Singapore’s Changi Airport: not the worst place for a layover. In fact, she’s actually pretty good. And if you are an avid traveller, it is highly like that you will end up in Changi with some serious time to kill at some point.
The airport is absolutely enormous, and with a free sky train connecting each of the three (soon to be four) terminals, it is easy to hop around in the space of just a few minutes. Fortunately there are large maps dotted about the place, which I recommend using sooner rather than later – in order to efficiently get your bearings! The airport is open 24/7 and has more than a few adequate sleeping options. For more info on sleeping at Changi, click here.
If your layover is greater than 5.5 hours, I would highly recommend doing a “Free Singapore Tour”. These tours are only available to travellers in transit, and you must register for the tour before you go through immigration (in other words, it is basically the first thing you do once you step off the plane)*.
The tour runs for approximately 2.5 hours, and there are about 4 or 5 tours each day. They fill up really quickly so I would highly advise that you register as soon as possible. The tour aims to showcase the country that the Singaporeans are so ridiculously proud of. It includes visits to both colonial and cultural districts with short stopovers at Melion Park and Kampong Glam. My first impressions of Singapore were that it was like a massive overgrown resort, with perfectly manicured gardens and people. Everything was pristine, and the streets were so immaculately clear of any rubbish. As a nation, the people from Singapore are very money driven, and experience low rates of crime and unemployment.
Once back at the airport, there is a wide range of options available to pass away the time. A summary of what’s listed in each of the terminals is listed below (only the unique identifiers have been included; I think it goes without saying that each terminal offers bathrooms, food and drink options, wifi and charging points).
- Cactus garden (open 24 hours)
- Swimming pool with Jacuzzi (available 6am – 12am)
- Enchanted garden (open 24 hours)
- Orchid garden (open 24 hours)
- Sunflower garden (open 4 hours)
- Hair and beauty services (11am – 9pm)
- Butterfly garden (open 24 hours)
- Movie theatre (24 hours)
- Zara, in addition to the more elitist Shilla Beauty loft
- Transit hotels and lounge
* Location of registration booths for the Free Singapore Tour:
- Terminal 1: stay in transit, but proceed to Terminal 2.
- Terminal 2: between Transfer Lounge F and the Skytrain to Terminal 3, near the escalator to Arrival Immigration.
- Terminal 3: near Transfer Lounge A and Gate A1-A8 (Level 2).