Korea

15 reasons why layovers are the best at Incheon International Airport

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Sights and sounds at Incheon International Airport

Sights and sounds at Incheon International Airport

I’m usually not a big fan of layovers especially if the WiFi is hard to access at the airport and am more often than not prepared with a book to read or my illustration pad and pens. This layover from last month however, changed everything for me. The next time I’ll be travelling to or via Incheon International Airport, I’ll have many reasons to be excited. My husband was being polite by smiling when I’d asked him if we could actually stay at the airport for a day. Ridiculous idea? I think not. Here’s why:

1. Easy online and offline access
Not only are the staff members extremely friendly and courteous but they are intuitive as well. This personal touch to services is the element that lingers longer than the service itself.
The website or the cyber-airport is easy to access and even gives you tips on how to make the most of your layover at the airport.

2. Impeccable immigration services
I can’t seem to recollect ever waiting in a long queue at Incheon International Airport. Traffic management is top notch given that this is one of the busiest airports globally.

3. Marvelous transit hotel and lounges
Staying at the transit hotel and Matina lounge helped us catch much more than 40 winks. It’s cozy, economical and the mini bar comes with the popular traditional Korean Soju- Hwayo. Be mindful about this spirit because you wouldn’t want to miss your wake up call.

Transit Hotel and Matina Lounge

Transit Hotel and Matina Lounge

I like how the room came with a set of double blinds which helped us sail into a river of uninterrupted sleep without a stray ray of light dampening it.

Not bad for a three hour stay

Not bad for a three hour stay. Spot the Soju

4. Myriad of dining options to choose from
From cafeteria style buffets, to street food themed restaurants or even a familiar cafe that leaves you feeling nostalgic- Incheon International Airport by far has some of the best dining options I’ve ever seen in an international airport. Here’s a post that I had shared a few weeks ago on Instagram

 

5. Children friendly airport with an ice rink and a theater
Travelling with children? Incheon will give you a breather.
Not only does this airport nest an incredible ice rink that comes equipped with rental safety gear and a movie theatre that screens the latest from the box office, but also several playrooms as well (adult supervision is necessary).
I was impressed by the fine details like bright and quirky hand sanitizers.

Kids Zone Incheon International Airport

Kids Zone Incheon International Airport

Clean interiors of the play romm

Clean interiors of the play room

6. Free transit tours
If you’re a tourist with a layover of under 72 hours, then you’re entitled to a visa-free, free transit tour. The tour guides speak fluent English and they provide some pretty neat tips while shopping at the local districts or visiting the historical sites.

7. Spas and Saunas
Who can refuse a rejuvenating massage? The spa packages are quite enticing and what’s even more charming is the free shower facility. The spas are also equipped with a private sleeping room and snack bars so go spoil yourself.
If you don’t have the time for a complete spa package, hop on to one of the massage chairs that are lined up to ease your tired muscles a bit – for free, of course.

What the picture says

What the picture says

Free PC use with internet and massage chairs at Incheon International Airport

Free PC use with internet and massage chairs at Incheon International Airport

8. Free internet usage, fax services and copy centers
I found it a bit hard to believe that many services were being offered at no cost whatsoever. Travellers transiting on a business trip can easily complete some of their last minute tasks. The airport comes with interactive maps that guide you to the nearest business centre should you wish to host a conference call.
Pretty neat use of technology over there.

9. Taste the Korean culture without leaving the airport
Of course the airport wasn’t designed to displace the beauty of the cities that surround it.
This airport is transit friendly particularly because there’s a whole wing that’s dedicated to the cultural museum – yes, there’s a museum inside the airport.
In addition to this, there are mini art galleries to visit as well such as the Hangul aisle which explains the history of the Korean alphabets. There’s a world map that’s made entirely out of these alphabets.

Hangul gallery Incheon

Hangul gallery Incheon International Airport

World map made using Korean Alphabets

World map made using Korean Alphabets

10. State of the art laundry and dry cleaning services
If you’re worried about steep laundry bills while you’re travelling, then this popular airport has a solution for you. The express laundry services ensure that your luggage is free from soiled linen and it’s pretty affordable too. Look up Clean Up Air on the digital map or even online.

11. Go mobile and rent a phone
You may (rarely) have trouble connecting with your local telecom server on your hand held devices. In case you do or are looking for an economical alternative, Incheon International Airport offers mobile devices for rent for as low as USD 5 (unbelievable right?). These phones come with different talk times and sms packages so do browse for options.

12. Stop waiting around and go golfing
There’s a free shuttle to and from the Incheon Golf Club that also offers golfing lessons depending on the day, timings and your preferences. Though this isn’t located inside the airport itself, the shuttle services make it easier to access and explore.

13. Affordable medical care
Incheon International Airport Medical Center run by Inha University offers state of the art health care systems at an affordable price as well. A general check-up for under USD 20 doesn’t sound too bad. The system here is appointment based unless it’s an emergency.

14. In harmony with nature
There are pockets of mini gardens across the airport and the biggest one is the Star Garden which unfortunately we did not have enough time to explore. It is bookmarked for our next trip to Seoul for sure.

Scenic interiors at Incheon International Airport

Scenic interiors at Incheon International Airport

15. You can get involved with the culture and not feel like a stranger
It was heart-warming to see cultural exchange programs that they had in place that were not only hands on but rather informative as well. There’s traditional live music and a parade that happens within the airport every few times a week.
Tourists are encouraged to participate in these activities (yes, for free) to take home a bit of Korea with them. In addition to this, the airport also has designated (Buddhist style)  prayer rooms if you’d like to meditate for a while and sit in silence.

Tourists being involved in the cultural activities

Tourists participating in a traditional crafts workshop during their layover

Have you ever been to this wonderful airport? Feel free to share your experiences.

Play a tune at IIA

Play a tune at IIA

Comestible regards,
Judy Sebastian

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