Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Roundtrip layover tours from airports - UPDATED

Heungryunsa Temple
Heungryunsa Korean Buddhist Temple, Seoul, South Korea
 Photo taken by a traveller on the Incheon Airport free layover tour
creative commons image sandwichgirl on Flickr
Have a long layover at a major international airport? Before you put together your own layover plan, and spend time figuring out how to get into the city and back again, check to see if there is tour you can take.

You may be surprised to learn that in some cities, there are tours that include roundtrip airport transportation. Some are free - such as the one offered by Singapore's Changi Airport (see below) - while others are packaged, private tours.

So, if you're hankering to get out and see a castle or a volcano, check out our list below:

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok Transit Tours from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

brief stop at Wat Patum
Wat Patum Buddhist temple in Bangkok
creative commons image jasoneppink on Flickr
Transit passengers at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport with a 6-12 hour layover have a choice of in-transit tours they can take: Program A (4-6 hours) includes a Bangkok city orientation (palace, temples, museum) and a boat trip along the river/canals. Program B (7-10 hours) includes all the Program A sights plus shopping, massage/spa and/or after dark options(night life, night market, etc). As this is a private tour, there are lots of opportunities to customize to your particular interests, especially with Program B. Not associated with the airport.

Berlin (Schönefeld or Tegel)

Private Layover Tour: Berlin City Sightseeing with Airport Transport

Have some extra time between your flights at Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) or Berlin Schönefeld Airport (SXF)? Then take a tour of the city. Visit the Berlin Wall, Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and more on a private 5-hour sightseeing tour, with round-trip airport transport included. Explore museums, do some shopping, grab a popular local snack and tour any attraction you like. This private tour has an itinerary that can be customized to your interests.

Bogota street art, creative commons image 26806851@N00 on Flickr
Bogotá Layover Private City Sightseeing Tour with Round-Trip Airport Transport

While between flights at the Bogotá airport, why not venture into the Colombian capital for some sightseeing while you wait? This five-hour panoramic city tour is specially designed for travelers who come to Bogotá in-transit to other destinations. Your knowledgeable guide will conveniently pick you up curbside and drop you off in time for your next flight. This private half-day tour can be modified according to your schedule, depending on the amount of time you have available during your connection.


Doha Transit Tour from Qatar Airways at Doha Hamad Airport - FREE

The complimentary city tour from Doha Hamad Airport is offered by Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism to passengers with a layover of 5-12 hours. The tour includes 4 landmarks: The Pearl-Qatar (shops and restaurants), Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif (traditional jewellery, spices and handicrafts) and the Museum of Islamic Art (and seaside park). A bottle of mineral water is included.


Frankfurt Layover Private Sightseeing Tour with Round-Trip Airport Transport
4h layover = visit to the city, Frankfurt
Frankfurt layover iphoneography
creative commons image pickybe on Flickr
While on layover in Frankfurt, see the city highlights on a private half-day tour with round-trip airport transport. The airport is approximately 8 miles (13 km) from the city center, making for an easy-to-do layover tour! Your informative local guide will take you by private vehicle to all the main landmarks, with the opportunity to stroll through neighborhoods such as Old Sachsenhausen. The itinerary can be customized by your guide to accommodate your interests.

Hong Kong
Private Hong Kong Layover Tour: City Sightseeing with Round-Trip Airport Transport

While on layover in Hong Kong, get to know Hong Kong Island on a private five-hour tour, including round-trip airport transport by private vehicle. Hong Kong International Airport is approximately 21 miles (34 km) from downtown, making for an easy-to-do layover tour! Whether this is your first visit or you wish to refresh old memories of ever-changing Hong Kong, you’ll enjoy visiting Aberdeen’s fishing community, browsing for souvenirs at Stanley Market, seeing famous landmarks and learning about the island’s history – all with an informative local guide. Tip: in-transit Bangkok tours are also offered by this company.


Istanbul Transit Tour from Turkish Airlines at Istanbul Ataturk Airport - FREE

We had a 12 hour layover in Istanbul so we took a taxi into the city to visit Bethany's sister. Here's Rachael on the European side of the Bosphorus. Asia is in the background.
Stand in Europe with Asia over your shoulder on an Istanbul layover
creative commons image alexazul on Flickr
At Istanbul Ataturk Airport, the transit tour is a free service offered by Turkish Airlines, and is only available to their customers who have an international transit flight through Istanbul. You need a layover time of at least 6 hours, and there are 3 tours to choose from: Tour 1 visits the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Serpentine Column, Obelisk of Theodosius and Topkapı Palace. Tour 2 visits Pierre Loti Hill, Eyüp Sultan Mosque & Square, Byzantine City Walls, Ayvansaray Sahaba Tombs, Church of St. Mary, Balat, Patriarchate and more. Tour 3 is a repeat of Tour 2, plus Basilica Cistern and Grand Covered Bazaar. All tours include a meal (breakfast or lunch).

Kuala Lumpur

Private Kuala Lumpur Layover Tour: City Sightseeing with Airport or Hotel Drop-Off

While you’re between flights in Kuala Lumpur, go sightseeing on a private full-day city tour! An informative local guide introduces visitors to old and modern Kuala Lumpur, traveling by private vehicle. Visit top landmarks like Petronas Twin Towers, Royal King’s Palace, the Craft Cultural Complex and National Museum. The airport is approximately 37 miles (59 km) from the city center, making for an easy-to-do layover tour! Your itinerary can be customized to accommodate your private group's interests and requests, with drop-off at the airport or your hotel for an overnight stay.

London (Gatwick or Heathrow)

Independent Layover Tour to Windsor from London Gatwick or Heathrow Airport
04.16.09 Windsor Castle
Yes, you can see Windsor Castle on a London layover!
creative commons image 3460294512 on Flickr
Pass time between flights and visit the Royal town of Windsor on an independent layover tour from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) or London Heathrow Airport (LHR). The tour operates with a flexible itinerary and a private driver, meaning that you can decide where to go! As long as you have at least an 8 hour gap between flights, head out on this tour and enjoy up to four hours in Windsor, getting insider tips for the best sights and shops to check out form your guide. Visit Windsor’s many attractions like Windsor Castle (entry at own expense), the Long Walk or the nearby town of Eton, and then return to the airport for your ongoing flight.


Manila Layover Tour: Overnight City sightseeing with Round-Trip Airport Transfer

Stay overnight in Manila in your choice of standard studio or deluxe accommodation, and explore Makati and Old Manila on a half-day sightseeing tour. Meet your private guide in the morning or afternoon and receive an overview of Philippine history as you travel by air-conditioned vehicle to sites like Fort Santiago and the UNESCO-listed San Agustin Church. With an understanding of Manila’s colonial and modern-day culture under your belt, you can enjoy the flexibility of exploring at your own pace. This semi-independent experience includes breakfast and round-trip airport transfers.

Narita, Japan

Narita Transit Tours from Tokyo Narita Airport - FREE

Narita Temple
Narita-San Shinshoji Temple
creative commons image thoughtandsight on Flickr
Tokyo Narita Airport now offers several tour options for your layover. Rather than going into Tokyo, or killing time at the airport, why not see what the city of Narita has to offer? There are 3 Volunteer Guide Tours to choose from, each 3 hours long (tip: allow 5 hours): Narita city (Narita-san Omotesando, Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple, Narita-san Park) Shibayama Town (tour of Museum of Aeronautical Sciences) or Tako Town (traditional Japanese countryside with a nature walk and a Hydrangea pathway stroll). Alternatively, there are 2 Self Tours: Shisui Premium Outlets or AEON Mall Narita.

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Salt Lake Transit Tour from Salt Lake City Airport - FREE

Translated Book of Mormon
Learn about Mormon history on a Salt Lake City layover
creative commons image seabird on Flickr
Requiring just a 2 hour layover, if your times coincide, the free Salt Lake City tour from Salt Lake City Airport is an interesting option and a good way to pass the time. The tour takes you directly to historic Temple Square downtown. This 3 block area includes Salt Lake Temple, the Tabernacle, the Family History Library and other attractions related to Mormon pioneer history and genealogy. As far as we know, this is the only layover tour offered by an airport in North America. If you know of another one, please tell us!

San Salvador, El Salvador

Have a layover at El Salvador International Airport (SAL)? If so, there are 4 tours you can take right from the airport:


Seoul Transit Tour from Seoul Incheon Airport - USD 10

Pick from 7 free tours at Seoul Incheon Airport
creative commons image soniat360 on Flickr
Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN) offers free transit tours to in-transit passengers, providing a glimpse of Korea. During the free Transit Tour, you will taste Korean history, culture and daily life with the multi-language speaking guide on bus. There are 7 different tours offered, ranging from 1 hour to 5 hours, all free: Yonggungsa Temple Tour, Incheon Temple Tour, Incheon City Tour, Incheon Culture Tour, Seoul City Tour, Seoul Culture Tour and Seoul Shopping Tour. Plus directions are available if you prefer a self directed tour. There is a nominal USD 10 fee, so we call that pretty close to free.


Singapore Transit Tour from Changi Airport - FREE

Nicely branded ID for the free Singapore tour
creative commons image su-lin on Flickr
Singapore is a dynamic city-state where you will find a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts, people and architecture. Brimming with unbridled energy and bustling with exciting events, countless unique and memorable experiences await your discovery! There are two free tours to choose from: the Heritage Tour (2 hours) and the City Lights Tour (2.5 hours). If you have at least 4 hours to spare (4.5 hours for the City Lights Tour) from the tour start time to your next departure flight, join us in one of our free guided tours, both of which run daily at regular times. Registration for the tour must be made at least 1 hour before the start of the tour and is subject to availability. The Free Singapore Tour is jointly organized by Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines.

Taipei (Taoyuan)

Taipei Transit Tour from Taipei Taoyuan Airport - FREE

LOVE photo opps near entrance to Taipei 101
creative commons image h760127 on Flickr
Taipei Taoyuan Airport offers a choice of 2 free tours. You can take one of the tours if you are an in-transit and transfer passenger, with a 7-24 hour layover. The morning tour visits the Zushi Temple in Sanxia (being restored after extensive World War II damage), Pottery Heaven in Yingge, as well as the Yingge Ceramics Museum (when open). The afternoon tour visits the immense Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, and Taipei 101 - the world-famous observatory atop a 101 story tower. While you may have enough time for 2 tours, you are only permitted to take 1, so if you have a long layover, study up and pick the one you like best.

Taipei Layover Tour: Private City Sightseeing with Round-Trip Airport Transport

See the best of the Taipei on a private layover tour, with round-trip transport from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport! Taipei Taoyuan Airport (TPE) is approximately 24.5 miles (40 km) from Taipei city downtown, making for an easy-to-do layover tour! This customizable half-day tour is ideal for business travelers and short-term visitors – specifically designed for those with limited time to spend sightseeing in Taipei City. A private guide will introduce you to the city’s major historical sites and most captivating landmarks, such as Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, the Taipei 101 skyscraper, Confucius Temple and Baoan Temple – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1 comment:

  1. Have a long layover at a major international airport? Before you put together your own layover plan, and spend time figuring out how to get into the city and back again, check to see if there is tour you can take.
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