Your Layover Guide to the 4 Best Airports in the World

For many travellers, the layover experience can often be dreadful and gruelling. However, these 4 airports are changing the game. Say goodbye to mindlessly spending time on your phone or taking uncomfortable naps. From golf course simulators to rooftop swimming pools and jacuzzis, layovers at these airports could almost be a part of your holiday itinerary. We’ve selected four airports that offer wonderful experiences to pass the time in between flights. Have fun transiting!

Hong Kong International Airport | Hong Kong

Kaligo's Layover Guide - Hong Kong International Airport

Ranked “World’s Best Transit Airport 2018” by Skytrax

Hong Kong International Airport, colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok, is a marvel to look at on its own. As one of the busiest airports in the world, it is also highly efficient with simple systems in place, guaranteeing a hassle-free layover experience. Its massive area of 12.5 square kilometres means that it is also jam-packed with activities.

Take your pick! Give a go at swinging with the many courses available at GreenLive AIR, an indoor golf simulator. Discover the fascinating world of the local aviation industry at the Aviation Discovery Centre or catch some 4D movies on the largest screens in Hong Kong at the UA IMAX cinema.

Hong Kong Airport is also your one-stop solution to experience all that Hong Kong cuisine has to offer. Make sure you grab a bite at the renowned Tsui Wah Restaurant . Don’t be fooled by its modest exterior! Their famous crispy milk buns and traditional milk teas do pack a punch. For a quick crash-course on the culture and history of this eclectic city, visit the “From Clay to Teapot” exhibition, or for a more unique perspective, catch “The Legend of Hong Kong Toys” installation. They are sure to keep both adults and children entertained too!

Kaligo’s Transit Tips:

  • Relieve yourself of that travel stress with a massage or aromatherapy at Wellness Spa and Salon. Do make sure to book appointments here at least 6 hours in advance though!
  • There are many relaxation lounges scattered across the terminals. We heard that the most ideal spot for that much-needed quality nap is found on the ‘Airside’ against the windows at Gate 61 or the bed found at Gate 214.
  • Travelling with kids? Let the little ones entertain themselves at the TV and play areas found around Terminal 1.

Changi Airport | Singapore

Kaligo's Layover Guide - Changi Airport

Ranked “World’s Best Airport 2018” by Skytrax

When listing down the best layover airports, Changi Airport comes to mind almost instantly. Located in the cosmopolitan city of Singapore, some travellers even purposefully plan to have their transits here to explore the constantly evolving city. Besides ready access to state-of-the-art facilities everywhere you turn, Changi Airport’s four terminals feature incredible ‘Shop, Dine & Play’ experiences you never even thought you needed.

Skip the nap and check out the airport’s many simultaneously beautiful and functional installations. From the chandelier-inspired five-story playground at Terminal 4 to the world-renowned Kinetic Rain exhibition at Terminal 1, this airport seems to never let the jetlag get to you! In fact, if the stuffiness of the flights has been bogging you down, a simple walk through one of the five outdoor gardens could help rejuvenate you. We’d especially recommend visiting the Sunflower or Butterfly garden. Also, why wait till you get to your destination to get into the holiday mood? The rooftop swimming pool, jacuzzi and an accompanying bar at Terminal 1 does the trick!

Believe it or not, Singapore has plans to expand in 2019 to interconnect all three of its existing terminals. Dearly termed “The Jewel”, the structure will be featuring a “Canopy Park”, complete with mazes and activities. The terminal will also be home to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, known as the “Rain Vortex”.

Kaligo’s Transit Tips:

  • Take the chance to whizz down the world’s tallest slide in an airport at Terminal 3.
  • Changi Airport houses two in-house cinemas that screen blockbuster hits, free-of-charge! Find them at the departure hall in Terminal 2 near the sunflower garden, or at Terminal 3 near the Ambassador Transit Lounge.
  • Obsessed with the ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ movie? If you’ve got a long transit ahead of you, take advantage of the free Heritage or City Sights tours provided by the airport. They feature some of the iconic locations the film was shot at.

Munich International Airport | Munich, Germany

Kaligo's Layover Guide - Munich International Airport

Ranked “Europe’s Best Airport 2018” by Skytrax

Munich International Airport boasts an impressive record for being voted Europe’s best Airport not once, not twice, but a staggering 10 times! Considering the many options available to keep yourself occupied, we certainly understand why.

The airport models after its robust city, with an ample amount of German food and shopping experiences. Don’t miss out on the ever-popular Airbrau restaurant at Terminal 1, complete with a brewery, a beer garden and live traditional music. The marketplace at Terminal 2’s satellite building is inspired by the famous Munich “Viktualienmarkt” and is a must-visit if you want to satisfy your Bavarian pretzel and Bratwurst cravings. In true German fashion, the airport also houses the myAudi Sphere, an automobile virtual exhibition located between Terminal 1 and 2. Fans of the brand can even construct their ‘dream car’ here and take a virtual ride in it.

Fitness fanatics have reason to be excited about their layover at this airport. As one of Europe’s fittest hubs, Munich International goes above and beyond and offers customised Electro-Muscular Stimulation (EMS) workouts at Bodystreet Fitness studio. They even feature a meditation and prayer room! So, no excuse not to work off that travel fatigue at this airport!

Arguably one of the world’s most kid-friendly airports, parents can take a breather during their layovers here. Kinderland offers you some peace of mind as trained staff supervise children at the all-inclusive play area. Children of all ages can play and learn all about the World’s various cultures at the Visitor’s Park which is themed after five continents. Here you can also find mini golf and viewing platforms alongside a selection of bars.

Kaligo’s Transit Tips:

  • Be sure to book tours of the airport and its exhibitions at the airport’s website in advance. You can even request for them to be in English.
  • Apply for the VIPWing service which gives you premium access to work, dine and rest in style. Duty-free shopping through a tablet and outdoor access to the Bavarian beer garden are some of the perks included here.
  • Try to secure your transfer at this airport from the end of November to the end of December to experience the airport’s transformation into a Christmas winter market. At this time, you can explore over 40 vendors serving specialities like mulled wine and gingerbread.

Dubai International Airport | Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Kaligo's Layover Guide - Dubai International Airport

“World’s Busiest Airport” according to USA Today

Dubai International Airport is probably one of the most well-known airports for layovers, because of its ideal location connecting the East and the West. Even as the world’s most busiest airport, it continues to impress the annual 88 million passengers with a variety of shopping and dining experiences. The newly-opened Terminal 3 is currently the world’s largest airport terminal and here you can find the airport’s best experiences. It boasts almost every duty-free product imaginable and over 80 dining options to choose from.

As a city famous for luxury and one that prides itself on going above and beyond, there is a special twist of extravagance to the services you can find here. For example, there is an oxygen aromatherapy massage service available at Be Relax, where an oxygen mask is provided on top of your usual back massage to combat your jet lag. VR headsets are available at the Emirates Business Lounge, so that you can experience your favourite movies in a whole new way, while relaxing in their incredibly comfortable seats. And when it comes to playgrounds, the Bounce Trampoline Park offers playtime for children and adults alike.

Because of its proximity to the city we suggest taking day trips out, even for as little as three hours. Only then you can truly enjoy what this ‘City of Gold’ has to offer. Start with visiting the iconic Burj Khalifa, which is only a 15-minute ride away from the airport. Get to the observation deck and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city from the highest deck in the world! If you’re lucky to be visiting in the evening, snatch yourself a place at the At.mosphere to enjoy a high tea or dinner at the world’s tallest restaurant. And last but not least, drop by The Dubai Mall. Make sure to check your location frequently at the interactive maps, because you don’t want to get lost here. The mall has a size of almost 50 football fields and boasts over 1,000 attractions!

Kaligo’s Transit Tips:

  • Strapped for time? Use the airport’s Deliveroo service to enjoy food from the eateries right at your boarding gate.
  • Follow the Dubai International Facebook page to keep updated on the frequently hosted concerts and to not miss out on your personal favourites!
  • To properly relax before your next long-haul flight, book one of the Deluxe rooms at the Dubai International Airport Terminal Hotel that include in-room massage chairs.

Planning your next getaway? Check out our recent article on the best historical destinations.


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