Well, almost for free...;)
Last year, after I had bought my flights to Japan and Bali, all I needed was a flight back from Japan to Hawaii. But, the time of my trip was approaching rapidly, and the flight prices kept going up and up. I was researching the cheapest flights that would fly in to Hawaii and finally found one. But…. I would have to fly from Japan to South Korea, 2 hours in the opposite direction I was trying to go, and I would have to survive a 18 hour layover in Incheon Airport. If you’ve ever taken a big trip before, you know, at the end of your trip you want nothing more than to get out of airports, and actually sleep in a nice bed. But you gotta do what you gotta do for the cheap flights haha. Instead of spending my 18 hour layover in the airport, I started planning a way that I could go out and see Korea for those 18 hours there by myself. Luckily, I came across the Incheon Airport website, and found that they offer free tours to people with layovers in South Korea. Whaaaat! Now, I was actually so excited that I found this super cheap flight, and I would get to travel in another country I had never been to before.
When I got off the airplane from Osaka, Japan, after a two hour flight to South Korea, I was actually looking forward to this long layover. I got off the plane and went straight to the help desk to ask about the free transit tour. They guided me through immigration, and brought me to the desk where I could choose my tour. They offered multiple different tours, from seeing Temples and Museums, to shopping and exploring the city. I ended up decided to do the five hour shopping tour, where we would go into Seoul, and explore the big streets for shopping. I signed up for the tour, switched my Japanese Yen to South Korean Won, and got ready to hit the streets.
A few hours later, I loaded on to the bus with a bunch of strangers and we all headed in to the city. Everyone was chatting away with others on the bus, and I was so excited to find an American who I could hang out with for the drive. Our first stop was Myeong-Dong, the most famous street for shopping and fashion trends in South Korea. It was huge, and crowded with a ton of people shopping and sightseeing. Here, I wandered around by myself, looking at the various shops, and I even tried some street food, and bought some jewelry at a little shop. Next, we all went to Namdaemun Market, which is a more traditional market with a ton of small shops lining the streets. I loved wandering through all these streets and shops.
This trip was so much fun, and I highly recommend if you travel in Asia, try to plan a layover in South Korea, so you can get out and see a little bit of the country. Traveling doesn’t have to be super expensive, and can be a lot cheaper than you’d ever think. Do your research and ask questions! Try to find the best way to travel for yourself! It was really cool to experience a little bit of South Korea, however, I do want to go back and stay longer than 18 hours, so I can see and learn more about the country, and their culture. Hopefully soon;) Who wants to go with me?
Here's the link to learn more about the Incheon Airport Transit Tour!