Whether you’re in Singapore for a few days or on a short layover, Changi Airport is a must-see during your stay in the Lion City. Voted consistently by international air travelers as the world’s best airport, Changi Airport makes killing time until your next flight easy. And with the opening of Jewel in April this year, Changi gained a large indoor garden, recreational space, and over 280 units of retail and restaurants — the highlight of your trip might occur before you even leave the airport. Seamlessly linked to Terminal 1, and connected via a walkway from Terminals 2 and 3, the ten-story dome of wonders is just a step away from your travels. In this guide, we’re taking you through our recommendations for your time at Jewel.
Drop off Your Bags and Explore Hands-free
If you have more than 3 hours before your flight takes off, consider dropping off your bags at Jewel’s early check-in counters. Located on Level 1, the counters are easily accessible from various terminals. After stowing away your luggage, you’re free to shop, dine, and play at your leisure. If your airline doesn’t offer early check-in, you can still drop your bags off at the baggage storage area, also located on Level 1.
Marvel at the Rain Vortex
The highlight of Jewel is the Rain Vortex – the world’s largest indoor waterfall. This spectacular architectural achievement is surrounded by an idyllic green landscape and will make you feel as if you’ve entered into an alternate, almost futuristic world. The collected rainwater flows down in a circular waterfall from an impressive height of 130 feet and is then recycled for use throughout the building. In the evening, watch as the Rain Vortex lights up with color, music and special effects.
Take a Stroll Through Nature
With over 2,000 trees and palms and over 100,000 shrubs, Jewel is a paradise for nature lovers. These plants span about 120 species and originate from countries all over the world, giving you a truly international experience of nature. The tranquil indoor landscape is in the spirit of Singapore’s goal to be the greenest city on earth, and creates a sense of harmony between urban and natural environments. Walk through the flora-filled paths while admiring the Rain Vortex from all angles.
There are also various themed gardens located across the four terminals for when you’re waiting in transit. Check out the rooftop garden in terminal 1, featuring over 100 species of cacti and succulents from Africa and the Americas. For an instant moment of zen, head to the butterfly garden and enjoy the company of over 1000 butterflies in their lush tropical habitat.
Dine Around the World
From Western favorites like Shake Shack to local hangouts like Tiger Street Lab and Aloha Poké, you’re sure to find whatever cuisine you’re craving. Many restaurants in Jewel feature extended hours until 3 am, with some even open all 24 hours. If you’re looking for a taste of Singapore, head to Violet Oon where you can try famous local flavors as well as Peranakan classics. We recommend trying the Kueh Beng Kah, a Tapioca Cake with Gula Melaka and Coconut Cream – a sweet and chewy dessert you’re sure to love.
Bounce on Sky Nets
If work can wait, embrace play by unleashing your inner child and bounce amongst the trees on the Manulife Sky Nets. These trampoline style nets are located 8 meters above the Canopy Park at their highest point, giving you a thrilling way to view Jewel from above. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, as you’ll definitely be moving around a lot. For a less intense but equally scenic activity, visit the walking net, which allows visitors to float above Jewel at their own pace.
Visit the Changi Experience Studio
To learn about the history of Changi and how each terminal came to be, visit the CES for an interactive experience as unique as the airport itself. Walk through the studio with a blank travel guide, and watch it light up as you hold it under various touchpoints, each uncovering a different piece of Changi Airport’s history. With high-tech projection storytelling, immersive shows and interactive games, this space is suitable for families and groups looking for a fun and educational activity.
Take a Break at a Lounge
Check yourself into the Changi Lounge (S$38 for 3 hours access) to freshen up with a shower or take a nap in one of their nap pods. Wifi-access and an abundance of working space make the lounge perfect for getting work done on the go and keeps you comfortable while you attend to your business needs. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy some refreshments, with the option of Jewel’s attractions right outside. If you are transferring from the airport onward to a ferry or cruise, Changi Airport offers an intermodal transfer service which transports your checked luggage from your arriving flight right to your departing vessel.
And for those who have more time to spare…
Take a Day Trip to an Island
Just a ferry ride away from Singapore, Bintan Island in Indonesia offers quiet beaches and relaxing resorts for visitors looking to escape the city. Arrive by lunch to enjoy a classic Indonesian Sate Campur by the beach.
More adventurous spirits should venture beyond the resort area and take a trip to the 500 Lohan temple, remarkable for the nearly 500 life-sized stone statues of ‘arahats’, or Buddhist saints. The lifelike sculptures capture the characteristics, facial features and postures of each saint with extreme realism.