15 things to do in Changi Airport

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When planning a long-distance flight, Changi Airport in Singapore is one of the best airports to spend time on a layover. More than just an airport, Singapore’s Changi Airport is a destination designed to keep weary travellers happy, relaxed and refreshed. With four terminals and the new Jewel Changi Airport, which is a lifestyle and entertainment hub, there’s lots to see and a raft of exciting things to do in Changi Airport.

Named the world’s best airport seven years in a row (since 2013) by the Skytrax World Airport Awards, Changi Airport is a clear winner when comparing airports around the world. 

Better still, many of the things to see in Changi are free. If you’re keen to experience all the attractions in Changi Airport, you’ll need to organise your time with a well-organised Changi itinerary that hits all the high spots. 

Changi Airport

It doesn’t matter which terminal your flight leaves from, there are plenty of things to do in Changi Airport in every terminal. 

Some Facts About Changi Airport

  • 100 airlines fly to Changi Airport from 380+ cities in the world. 
  • Over 65.6 million people pass through Changi Airport each year. If everyone who passed through Changi decided to stay there, it would have a population equivalent to the 22nd largest country in the world (about the size of the population of France). 
  • Around 7,400 flights arrive or leave from Changi.

Which Terminal To Go In Changi Airport

changi airport Jewel rain Vortex
The Jewel Terminal at Changi Airport has plenty of treasures to discover.

Whether you spend time in Terminal 1, 2, 3 or 4 or Jewel will depend on which terminal you’re departing from and how much time you have to spare.

Jewel is connected to Terminal 1’s arrival hall and has bridges linking it to Terminals 2 and 3. Of you need to get to the rest of the airport from Terminal 4, there’s a free shuttle bus to Terminal 2.

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Things To Do In Changi Airport

1- Upload A Photo To The Changi Social Tree

changi airport social tree
A fun attraction in Changi Airport is the Social Tree.

One of the cool things to do in Changi Airport is to upload your photos and videos at a touch-screen photo booth and you’ll soon see yourself on the giant 360-degree screen of this nine-metre tall and 11m in diameter digital “Social Tree”.

The display has a rotating selection of phantasmagorical backgrounds including a mystical forest, deep-sea setting, Marina Bay and Singapore’s skyline.

A nifty thing is those photos and videos can also be uploaded to Facebook and Twitter. 

The Changi Airport Social Tree is in Terminal 1. 

2- Go for a swim

changi airport swimming pool
Taking a dip in the swimming pool is one of the refreshing activities in Changi Airport.

Going for a swim is one of the more relaxing things to do in Changi Airport.

Take a dip in the rooftop pool at Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel (Terminal 1) and sip cocktails by the poolside bar. 

Entry to the pool costs S$17 and is free for hotel guests.  

3- Visit The Gardens

changi airport koi pond terminal 3
One of the things to do in Changi Airport is to relax and reflect by the Koi pond.

Wind down in nature and breathe fresh air in one of these Changi Airport gardens.

Relax in the butterfly garden, cactus garden, fern garden or orchid garden with its lovely pond filled with koi.

If you need a good dose of nature, take yourself on a self-guided garden tour. 

Arrival Garden (T1)

The 460m2 garden is designed to resemble a dragonfly habitat, with pools and Mexican fan palm trees. 

Cactus Garden (T1)

Sip Tequila at the rooftop garden bar in the Cactus Garden while admiring 100 types of cacti, such as prickly pear cactus and golden barrel cactus, as well as desert plants from the world’s driest regions.  

This garden is also home to giant Ponytail Palms, Old Man Cactus and Cycads.

Discovery Garden (T1)

Go for a walk along the winding path in the Discovery Garden and admire the trees and sculptures as you get your system moving.

Water Lily Garden (T1)

Admire the lovely water lilies in the ponds of the Water Lily Garden. This garden is home to one of the world’s largest aquatic plants, the Amazon Water Lily, as well as Sacred Lotus plants and the Screw Pine from the Pacific. 

Enchanted Garden (T2)

changi airport enchanted garden terminal 2
The Enchanted Garden is another Changi Airport attraction.

A magic forest with multimedia senses that trigger the sounds of nature, the Enchanted Garden is a delightful spot to wander around. 

More of an attraction that a garden, its centrepiece of four giant glass bouquet sculptures is a work of art that holds fresh flowers and ferns.

There’s also an impressive Tasmanian Tree Fern here. 

Orchid Garden (T2)

changi airport orchid garden terminal 2
The Orchid Garden is a serene escape in Changi Airport.

With over 700 orchids arranged in impressive displays, the Orchid Garden is certainly worth a look.

Spot the Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim Orchid, which is the national flower of Singapore, and a variety of other beautiful orchids including the Dancing Lady Orchid and Moth Orchid.  

See white orchids in glass bubble cases, brown and green orchids arranged among tree root sculptures and impressive floral columns. 

Sunflower Garden (T2)

The spot to cheer you up is the Sunflower Garden, which has a few varieties of sunflowers and a view of the runway. 

Butterfly Garden (T3)

Escape to a forest among 1000 flitting butterflies as you wander past lush plants and a 6m waterfall.

The Butterfly Garden in Changi Airport is a delightful green escape, with informational displays about butterflies. 

Shiseido Forest Valley (Jewel Changi Airport) 

There are over 2,000 trees and 100,000 shrubs in Jewel, with 120 species from various countries.

Amidst the shops and cafes of Shiseido Forest Valley are two hiking trails, with gushing waterfalls.

The East and West Trails meander through forests of plants and shrubs.

Canopy Park (Level 5, Jewel)

Canopy Park has a Petal Garden with flowers from around the world, a topiary walk and hedge maze.  

4- Get Lost In A Maze 

Changi Airport Canopy ParkHedge Maze
Navigating the hedge maze in Jewel is one of the fun things to do in Changi Airport.

The Hedge Maze and the Mirror Maze at Canopy Park are both visually interesting attractions to wander around.  

5- Watch a movie 

changi airport move theatre
Watching a movie is another way to spend time at Changi Airport.

There are two 24-hour movie theatres, in Terminals 2 and 3.

Shows are free and the latest movie screenings on the Fox Movies Premium Channel can be found at Terminal 2 at Changi Airport.

6- Splurge on a Shopping Spree 

Shops in Singapore’s Changi Airport range from fashion and beauty to the latest electronic gadgets.

My favourites are footwear store, Charles & Keith, and Pandora, where you can sometimes pick up charms that are made especially for the Asian market.

I bought a dragon charm in the year of the dragon.

Changi Airport also has a transit programme where you can claim back S$40 in shopping vouchers while in transit.

7- Catch up on work

changi airport
If none of the exciting things to do in Changi Airport is your cup of tea, find a comfortable place to plug in and catch up on work.

There are more than 550 internet kiosks available for passengers to at no cost.

WiFi is also free and there are plenty of charging stations for computers and smartphones.

Catch up with world financial news on a plasma set, which has cable channels like BBC World, CNBC, Channel News Asia and CNN, and up-to-date stock and equities information provided by Bridge Information Systems and Reuters.

8- Relax in a spa 

Wind down and put yourself in the hands of a therapist at one of the many spas.

Spa menus offer a broad range of services including facials, manicures, reflexology, ear candling and specialist massages such as Tui Na, Thai and hot stone.

A unique thing to do is to book some time at the Fish Spa and let the fish nibble on your feet in Terminal 1 at Changi Airport.

9- Admire Art Installations

changi airport Terminal 4 Travelling Family
Admiring artworks is one of the ways to spend time in Singapore Airport. Pictured here is the Travelling Family sculptor.

An excellent way for those with an artistic eye to spend some time is to take yourself on a self-guided trail of Changi Airport’s art installations, which are scattered right through the terminals. 

Terminal 3 Art Installations

  • Coming Home by Chinese artist Han Meilin is a massive 9000kg sculpture highlighting the importance of the family unit by symbolically using steel (father), bronze (mother) and gold  (child).  
  • Crystal Garden consists of 12 dandelion glass sculptures of different sizes created with 1,735 hand-blown Bohemian glass piece. The spheres are embedded in garden beds among flowering plants.
  • Floral Inspirations by Han Sai Por is a cluster of giant textured seed pods.

Terminal 4 Art Installations

  • Hey Ah Chek! is a bronze sculpture of a 1950’s scene of a mother and son negotiating with a trishaw driver at the markets.     
  • The Immersive Wall is an enormous panoramic LED display showcasing Singapore’s skyline, scenery and how Changi Airport is connected to other destinations. 
  • Petalclouds is 200m installation and engineering feat that creates an impression of clouds floating in the sky. It’s a melding of music and movement connecting the terminal’s public and transit sections. 

The Peranakans culture is a unique fusion of Chinese and Malay cultures found mainly in Singapore, Melaka and Penang.  

The Peranakan Gallery offers a taste of this intriguing culture with a display of historical photos and a collection of items. 

11- Have fun in a Changi Airport Playground

changi airport playground terminal 2
The playgrounds in Terminals 2 and 3 will keep the kids happy.

There are playgrounds in the public and transit areas of Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. 

12- Bounce Around In The Manulife Sky Nets

Manulife Skynets are on Level 5 or Canopy Park. Opening hours are from 10 am to 10 pm. 

13- Learn Something New At The Changi Experience Studio

changi airport xperience zone terminal 2
You could spend hours learning about aviation and other interesting things at the Changi Experience Studio.

14- Hit the Xbox at the Entertainment Deck

Challenge your fellow travellers to a game of virtual soccer, tennis or bowling on Xbox Kinect. 

It’s a fun way to work out and get the blood flowing after a long flight. 

The Entertainment Deck also computer games, PlayStations and retro arcade machines at Level 3 in the Departure Transit Hall. Opening hours are 6 am to midnight. 

15- Take a tour of Singapore

If you have at least five hours between flights, a free tour of Singapore is the way to go. Tours run five times a day and there’s a choice of two.

The colonial tour showcases Singapore’s history as a trading port and includes a stroll along the Singapore River.

The cultural tour takes in the sights of Singapore’s multicultural population including Little India, Chinatown and Kampong Glam.

Tours are two hours long and are very popular, so make sure you sign up as soon as you arrive. If you’re planning on wandering around Singapore on your own, here are some places to visit in Singapore.

Hotels in Changi Airport

Transit Hotels

changi airport hotel terminal 2
A comfortable room at the Changi Airport hotel in terminal 2.

The three transit hotels in Singapore Changi Airport are convenient because it means you can stay within the transit area and not have to clear customs and immigration.

As you won’t have access to luggage that has been checked in if you’re planning on staying in a transit hotel at Singapore Airport, make sure to pack a change of clothes and toiletries. 

Terminal 1 – Aerotel Singapore Transit Hotel

This is the most convenient hotel for flights leaving from Terminal 1, but passengers from Terminals 2 and 3 can also access this hotel using the Skytrain.  

The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool with a poolside bar, making it a great spot to relax while waiting for your next flight, a gym and library. 

Terminals 2 and 3 – Ambassador Transit Hotel

changi airport hotel terminal 3
A budget room in terminal 3 at Changi Airport.

Ambassador Transit Hotel is located in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 offer free WiFi, fitness centre and a range of budget-friendly rooms.  

Hotels next to Singapore Airport

Crown Plaza Changi Airport is a luxury escape that is linked to Terminal 3 by covered walkways. 

It has an outdoor landscaped pool, spa, fitness centre and two restaurants.

Which Airlines Fly to Changi Airport?

Here is a list of airlines I’ve flown on either in or out of Changi Airport

Airlines Lounges in Changi Airport

When planning your trip, fill in time at the airport at a private airport lounge, such as Plaza Premium.

Looking for an Asian destination to connect through to from Changi? Here are some fantastic places in Asia and things to do there.

10 things to do in Changi Airport

10 things to do in Changi Airport