Anyone who has traveled by airplane knows that at some point, you will have a layover. Most people don’t like to see that they have a layover on their itinerary. Not only does it take up time during your trip, but it means that you may have to sit around for hours at some boring airport without much to do. But what if the airport was like a tourist destination itself, and you actually WANTED to have a layover so that you could experience all the fun things to do as a part of your trip? Well, that is exactly how some travelers feel about the Singapore Changi Airport!
The Singapore airport has once again been named the top airport in the world, a consistent showing since it opened. Not only is it a beautiful airport with many conveniences that travelers will love during a layover, but it really is like a tourist destination. With so many activities and fun things to do that you will wish you had a longer layover (seriously, who thinks that?!?)
During a recent trip through Singapore, we had the chance to experience this famous airport for ourselves; and we could easily see why it is one of the top airports in the world. While there are many options available for travelers, here is our list of top 5 things to do at the Singapore Airport.
1. See the Sights at the Singapore Airport: The Social Tree, a Giant Slide…and More!
You can eat up a lot of your time by just going on a walk around the airport to explore. To make it convenient to carry your bags, the airport offer free carts for you to use. Before you set out to explore, be sure to stop by one of the information desks to pick up a copy of the tourist guide for the airport. You will definitely want this guide before you set out on your journey on foot, because this is one big airport!
During your exploration, be sure to check out the Social Tree. This futuristic-looking sculpture is also a piece of cool technology. The Social Tree lets guests take goofy photos of themselves, add fun customizations and graphics, then add a message that they can send out into cyber-space via social media.
Share your experience with your friends and family, as well as others from around the world. The social tree also displays various photos from guests continuously, so you can walk by and see your photo along with millions of other travelers who are traveling through this massive airport!
So make a funny face and share it with the world!
Another site is the Aviation Gallery, hands-on interactive exhibit all about aviation, as well as learning about what is actually taking place on the ground at Changi airport! You can also visit the interactive art area for some woodblock rubbing, a once popular artform in Singapore. Or how about riding the tallest indoor slide in all of Singapore?!? Yeah, they have one of those too!
For kids and families, you will find numerous playground areas as well as the “Enchanted Garden” – an interactive display which comes alive with sight and sound. Motion sensors and led lights create a very cool experience with the nature and blooming flowers, and even the walkways come to life!
2. Free Movies and Gaming at the Singapore Airport…Seriously!
If you are tired of walking and just want to sit and be entertained, well you can easily do that in the airport’s free movie theatre. Just take a load off and sit back to watch some of the newest movies on the market, at no charge. With a variety of showtimes and different movies playing throughout the day (and night), you can always catch a movie.
For the kids (or the kids at heart), head over to the state of the art gaming area. Here you will find all the latest games from Playstation 3 or Xbox. Check out the private rooms to play some Rock Band, or enjoy the an interactive game on the Kinect. Many games are available to help make waiting for your next flight more entertaining.
3. Shopping Galore!
It wouldn’t be Asia if there wasn’t an enormous shopping mall (or many enormous shopping malls). You can find just about anything you could ever want to buy at the Changi airport in Singapore. From fashion boutiques, high-end designer stores, health and beauty products, candies and chocolates, jewelry, travel and fashion accessories, electronics, books and souvenirs, wine and liquor, sports, and even home furnishings! Seriously, you can get pretty much anything you need at this airport. Even some groceries at the convenience mart!
It feels like there are 3 malls in every terminal, and that’s not counting the massive mall that seems to span the entire basement! From what we saw, local families came to the airport basement mall to go shopping – some of them didn’t even have luggage, so we don’t even think they were traveling! This airport really is like a destination all by itself.
Changi Airport even has an online duty-free shopping portal! You can go online and shop starting 2 weeks in advance of your trip, and finish up to 24 hours prior to your departure. Then rather than walking around the airport to pick up your items during your layover, just head over to the designated collections area and pick up all of your items! It’s super convenient, especially if you are one of those people who love to duty free shop while traveling!
4. Enjoy Nature at the Singapore Airport: Butterflies, Orchids, Sunflowers & More!
Being stuck on an airplane for hours on end can really drain a person’s energy. It’s so rejuvinating for the soul to be able to enjoy some nature. At Changi Airport in Singapore, you will find multiple gardens where you can enjoy the bright colors of the tropical plants and flowers. In particular, be sure to stop by the gorgeous orchid garden! Orchids are Liz’s favorite flowers, so of course that was on the list during our visit.
There is also an outdoor Sunflower garden! Again, fresh air is always a good thing when you’ve spent hours inside an airplane. Pop out onto this deck to check out the flowers, as well as getting a really cool view of the tarmac and all the airplanes.
Then there is the butterfly center! We love exploring butterfly centers, but we have NEVER seen one in an airport before. Not only is this a really beautiful garden for a stroll, but you can see many different species of butterflies all over. There are even some waterfalls and peaceful walkways to enjoy. What a great way to relax between flights.
We also discovered that there was something even more special at the Butterfly Center at Changi Airport in Singapore…a Geocache! Many of our readers know that we love geocaching at parks all over the world during our travels, but never had we found a Geocache in an airport! But alas, Changi is no ordinary airport. And there really is a geocache hidden here. So it is a new way to go geocaching during a layover because you don’t even have to leave the airport!
Check out our story What is Geocaching to learn more about this hobby of ours.
5. Get Pampered…or Just Relax at the Singapore Airport
There are so many options to keep you busy while waiting for your next flight, it can tiresome to just think about it. But if you would rather just relax or pamper yourself, be sure to check out the spas. Yep, you can get a massage, rejuvenate in a sauna, and even take a nap for a couple minutes or hours. In fact, Changi Airport is one of the best places to catch a few hours of rest. They have numerous areas where you can sleep, including mini transit hotels where you can book hourly blocks of time to sleep and take a shower.
And then…there’s the rooftop Balinese inspired swimming pool!
Yes, you read that correctly! The Singapore Changi Airport really does have a swimming pool as well as a jacuzzi. Guests of the transit hotel can use these for free, but other airport guests can pay a small fee to use the facilities. Relaxing with a free non-alcoholic beverage and chilling out next to the beautiful pool sounds like a great way to spend a layover! Of course, there is also a gym if you feel like working out too.
The Singapore Changi International Airport is the Best in the World for Many Reasons!
After spending a couple of hours at the Singapore Changi Airport, it is no wonder it is voted the #1 airport in the world for so many years. After spending time there ourselves, we can attest that it was definitely one of the nicest airports that we have stepped foot in, and there is no doubt that it has more things to do than any airport we have ever flown through. We’ve never before found an airport that we actually wanted to have a layover at.
In fact, if an airline told me “sir your flight has been delayed,” I’d just say “that’s okay, you can find me at the rooftop pool.”