Changi Airport is perhaps the only airport where I would not mind spending over 8 hours in transit, without even stepping out of the airport. Ofcourse we all hate long layovers but Changi makes them so much more bearable.
Now definitely spending those long hours at your destination or comfortably tugged in a bed, in one of the many luxurious Airport hotels is surely a better use of your time. Infact, that’s what I have done several times in the past and I had one of the best times at one of the Manchester airport hotels. Also, airlines often include a stay if you have a 8+ hour transit, though you need to check this clause before booking. However, at Changi, I didn’t even call up the airline to ask for this option.
Changi offers an array of delightful exhibits, lounge chairs, work stations, restaurants and it does help that the airport is clean and has new displays coming up every now and then. I had a long layover in Changi twice and during my current transit to Indonesia, I decided to document my tips for fellow travelers.
Table of Content
Things to do at Changi Airport without spending a dime
Guided City Tours to discover Singapore
Changi airport offers 2.5 hour free guided tours to all passengers with over 8 hours of transit time in between flights. You need to show your boarding pass and passport in order to hop on one of these tours. I myself never tried the free tours as I have visited Singapore and explored most of the attractions. Plus, the timings of my flights somehow never matched the tour (you need ample time before and after the tour in order to take advantage of this offer).
Enchanting Exhibits for unadulterated entertainment
Butterfly Garden – This is hands down my favourite exhibit at Changi airport. I love these pretty little things fluttering around in a ‘rainforest’ style glass enclosure. It also makes for one of the best photo opportunities at the airport and I could easily spend an hour capturing these colourful wings.
Cactus Exhibit – I had missed the cactus exhibit during my previous long layover so I was excited to see this. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Located on a roof, alongside a lovely rooftop bar called The Traveller’s Cactus Pub, this garden certainly made for pretty views and lovely plantations.
Various other displays – Other exhibits I enjoyed and you can too (Remember, they are all free) were -Water lily garden , orchid garden, social tree, sunflower garden and the enchanted garden.
Work Stations to catch up on pending work
This is especially useful for entrepreneurs and digital nomads. Changi has an array of comfortable work desks and sofas with charging points attached to each station. You can easily set up a temporary work desk at one of these whilst enjoying the free Wifi facility which is easily available at any information kiosk.
I spent more than 50% of my long layover at a work desk taking notes and jotting down travel stories for my blog. So, this layover turned out to be not just fun but equally productive.
Train Hopping using the Sky Train
Skytrains operate between all the terminals and guess what – they are free! Its so much fun hopping on and off one of these and exploring all the different displays/ exhibits across terminals. I did a fair bit of backtracking when I looked at the Changi airport map and realized I missed an exhibit in T1 or T2 and had to go back. It’s free and walking around the airport is great exercise so, you have absolutely no excuses to skip train hopping.
Movies and gaming zone
If you just want to chill, head to one of the movie theaters at Terminal 2 and 3. They have a fixed screening schedule ranging from old classics to latest Hollywood block busters. It is open 24 hours and is complimentary for all. The entertainment deck also has Xbox and other music/gaming options to suit your taste.
I never miss a chance to enjoy a foot massage at one of the many massage chairs spread across Changi. You can indulge in a foot massage of your choice while adjusting vibration, pressure etc as per your requirement. This is by far one of my favorite free things to do at Changi airport.
Lounge chairs to grab a wink
After exploring all exhibits and constant shuffling between terminals, you will surely want to take a break. Changi has super comfy flat back lounge chairs where you can simply relax, catch a nap or do what I did – work!
With so many options, there is no chance to get bored at Changi, so if you happen to have a long layover, fret not and enjoy your time exploring the airport.
Which is your favorite airport for a long layover?