10 things to do at Singapore Changi Airport

Got a few hours to kill at the airport and want to stave off the gnawing boredom? Here's how
Changi Airport
By Graham Turner and Michelle Ng |

Missed your flight? Departure been delayed? Or are you just the type of person who likes to show up three hours ahead of schedule? Whatever the reason, if you’ve got a couple of hours to kill, there's no airport in the world that's better to be in than Singapore's Changi. Sure there's all the good stuff like nice buildings and great food that await you on the outside there's also plenty to do at the airport. 

RECOMMENDED: Do's and Don'ts for tourists in Singapore and the guide to getting around Singapore on public transport

Best things to do at Singapore Changi Airport

changi airport garden

Gardens... and butterflies?

You wouldn't think an airport would be the ideal spot for a nature lover, but who ever said Changi was a normal airport? Singapore's crowning jewel of aviation has gone to great lengths to propogate our treasured City in a Garden image.

Throughout Terminals 1, 2 and 3 you'll find five different gardens  the Cactus Garden (T1), Sunflower Garden (T2), Enchanted Garden (T2), Orchid Garden (T2) and the much talked-about Butterfly Garden (T3).

changi airport shopping

Go shopping even before the trip

No points for originality here, but Changi's 350-plus selection of shops which run the gamut from luxury goods to daily necessities is not to be sniffed at. Head to the Wines and Spirits Duplex store in either T2 ot T3  to pick out a special bottle from its full assortment of wines, spirits and tobacco. Pick up some souvenirs from RISIS' selection of fine orchid jewellery or, if you want to step out of the box, some natural Chinese remedies, tonics and supplements from homegrown Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) brand Eu Yan Sang. Don't forget to box up some holiday perfumes and scents for your trip and also stock up on the mags for that long plane ride. 

changi slide

See you on the other slide

Those four words should realistically have any sane person sprinting towards T3 (even if they're not in the airport). Changi's giant slide holds the title of being 'the world's tallest slide inside an airport' – not that we imagine there's alot of competition. For a mere $10, you can ride this incredible feat of randomness. It's an absolute bargain if you ask us, plus all adults are allowed as well. 

changi staff canteen

Eat at the secret staff canteen

Sick of paying through the nose for inflated airport food prices? Well, if you can find it, the 'secret' staff canteen has some of the lowest prices and best food in the entire airport. Best of all, it's open to everyone! To find this elusive gastronomic gem, walk to the far end of Terminal 2 – towards the car park, beyond check in aisle 12. Then head out to the car park area and turn right, take the stairs up till you see the sign and boom! You've just found Changi's best kept food secret. Enjoy.

changi airport cinema

Go to the cinema for free

A far cry from the usual televised entertainment you can expect in an airport lounge – think a hundred people pretending to be watching the news or some dodgy reality show on a tiny screen in a waiting area. This is a full-blown cinema, showing the latest box office hits replete with comfy seats. Upgrade! Just head to T2 or 3's transit area and you can't miss them.

changi game area

Play video games

Okay they're maybe a little behind the times now – the PS3 and Xbox 360 are showing their wrinkles slightly at this point - but the gaming area is still awesome. With a robust selection of games, a Wii – which is in our opinion, ageless – and a LAN cafe, all available to use for free, this is a really neat little feature of Changi for the gamers. Nice one, airport.

changi rooftop pool

Poolside fun at the airport

Move aside MBS, you're not the only one with a rooftop pool. That's right, Changi has a swimming pool and jacuzzi on the rooftop of T1. Airport, stop it, you're spoiling us. It's not entirely free, but for $17 mere dollars, you get to stretch out by the poolside and use the shower facilities, too, so we think it's a pretty damn good deal. There's also a 24-hour bar if you really want to pretend you're already on holiday. Remember to pack your bathers (and extra clothes) in your carry-on.

changi sleep lounge

Have a snooze

Airports, flying and everything associated with it are generally a pile of crap for anyone that fancies a sleep. Our hero Changi however has risen above sleep mediocrity with its Snooze Lounges. It's actually comfortable and you can legitimately sleep there, instantly making it amazing. Fully reclining, butt-hugging chairs await throughout T1, T2 and T3's transit areas. We haven't even started on the leg massages yet... 

changi massage chairs

Get a free massage

Okay, massage chairs are usually absolute junk that feel more like they're violating you than easing any stress. Not these puppies though. Found in T3, these are the Rolls Royce of massage chairs, they'll touch you like you've never been touched before. And they're free. Go ahead, bliss out but just don't miss your flight. 

changi social tree

Do social media stuff

We don't just mean the humdrum of tagging yourself at the airport on your phone. No, Changi has the absolutely bonkers, but very cool 'Social Tree' in T1. A nine-foot interactive behemoth of touch screens, webcams and other technological sorcery. The idea is that you can use one of the eight touch screen photo booths to take and share your own snaps or video on the big screen then share with friends and family through email or social media. You can even save a copy of your image in the tree to reopen the next time you’re at Changi.

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