I left Bali at 6:30am, a little earlier in the morning than I would have preferred, and got to Singapore by 9:30am. I then had an unexpectedly smooth navigation threw immigration and 9 hours to kill in the airport. I assume the in and out from Indonesia is quite common because I’ve been treated with more suspicion for what would appear to be much more normal airport interactions and immigration seemed fine stamping me into the country for one day.
Lucky for me, the Singapore airport is definitely the one you want to be stuck at with a long layover. With three equally entertaining, and easily connected terminals, the way to spend your time seems endless. I had planned on sleeping lots and finally getting some blog posts up, but rather I found myself completely occupied for all 9 hours.
The following are the top ten must do’s if you find yourself with sometime to kill at Changi Airport. Though there are definitely more things to fill your time, these for sure will show you how this airport separates itself from most others.
1. Butterfly Garden
The only airport in the world with a butterfly garden, so therefore, it is at the very top of my must do list. Hate loud crowded waiting rooms? Not that you’ll find those here at Changi…. But still, if you need to take a little break from the odd crying kid or the overwhelming shopping culture of the duty free shops, head over to terminal 3 and stroll through the beautiful and butterfly filled oasis.
2. Free Movie Theatre
There are six, pretty recent, and all family friendly, films that play twice a day each around the clock. The theatre is surprisingly small and not very popular it seems as there were only 6 of us in it when I watched a cartoon movie about a Mexican love story. The front rows of the theatre were a little too dark for my liking but in general the seats were comfortable, the theatre was clean, and the atmosphere cozy.
3. Free Tour of Singapore
I didn’t notice this until I was already an hour out from taking my flight, however, if you have a long enough layover in the airport you can take a free driven tour of Singapore, compliments of the airport. These tours are advertised with small paper signs on little kiosks in each of the terminals. Look out for them as soon as you enter the airport as some advertised waiting for small groups to build up.
4. Terminal Hoping
Let the free shuttle train or the impressive lengths of moving sidewalk literally take you away and explore all three terminals. The terminals are well signed and easily navigated; this airport was set up to be enjoyed. Terminal 1 and 2 can be walked between, but for terminal 3 you will need to take the shuttle train.
5. Take advantage of Experience Zones
This airport has so many free technological options to keep you occupied nad busy. The ‘Experience Zone’ for example in Terminal 2 houses in one area a large screen for sporting events, 4 TVs for your browsing, an interactive photo sharing art installation and computers equipped with internet. Throughout all three terminals though there are various TV and internet lounges and a busy gaming center. I found the wifi a pain to access, failing all four times I tried. Its initiated by an automatic SMS password service, or by passwords given out at hard to find information kiosks.
6. Outdoor Garden
Often after long hauls in airplanes and airports I notice the definet lack of fresh air exposure I’d had. Singapore takes care of this by integrating outdoors access inside the airport. Take a drink or snack out to a patio table or simple enjoy a brief but refreshing stroll in the outdoor garden where you can choose to look out over the tarmac or upon flowers and vines.
8. Rate your experience…. Everywhere
I don’t know if a touch screen is exactly what I want to reach for after myself and countless others have finished using the bathroom, however, that is just one of the places where Changi asks you to rate your experience. But hey, if your bathroom attendant is really out of this world you may want to share your rating on a scale from big smile to drooping frown….and then rewash your hands…
The first thing I did on arrival at the airport was race to Subway, for a refreshing and familiar taste. Whether you’re missing home or wanting to try something new and exotic, this airport has tonnes of options for you at more reasonable prices than you will find at other airports (especially Bali’s).