Incheon International Airport Hub
Seoul’s Incheon International Airport took 2nd place for 2014 World’s Best Airport by SkyTrax. Why is this an important award? Because it’s a people’s choice award. Over 12 million passengers voted for Incheon as best airport. In addition to this prestigious award, they also took first place in the Cleanest Airport category. That’s pretty important to travelers! Let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about at the Incheon airport hub. I’ll start with my top three favorite and unique features.
- Sky 72 Golf Club is an attraction you might want to visit on your layover at Incheon. The name is correct, there are 72 holes! This golf range is famous for its amazingly manicured turf and its 300 tees, not to mention over 400 yards of driving distance. The Sky 72 is 40 minutes from Seoul, and you’ll need transportation from the airport to get there. For golfers, it’s an experience not to be missed.
- Feel like ice skating? Ice Forest has you covered, no matter what the season. Ice Forest is an artificial ice skating rink made of a special plastic. This means, it is not cold, and you don’t get wet when you fall! What a novel idea. They provide the skates for a very nominal fee—5000 Won for adults, 4000 Won for teens and 3000 Won for children—which is between $2.50 and $4.50 US Currency.
- Airstar terrace observation deck offers a change of scenery. Feeling a little crowded on the airplanes and in the terminals? Try the Incheon observation deck. Here you’ll find a snack bar, scenic views, a book and dessert café, and of course internet service. You can find the terrace in terminal 4. Get away from the crowds while you can and steal away into a good book.
What other features can you find at Incheon Airport? Let’s take a look.
Spa on Air: Relax and unwind at the Spa on Air at Incheon. Spa on Air is for passengers with long layovers or those that have been traveling and just want a shower. Get pampered at the Spa! They offer not only shower and bath services, but private deluxe hotel-style sleeping rooms, excellent service, Thai-style massage, Korean skin care or body scrub and a snack bar. The entrance fee (20000 Won or $18 US) includes the showering facilities but the sleeping rooms are an additional 12000 won or $10.80 according to current exchange rates.
Korean Air Lounge: Perhaps you are just looking for some relaxation but not a massage. Maybe sitting upright and jammed into a small seat has you drooling for some elbow room and a view. Look no further than Korean Air Lounge on the fourth floor. This first class lounge has large roomy chairs, large windows overlooking the runway. This is a serene place to relax and unwind. There are sleeping areas (but not private rooms), shower facilities, meeting rooms, internet access, and more.
Paradise Incheon Casino: Looking to take a chance? If you are a “foreigner” you are in luck. Apparently this hotel casino can only be used by guests passing through Seoul. The Casino is located two minutes from the Incheon airport and is within the Grand Hyatt Incheon hotel. This casino boasts an advanced HVAC system that not only controls the climate of the room, but makes the room “forest-fresh.”
Movies! Incheon Transit hub is the third international airport to install a movie theatre. Theirs features two separate theatres with about 240 seats each. Watch the latest movies while you are on the go. Not only can you watch movies, but you can also learn a little about Korean culture through Korean Wave. Korean Wave specifically refers to the increased publicity and interest in South Korean culture since the 1990s and features music and videos depicting this movie, TV and music scene.
One other really neat thing you should know about Incheon, they go above and beyond to share their Korean culture with visitors. Not only can you view the Korean Wave in the Movie theatres and visit their Cultural Museum of Korea right in the airport, you can also visit one of two Korean Experience Zones within the terminal to view a traditional performance which includes masked dances or a 12-string Korean music exibition. That’s not all, you can make traditional Korean crafts and gifts at the airport that you can take home as presents. There are also four Arrival Hall Culture Streets, these streets exhibit 5000 years of history in artifacts and craftsmanship, and try to demonstrate the natural beauty of Korea. This is a really interesting feature of the airport, and should be explored.
Incheon Airport has all of the “regular” amenities you would expect from a top quality airport including high end retail shops such as Gucci, Hermes, Barberry, Bvlgari, Cartier and more. Find fast food and sit down restaurants. Too. And, of course what respectable airport would be without their duty-free liquor and tobacco stores—Incheon has a few to choose from.
When I visited Incheon, we decided to use our four hour layover to see a small part of Seoul. You can take a high speed train from the airport directly to Seoul in about an hour. This leaves time for you to explore for an hour or two, before taking the train back. The countryside was beautiful. When we got there we ate lunch, walked through the crowded streets, explored their confectionary and visited a park. There is nothing like leaving the airport to get a real perspective that you are in a different culture,
Did you know?
- That every day Incheon transit hub serves a whopping 75,000 passengers arriving to Incheon, and 70,000 leaving? We are left to guess that the other 5000 are visiting South Korea, or are locals that arrive at their destination and depart the airport for their homes.
- That every day at Incheon, 427 aircraft arrive and 427 aircraft depart. That is a lot of airplanes with people and cargo to manage!
- Incheon Airport has only been in operation since 2001 and has rapidly climbed to one of the best airports in the world?