Chicest Airports: Incheon, Korea and Changi, Singapore

Ice rink in Seoul's airport

I‘ve experienced many an airport layover and there are really only two types of airports in my book–those that cut it and those that don’t. Except of course, if one is biding time at the Incheon International Airport in Seoul or Singapore’s Changi International, two airports that fly high above the competition in terms of amenities and design. Both are so splendid as far as airports go that they make me actually WANT to have a layover!

Louis Vuitton in Incheon

Incheon’s international terminal is a wonder of airport entertainment. A movie theater, ice skating rink, jimjilbang (a Korean style sauna) and the ultimate in chic shopping options await travelers battling long layovers in the Korean capital. Toss in the free wifi (a must these days at airports if you ask me) and this airport is easily a chicest contender. Downside? Unless you like soju or beer, this airport is severely lacking in the cocktail-between-flights department.

Pool at Changi

Meanwhile, Singapore is another brand of airport excellence. The free foot massage chairs alone make this airport stand out, but other perks are the beauty salons, plethora of food and drink choices (adult beverages too), water fountains to refill bottles inside every gate, separate security at each gate (no long lines!), movie rooms, pay per day swimming pool, ample shopping choices, free relaxation lounging chairs, indoor gardens and of course free wifi.

Gardens at Changi

I’ve dubbed it a tie for chicest airport, though Incheon clearly wins for its luxurious dazzle, and Changi for it’s attention to small details that make the weary traveler that much more comfortable.

Can other airports (I’m talking to you Newark and Shanghai!) please take note?

What’s your favorite airport? Least favorite? 

Photos courtesy of, Leslie Patrick, and

4 responses to “Chicest Airports: Incheon, Korea and Changi, Singapore

  1. I’ve actually been to both of these airports but unfortunately haven’t been able to properly experience them since they were both for arrival flights. I went to Singapore last November after traveling to Bali, Thailand and the Philippines. I was in awe at how clean it was, after spending a lot of time at the dirty, cockroach infested airports in the Philippines, but immediately left for my hotel.

    I’m living in Korea now and most international flights depart/arrive in Seoul so I’ll definitely be going back there. I was a bit flustered after my 16 hour flight so I don’t recall a skating rink nor a jimjilbang ;). I’ll make sure to look for them the next time I fly out of here! Thanks for the heads up, I’ll be looking forward to going next time 🙂

    • I’ve got to agree with you about the dirty airports in the Philippines! But now that you live in Korea, you are sure to fly out of Seoul a time or two. Next time, definitely get there early to give yourself some time to look around!

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