Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS)
Altough AMS may not be as large or as busy as it’s other European counterparts, it is still a favourite among passengers as there are lots of interesting stuff to do.
Schiphol Plaza, a shopping area right before customs, has more than 25 shopping outlets selling books, chocolates, fashion wear, electronics, etc. What’s more, when you purchase non perishable items, you instantly receive a 2 year global warranty! And in the event you run out of Euros, you can pay with any other major currency! USD, AUD, JPY, etc. And you can still find shops after customs. How cool is that?!
Also, do check out the Rijksmuseum, a classical and contemporary art museum. Admission is free!
In 2010, the world’s first airport library opened, providing more than 1,200 books in 29 languages about Holland’s history and culture. You can also download ebooks and music from Dutch artists for free.
Suggesting you to win back the cost of your holiday is kind of wrong, but hey, who knows, you might make some money at AMS’s Holland Casino. Fun? Yes. Exciting? Yes. But as a friendly reminder, do walk away at once if you’ve lost more than what you’ve allocated. =)
Get an unlimited day pass for EUR20 at Sheraton Fitness and Spa, which opens 24/7, to access the workout equipment, sauna, massages, beauty treatments, steam room and rainforest showers.
Panoramaterras is the name given to Schiphol’s specially built rooftop viewing area where you can catch the best views of planes around the airport. Admission is free. This is not the only site as there’s another one at the new Polderbaan runway and also in McDonald’s.
Did you know that you can also get married in Schiphol?
Changi International Airport
If there’s anywhere in the world to get stuck in for hours, this is the one. It has NEVER been below the top 3 of Skytrax’s World Airport Awards ever since 2001.
Free WiFi. The ENTIRE country is covered by Wireless@SG. Register through your device’s web browser and receive a confirmation code through the phone which you can keep for future use.
Free PCs for use. No laptop? No problem. Get connected to the internet through one of the hundreds of free PC terminals all over the airport.
An entertainment deck. A dedicated play area that has all the latest games on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
There’s also a dedicated LAN gaming room for those who prefer playing against other travelers. There’s also a music area nearby where you close your eyes and relax in plush seats after selecting the type of music you want played through the inbuilt speakers.
There’s also a MTV booth where you get to see all the latest music videos and entertainment clips.
Or, you can watch the latest blockbusters either in Terminal 2’s or 3’s movie theater. Seats are comfortable, the sound system amazing, properly equipped and there’s also popcorn sold for the true movie experience.
Travelers are welcome to soak in all 6 open garden areas in Changi, each representing a different group of plants namely, cacti, bamboo, heliconia, sunflower, fern and orchid.
For SGD 14, you can use the swimming pool, showers, hot tubs,spas, gym and all other facilities located in the transit hotel of Terminal 1.
Take a nap on the specially made for sleeping chairs in the napping area.
If you have more than 5 hours to spare, do hope on one of the buses in the free ‘Singapore Tour’ where you will be taken for a trip around the island in 2 hours.
Shopping is also a heaven here. With more than 300 shops selling cheap electronics to designer goods, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Dubai International Airport
Shopping. That’s what Dubai is known for. It is the largest retail outlet in the world with over 15,000 square meters of retail floor space selling cosmetics, jewellery, electronics, alcohol, luxury goods, sports equipment, designer clothing, tobacco products, toys and books. Opened since 1983, the Dubai Duty Free grew in sales from USD20 million in the first year to USD1.1 billion 25 years later in 2008.
Spend time and relax in any of the two well designed open air garden areas.
There are also games for the young at heart.
G-Force Health Club is the best place in DXB which has, in addition to a gym (USD13/hour), private shower rooms with towels, toiletries, and hair dryers, separate gender steam rooms, saunas, jacuzzis and a common swimming pool. This place is open 24/7.
Hong Kong International Airport
The best airport in the world. HKIA has won Skytrax’s Airport 8 out of 11 times since 2001 beating out Singapore’s Changi and South Korea’s Incheon. As Skytrax’s results are passenger driven, imagine the happiness of 51 million people in 2010 who come from 160 destinations around the world when they arrive at HKIA. Just like what the slogan says, ‘Hong Kong, Asia’s World City’.
Although Hong Kong is a small island with limited land, the government has done a good job in establishing a fantastic public transportation system connecting HKIA to important locations all over the country.
HKIA is the only airport in the world that has a 360 seats 4D cinema equipped with state of the art 3D projection system supplemented by seven multi sensory special effects providing you a unique experience beyond any normal theater can offer.
There’s also the highly interactively educational Aviation Discovery Center for you to discover the aviation development of Hong Kong through fun and exciting settings like the themed exhibits, interactive kiosks, cockpit simulator, SkyDeck and best of all, the 4D Motion Ride plane cabin simulator. How cool is that?
Adjacent to Terminal 2, you’ll find a golf course inspired by the world famous 17th hole at the Tournament Payers Club in Sawgrass, Florida with a special hole called “Island Green”, situated on an island in the middle of an artificial lake.
Playstation Gateway is HKIA’s very own dedicated gaming area allowing you to play to your heart’s content for free.
iSports. HKIA’s one of a kind sports simulator for the physically inclined travelers. Types of sports simulation offered include soccer, basketball, golf, boxing, skiing, car racing and shooting.
Asia Hollywood is an interactive themed entertainment center aimed to provide an entertaining experience of the local film industry through interactive fun. Do check out the D-Blue Screen and CentiStar while you’re there.
Although HKIA is HUGE, passengers will find that the terminals are built with convenience in mind. You will not miss riding on the super cool Automated People Mover, a driverless people mover system consisting of 3 stations that travels at 62 km/h, cutting traveling times between check-in areas and the departure gates.
Terminal 1’s Skymart is great for shopping because it operates on a ‘Downtown Pricing Guarantee’, meaning that prices found here will either be equal or lower to those found in the retailers’ own Hong Kong downtown outlets. Items to look out for are make up brands, fragrances, alcohol and tobacco.
Incheon International Airport
Won Skytrax’s Best Airport of The Year in 2009 while it has always been in Skytrax’s top 3 airports of the world since 2006. Is one of only 3 airports in the world certified 5 stars by Skytrax and consistently rated as the best airport in the world by Airports Council International since 2005. Here’s why.
Incheon Golf Club is a modern ‘golf town’ that features a 330-yard driving range and an 18-hole putting course conveniently located within the perimeters of the airport.
The internet facilities area is a must try experience for any traveler to visit as South Korea is the No.1 country in the world in terms of internet speed. There are also fax and photocopying facilities provided in the same area for a small fee.
The Airstar Terrace located on the 4th floor of the passenger terminal offers the best scenery for checking out airplanes landing and taking off. Gaze at the panoramic views of Incheon International Airport in one of the many relax chairs laid out by the transparent glass walls.
ICN is the first airport in the world I have ever come across that has an indoor ice skating rink!
Thrill seekers and fortune hunters from around the world will surely be enticed by Paradise Golden Gate Casino, located within Hyatt Regency Incheon in the International Business Center.
If you are just transferring through planes in ICN, you get to use the showering room facilities for free!
Experience 5000 years of Korean culture at the Museum of Korean Culture. Each of the items in the museum is categorized into Royal Culture, Traditional Arts, Printing/Korean Alphabet Heritage and Traditional Music.
Although it is only secondary to Frankfurt Airport in terms of traffic, Munich Airport is the most liked by visitors traveling through Germany. This was proven when MUC won Skytrax’s Best Airport in Europe title consecutively from 2004-2008 and again in 2010.
The Airport Tours must be one of the main reasons that makes MUC so interesting. Spend 50 minutes passing through a 12 kilometer route that covers Terminal 1 and 2, both runways of the airport and the two fire stations. You will see the freight buildings and maintenance hangars, the engine testing facility and the storage tanks while picking up all kinds of information on every aspect of ramp operations.
Open from 8am to 10pm, passengers should check out the view of the eastern apron and both runways in Munich Airport from the Visitors Terrace. Cool thing is, you enter the terrace through a glass tunnel called Skywalk that slowly rises through the terminal from the 5th floor.
The Visitor’s Park of MUC is an interesting section of the airport. Here, you will get to learn how airports work through explanations by MUCi the mascot and the 60 seat cinema open from 9am to 5pm. Do step into the cabins and check out the 3 historic aircrafts on display outside the park namely, a Super Constellation, a Douglas DC-3 and a Junkers Ju 52/3m.
There’s also the family oriented, modern 18 hole mini golf course open to both adults and children.
Wireless internet can be found throughout the airport, so can wired internet terminals. However, both come at a fee. =(
Merkurs Spielothek is an entertainment center functioning as a casino and a games arcade.
Showers are available in 3 places at the airport, so is the vending machine from which you get your towels, shower gels, etc.
Massage chairs are found all over the airport but if you’re looking for the human touch, there’s Be Relax, a relax center offering massages, facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures. Happy hours from 12pm to 5pm.
There’s also a special service offered by Munich Airport called the Meet And Assist Service (MAAS). Passengers who have arranged for the service will get trained staffs to accompany them as soon as arriving, throughout the entire time at the airport. You will get help with language translation, personal luggage management and navigating around the airport.
Napcaps are opened, private ‘pods’ that comes with a small couchette, a flat screen TV, desk and internet connection rentable at EUR 15/hour.
If you are sharp enough, you will find free coffee/tea machines and EUR1.10 ice creams to make your day. =)
Munich’s Airbrau must be the coolest airport beer garden cum restaurant in the world. Surrounded by an artificial lake, Airbrau is so BIG it can take up to 600 customers at a time! Moreover the food is really, really delicious and so are the fresh beers (Helles, Weissbier and the super strong Aviator). AND they are really cheap. Meals for under EUR10 and half a liter of beer for under EUR3. A real MUST visit for anyone passing by Munich Airport.