How many people have spent countless hours in between flights just waiting for their next plane? Living in Australia, we know all too well the pain of that trip to or from Europe and the United States where you often have many hours in transit between those epic 12 hour flights. After being in a plane for countless hours, all you want is some fresh air and to stretch your legs.
We don’t always have the extra days available to stop and stay in cities like Singapore, Doha or Dubai – but what if you could still head out and explore these cities rather than being cooped up in an airport? Did you know that there are city tours available for travellers who have long waits between flights?
To cure those long layover blues here’s how to make the most of your time in 3 of the World’s most common transit airports.
If you are flying with Singapore Airlines you can pre-book a seat on a free Singapore tour! The 2.5 hour tours are conducted in English and are jointly organised by Singapore Airlines, the Singapore Tourism Board and Changi Airport. There are two different routes to choose from – the Heritage Tour and the City Sights Tour – depending on your transit times.
If you have 5.5 hours or more of transit time you can enjoy the Heritage Tour. Highlights include the Colonial District, the financial and commercial district, the iconic Merlion at the mouth of the Singapore River, Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam.
If you have 6 hours or more of transit time, then the City Sights Tour is also an option. This tour will allow you to discover the Singapore Flyer, Singapore’s premier arts destination, the Merlion, the Integrated Resort, Gardens of the Bay and breathtaking panoramic views of Singapore’s famous icons.
Be aware that tour timings and itineraries may change depending on weather and traffic conditions. Eligibility is subject to flight schedules and visa entry requirements.
Qatar Airways and the Qatar Tourism Authority offer a complimentary tour of Doha while you wait to connect with your next flight. The tour takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes and takes you to four key landmarks in the city. You will get to visit The Pearl-Qatar, a manmade pearl-shaped island with the finest quality shops and restaurants; Katara Cultural Village, a centre dedicated to celebrating arts and heritage; Souq Waqif, a traditional Arabian market for traditional jewellery, spices and handicrafts; and the Museum of Islamic Art, to admire its stunning architecture and beautiful seaside park.
Tours depart at four different times throughout the day and there is an English speaking guide on all tours. Passengers need to have a minimum of 5 hours between flights to be eligible. Tours cannot be pre-booked and are on a first come first serve basis, simply head to the Doha City Tour desk on arrival (Beginning of Concourse B in between the Mont Blanc and WH Smith shops) and the friendly staff will assist you with eligibility requirements and booking availability.
Emirates does not currently run any layover specific tours, however if you do have a long wait in transit at the Dubai International Airport there are a few options that will get you out of the airport and exploring the city. Upon arrival at the airport you can make your way through customs and immigration so that you can leave the airport in between flights.
Arabian Adventures offer a range of half day tours, including a Dubai Walking Tour, Dubai Shopping Tour and a New Dubai City Tour. You can also catch a taxi to one of the many sights, discover one of the city’s many Souk’s or climb the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa to witness the stunning city views. There is so much to see and do in Dubai, it will of course depend on how much time you have in transit as to what will be possible.
Transit time does not have to be spent wandering aimlessly through the same old shops in an airport or looking at your phone or computer screen – you can get out there and experience a small taste of what these cities have to offer. If you book a Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways or Emirates flight with us and would like to enquire about booking one of these tours or making the most of your layovers we’ll be more than happy to assist.