Singapore is known for its level of sophistication in almost all aspects of life. Even though they don’t use many robots to replace human workers, and they don’t have cars that fly around the cities, Singapore doesn’t fail to wow me every time I discover something new there. Some of you might not agree with what I’ve just said - I fully understand that, and I won’t blame you for accusing me of exaggerating. But, as a person who has been living in two moderately developing countries, whose technology is far from what Singapore has, I can say that Singapore is a sophisticated country.
One of the proofs for how wealthy Singapore is - the airport. A little bird told me that Singapore is the owner of the biggest, most luxurious airport in the world, and also one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia. I agree on that point.
I always love to have a lay-over in Singapore. Not only because it means I am a step closer to my destination (Indonesia), but also because I fly with Singapore Airlines. I realize that I can’t stop trying to exaggerate these things. Sorry. But it’s hard to deny how excellent their services are, right? Unfortunately, I am not able to have such an opulent flight everytime I fly to Indonesia - only when I obtain a promising project! Or only when Singapore Airlines suddenly decides to lower their prices!
Let’s just move on and take a short tour of Changi Airport.
This award-winning airport is located at the eastern end of Singapore and can be reached by car, either private or taxi (which costs approximately 20 SGD during the day), buses and subway (MRT). I opt to use MRT if I'm not wearing my big backpack. But, if you are in a group of three or more, it’s much better to take a cab to the town (or directly to your hotel).
This airport has 4 terminals that are connected to each other by monorail. So, please pay attention and watch your ticket carefully, especially if you have a tight schedule and will have to dash for your flight.
As the largest transportation hub in Southeast Asia, Changi airport serves more than 100 airlines flying to approximately 400 cities around the world!
What to do if you have a lay-over of less than 3 hours
There is always something to do in this airport at all hours. Whether you are a laid back person or a really active, experience is always generously offered by Changi airport that provides an extensive multitude of shops, restaurants and other entertainment 24 hours a day.
If you are in a hurry and afraid that you will miss your plane, you can rush directly to your gate by checking it on the time table (if you don’t already know which gate or which terminal).
If you are 100% confident that you are not going to miss your flight, here are my suggestions:
Explore some interesting corners of the airport. There are some stunning gardens you can visit inside the airport. One of the best is the Butterfly Garden where you can snap some selfies and relax for a while when you are waiting for your next flight.
Pamper yourself with free reflexology, a.k.a. massage chairs. This is only available in Terminals 2 and 3, if I'm not wrong. You can sit on it peacefully, lay back and adjust the setting to your needs. During my layover, I watched these chairs, checking to see if many people were in them, and rushing to grab one for myself for at least 20 minutes while enjoying my hot tea and book!
Go window shopping. If you are a person of means, it’s the best time to make of use your credit card. Shop as you wish or just wish that you could shop like Paris Hilton. It’s your choice. Changi airport provides more than 50 well-known duty free stores, from Victoria’s Secret to Hugo Boss.
What to do if you have a lay-over of more than 6 hours or exactly 6 hours
No lay-over will feel too long when you are in Changi Airport.
If you get itchy feet:
Try the Free Singapore Tour program in Changi Airport. You can go straight away to the counter, register yourself and take your bag. The programs available there are specifically designed to meet the needs of visitors who have limited time visiting Singapore.
Sleep. That’s my favorite activity. As I mentioned before, Singapore is full of comfortable places to lie down. Every terminal has a spot where you can find information on the best place to sleep or simply watch the map located throughout the terminals.
Go to the city on your own. This means you'll need to pass the immigration check, which usually takes about 30 minutes. Then, when you come back you'll need to check in again and pass through immigration once more.
If you are a spoiled traveler and really can't sleep in the hurly-burly of airport life, guide yourself to Aerotel Singapore where rates start from 55 SGD for a small room for 6 hours.
Frequently Asked Silly Questions (but might be useful)
Which currency do they accept in this Airport?
They accept USD and SGD. If you use your credit card, they will ask you in which currency you want to be charged: USD, SGD, IDR, MYR or EUR.
Is there wifi?
Are you kidding? Of course! The wifi is free for 6 hours as long as you register it through your cell phone, then you will get a confirmation code to connect. For more than 6 hours, you can buy some of the available offers with your credit card.
How about a place for taking a shower?
I've never tried this, but maybe they do have it. (Sorry, I'm a dirty person who doesn’t care how I look after hours and hours of flying!)
Have a great time during your lay-over!