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World's Most Beautiful Airports

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Peter Szekely/Alamy

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia

One of a string of megaprojects conceived by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to make Malaysia more competitive with its Asian neighbors, KLIA opened in 1998. Designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa in partnership with a local firm, KLIA's style is so weirdly eclectic that you couldn't mistake it for any other airport in the world. In the international departures hall, a series of Islamic-style domes—hyperbolic paraboloids—are held aloft by strange, chubby columns that taper toward the top. Even the long transfer hallways, with wooden ceilings pierced with tiny spotlights, possess unmistakable character.

Beauty Mark: The airport is part of Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor. Fast trains will take you directly to the country's newest cities, monumental Putrajaya and technologically sophisticated Cyberjaya.

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