Our family has spent a considerable amount of time in airports. In fact my youngest has more stamps on her passport at 4 years old than I did at 25. Normally I would not get excited about a five-hour airport layover; however, our 1st trip through the Singapore Changi Airport was something worth writing about. There is a reason they earn the title World’s Best Airport. Where do you begin with all the activities?
Let me first point out the ease of navigating around the Changi Airport. Each of the 3 terminals offers unique attractions, shopping opportunities, technology stations, restaurants and more. I was most nervous about how to move freely with the amount of luggage my kids require but they have a solution for that as well. These carts are available in all the terminals and easy to move on and off the monorail.
The customer service desks offer airport maps and their representatives are helpful. There are interactive maps located throughout terminals for extra help.
Terminal 1 is an airport favorite with the rooftop swimming pool and spa tub. I snapped a quick photo making an effort not to disturb the sunbathers and swimmers. The bar area located next to the pool makes it a prime place for travelers to relax. The girls desperately wanted to swim but I did not pack their swim suits in the carry-on bags.
The Social Tree allows travelers to share photos and videos by uploading from social networking profiles and can be retrieved on future visits. The almost 9 meter tall tree displays various backgrounds on its 64 jumbo 42-inch high-definition screens.
This terminal had a Cactus Garden, Piazza Garden and Sculptural Tree Garden that we did not have time to visit. I forgot to capture a picture of the 1,216 polished Kinetic Rain displaying noticeable patterns above your head like a dragon or hot air balloon.
Terminal 2 is jam-packed with activities like a movie room equipped with theater style seating and the latest movies. There were no seats available when the girls arrived for the last few minutes of the Storks movie so they chose to sit on the floor. The theater alternated a kid’s movie with an adult movie. The Sunflower Garden, located directly outside the theater would cheer up anyone’s day. The entertainment deck on the upper level is equipped with gaming systems for interactive play.
On the ground floor you will find the Enchanted Garden with motion sensors triggering nature sounds and flowers blooming. The garden highlights are the four stained glass flower bouquet sculptures filled with colorful flowers and ferns.
The Orchid Garden can also be found here with more than 700 orchids representing the four elements of nature – Earth, Water, Fire and Air.
The most unusual airport activity offered is their free 2 1/2 hour guided city tours. We missed out on these due to our layover not meeting length requirements. There are two options (Heritage and City Sites Tour) depending on your flight arrival and departure times. Each tour offers a couple stopover areas for photo opportunities. The evening city sites tour captures the glow of the city lights. I would have loved to experience this brief break from the airport but did not schedule our flights at available tour times.
The staff guide the tour group through immigration and place the group on a tour bus. This bus makes a couple of brief stops where you can step off for photos but mainly acts as a moving airport as you get a view some of Singapore’s top spots. Then they return you to the airport to board your flight. My hope is to see Singapore sometime in the future.
Terminal 3’s highlight (in my opinion) is this stunning butterfly garden. Such a nice escape to walk through this calming garden forgetting you are even in an airport.
There are plenty of other areas to enjoy during your down time. The shopping and restaurants seem endless. There is no shortage of extras throughout the airport including technology charging stations, spas, baby care rooms, reclining lounges for sleeping and play areas like the one below.
This is the only airport I have ever travelled through where I was disappointed that my layover was not longer!