If you are one of those globetrotting travellers we love to be jealous of, chances are you will appreciate a well-equipped airport. In recent years, airports have become cities in their own right with shopping, spas, hotels, cinema…the works! Some of them are so attractive, with engineering so groundbreaking; they are just one step away from being tourist attractions by themselves.
Singapore Changi Airport
There are many things that make this airport immensely traveller friendly, including airport gardens, spa facilities, plentiful napping areas, live music, etc. Travellers are also offered free tours of Singapore on transits over five hours. The real attraction of the airport, however, is the rooftop swimming pool at Terminal 1’s Ambassador Transit Hotel, which can be accessed at a very reasonable price.
Seoul Incheon International Airport
Seoul Incheon International Airport has plenty to keep the weary traveller entertained. The airport houses Incheon’s Korean Culture Museum, so that you can get a glimpse of Korean culture while you wait for your boarding call. Travellers looking for a moment of quiet contemplation can head towards a fragrant pine garden.
Hong Kong International Airport
This is one of the busiest airports in the world. Frequented my business travellers, it takes the edge out of travel by offering 4D Extreme Cinema and fantastic flight simulators at the Aviation Discovery Centre, both in Terminal 2. You can even play for free on Playstation or head out for a round of golf at Sky City Nine Eagles Golf Course.
Munich International Airport
A Lufthansa hub and Germany’s second busiest airport, Munich scores high on those adorable German qualities – organization and punctuality. If you follow the Bundesliga, head over to the FC Bayern Munich fan store which offers hundreds of soccer-related souvenirs. If you are travelling with kids, you can pick up Steiff teddy bears at Terminal 2’s Vedes toy shop.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Kuala Lumpur International’s business centre in the airport’s Satellite Building is one of the best places in Southeast Asia for business. The airport’s Plaza Premium Lounge with its free wi-fi also offers a quiet place to work and a range of secretarial services. Once the laptop’s powered down, stop in at the nearby Reflexology and Massage centre for a rejuvenating pre-take off treatment.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
Bangkok’s breezy Suvarnabhumi hosts a slick 600-room Novotel (www.novotel.com) hotel with a very pleasant pool, a new 15-minute rail link, and a cool, soothing business lounge. On the other side, the signage can be rather confusing while the sheer size of the airport means you might have to walk for miles. Well, almost!
This article was originally written by Amelia Thomas and first appeared in www.lonelyplanet.com in August 2011. It was refreshed in July 2012.