There's no such thing as a boring stopover at Singapore’s Changi Airport. Go for a swim, walk amongst butterflies, take a complimentary tour of Singapore itself. And discover why it’s our readers’ favourite airport
Changi may be one of the busiest airports in the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t commune with nature while you're there. Pockets of lush greenery are scattered through each of its three terminals, all easily reached by the airport’s Sky Train.
Terminal 1 boats a rooftop cactus garden with 100 species of cacti and succulents from Africa and the Americas. Terminal 2 has a sunflower garden on its roof, where you can pretend you’re in Tuscany as aircraft take off and land in front of you. Back inside T2, there’s an orchid garden featuring rare orchids and hybrids, including the seasonal display of Singapore's national flower - the Vanda Miss Joaquim - and the airport’s very own Dendrobium Changi Airport orchid.
Finally, head to Terminal 3 to discover the Butterfly Garden. With a profusion of flowering plants, lush greenery and a 6 metre grotto-waterfall, it’s home to over 1,000 tropical butterflies from as many as 40 different species.
What better way to stretch your limbs between long-haul flights than by doing a few laps in a swimming pool? Follow it with a soak in the adjacent Jacuzzi and a quick shower, and you’ll be refreshed and raring to go.
Located on the roof of Terminal 1, the Balinese-themed pool is free for passengers staying at the Ambassador Transit Hotel. A small fee is payable by others, but includes the use of the swimming pool, Jacuzzi, shower facilities, as well as a towel and a non-alcoholic drink.
Got a couple of hours to kill between flights? Why not catch up with that Hollywood blockbuster you’ve been meaning to watch?
There are two movie theatres in Changi airport: one in Terminal 2, the other in Terminal 3. The T3 theatre shows the latest movies. The T2 shows the Fox Movies Premium Channel. Both theatres are open 24 hours daily.
Being cooped up on a plane for hours can send even the most experienced flyer a bit stir crazy. Time to head over to Terminal 3 and whizz down the tallest airport slide in the world.
TheSlide@T3 is also the tallest slide in Singapore, and you’ll reach speeds of up to 6 metres per second. You’ll need to be at least 1.3 metres and no taller than 2 metres to ride it. There is a catch. You need to spend S$10 at any of the airport shops to get a ticket. But hey, that duty free liquour could be the Dutch courage you need to give the slide a go!
Never been away from your gaming console for so long before? Don’t despair, the good folks at Changi have created an Entertainment Deck in Terminal 2 where you can get a quick computer game fix between flights.
From Xbox360 to Kinect stations, the Entertainment Deck is a one-stop integrated, multimedia entertainment centre for idle thumbs. And, best of all, it’s free.
From aromatic Hainanese Chicken Rice to tasty Bak Kut Teh, Singapore street food is legendary. And you can sample the very best in South East Asian cuisine without leaving T3.
Just follow your nose to the 1960s-themed food street offering a plethora of local delights, all prepared and served from carts and stalls inspired by Singapore’s early days.
It would be a crime to pass through Singapore and not see at least a few of the sights. So how does a free Singapore tour sound to you? Well, if you’ve got at least 5-6 hours between your flights, that’s exactly what Changi Airport offers.
Singapore skyline at night (Shutterstock.com)
There are two tours to choose from – the Heritage Tour and the City Sights Tour. Each last approximately 2 ½ hours and are complimentary. Simply head to the registration booths in the transit area with your passport and boarding pass. Do not clear immigration first!
Main image: Changi Airport Departure Hall (Shutterstock.com)