7 Free Ways to Enjoy a long layover at Singapore’s Changi Airport

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.

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

The lovely butterfly garden

The lovely butterfly garden

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.

Stumbling upon one pretty display after the other whilst train hopping

Stumbling upon one pretty display after the other whilst 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.

Massage chairs

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!

Comfy lounge chairs to sleep, work or chill

Comfy lounge chairs to sleep, work or chill

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?


  1. This seems like a great airport to have a layover in! We visited Singapore but didn’t even think about spending any extra time in the airport! We will make sure to check out that butterfly garden next time we are there!

  2. They offer city tours now? That is so awesome! I’d probably go back to Singapore just to see the airport and experience all these. Lol.

  3. Best airport ever. They really understand travellers and how to make your visit enjoyable from when you land to when you leave. I like the airport hotels where you can grab a shower too. Now my vote for the worst/must do sooo much better is LAX – ugh

  4. There are definitely worse places for a layover! Its great to be able to work when you’re waiting for a flight, but if you can fit in a city tour even better!! Or even a relaxing wander through the butterfly garden breaks up the time too 🙂

  5. I absolutely love Singapore’s airport. I used to live in Singapore and ended up doing a shoot for their airport pamphlet one time. I got to see so much of what the airport had to offer and wished there were more airports like this around the world.

  6. Not a bad way to spend time in the airport! I would love to check out that butterfly garden. I’m bookmarking this in case I end up in this airport in the future! =)

  7. Seriously, Singapore’s airport is easily the best airport I’ve ever been to! SO many cool things to do that I actually wouldn’t mind having a long layover there. That butterfly garden is clutch.

  8. I’ve been to the Changi Airport but had no time to explore it, so I’m a bit bummed to have missed out on all these things (for now, at least). There’s just so much to see and do, the airport should be a proper stop on its own on the traveller’s itinerary! Luckily, it’s one of the major hubs in SEA, so I’ll probably be there again soon – would like to see that butterfly garden!

  9. I hate long layovers but I wouldn’t mind it at Changi airport! You’ll find me in the video games section lol, I’d probably miss my next flight because of it. I’d like to check out the butterfly garden too but they gross me out if I look at them too closely hahaha

  10. Personally don’t like long layover but don’t mind to be in such places spending my time roaming around.
    So gorgeous, hopefully one day I will be able to make my way to these places at Changi.

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