I always love transiting through the amazing Singapore Changi Airport. Most people say Singapore Changi is the best airport in the world, and I would have to agree!
My first time using Changi was in October 2011 as I touched down on a flight from London on the Singapore Airlines A380 (SQ317). This was my first ever time in Asia and I did not know what to expect, so to arrive at such a great airport, clean and spacious, was a great way to start!
Over the years since then, I often deliberately plan my flights to allow me to have a period of transit in the airport before my next flight. One such occasion, I had a flight from Delhi to Singapore, and then the next day an onwards flight to Hong Kong. I had around 16hrs in transit at Changi, which might sound like a lot to most people, but I planned it that way! For a specific blog on that day, check out my post that details all the geeky things you can do during a layover at Changi.
Changi is a little different to other airports in the world. Firstly, there is really no segregation between arrivals and departures. It is all encompassed in the same area – like a huge shopping mall. And while that may sound scary to some, it works perfectly efficiently as all things do in Singapore. It means that once you land, you are not rudely ushered to the Immigration desks like at other airports. You can do as you please, for as long as you please (days, if necessary), just make sure you do not pass immigration, as once you do, you cannot get back airside without another onwards boarding pass. However, if you are staying airside after your inbound flight, please be aware that if you do not collect your luggage it will go to lost property and you will have to claim it from there when you do decide to leave the airport, but that really is no problem, as I have done so myself, and even a representative from my onwards airline organised to have the luggage retrieved for me!
Changi’s Terminal 3, in particular, is a sight to behold. Full of vast, open, carpeted spaces, it features plenty of amenities for the passengers, and is always so clean and quiet. Boarding announcements are not usually made at Changi, so it all adds to the serenity. Around the airport there is a transit hotel (in terminal 1 and in terminal 3), a swimming pool, a free cinema, free showers, free wifi, 24hr food courts, ample pay-in lounges, playgrounds for children, snooze zones, plus the obligatory duty free shops! What makes Changi unique, though, is that it is so green, with lots of gardens such as the butterfly garden, and the famous koi carp ponds!
I enjoyed my stay at the Ambassador Transit Hotel in Terminal 3 at Changi. They offer competitive rates for 6hr or 12hr blocks. Any additional hour you spend in the room after that initial block is up then you pay additional fees. There is free LAN internet access in the rooms (but no wifi) and the LAN cable is loaned to you free of charge from reception if you don’t happen to be carrying one with you (and let’s face it, who does in the age of iPads and iPhones?). Then again, there are numerous portals around the whole airport to charge your laptops or phones free of charge, so you needn’t ever have to worry about losing your batteries!
Changi is also great for spotting airlines as it is one of the major airports of the world. Most airlines fly here, including some from Africa like Ethiopian Airlines and Saudia, plus United Airlines all the way from the States (via Hong Kong). Sometimes it is really nice to just sit back and put your feet up with a Tiger Beer and watch the planes!
All of the 3 main terminals at Changi have their own identity and are connected by a cool Monorail which runs for most of the day! The monorail is very spacious and doesn’t have a driver. It is fully automated! Sometimes to kill some time, I like to travel between the terminals using the monorail system, as Changi’s myriad of long corridors often leave me out of breath!
Singapore Changi Airport has what is known as a ‘Garden Trail’ through its 3 terminals, and this includes a Sunflower Garden, Fern Garden, Bamboo Garden, Butterfly Garden, and Cactus Garden.
All in all, it is always a pleasure to experience Singapore Changi Airport. I will be returning to Singapore very soon and I will of course be making use of the facilities in the best airport in the world!
For some more information on how to pass your time during a long transit at Singapore Changi Airport, check out this guide from Indah Susanti.