take a garden walk in any of the airport’s 5 gardens, including a butterfly garden.

Free movies can be watched in any of movie theatres 24 hours a day, located in terminal 2 & 3.

SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT
SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT
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SEOUL, KOREA (INCHEON INTL AIRPORT):

An electric downtown core, pristine palaces and perfectly poised temples like Gyeongbokgung palace are some of the key highlights on a quick trip to Seoul. If you stay for a longer time period. You should visit the North Korean DMZ border.

Layover time needed: 1-5+ hours depending on the tour.

Tour schedule and info:

There are 8 tours to choose from. There are morning and afternoon departures. Further details can be found on the website.

Other Incheon Airport Freebies:

Gardens: Cacti, pina and rock gardens are some of seven gardens to explore.

Korean Cultural Museum: This is the small but impressive collection of ancient relics is a great way to pass the time.

View Korean art in the Traditional Cultural Centre, open 24 hours a day for viewing pleasure.

INCHEON INTL AIRPORT

TAIPEI, TAIWAN (TAOYUAN INTL AIRPORT):

Taipei is a hidden gem. Its glimmering skyline, delectable eats and streets of old are irresistibly charming and accessible via airport tours.

Layover time needed: 7-24 hours maximum.

Tour schedule and info:

There are two tours to choose from. A morning and an afternoon tour.

TAOYUAN INTL AIRPORT
TAOYUAN INTL AIRPORT

TOKYO, JAPAN (TOKYO NARITA AIRPORT):

You should visit a Japan for more than a layover, a tour here will provide snippet peaks of ancient temples, a neon city and intriguing museums. If you stay here a while longer, check budget tips, rail pass and foodie advice here.

Layover time needed: 5 hours minimum

Tour schedule and more info:

There are 8 different tours. They include the Narita-san Shinso-Ji temple, Museum of Aeronautical Sciences, nature walks, Shinsui shopping outlets. 

Important notes: You will have to pay your own public transit costs and/or museum entry (where applicable).

Tokyo' International Airport
All Nippon Airways planes parked at the terminal at Tokyo' International Airport (Haneda). Jun Sato/Getty Images

The Earth is a big planet and it takes time to travel around it.  So, the next time your flying halfway across the world and have a long layover and find yourself at one of these airports, you can make the most of that time by taking a free city tour.

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