As one of the major gateways between Australia and Asia/Europe, I’ve spent more time at Singapore Changi Airport in the last few years than I have at any other airport. Luckily it’s a world-class facility with heaps of options to keep passengers well fed, rested and entertained. If you’re transiting through Singapore Changi Airport these are my favourite ways to make the most of a stopover, according to how many hours you have to spare.
1 to 3 hours
If you’ve got under an hour in transit in Singapore Changi you’re probably going to spend that whole hour navigating from one gate to the next – especially if you’re changing terminals – but you’ll be passing incredible plants and Enchanted Gardens along the way.
You might have time to grab a drink (I recommend a hot chocolate or coffee at Paul) but remember you will need to go through security again at your gate so will have to throw out any unsealed liquids.
If you’ve got a little longer to spare I’d suggest grabbing a shower at one of the pay per use lounges and browsing the duty free. (I can easily lose an hour just in Zara at Terminal 3!)
**Get free money to spend** Between now and the 31st March 2017 passengers transiting through Changi on a Singapore Air, Silk Air or Air New Zealand flight* are entitled to vouchers up to the value of $40 that can be spent at all retail, food and service outlets as part of the Singapore Air Changi Transit Programme. How awesome is that?
*If your e-ticket numbers begin with 618, 629 or 086.
3 to 6 hours
If you’re travelling during daylight hours one of my favourite ways to relax and refresh is to take a dip at the Balinese-style rooftop pool at the Transit Hotel in Terminal 1. It costs $17 SGD to enter (if you’re not a hotel guest) but that fee includes use of the shower facilities, a towel and a complimentary non-alcoholic drink.
If it’s food you’re after then head to Singapore Food Street (Level 3, T3 ) which offers street food style dishes such as Hainanese Chicken Rice and Bak Kut 24 hours a day. You can also try the famed Raffles Singapore Sling at the Long Bar in the Wines and Spirits Duplex store at T3.
Nature lovers will enjoy the Butterfly Garden, an airport paradise home to 1000 butterflies, tropical plants and a 6-metre grotto waterfall, found in T3, and the Cactus Garden, home to more than 100 species of cactus and plants from the arid regions of Africa and the Americas, as well as an on-site pub, in T1.
For night-time stopovers a cheap way to pass the time is by catching a movie (or a snooze) in the 24 hour Movie Theatre. (There’s one in both T2 and T3).
6 to 12 hours
If you’ve got between 6 to 12 hours to play with this is your chance to get a taste of Singapore.
For a free introduction to the major sights of the city you can join one of the Free Singapore Tours that run 6 times daily. Simply register for either a Heritage or City Sights Tour upon your arrival in the transit area.
If the timings of this tour don’t work for you I’d suggest grabbing dinner in Singers by catching a cab to the Changi Village Hawker Centre. Just a 15 minute ride from the airport, this food centre has local specialities including Nasi Lamak, chicken satay and avocado smoothies, which are all priced at less than $5 SGD each. There’s also a trendy microbrewery down by the water’s edge and delicious chocolate lava cake at Chocolate Origin. A taxi here will cost approx. $10 SGD. You can store your hand luggage at the airport if you’d rather not lug it around.
12 hours plus
If you’ve got longer than 12 hours I’d recommend you treat yourself with a sleep at the award-winning Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. You can choose between bedrooms with runway or pool views and fill up with a good feed at the breakfast buffet before you leave. You will have to pass through immigration to reach the hotel but it’s directly connected to the airport terminal so super easy to fly in and flop on the bed.
There’s also a range of hotels in Singapore city centre to suit all budgets. A taxi to the city from the airport takes about 30 minutes and costs between $20 and $40 SGD. Fares are metered and there is an additional airport surcharge for all trips originating from Changi. The bus takes twice as long but will only set you back $2.50 SGD.
Are you spending a stopover in Singapore soon? What have you got planned?