If you have to schedule a longer layover at an airport, Singapore Changi Airport is most definitely the stopover airport you want on your route. If you have to stop over at an airport, this award-winning airport can become as much part of your holiday as your final destination. There’s even the option to do a 2.5-hour Singapore Tour for free if your transit time allows.
Singapore Changi Airport aims to be different. This Southeast Asian hub wants you to spend time within its modern and large space and is designed to do just that. Changi is different from every other airport in the world as it was designed with the idea that every part of your holiday should be, in fact, a holiday. The airport has been consistently revamped and expanded with the traveller in mind. From huge entertainment hubs to an entire boutique shopping centre and even its own botanical gardens, Changi Airport has something for everyone.
1. Flora and fauna
Singapore Changi Airport is home to the world’s first in-airport Butterfly Garden. Located in Terminal 3, the large dome in which the garden is based in is home to more than 1,000 butterflies from over 40 different species (subject to the time of year). Within the same garden is a large variety of greenery and even a 6m-tall waterfall. The Koi Pond in Terminal 3 is another serene spot to unwind.
If butterflies and fish aren’t for you, there is an outdoor Sunflower and Orchid Garden found in the transit area of Terminal 2, making it a perfect place to breathe some fresh air, get some sunlight and watch arriving and departing planes come in to land. Finally, Terminal 1’s transit area is home to the Cactus Garden with more than 100 species of cacti and arid plant life.
2. Lights, cameras, action
Located across Terminal 2 and 3 are little pocket theatres that are constantly showing movies, most of which are the latest blockbusters. Best of all, these cinemas are entirely free.
Got kids who don’t want to sit with idol thumbs? There is an Entertainment Deck in Terminal 2 and an Entertainment Corner in Terminal 4 with multiple Xbox Kinect devices and Xbox 360s and even classic arcade games, allowing children to have fun and ensure parents have the relief of knowing their kids will be so worn out they’ll sleep on the plane (hopefully!).
3. Discomfort, be gone!
If you are like me then you cannot sleep on planes, no matter how hard you try. Changi Airport has found a solution by setting up its own Snooze Lounges and Sanctuary Lounges across all three terminals, which are designed to alleviate tiredness and ease those who have a long journey still to go.
However, if you are aching more than you are tired then throughout the airport you are likely to stumble upon one of many massage chairs designed to massage sore limbs and muscles. You can even clear those cobwebs with an invigorating swim or a soothing dip at the rooftop pool in the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel at Terminal 1 – there’s an entry cost of SGD$17 for casual use or it’s free for hotel guests.
4. Shop ‘til you board
Who says you can only buy duty-free at the airport? Singapore Changi Airport is home to an astounding 350 retail stores, ranging from high-end electronics with the likes of Sony to boutique clothing brands such as Burberry and Charles & Keith.
Plus, if you fly into Changi Airport with Singapore Airlines or Air New Zealand, you are entitled to a voucher from SGD$20 per person to spend on whatever you want; whether that is clothes, food or entertainment. You will get these vouchers regardless of whether you are visiting Singapore or just transiting.
For all the reasons I previously mentioned, it seems critics agree with the public consensus of Singapore Changi Airport being the best in the world with the airport winning Skytrax’s Airport of the Year award six years running. Changi also won the award for Asia’s best airport, leisure amenities and placed second for transiting airports, dining options and airport shopping. Finally, if your layover is long enough to require an overnight stay in a hotel, consider Crowne Plaza Changi, ranked the world’s best airport hotel.
Feature image: Getty Images
All other images: Singapore Changi Airport