When people talk about the world’s best airports, they often mention Singapore’s Changi Aiport. With over 62.2 million passengers passing through Changi last year, it connects Singapore with over 400 cities in 100 countries around the world, making it the world’s sixth busiest airport. To do all that and still be one of the best is no easy feat! Given Singapore is such an important travel hub, it makes sense that many travellers will pass through Changi at some point. With so much to see and do, enjoying a layover or pre-departure at Changi is easy. To help you make the most of your time, here’s our guide to 19 of the best things to do at Singapore Changi Aiport.
But first, watch this…
You may also like to read:
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1. Visit Jewel at Changi Airport
Of course, the number one thing to do at Changi Airport has to be visiting Jewel and the incredible Rain Vortex waterfall. In addition to just seeing the Rain Vortex and snapping some photos of it, there are actually loads of great things to do at Jewel! You could easily spend an entire day at Jewel, perfect for anyone with a longer layover. It’s really important to note, Jewel is not located within the airside of Changi Airport. It’s located on the land side, which means you need to clear customs and ‘enter’ Singapore to see it. I’ve heard a lot of travellers say they’ve had trouble understanding where it is and how to see it so I created this: The BEST guide to visiting Jewel. It’s a must-read and will help you plan your visit!
2. Take a dip at the rooftop Swimming Pool & Jacuzzi
Just when you thought you’d seen it all, Changi Airport comes through with a rooftop swimming pool and jacuzzi! If you find yourself transiting or departing from T1 be sure to keep your swimmers handy. For SG$17 you get access to the pool, books, shower facilities and a free non-alcoholic beverage. It’s a great way to break up long-haul flights and will do wonders for loosening up a tight back or muscles pre and post-flight.
3. Join a Free Singapore Tour
If you have a layover with at least 5 1/2 hours until your connecting flight you can sign up for a free 2 1/2 hour guided tour of Singapore! The Heritage Tour is run 5 times daily and the City Sights Tour is run 2 times daily. Check the tour timings and registration information here. You can register at the booths in T2 and T3 (do not clear immigration) by presenting your passport and visa (if required). Registration closes 1 hour before the tour departure time and it’s on a first-come, first-served basis.
4. Enjoy the free movie theatre
If you prefer to relax in a dark, quiet space then be sure to take advantage of the free movie theatres in T2 and T3. The theatres are open 24 hours a day, showing great new movies for adults and kids. Just be sure to set a reminder on your phone for your boarding time so you make it to the gate and your flight with no worries.
5. Spend some time at the spa
I can’t think of a better way to truly unwind in-between flights than spending some time at the day spa. At Changi, you can visit any of the spa’s spread out across the different terminals. Dip in for a relaxing massage, foot reflexology, manicure and more. Check out the different spas at Changi Airport here.
6. Visit the Butterfly Garden
We loved walking through the Butterfly Garden before our flight. It was a really nice way to spend a little bit of time and helped us feel disconnected from the hustle and bustle of the airport. The tropical butterfly habitat is home to lush greenery and flowering plants, a 6-metre grotto-waterfall and 1,000 tropical butterflies. There are some great incubators too so you can see the breeding cycle in action!
7. Do a workout
Get your body moving at one of the 24-hour gyms, located in T1 and T2. If you love to run, you can stretch your legs out on the treadmill or, if you prefer something more gentle, simply use the floor space for yoga. Whatever your workout preference, it’s a really good way to get your heart pumping, stretch out your muscles and ensure you’re relaxed and refreshed.
8. Spend some time at the Sunflower Garden
My mum would absolutely love the sunflower garden as yellow is her favourite colour! Bring some colour into your world by heading up there for a wander through the gardens and some fresh air. You can watch the planes coming and going, so it’s a really nice spot at T2.
9. Explore the Outdoor Cactus Garden
The Outdoor Cactus Garden at T1 is a great way to get some fresh air and stretch your legs. There are more than 40 species of cacti and succulents from different parts of the world and, best of all, you can dip into the Traveller’s Cactus pub afterwards for a cold drink. Yes, please!
10. Try Singaporean Food
Just because you can’t leave the airport, doesn’t mean you can’t try great Singaporean food! You should definitely visit the Straits Food Village at T2, Singapore Food Street in T3 or the International Food Hall in T4. Here, you can make your way through a range of local favourites like laksa, nasi lemak and Singapore’s famed chicken rice!
11. Take a nap in a snooze chair
For those who like to stretch out and catch up on sleep in-between or before flights, you’ll find no shortage of cosy nap spots around the various terminals. There are dedicated quiet zones, comfortable snooze chairs and couches located across the different terminals. Check out the dedicated rest areas here.
12. Get a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar
Having a Singapore Sling at The Long Bar at Raffles is a bucket list item for many travellers. If you’re at Changi Airport, you can enjoy one at the Long Bar by Raffles in T3, FOR FREE! It’s a smaller serving, of course, but it’s still fantastic and a great way to try one in a peaceful part of the airport. We loved it! Afterwards, you can do a whisky tasting at DFS Wines & Spirits downstairs or stock up on boozy gifts for friends, family or yourself!
13. Eat at fancy restaurants
Welcome to the new era of travel when airport food no longer stinks! Yep, you can dine at really great restaurants within the airport and, at Changi, this means the likes of Wolfgang Puck! Head to The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck in T3 or London Fat Duck in T4. If you love Japanese food, be sure to try Japan Gourmet Food Hall SORA at T2.
14. Explore the Orchid Garden
Head to the curated Orchid Garden at T2 where you can find a moment of peace below Foxtail Palms and stunning orchids. If like me, you love taking photographs of flowers and plants, you’re going to love this spot. Get a takeaway coffee or cool drink from a nearby shop and sit quietly, soaking in the energy of all the beautiful blooms.
15. Relax in a Transit Hotel
For the ultimate in-transit relaxation, treat yourself to a Transit Hotel. These places are amazing! Located within the terminals, you book a room and get to spread out on a full bed to catch up on sleep, rest, recharge and relax in-between flights and become human again. There’s also bathroom facilities, television, a desk for working and, importantly, a wake-up call service. Seriously, it’s a game-changer. You’ll find Transit Hotels in T1, T2 and T3 at Changi Airport.
16. Play video games
Visit the Entertainment Deck at T2 where you can spend a good few hours playing a whole range of games! There’s Xbox Kinect, PlayStation, Arcade Machines and Computer Games to keep you entertained in dedicated gaming areas.
17. Reminisce at the Heritage Zone
Take a stroll through the Heritage Zone at T4 and indulge your inner history buff. Here you can see colourful building facades, inspired by Singapore’s rich Peranakan history. It’s a great opportunity to sample local favourites from traditional brands like Bee Cheng Hiang, Bengawan Solo, Curry Times and Heavenly Wang. My mum always brings us treats from Bengawan Solo when she visits!
18. Visit the Peranakan Gallery
While you’re there, stop in at the Peranakan Gallery in T4 where you can get a sense of Peranakan architecture and peruse stunning portraits on the gallery walls. Peranakan culture is an important part of Singapore’s past and the gallery is the perfect opportunity to get a sense of its influence of Singapore’s present.
19. Shop up a storm
It goes without saying, but there are loads of great shops at Changi Airport! Keep your eyes out for any promotions the airport may be having as, one time, Matt and I scored some free vouchers we could use to shop anywhere in Changi Airport. It was amazing. My favourite store is Charles & Keith, a fantastic shoe shop where the shoes are really well made, gorgeous and affordable. I also like to do some duty-free makeup shopping as well!
How to get there
We flew directly from Brisbane to Singapore with Singapore Airlines. If you’re planning a trip to Singapore or beyond and are trying to choose an airline, we highly recommend Singapore Airlines as we’ve only ever had amazing experiences with them. The food is delicious, the service is exceptional, there are great movies to watch to pass the time and the seats were super comfy. If you’ve ever thought about trying out Premium Economy but are unsure if it’s worth it, read this: Is Premium Economy really worth it? Here’s the truth!
Where to stay
In Singapore, we love to stay at the luxurious Swissôtel The Stamford in the heart of Singapore or Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, located at Changi Airport. Read my full review of Swissôtel here and my thoughts on Crowne Plaza Changi Airport in this guide to surviving a Singapore layover here.
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