A Layover Guide To Changi Airport, Singapore

Ah, Changi! For those that are well versed in long-haul travel then the chances that you have transited through at least 1 of the terminals at this magnificent airport are very high. This city-state opened its airport over 40 years ago and it has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most important transportation hubs.

What makes Changi so special?

Changi is home to Singapore Airlines, and its sister, low-cost carrier Scoot. These airlines serve Changi which routinely wins the coveted SkyTrax ‘World’s Best Airport’ award, well, that was until Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar snatched its crown in 2021. Take a look at the World’s Best Airport award winners by following this link here, for some more layover inspiration!

 What makes Changi so special though? Well, take a look at this layover guide to Changi Airport and find out for yourself.

changi airport, singapore
Walk if you want.. there’s also the Changi ‘SkyTrain’!

Arriving At Changi

 The fun begins as your aircraft is making its final descent into Changi Airport. As you fly over the ocean beneath you, the sheer magnitude of ships dotted around the Singapore Strait is breathtaking. After all, Singapore has the second busiest port in the world! As you disembark your plane and enter the air bridge you can feel the heat and humidity – some love it, some hate it! As you enter the main terminal, take a moment to reaffirm where your next flight is leaving from. Changi is incredibly well laid out with clear signage pointing you toward your next departure terminal or gate, but it is worthwhile to get a feel for where you are in relation to your next departure point.

changi airport, singapore
Changi departure board – hard to miss!

Shop ‘Til You Drop

 If you have landed in Terminal 1, 2 or 3 then you are in luck! The three terminals are super easy to navigate with the Changi ‘SkyTrain’ operating frequently. The first port of call, however, is a spot of shopping! There are boundless duty-free shops, bookstores, gift shops and more to feed the shopaholic in you. Go and browse some high-end goods at Burberry, pick up some runners at Adidas, a new watch, or grab your other half a beautiful bottle of Adelaide Hills red from the duty-free section.

Eat, Drink, Rest And Relax

 Shopping can be thirsty work though, so it’s best you take the next half hour or so with a cold beer or a coffee to wake you up. The Cactus Garden in T1 showcases over 100 fascinating species of cacti from Asia to the Americas. What’s even cooler than this? You can take it all in from inside the air-conditioned Cactus Bar. Grab a pint of Tiger and a light bite as you take in the view of the airport and the Cactus Garden.

 So, you’ve shopped until you’ve dropped, drank the local beer and had a small bite at the Cactus Bar, now it’s time to truly unwind and relax. Get yourself back onto the SkyTrain and head to Terminal 3. Here you will find Transpa. Yes! A spa in the airport! Here you can pay 90 Singapore Dollars for a full body massage and complimentary shower afterwards. This is a fantastic way to unwind before or after a long flight and the chance to freshen up afterward is too good to resist for some.

 I hear what you’re saying though. “I don’t want to keep jumping on the SkyTrain.” That’s fine too! The Ambassador Transit Hotel is located in T1, near the Cactus Garden. Here you can pay a small fee for use of the Balinese-style pool, jacuzzi, shower and fresh towels too. This place can be worthy of spending your entire time during your transit. It is super relaxing and a great way to unwind and then freshen up before your onward journey. If you’re interested you can book your stay at the airport hotel here.

The Jewel

 If sightseeing is more your thing then Changi has your back on this one too! Changi is home to the world’s largest indoor waterfall, and it is truly a sight to behold. The HSBC Rain Vortex towers at 40 metres high with water pouring through the centre of a dome-shaped roof. It is a fascinating piece of architecture and it ticks off a must-see sight before your trip has even begun! The rain vortex can be found in the Jewel which is the large retail complex at Changi.

changi airport, singapore
The HSBC Rain Vortex is a must-see, at 40 metres high!

Whilst at the Jewel, why don’t you check out the plethora of walks and garden tours in this incredible complex, such as the Canopy Park. There is something here for everyone including the young and the young at heart. There are both walking and jumping nets overhead the beautiful greenery in the Jewel allowing you to take this all in overhead. Who would turn down the chance to bounce around on a giant trampoline for a bit of fun between flights? Head here to view the full offering of activities and experiences available at the Jewel.

changi airport, singapore
There seems to be something for everyone at Canopy Park

Movie Time

If you’re passing through T3 and are desperate to see the latest blockbuster that wasn’t available on your flight, then you must check out the cinema. This cinema shows the latest Hollywood blockbusters for you to enjoy and the screening schedule can be found here. This cinema even shows live sporting events such as the Australian Open and F1 Grand Prix’s, so you never miss the action!

Take A Tour Of Singapore

 If you’re facing up to a longer layover then it doesn’t have to be an inconvenience. Changi Airport offers a COMPLIMENTARY sightseeing tour around Singapore! This is only offered to passengers who have layovers between 5.5 to 24 hours. You have to register for the tour once you are in Changi, with more information on this available right here. If you’ve never visited Singapore before then I couldn’t recommend taking this tour enough. It’s a truly beautiful and modern city which is a melting pot of different cultures and history, making it extremely unique. If marveling at the modern skyscrapers and infrastructure is more your thing then make sure that you take the ‘city sights tour’, or if history and culture appeal to you more, then jump on board the ‘heritage tour.’ Whichever tour you take, you will definitely be left wanting to make Singapore the main destination on your next trip.

changi airport, singapore
The Singapore skyline is a sight to see in itself!

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. If you ever have the chance to take a lengthy stopover in Singapore, then grab that opportunity with both hands! Changi layovers are a part of your holiday in their own right with lots to do, eat, drink and see. Start off your trip in the right way by following this layover guide to Changi Airport, Singapore. Have a safe onward journey, wherever you may be headed.

proaviationtips banner ad
ken johnson


Ken is a passionate aviator, a professional pilot and flight instructor. He has over 17 years of flight experience across hundreds of aircraft ranging from recreational, aerobatic, historic, commercial and military aircraft, training hundreds of students along the way. Find out more.

Ken has 124 posts and counting. See all posts by Ken

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *