Stranded At An Air­port?

Here’s Where You Want To Be!

DINE and Destinations - - ARGENTINA - By Parm Par­mar

Be­lieve it or not, there are some air­ports that are just as thril­ing to

visit as your fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. Here are our top picks.

Trav­el­ling around the globe has be­come a chal­lenge—es­pe­cially with in­creased se­cu­rity mea­sures, flight de­lays that seem more fre­quent than ever, and those long lay­overs. So we took a look at air­ports where be­ing stranded for a few ex­tra hours def­i­nitely won’t be the worst part of your trip. Many air­ports are now boast­ing top cal­iber ameni­ties, such as lux­u­ri­ous spa ser­vices, tran­quil Zen gar­dens, trendy rooftop pools, and ev­ery­one’s favourite—duty Free shops with selec­tions that ri­val New York’s Fifth Av­enue. Skytrax, a Uk-based air­port re­view and rank­ing firm, re­cently held their an­nual Skytrax World Air­port Awards, and the top honour, for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, went to Sin—sin­gapore’s Changi Air­port.

SIN (Changi Air­port, Sin­gapore)

What makes this air­port so spe­cial? It boasts some of the best leisure ac­tiv­i­ties a trav­eller could hope for to oc­cupy a lay­over. From a de­sign per­spec­tive, it’s pretty spec­tac­u­lar. Spread across three ter­mi­nals, the air­port of­fers peace­ful gar­dens with koi ponds for fliers to re­lax their body and mind; a live but­ter­fly gar­den with a ma­jes­tic and serene 20-foot wa­ter­fall; free movie theatres that stay open 24 hours each day; and a rooftop pool. If that isn’t enough, you can even get a free foot mas­sage be­fore you get on your next flight.

ICN (In­cheon In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Seoul, South Korea)

Seoul’s In­cheon In­ter­na­tional Air­port is in a race to beat Changi for leisure ac­tiv­i­ties. The air­port boasts an 18-hole golf course, pri­vate rooms to get some shut-eye, an ice-skat­ing rink open 24/7, and a casino. It also has a mas­sive duty-free shop­ping mall, rated as one of the best in the world.

AMS (Am­s­ter­dam Air­port Schiphol, Nether­lands)

Am­s­ter­dam’s sleek and mod­ern air­port of­fers va­ca­tion­ers a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the Ri­jksmu­seum (the na­tional art gallery of the Nether­lands) and see works by Dutch mas­ter painters with­out ever leav­ing the air­port. Any­one older than18 can also test their luck in the casino. If you have ex­tra time, a high-speed train can take you into down­town Am­s­ter­dam and have you back in time for board­ing call.

HKIA (Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Air­port)

This fu­tur­is­tic air­port floats on an ar­ti­fi­cial is­land off of Hong Kong Har­bour. It’s one of the busiest air­ports in Asia. There are co­pi­ous amounts of up­mar­ket eater­ies, as well as lux­ury and duty-free shop­ping through­out the ter­mi­nal. En­ter­tain­ment is the main at­trac­tion at the in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal, with a 300-seat IMAX the­atre. If you pre­fer some­thing that keeps you a lit­tle bit more ac­tive, maybe a round of golf at the nine-hole golf course is the ticket.

YVR (Van­cou­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Bri­tish Columbia)

Van­cou­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port is the only North Amer­i­can en­try in Skytrax’s top 10 list of the world’s best air­ports; this gate­way hub to Asia was ranked North Amer­ica’s best air­port for the fifth year in a row. It is home to two satel­lite Van­cou­ver Aquar­ium ma­rine ex­hibits, in­clud­ing a 114,000-litre main aquar­ium and a smaller 1,800-litre jel­ly­fish aquar­ium that show­case the beauty of BC’S un­der­wa­ter ecosys­tems. The prov­ince’s art and ar­chi­tec­ture, rep­re­sent­ing the di­ver­sity of BC’S land­scape and peo­ple, are fea­tured promi­nently through­out the air­port.

PDX (Port­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Ore­gon)

Although Port­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port didn’t make Skytrax’s list, it was cho­sen as Amer­ica’s top air­port in a re­cent Travel and Leisure reader’s sur­vey (2013). Why? Be­sides its ex­cel­lent shop­ping, it has one of the best on-time de­par­ture records in the US. Stan­ford’s Restau­rant and Bar is also a big hit with vis­i­tors, with many ap­plaud­ing the fish ta­cos, burg­ers, and BLTS.

Parm Par­mar is a free­lance travel and food writer based in Toronto. Con­nect with her on

twit­ter @parmiep, or via her blog www.plan­et­bluead­ven­ture.com.

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