Tips For Transiting Through Singapore Changi Airport From A Frequent Flyer

As the text pinged through on my phone for the free wifi code I noticed the long string of previous messages. A quick count revealed that I have travelled via Singapore Changi Airport 8 times in the last 6 months alone. Whenever I travel from Australia to Europe or Asia I chose to fly via Singapore not just because of my loyalty to Singapore Airlines but because I always enjoy my experience at Changi Airport. It’s not just me who thinks the airport is great – Singapore Changi has won over 500 industry awards, making it the world’s most awarded airport!

So What Makes It So Awesome?

Unlike some Asian airports that shall remain nameless Changi is not a soulless hangar but a lifestyle destination in itself. Fantastic for food, shopping, spa-time and catching a movie, Changi is a great place to hang out, plus you can catch a flight afterwards!

A 13-strong team and an army of service partners care for more than 500,000 plants at Changi Airport’s three terminals.

A 13-strong team and an army of service partners care for more than 500,000 plants at Changi Airport’s three terminals.

The Best Bits

Singapore Changi Airport has many great things going for it but here are my personal picks of the best bits:

The Butterfly Garden – An unexpected airport paradise where you’ll find 1000 butterflies, tropical plants and a 6-metre grotto waterfall. (T3, transit area.)

24 Hour Movies – Catch free movies around the clock at the 24 hour movie theatres in both T2 and T3. Each theatre has a different blockbuster schedule – view what’s playing here. (T2, near the Sunflower Garden & T3 near the Ambassador Transit Lounge.)

Free and Fast Wifi – It’s easy to get connected at Singapore Changi. Either submit your phone number online to receive a code via text or pick up a password from one of the information desks.

Enchanted Garden at Terminal 2

Walk through the Enchanted Garden at Terminal 2

Fun For Foodies – Almost every type of cuisine is covered at Singapore Changi. In just T3 alone you can enjoy a hot chocolate & croissant from Paul, artisan yoghurt from Milk & Honey or feast on a range of traditional Singaporean cuisine at Singapore Food Street. (Level 3, Transit Area.) You can even try the famed Raffles Hotel Singapore Sling without leaving the airport. Head to the Long Bar in the Wines and Spirits Duplex store at T3.

Free Money!! – Just when I was thinking that Singapore Changi couldn’t get any better I heard about the Singapore Air Changi Transit Programme. Basically anyone transiting through Changi on a Singapore Air, Silk Air or Air New Zealand flight is entitled to vouchers up to the value of $40. You simply need to take a copy of your passport and boarding pass to the voucher desk near the Tax Refund counter and you’ll be issued with vouchers to be spent at selected outlets across the airport. On my recent visit (whilst flying from Colombo to Sydney) I was awarded $40 – $20 to be spent on cosmetics & perfume and $20 to be spent on anything I desired. I put the whole lot towards my favourite YSL mascara (which came with an additional 5% off as I was travelling to Oz) and it meant I only had to pay 40 cents of my own money. How good is that? Find out about the Changi voucher scheme – running from now until 31 March 2017 – here.

Pool area at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

Refreshing pool area at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

Take A Dip – If you’ve got some time to kill and need a bit of fresh air and exercise, head to the Balinese-themed open air swimming pool at the Transit Hotel in Terminal 1. There is even a poolside bar where you can grab some drinks. (T1, Departure Transit Lounge, near D Gates, Level 3.)

Spa & Beauty – At the newly opened Shilla Beauty Loft at the central Cosmetics & Perfumes store in Terminal 3 you can indulge yourself in beauty treatments by Dior or a variety of express 15-minute skincare boosts by SK-II. If it’s just a shower you need then head to The Haven (T3) where a shower costs just S$16.48 (between the hours of 1000hrs to 2200hrs – S$23.54 thereafter).

Slide – Why not whizz down The Slide@T3, Singapore’s tallest slide and the world’s tallest slide in an airport. Just because! (T3, Arrival Hall, Level 1.)

Sleep – There are a number of options for taking a kip at Singapore Changi. You can book a Nap Room at The Haven for a minimum of 3 hours, a bedroom at a transit hotel for a minimum of 6 hours (like this one I reviewed here) or spend a night at the award-winning Crowe Plaza Changi Airport (which I have also reviewed here.)

Singapore Sightseeing – Finally, if you have at least 5.5 hours to spare you can join a free Singapore sightseeing tour that leaves the airport 6 times daily. You can choose between a Heritage or City Sights tour, both of which last approx 2.5 hours. Simply register with one of the Free Singapore Tour desks in the transit area – do not pass immigration! More details can be found here.

Take in the sights of Singapore for free on a city sightseeing tour

Take in the sights of Singapore for free on a city sightseeing tour

Insider Tips

Pay per enter lounges – Many passengers assume you need to have a lounge pass or being flying business class in order to take advantage of comfy seats and complimentary food in the lounges but this is not the case. Every terminal has at least 1 lounge you can pay to enter and if you’re looking for somewhere to relax away from the crowds this is a great way to pass the time.

Exit passport control for Crowne Plaza Changi Airport – Be aware that if you decide to stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel you will need to exit passport control and enter through it again the next day in time for your onward flight. They are currently building an extension to the hotel that will see a further 200+ rooms added.

Room with a (runway) view at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

Room with a (runway) view at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

Transferring between terminals – You can easily travel between the different terminals using the free Skytrain, which takes approx 4 minutes to reach each terminal. The Skytrain is currently undergoing some work and is therefore closed northbound between Terminals 2 and 3. You will need to head below the terminal to catch the transit bus, which takes a little bit longer – something to bear in mind before you spend a lot of time shopping/eating etc! Find more info on the Skytrain here.

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have any questions let me know in the comments below or visit the official website for Changi Airport.

Further reading: Flying in the Singapore Air Suites or Surprising Sides To Singapore.

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