Singapore’s Changi airport far surpasses any other airport I’ve been to, for all of the best reasons: food, activities, and space. It’s a popular layover spot when traveling around Australia and Southeast Asia. For this reason, the airport actually offers FREE tours that you can sign up for. Given you have enough time, you can hop on one of these 2.5 hour city sights tours to see things like Gardens by the Bay. You can find more info about the tours here.
The airport has three terminals, which include a movie theater, sleeping areas, fish ponds, an outdoor sunflower garden, a butterfly garden, a cactus garden, a gym, spas, food courts, restaurants, endless shops and so much more! You can transport between terminals using the sky train. There are information booths when you first enter the airport that have pamphlets with detailed descriptions of where you can find all of these gems.
I’ve been lucky enough to pass through Changi a few times, so I’ve had the chance to leave the airport and explore the city, as well as enjoy the luxuries of the airport itself. If you choose not to take an airport provided tour, and venture off on your own, this is what you’ll want to do.
- Get on the train at the airport and head to Marina Bay Sands. You must pay for a train ticket with cash. Make sure to visit an ATM before entering the train station area, because there isn’t one down there. You can use one of the automated machines, or visit the ticket desk to purchase. Singapore’s public train is really nice, but can be a bit confusing as to which way you should go. Don’t waste your time…grab a train map, and ask someone for directions to make sure you’re going the right way. It’s about an hour commute to get to Marina Bay Sands.
What is Marina Bay Sands? Well…there’s a massive mall filled with high end stores and an absolutely phenomenal food court. Not to mention there’s a fricken river going through the middle of it. This mall is neighbored by the lotus flower shaped, Art & Science Museum.
You can visit the museum for $15. Take a walk across the helix bridge for extraordinary views of the bay and entire city.
It’s equally beautiful during the day and at night.
Also a short walk from Marina Bay, you’ll find Gardens by the Bay which consists of Supertree Grove, Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, and more. Supertree Grove is multiple man-made, massive “trees” that are covered with real plants, flowers, and lights.
It’s free to walk around Supertree Grove, and it never closes. If you want to access the skyway that connects the trees, you’ll pay $8. It’s open from 9 am to 9 pm. More info here.
That amazing building is Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Yes you can stay there, and yes you can eat dinner on the rooftop. Expect hefty prices to do either. The rooftop also has an infinity pool, which a lot of people take a dip in for the epic pictures (& experience). It costs $20 to get up there if you’re not a guest.
There’s a river going through Gardens by the Bay…and you’ll notice the ferris wheel in the distance. I’ll touch on that soon…
I didn’t have time to go inside the domes, but I highly suggest you do!
Now back to the ferris wheel…it’s called the Singapore Flyer, and makes for magnificent views of all the impressive architecture in Singapore. The flyer cars fit about 20 people and you can stand/walk around in them for panoramic views. It’s open from 8:30 am to 10 pm and costs about $25
Even though they’re not the best pictures, it still gives you a scale on just how massive the Supertrees and Domes are. Singapore is so breathtaking!
Of the 3 layovers I had here, this is how I distributed my time:
- Day time with 5 hours to spare – 2 hours were spent commuting, 3 hours spent walking around Marina Bay Sands Mall, Marina Bay, and Gardens by the Bay/Supertree Grove.
- Night time with 10 hours to spare – 2 hours commuting, 3 hours walking around Supertree Grove, Marina Bay, 1 hour taking a ride on the Singapore Flyer, and 4 hours sleeping.
- Day time with 5 hours to spare – Spent drinking, eating, exploring the gardens, watching movies, using the free wifi, and relaxing!
Singapore is worth a much longer visit than just a layover, but make sure to take full advantage of your time if you’ll just be passing through!
Thanks for reading. Cheers 🙂