As part of boosting the country’s tourism industry and the Korean economy as a whole, the government makes significant efforts to ensure a foreign visitor’s short or long stay in Seoul a memorable one. If you’re an international traveler needing to endure hours of wait time before your next connecting flight, you can take advantage of the easily accessible, and best of all, free transit tours, upon arrival at the Incheon International Airport.
How to Inquire
Airport desks, schedules, and other details for the tours may change at any time. And so, it is always best to first check the websites www.airport.kr and www.hanatouritc.com for updated information. If you prefer to have everything planned ahead of time, you can email email@example.com, call +82-32-741-3139, 3140, or fax +82-2-6234-2308 for advanced inquiries and bookings. It is also generally alright to visit the transit tour desk as a walk-in guest.
Where to Go
Incheon’s arrival and immigration areas are both located at the middle part of the 2nd floor. In the same level, before going to the immigration and customs, you can either go to the left or right side of the airport, as there are transit tour desks on both sides. First, go to a transit tour desk and tell them you would like to avail of the free transit tour before going to the immigration and customs.
You don’t need a transit visa to avail of the tour, but you need to pass by the immigration and inform the officer that you intend to spend time outside the city before your next flight.
Make sure you fill out an immigration card before lining up at the immigration. If you fail to get one before deplaning because the flight stewardess typically distributes this document only to those with Seoul as their final destination, just ask where you can get one to avoid delay when it’s your turn at the immigration counter. Immigration and customs documents are typically available near the immigration counters.
If you went to the immigration and customs areas without passing by a transit tour desk, the officer to approve your short visit may assume that you just want to do a self tour of the city. Just go to the 1st floor transit tour main desk, which is near Gate D and Gate 8, to avail of the transit tour.
Transit Tour Requirements
At the transit desk, show your passport, former flight ticket, and next boarding pass, as these are the requirements for the free tour. You can leave your heavy bags at the transit tour desk or the tour bus. If you prefer a more secured spot, you may rent an airport locker.
Take note that there is a fixed schedule for these tours. Generally, the places to visit require between two to six hours of free time. If you have a late afternoon, evening, or after midnight arrival, you can’t avail of the tour, unless you’re willing to wait and your next flight is scheduled by the afternoon of the coming day. The transit tour desks are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The different tours often start as early as 8 a.m. and ends at around 6 p.m.
While the actual tour including the transportation cost and the tour guide are offered complimentary, some tours may require minimal charges for an attraction entrance fee, which typically costs around $3. If taking the longer tours, a lunch can cost around $7. Travel insurance can cost around $3. If you sum up all these minimal expenses, they are still very tourist-friendly when compared to doing a self tour of the city. In fact, the total cost for such a transit tour only equates to the transportation expenses for a self tour.
After the tour, you will be conveniently brought back to the airport. Go to the 3rd floor for security inspection and immigration, then proceed to your boarding gate and wait for your connecting flight.