Friday, July 25, 2014

Vancouver International Airport: Botanic Garden or Airport? You Decide.

The prettification of international airports over recent years has astounded me. For example, the new(ish) revamp of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (AKA SeaTac) sees vintage planes suspended from the baggage claim hall, oversized stained glass artwork, and floor to ceiling windows which let in much-needed light to the previously dark and cavernous terminal buildings.

And while it isn't the first time I've flown to Seattle via Vancouver (Air Canada flights are almost always cheaper than British Airways direct, non-stop fares, though it means a short layover and 30 minute connecting flight in Vancouver), I've never been happier to see the sight that greeted me there (above) when I stopped over in the airport last weekend.

Still tear-stained and a little sniffly from saying goodbye to my family at SeaTac security, the tranquil (and all very real! No artificial leaves used here) garden scene that greeted me after passing through security YVR cheered me up a little (that and I spied Hermes and a Longchamp concession not too far away, which helped distract me as well).

I managed to take a snap of this incredible aquarium, which I hadn't seen before:

I seriously could have spent hours gazing at the mesmerizing display of fish and sea anemone. I'm a nervous/anxious solo traveller anyway, so I deeply appreciated these extra features near the gates which helped take my mind off of things for a bit.

It's nothing compared to Koh Samui airport, however, which is akin to a luxury beach resort (minus the beach). The "gates" are housed in little huts positioned around the runway and you can literally put your feet up in a comfy straw chair whilst sipping complimentary fresh juices and helping yourself to cake, fruit, and an assortment of Thai snacks. Ding, ding, ding - winner! Hanging baskets of flowers dip from the ceilings of these huts and you're just encouraged to chill out, relax, and zone out. The nice lady at security even offered me aloe vera for my extremely burnt nose from one of the bottles a passenger had left behind. I was actually a little sad to board my plane after that magical experience!

What's your favorite airport?


  1. Wow...I didn't even know airports like Koh Samui existed. My airport experience is usually stressful, so that would be a welcome change. I'd probably pick Heathrow as my favorite, but that's likely because I haven't been to a large number of airports. All the US airports I've been to leave something to be desired, and the one time I visited Canada, I got there by train (which is something I'd really like to do more often!). Have you taken any luxury train trips? That's definitely on my bucket list.

    1. Hey Maslo - Heathrow used to be my favorite airport too! I don't really mind it now, especially with the newly redesigned Terminal 5 and 2. I mainly pretend it's a big shopping mall (it does resemble Westfield inside) and use my time there to stock up on duty-free makeup. Ha! When I was younger, travelling through Heathrow seemed exciting, cosmopolitan, and grown-up. Now it's just too busy for me and stresses me out.

      It's funny you mentioned luxury train trips - I really, really, REALLY want to take the Coast Starlight from Vancouver to San Francisco. Thank you for reminding me! Do you have your eye on a specific route?

      I've only taken very non-luxury overnight train trips: once from Helsinki to St. Petersburg then another time in Vietnam. I do not recommend the overnight train in Vietnam unless you're indifferent to cockroaches EVERYWHERE (it was still a great experience but one I wouldn't do again!).

    2. Oh my god...Anything involving insects would drive me all the way insane. I'd be bald by the time I reached my destination from anxiously ripping my hair out. Blecchh. I'd love to visit Vietnam, but I'll be staying away from the train, haha. Thanks for the heads up! Traveling the route from Vancouver to San Fran would probably be lovely; so much wonderful scenery to take in. I've personally got my eye on the route the Indian Pacific takes across Australia. The only thing I haven't decided is whether I'd start in Perth or in Sydney.

      Riding a train to St. Petersburg sounds so romantic to me. That's one city I've always wanted to visit. Just hearing the name makes me imagine passing buildings like the Church of the Resurrection while wearing a fur hat and holding a hot drink in my hands :D

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