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Free Transit Tour – Best Way to Spend Five Hours in Seoul

Posted on Aug 11, 2014 by in Travel | 10 comments


Ever since I’d learned that Korea’s Incheon Airport offers free sightseeing tours for transit passengers I’ve been itching to route a trip through Seoul just to experience it. For experienced DIY- travelers like ourselves, going on a run of the mill city sightseeing excursion might seem out of character, but after many days of on the road coordination and planning, there is something very comforting about an easy-breezy, let-other’s-worry-about-the-time-and-logistics travel you get from a tour. Plus, free is always a bonus.

As such, we intentionally scheduled an 8-hour layover in Seoul on our way back to the U.S. from Thailand so we had enough time to join the longest available day tour – a 5-hour exploration billed as the “Highlights of Seoul”.

Upon landing, we made our way to the Transit Tour Desk, located just past immigration. Check in was prompt as we had made reservations online in advance (a very easy process that took less than a few minutes). Reservations are highly recommended to ensure a spot as space is limited and you don’t want to be that hapless person who wanders to the desk just to find out the tour is already full.

Less than ten minutes after checking in, we were whisked away in a large air-conditioned bus en route to Seoul. The weather, unfortunately, was less than accommodating, with light rain and clouds masking our view of the sleepy city in the morning. Weather aside, our sweet and enthusiastic tour guide Ina vowed to give us a rousing introduction to her city that would have us hankering to return for a longer exploration. That, plus lunch, shopping and allotting sufficient time to make our connecting flights with some time to spare – a tall order!

Tour Highlights:
Changdeok Palace Tour
Jongyesa Temple Tour
Bento lunch at local inn
Souvenir Shopping at Insadong Street

Total Cost:
While the tour is technically free, there is a mandatory $3 travel insurance and $6 lunch surcharge, which we found to be a total bargain for the delightful 5 hour tour.

Reservations and More Information:





  • artkorapin

    Sounds like the best deal! I had no idea you do this tour, very good info!

    • Thanks! Yes, we purposely routed a longer stopover so we could take this fun tour.

  • Noppa Som

    I wanna go on this trip! how to reserve it? i will be arrived by this Thursday

  • Hilde

    do you know of other cities with free Transit tours.

    • Istanbul and Singapore are two that come to mind.

  • Mc

    Hi! Do they accept credit cards for the $3 and $6 fees? Thank you!

    • Yes, we were able to pay with our credit card. Have fun!

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