Singapore is one of the regular stop-over I usually have in my trips overseas from Melbourne. My last visit was just few weeks ago in September 2016.
Spending few hour there and wondering on to things to do in Changi Singapore Airport?
Changi has grown so much in these years. It now offers so many activities, attractions and things to see that you start questioning if it may become soon a destination by itself LOL
I have been travelling regularly for many years and I have noticed that airports tend to be more and more similar between each other.
The shops having local products have almost disappeared and it is not unusual to ask yourself which country are you in.
20 years ago being in London and Honk Kong airport was a massive difference. Nowadays it’s all becoming quite flat.
On one of my last flights I could save over $200 if I stayed for a stopover of 10 hours in Singapore.
I started thinking about the possibility and after 2 seconds I decided for the long stopover at the Changi airport. You may think I am crazy but hold on your breath and keep reading. Beside $200 is not that bad for doing nothing LOL
I broke the flight in two 8-12 hours legs and that made it a charm, if you can still call it that way of course.
One of the Singapore airport free tour stops
Changi airport swimming pool
First thing first, head to the Terminal 1 at the swimming pool. That was a real pleasure to have a sun bath, a swim and a little nap. After that if you are into physical exercise, you can have direct access to the gym for some jogging or weight lifting.
That already makes the airport looking like a normal place to spend few hours.
If you wonder about the access cost, well, around US$10. Really nothing compared to the flight ticket.
There is a drawback of this swimming pool. The smell of kerosene which may be annoying to someone. It was ok for me but surely it would not be my daily swimming pool.
Food at the airport
Hands on for the choice at the airport. Normal prices and sublime fresh food, beside a good choice of wine.
I believe that some of the best restaurants and eateries are in Terminal 1, on the first floor. Pay with a credit card, Singapore is one of the safest country in Asia, if not the world
I know you can find that in many airports offer great food, that’s why I suggest you to move to the next point 😀
Singapore airport free tour
This is one of the best thing to do in Changi Airport, and, honestly, the it is one of the best I have ever experienced any airport I have visited.
I had some spare energy after my nap and I decided to take a free tour (yes free) to the city. I highly suggest to book your tour as soon as you disembark from the arrival flight. This will give you more options with the time you want to do it (see this link for full details).
The tour operator will organise the visa for you and, again, it will be all free of charge.
Will you be able to see everything in this 2 hours tour? Not really, this is not a deep tour of Singapore. This is a taste of Singapore, a way to get introduced to this small country.
You will take a bus and go through the major attractions of Singapore and back to the airport.
You have however another option. You can leave the tour once in the center, take your own time and go back to the airport by taxi ($30-40). This is a great option especially if your stop-over is quite a long one.
The guide on the bus was really strict with the time (flights do not wait). However, on the way from/to the airport, she spent a good amount of time explaining how is the life in Singapore for the locals. I was particularly surprised by the water network and how recycling is considered an everyday activity. Really advanced, compared to most of the world .
Yes, there is even a free cinema at the Singapore airport.
Personally I did not feel like going watching a movie, after 12 hours of films on my first flight.
There is another consideration. It’s easy to fall in sleep and miss the flight.
The Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden is a unique experience, another great thing to do in Singapore Airport. It is located in Terminal 3.
It’s quite amazing to find such a micro cosmos in an airport. You can actually get quite close to the butterflies.
You can easily spend from 15 minutes to 1 hour, it’s a real unique environment with a jungle feeling organised on 2 floors and a waterfall right in the middle.
They reckon they have over 1,000 butterflies, not sure how they count them, especially considering the short lifespan.
The Butterfly Garden is a unique experience. Located in Terminal 3 on two interconnected floors
If you are planning to make any photo be prepared to wait 5-10 minutes for your lens to acclimatise. Condense moisture will appear and this is normal because your are moving your gear from an air conditioned environment, the airport, to a room with high humidity, the butterfly garden.
Don’t waste your time cleaning the lens with a microfiber cloth, the moisture will reappear in few seconds. You just have to wait.
To speed up the process you may want to use a blower.
Also, very important, do not change the lens as soon as you enter in the butterfly garden. Do it in the air conditioned airport.
Entrance to the garden is free
This is another nice corner in Terminal 2 that will not disappoint anyone, especially if you are passionate about flowers.
Orchid Garden in Terminal 2 of Chiangi Airport
Expect some lovely and well looked after orchids with some amazing colours for an high contrast photo
The Enchanted Garden
This is the High Tech garden of Singapore.
I have never experienced a similar garden to be honest.
Motion sensors are installed along the walking path. As you walk they give motion and sound to the garden….enchanted garden.
Giant glass bouquet sculptures are scattered here and there
The Enchanted Garden in Terminal 2
Chang airport WiFi
If you are not too busy with all the things around, than internet could be another option to kill some time.
You can connect to the free WiFi called WiFi@Changi and enter the required field when you open your browser for the sign-in process. The password is given through:
- mobile phone number. I do not suggest this method as it requires to connect to the local mobile network and possibly being charged for roaming
- password kiosk. Access to one of the many and scan your Passport. As easy as that
- information desks. If you are not familiar with the scanning process you can go to a desk and show your passport
Although the airport claimed to have full coverage, I was not able to connect once at the pool. Not a huge issue as I had a swim instead 😀
Massage and fish feeding
There are few massage shops in the airport, really difficult to suggest anyone in particular mode, also because I would have to try all of them LOL
To feed the fish just put your feet into the fish tanks and you leave them nibbling your dead skin off your feet. It’s weird at the beginning but quite pleasant with the time passing by.
Travelling with small kids or toddlers is never easy. The playgrounds organised in each terminal of the airport help a lot to kill some time.
A big slide for the older kids is available in Terminal 3.
They are free to use
Photography inside the Changi Airport
The immigration gate – 1/25sec at f/4 ISO 400
The airport can be a great source of architectural photography. You cannot use the tripod however there is still enough light for photography with a quick lens and ISO set between 400 and 800
Road to Singapore Airport – Photo taken on the train that connects T2 with T3
Where to sleep
Honestly, if you have just few hours, take a nap at the swimming pool. You can even ask the person at the reception to wake you up at a certain time. What more?
There is another alternative, if you want to have more of an easy stay, especially if you have kids with you. It is the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which is just outside the check-in area. It’s quite a beautiful hotel and considering the luxury accommodation, it is quite economical too. The swimming pool is a winner as well as the nice rooftop bar.
And what else?
Other things to do in the Singapore Airport?
Well, 10 hours were gone!! I felt regenerated and ready for the second 12 hours leg. I jumped on the air plane and I selected a new movie to watch and I waited my dinner….or lunch?