The Most Exciting Things You Can Do at International Airports

The Most Exciting Things You Can Do at International Airports

Image: Emran Kassim

Swim, sleep, watch a movie or surf a wave. At these airport terminals around the globe, waiting for your flight gets taken to a whole new level!

1. Go for a rooftop swim

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Image: Robert S.

Singapore’s Changi Airport reigns supreme in the airport world (it’s been rated the world’s #1 airport since 2013) and a swim in the rooftop pool is a great way to pass the time between flights.

The pool comes with great views of the runway, as well as plenty of deck chairs and a cocktail bar. You’ll find it at the Departure Transit Lounge, Terminal 1, Level 3.

2. Get some of the freshest seafood around

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Image: SteFou!

It was named the best airport for dining at the World Airport Awards 2016, and at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, you can pick up some of the freshest seafood and sushi around.

You’ll find a huge array of Japanese, Asian and Western-styled restaurants here, with some (like Sojibou) that even make their own noodles onsite. Yummo!

3. Catch an IMAX movie

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Image: Mk2010

Got a couple of hours to kill?

Treat yourself to a flick at the biggest IMAX in the country at Hong Kong International, where the screen is over 13 metres high and 22 metres wide. There are both English and Chinese movies to be seen and yes, some of them will be in 3D!

The cinema is open to the general public (not just in-transit travellers), so try not to buy your tickets at the last minute.

4. Surf a wave (in August)

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Surfing? In Germany, you say? Munich International Airport might just be the only place to do it!

The airport here is home to Surf & Style, a 2,200-foot square indoor wave-riding pool (between Terminals 1 and 2) where you can actually surf it up.

You can rent your board and wetsuit when you get there, but booking tickets in advance is recommended – the pool is only open from 3-8pm daily in August, and you need to book yourself in for one of the 45-minute slots.

5. Blow your money luxury shopping

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Image: MaryG90

London’s Heathrow Airport is a luxury shopping heaven, with stores like Cartier, Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton all vying for your business.

Luckily, if you haven’t got all that much time, you can also ‘reserve’ certain items online in advance and simply pick up and pay when you arrive at the airport.

Don’t want to take your goods with you? Some stores, like Cartier and Bottega Veneta, also offer home delivery.

6. Go to a music gig

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Where do you go to find an airport with four music stages, a cool line-up of gigs each month, and up to 100 artist performances every year? Answer: Nashville!

While country music here is obviously the norm, the Nashville International Airport offers a range of genres and shows, from rock to jazz.

7. Visit a casino  

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Image: Antoine Taveneaux

No, it’s not in Vegas (although there are pokie machines in the airport there, too). At Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, indulging in a quick casino visit can totally be the go.

Holland Casino (between Gates E and F) is open to all travellers over 18 and offers all the classic games, including blackjack and roulette, and is generally open from 6.30am to 7.30pm daily.

8. Tour through an aquarium exhibit

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Image: Ken Eckert

There’s not one aquarium exhibit, but two! Where? Vancouver International Airport. The aquariums here house over 70,000 marine animals, including wolf eels, sea stars, sea urchins, jellyfish, as well as a huge range of fish and other invertebrates.

You’ll find the main aquarium exhibit on Level 3 and the jellyfish exhibit on Level 4 of the International Terminal.

9. Take a much-needed snooze

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Image: seanmcgrath

With a hotel that boasts a gym, a pool, a Jacuzzi and a spa, it’s hard to get bored at Dubai International Airport. But if you don’t have time for all that, why not check into a SnoozeCube?These luxurious little soundproof cubicles are perfect for jetlagged or worn out travellers in need of a nap, and each comes with a bed, a TV offering movies and music, and free Wi-Fi.

They can be found at three different locations throughout the airport and prices start from around $30 AUD per hour, with a minimum of 2 hour bookings required. Not a bad way to unwind after that long flight!