Layover in Seoul – South Korea Transit TourTak's dispatch released on 15 February 2016

If you are headed to South Korea, this maybe isn’t so relevant. However, if you have a long layover in Seoul’s Incheon Airport (ICN), you should consider (or at least be aware) of the Korea Transit Tour which is provided at no charge. The following is summarized from the Free Korea Transit Tour booklet and is here for your convenience. What is included? The tour bus and guide. What is NOT included? Entrance fees or meals.

You can also just go it alone, pay for a train ticket and check out Seoul. For that, see the instructions on getting from Incheon and Seoul Gimpo Airports to Downtown Seoul

In order to qualify for the free South Korea Transit Tour, you need your passport and your two boarding passes (the one that got you to Korea and the departing boarding pass (to prove you are on a layover). THere are Transit Tour desks located on level 2F after you arrive as well as at 1F near Gate 8.

If you have:
1 Hour:
Yonggungsa Temple Tour. This departs at 0700, 0800, 1100, 1200 and 1400.
2 Hours:
Incheon Temple Tour which includes driving over the Grand Bridge, 20 minutes at Icheon City Museum or Incheon Landing Operation Memorial Hall, 20 minutes at Heungryunsa Temple. This departs at 0900, 1300, 1500
3 Hours:
Incheon Culture Tour which includes 50 minutes at Shingi Market and 40 minutes at the Incheon Dohobu Government Building. This departs at 1500.
3.5 Hours:
Incheon City Tour which includes driving over the Grand Bridge, 60 minutes at Wolmi Park and 50 minutes at Shinpo Market. This departs at 1000 and 1400.
5 Hours:
You have your pick of three different possibilities
Seoul City Tour: This visits 20 minutes at Chenggye stream or Jogyesa temple, 60 minutes at Gyeongbok Palace (or Changdeok Palace on Tuesdays) and 60 minutes at Insadong Street. This departs at 0800.
Seoul Culture Tour: This visits the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) and Changdeok Palace for 70 minutes each. This departs at 1000. (On Mondays, the Seoul City Tour is offered instead of the Seoul Culture Tour)
Seoul Shopping Tour: This visits Myeongdong for 2 hours and Namsangol Hanok Village for 40 minutes. This departs at 1300. (On Tuesdays, the Seoul City Tour is offered instead of the Seoul Shopping Tour)

All of these obviously are subject to change.

For a brief summary of these places:

Yonggungsa Temple: Natural scenery / historical attraction close to airport. Spend 30 minutes at the Temple.
Incheon Grand Bridge: 6th largest bridge in the world. Largest in Korea.
Incheon Landing Operation Memorial: historical hall commemorating the landing by U.S. General MacArthur in the Korean War
Heungryunsa Temple: Historical attraction noted for its 108 stairs
Dohobu: “you can see traditional architecture and life style of the past”
Shingi Market: traditional market including food/fruit/etc.
Wolmi Park: “natural eco-friendly park from…neo-modern period”
Shinpo Market: where many of the unique Korean foods originated including fried chicken, chewy noodles, dumplings, etc.
Gyeongbokgung: The largest of the royal palaces.
Cheonggyecheon: 11km stream that runs through downtown Seoul
Insa-dong: Famous street known for its antique shops and folk art galleries
Dongdaemun Design Plaza: An architectural wonder of the modern day located in the middle of Dongdaemun (DDM), a shopping mecca
Changdeokgung Palace: well-preserved historical site enlisted by UNESCO
Myeongdong: One of Seoul’s main shopping areas
Namsangol Hanok Village: A village with historically accurate traditional houses and atmosphere from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

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