Singapore Changi – Best Airport In the World

Singapore Changi Airport – World’s Best Airport


Terminal 3 Departure Hall at Singapore Changi Airport

The Terminal 3 Departure Hall at Singapore Changi Airport.

Singapore Changi Airport is the best in the world and a destination in its own right. Changi Airport is not only home to Singapore Airlines, but attracts airlines from around the globe as a result of its strategic location and best in class services.

The city-state of Singapore is Southeast Asia’s banking, trade, and transportation capital. There’s so much to see and do in Singapore, we’ll cover it separately. For now, it’s time for Singapore Changi Airport to Shine!

Changi Airport: Easy To Use

Singapore Changi is made-up of three terminals. Thanks to abundant moving sidewalks and the SkyTrain, it’s simple to cover great distances in a short time.

For passengers beginning and ending their trip at Singapore Changi, the immigration and customs process is smooth and efficient. When it’s time to leave Singapore, a refreshing yet spacious departure hall greets you inside each terminal. Follow the well placed signage and you’ll be directed to the correct check-in area for your flight followed by exit immigration without hassle!

If you happen to depart from Terminal 1, keep your eyes peeled for a piece of art named “Kinetic Rain” in the departure hall. Made of 1,216 bronze droplets, it transform into 16 different shapes and patterns.

Once stamped out, you’ll be welcomed into the international transit zone. Here you can proceed directly to your flight, but if you have a bit of time, we suggest you kick back, relax, and enjoy Changi Experience. Whether you’ve just checked-in or arrived to switch planes, Singapore Changi Airport has something for everyone, regardless of age.

As Southeast Asia’s top airport — not to mention the world’s best – Singapore Changi connects passengers with over 250 cities in over 60 countries. With all of these connections, the minimum connecting time is only 60 minutes! Most connections are a bit longer, but if you get stuck with a long one, you’ll never be bored.

Map of Changi Airport

Map of Changi Airport – 60 Minute Minimum Connecting Time.

Changi Airport: To Do

Grey Goose Mix-It Bar at T1 in Changi Airport

Grey Goose Mix-It Bar at Terminal 1 in Changi Airport

As you walk into the duty-free area, feel free to enjoy a drink on the house at the “mix-it” bar. Each terminal features a “mix-it” bar with a new liquor, along with what you need to create seven cocktails, as well as sampling.

Now that you’ve had a drink, a company by the name of Sky Scanner did a top 10 survey to ask what amenities passengers would like to have in an airport. Singapore Changi ranked highly with 7 of the 10 items, but the three where the airport came up short were:

  • A Library
  • Bicycles
  • A man made beach.

Personally, I think the man made beach is a strange one, but with a swimming pool located inside the airport, passengers can go for a dip and work on their tan, all in Singapore’s beautiful tropical environment.

Swimming Pool at Changi Airport

Rooftop Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi at Changi Airport Terminal 1.

Hard Rock Cafe at Changi Airport

First and Only Hard Rock Cafe in an Airport at Changi’s Terminal 3

However, Singapore Changi Airport is a destination in its own right with everything it has to offer. For starters, Changi Airport features the first 24/7 movie theater in an airport, the first butterfly garden in an airport, and the only Hard Rock Cafe in an airport, and that’s just for starters!

Let’s take a walk through this incredible airport starting in Terminal 1, where I catch up with Melvin Leong, Manager of Corporate & Marketing Communications for Singapore Changi Airport Group, to talk about “The Changi Experience.”

We meet just outside the Terminal 1 Ambassador Transit Hotel; here you will find not only a transit hotel and lounge, but a rooftop swimming pool, which can be accessed for a small fee. Each terminal at Changi Airport sports a transit hotel along with a paid lounge where you can grab a shower or access business services.

If your schedule requires use of theAmbassador Transit Hotel, it’s suggested you make a reservation two weeks prior.

Here, Melvin provides a brief history of the airport. Changi, where it exists now, was built from a 1975 master-plan and opened in 1981. Terminal One is the oldest, but was remodeled in 2012 providing the terminal with a “Tropical City” concept.

Changi Social Tree

Leave your memories from Facebook on the Changi Social Tree.

As we proceed downstairs to the departure floor, our first stop is The Changi Airport Social Tree, which is a highlight in Terminal 1. Several kiosks surround the tree where you can login to Facebook and share your Changi Airport memories, as well as update them with each visit to the airport.

We continue our journey to view a number of number of the creature comforts and facilities. First up is a men’s restroom with a view. I have yet to see this one elsewhere; as of this writing, I’ll just say it’s unique to Changi.

Bathroom with view at Changi

Men’s Room with a Runway View at Singapore Changi Airport

Once finished, take a minute to rate your experience with the interactive smart bathroom system. If something isn’t clean, you can dispatch an attendant to the restroom immediately. Don’t fret, this smart rating system is available across Singapore Changi Airport. You can even rate immigration upon departure!

Changi Smart Bathroom

Smart Bathroom at Changi: Rate the Bathroom Quality.

Smart Bathroom at Changi T1

Smart Bathroom at Changi: Inform Attendant of Problem.

Smart Bathroom at Changi Thank You

Smart Bathroom at Changi: Thank You!

As we ramble through terminal one, Melvin highlights everything from well-equipped Baby Care changing stations to the free internet which is available between computer terminals and WiFi along with ample power outlets to keep your devices charged. These services exist in all three terminals of the airport.

Our next stop is one of four themed gardens which make Changi Airport simply unique.

Changi Airport: Terminal One Cactus Garden

As we walk outside into the warm Singapore sun, I’m greeted to a scene which looks more like a blooming desert after the rainy season. The Cactus Garden offers a wide variety of cactus plants including the Pygmy Date Palm, the Devil’s Tongue Cactus, the Japanese Sago Palm, and a number of others.

If you’re a smoker, make note of the garden’s location, as ample seating and ashtray’s are available outside near the garden.

Cactus Garden at Changi T1

Cactus Garden at Changi Terminal 1

Changi Airport: Terminal Three

As we hop on the SkyTrain and proceed to Terminal 3, you can’t miss the signage for the Free Singapore Tour – that’s right, a free tour!

If you have 5 hours, get out of the airport and visit beautiful Singapore. As you experience Changi Airport, you’ll see well placed signs for the free Singapore tour. If you have the time, take the time to see Singapore – afterall, it’s free! The tour takes you in an air conditioned coach to see several popular Singapore sites including the Merlion, Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade, Chinatown, and Little India.

As an aviation enthusiast, our next stop is gate B5. Gate B5 at Singapore Changi Airport was the first built with three jet-bridges to support the mammoth Airbus A380. Two jet-bridges lead passengers to seating on the main deck while a 3rd aero-bridge boards passengers upstairs on the second deck. Additionally, the jet-bridge connecting to the upper-deck is fully handicapped accessible.

The A380 is not only the world’s largest passenger jet, with the ability to seat over 400 passengers, but it’s designed for long-haul travel. The double-decker is a staple on routes between Singapore and Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, as well as the heavily traveled Singapore to London-Heathrow route.

Gate B5 at Changi - Handles A380

Gate B5 – the First at Changi to fully support the Airbus A380 Jumbo.

Changi Airport is home to Singapore Airlines and Singapore’s location makes it a natural connecting point for passengers flying between Australia/New Zealand and Europe. For connecting passengers, transfer lounges are located through-out the airport should you need assistance.

For passengers flying through Singapore Changi Airport, the airport was developed to create an effective flow of travelers with passenger comfort in mind. Instead of one security checkpoint and transit security checkpoints, security is handled at the gate.

Should you accidentally bring a prohibited item, Speedpost Kiosk’s are located near the gate-lounge checkpoints compliments of the airport. Unlike kiosks at other airports, all you pay is the Express Mail (EMS) postage at the Speedpost Kiosk to deliver items both overseas and within Singapore.

Changi Airport: Terminal 3 Highlights

We pass what looks to be an extremely comfortable “snooze area”, but have no fear, you can find one in each of the three terminals along with free foot massages and child care areas. Additionally, a number of bars are open 24/7. Should you need to see a doctor, each terminal has a medical facility with a doctor on-call around the clock.

As I continue my walk through Terminal 3 we proceed to one of the big highlights, the movie theater. Changi Airport not only has a full movie theater, but it’s open 24/7 with free screenings all day and all night. Best yet, it’s free!

Movie Theater at Changi Airport

Movie Theater at Terminal 3 in Singapore Changi Airport.

A unique play area, including the tallest slide in Singapore is available in Terminal 3. If you have young ones with a lot of energy, it’s a great place for kids to burn off that extra energy between flights.

Have you started your Changi “to do” list yet?

Changi’s Terminal Three Butterfly Garden

The next big highlight inside Terminal 3 is the Butterfly Garden, the first ever in an airport. As the sign reads, “Take nothing but photographs, Leave nothing but footprints.”

Once inside, the butterfly garden is full of lush tropical plants and sports unique landscaping, including a waterfall. Over 1,000 colorful butterflies make this airport garden their home.

Signage inside the garden provides information about the different butterfly species, including the world’s largest butterfly, the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing, which originates in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea, has a wingspan of 30cm, and is toxic to predators as it consumes the poisonous pipevine plant during the caterpillar stage. The world’s smallest butterfly, the Western Pygmy Blue, hail’s from the southern region of the United States and with a wingspan of 1.4 to 1.7cm, it enjoys alkaline habitats from salt marshes to desert salt flats.

Of the 20,000 species of butterflies around the world, approximately 5% make Singapore and the Malaysia Peninsula their home.

Changi Butterfly Garden T3

First Butterfly Garden in an Airport – at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3

Changi’s Terminal Three Koi Pond

As you step in to cool off after exploring the spectacular butterfly display, Terminal 3 sports a spectacular Koi Pond. If you’re around at 9am or 4pm, you can watch the feeding of the fish – in fact, you’re even welcome to give the feeders a hand.

Koi Pond in Changi Airport

Koi Pond inside Terminal 3 at Singapore Changi Airport.

Changi Duty Free Shopping

Nearby in the shopping area we pass the Changi Airport Hard Rock Cafe and Shop as we enter into the main walkway, lined with duty free shops including the iStudio, an official premium re-seller of Apple products where the iPad mini first went on-sale, exactly 12 hours ahead of US Eastern Time.

Prices of goods are competitive in Singapore and Changi Airport operates theiShopprogram where goods can be purchased online and picked up at the airport upon departure. The iShop program keeps pricing transparent between main street and duty-free at the airport. As you don’t have to lug your purchases around or wait for a tax refund, it’s extremely popular among individuals who visit Singapore for the shopping experience.

While on the subject of Duty Free shopping, Melvin explained Singapore Changi is number four in the world in terms of duty free retail sales. As a result of this position and Changi’s superior marketing power, it’s natural for Changi to launch new brands prior to them being available in other outlets.

Passengers flying Singapore Airlines or Silk Air have the ability to redeem a $20 voucher from iShop Changi which can be used at most duty-free airport merchants, as well as for airport dining.

Changi Airport also provides the “Changi Millionaire Competition” where duty-free shoppers can win 1 million Singapore Dollars.

Become a Changi Millionare

Win 1 Million Singapore Dollars Through on-going Duty Free Contest

Changi Airport: Terminal Two

Next up is a trip on the SkyTrain over to Terminal 2, which is full of art from the region and also features a display with cultural highlights of new destinations such as Myanmar and Laos. Talking to Melvin, he explained Changi works hard to acquire and retain new carriers such as these. The artwork is one of many ways to encourage travel to these new destinations, which not only supports Changi, but the new carriers and their tourist markets.

Gems of Indochina at Changi

This artwork helps to promote travel to new markets including Myanmar and Laos from Changi Airport.

Ferns and Orchids in Changi T2

Changi Airport Boasts a display of Ferns and Orchids in Terminal 2.

Just prior to going upstairs for two of the Terminal 2 gems, we stop by a spectacular Fern and Orchid garden on display. Yet another place to kick back, relax, and take in the surroundings at Changi.

Next up is the Sunflower Garden and the LAN gaming area, the two hotspots within Terminal 2 among travelers looking for a diversion.

Changi Airport: Sunflower Garden

Sunflower Garden - Changi T2

Outdoors Sunflower Garden at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2.

We walk out to the Sunflower Garden where I’m overwhelmed with over 500 vibrant sunflowers laid-out in a striking display. It’s a beautiful area to spend some time, depending on the outside temperatures.

While outside in the Sunflower Garden, there’s also great views of the ramp including aircraft operated by Singapore Airlines, Tiger, and Royal Brunei as pictured below.

View of Changi Ramp from Sunflower Garden

The Sunflower Garden at Changi Airport Sports a Great View of the Ramp.

Changi Airport: Entertainment Deck & LAN Gaming

Once back inside Melvin, introduces me to the Entertainment Deck and LAN gaming area where you can engage in multi-player games. Here Xbox Kinect game consoles, PS/3 and the Nintendo Wii are all available st no cost. Not only is the gaming area is popular with younger travelers, but it’s a hit with travelers of all ages according to Melvin.

The entertainment deck also provides areas to jam to some music or to watch some television or a movie.

Finally, should you look lost or need some assistance, Mobile Customer Experience Agents are available around the the airport should you need any help.

For me, it’s time to clear immigration, customs, and enter Singapore to indulge in the excellent food and take in the sights. While I was only staying in Singapore for a few days, Melvin suggested Sentosa, the Marine Life Park, the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, and Orchard Road. Melvin’s suggestions were spot on for a short visit. Now that I’ve had a taste of Singapore, I can’t wait to return in October 2013.

Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

Entry to Immigration at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1.

We’ll close with some fun facts about Singapore’s Changi Airport!

Changi Airport: Fun Facts

  • All plants in Changi Airport are real. The airport has a team of horticulturists which watch after all of the plant life;
  • The backdrop of the waterfall in the butterfly garden at Changi Airport was used for a marriage proposal – the answer was, yes;
  • Changi Airport Features 919 Skylights which are computer controlled to provide optimal light through-out the airport terminal;
  • Changi is the only airport in the world to feature a Hard Rock Cafe;
  • Changi allows you to make your duty-free purchases via the internet – simply shop online and pickup at at the iShop which is located in all three terminals;
  • The airport features two parallel runways, each 4km long, or just under 2 ½ miles;
  • 92 gates across the three terminals are A380 compatible;
  • Changi Airport offers over 550 free internet terminals;
  • Welcome messages are carved into sandstone in 16 languages at the Terminal 3 Arrival Hall.
  • FlyersPulse Votes Singapore Changi “Best Airport in The World – 2013”

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