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13 amazing things to do at Singapore Changi Airport

A rooftop pool, cool art installations and free movies for all – there's loads of fun things to do at Singapore Changi Airport

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 Airport. After all, there's a reason why it's the best airport in the world.

There might be all the good stuff like nice buildings and great food waiting for you on the outside there's also plenty to do at the airport. Here's how to make yourself comfortable and right at home at Changi 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 T4

Marvel at art

While aviation, retail therapy, and engaging leisure pursuits come to mind at the fast-paced lifestyle haven of Changi, there’s also the activity of art appreciation that is best indulged in when you take your own time. From illustrious wall murals to metamorphosing ceiling pieces, our airport is speckled with arresting art displays that demand a second glance. Located at T1’s Departure Hall is perhaps the airport’s most popular Kinetic Rain, made up of more than 1000 bronze droplets that cohesively contorts into abstract patterns and other recognisable shapes, while T2 boasts a kinetic art installation called A Million Times at Changi, where the hands of over 500 clock faces spell out greetings and form other mesmerising cadences. Elsewhere, wired-formed birds hover over T4’s Departure and Arrival hall and the scene of Singapore’s hawker past is immortalised as wall murals along the underpass of T4.  

Changi Airport Terminal 4

Revel in Singapore’s Peranakan heritage

T4 shows extra love to the colourful Peranakan culture at its Heritage Zone. Existing as a lounge area, the carpeted space is strewed with an assortment of plush furnishings, complete with power plugs for electronic devices, that lay against a statement wall, sporting a façade of shophouses seen in Katong and Chinatown. Made up of nine different panels reflecting architectural styles of Baroque, Rococo, and Modern Deco, the shophouse façade also conceals a LED screen where the digital theatrical performance Peranakan Love Story is projected on. Screened on schedule timings, it is not only entertaining to watch, but also enlightening for travellers to learn more about this vibrant culture.

DFS Wines and Spirits Store

Shake up cocktails

Bars are aplenty in Changi. But there’s only one that allows you to whip up your own cocktail and that is at The Cocktail Bar, situated at T4’s DFS Wines and Spirit store. Best to drop by after a shopping rampage at the duty-free zone, The Cocktail Bar allows you to get behind the bar and try your hand at cocktail making, featuring all the apparatus and ingredients to create your very own potent concoction. But if you rather, there’s always a bartender on duty to whip up your choice of poison. From time to time, the bar will hold special showcases that cast the spotlight on selected spirits and guest bartenders to keep the spirit of cocktail always exciting for travellers in transit.  

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.

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