One of the downfalls of Australia’s remote geographical location is that it generally takes many hours, and at least one connection, to travel anywhere internationally. No one enjoys getting off their first flight only to find themselves locked in an airport for the next eight hours while they wait for their connecting flight to wherever their end destination is. Not to mention, eight hours is nearly a working day, and more than enough time to squeeze in a day tour.
The good folks at some in the world’s biggest airports have recognised this and created a solution: City tours from the airport for transit passengers.
Here’s a list of all the international airports that offer their in-transit tours of the city they find themselves waiting in.
1. Changi Airport
Changi Airport in Singapore is recognised as being one of the best airports in the world. It comes as no surprise that this leading transit hub offers free city tours through Little India, China Town, Kampong Glam and Sentosa Island to their transit passengers for free. However, you must register for the tour in the transit area first.
2. Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, has a complimentary three-hour tour that covers The Pearl-Qatar, Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art on a first come, first served basis. Check out the Doha City Tour Desk in the transit area to enquire.
3. Narita Airport
Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan, offers a transit program where a local volunteer will take you on a free tour of one of four nearby towns to give you a brief taste of Japanese culture.
4. Ataturk International Airport
Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, offer tours that range from two-and-a-half hours to nine hours long that covers all the landmarks in the city of Istanbul, such as the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar. You will need a layover of six or more hours. Speak to the Hotel Desk in the International Arrivals Hall to book.
5. Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia offers a Kuala Lumpur Transit Tour that starts at around AU$40 per person. Although this tour is self-guided, it includes return tickets on the KLIA Express to KL Sental and a one-day pass on the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour.
6. Salt Lake City Airport
The Airport in Salt Lake City, USA, offers a free shuttle bus direct from the airport to Temple Square, an area that’s home to some of the city’s sights. Simply ask at the Information Desk in Terminal 1, you’ll need a layover of two hours or more.
7. Heathrow and Gatwick Airports
Heathrow and Gatwick Airports in London, England, offers London Sightseeing tours straight out of the airport that includes a private car, minibus or couch and driver. Tours must be pre-booked and range from two to three hours.
If you’re planning to do a city tour while waiting for your next flight, just remember that making your connection is your responsibility. Ensure you have enough time to make it through Airport security (in and out) as well as enough time to make it to the city centre and back to the airport again. Further to that, if you plan on taking a tour, you will need a valid tourist visa (is applicable) to enter the country.
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