Changi International Airport has earned the title of World's Best Airport for an impressive 12th time! Even though the renowned Changi briefly lost its crown to Haneda Airport in Japan (2021) and Doha Airport in Qatar (2022), it's now once again firmly back on top.
It's hardly surprising, given the highly pleasing experience Changi consistently offers its visitors. Famed for its sophisticated modern architecture, inherent beauty, and state-of-the-art facilities, Changi Airport persistently finds ways to seamlessly blend innovation and convenience.
Speaking from personal experience, my husband and I found the airport both technologically advanced and incredibly engaging during our visit.
In this article, I'd like to guide you through some of the standout facilities Changi Airport offers its visitors, making it an enticing destination for travelers worldwide.
Firstly, let's talk about the airport gardens. Known as the "City in a Garden," Singapore has earned a reputation for its abundant, lush parks and immaculate gardens. This philosophy extends to public attractions, each flaunting elements of verdant splendor, such as the Flower Dome or Cloud Forest.
At Changi, the team responsible for greenery initiatives have done an exceptional job, maximizing plant life throughout the airport and even relocating large trees from nurseries to Terminal 4.
The result is a collection of exquisite gardens scattered across the terminals. One such example is the Butterfly Sky Garden located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of Terminal 3. This lush, tropical oasis houses over 40 species of butterflies, making for a truly magical experience.
Moreover, don't miss out on visiting the Cactus Garden and Sun Garden, offering tranquil environments that only enhance the airport's overall aesthetic.
Next up, shopping centers and restaurants. Changi Airport features a deluxe shopping center stocked with a multitude of international and local brands.
Duty-free shops allow for a guilt-free shopping spree, and an array of restaurants serve a diverse menu of mouthwatering meals. To my surprise, the shopping and dining options far exceeded standard airport fare!
With over 100 food establishments spread across its terminals, and roughly 200 more inside the Jewel, Changi Airport guarantees you'll never go hungry.
There are also numerous duty-free shops selling everything from everyday items to luxury brands, providing an excellent opportunity for last-minute shopping or picking up souvenirs without leaving the airport - and all tax-free!
let's not forget about Jewel Changi Airport. This iconic facility, opened in April 2019, has quickly become a must-see Singaporean attraction. Combining a shopping center, park, and host of entertainment activities within a stunning, state-of-the-art glass structure, the Jewel symbolizes Singapore's innovative approach to airport design.
Inside the Jewel, visitors can marvel at attractions like the mesmerizing HSBC Rain Vortex Waterfall, the fun-filled Canopy Park, the puzzling Mirror Maze, and more. In addition to these unique experiences, Jewel also offers practical facilities like luggage storage and self check-in services.
The introduction of the Jewel has undeniably revolutionized the concept of airport spaces. It has transformed Changi from merely a transit hub or aircraft transfer station into an integrated shopping center, park, and entertainment venue.
Worried about a lengthy layover? Fear not! Changi Airport's abundant entertainment and relaxation zones ensure passengers can comfortably while away the hours. The prospect of a 12-hour wait might seem daunting, but at Changi, time flies by.
The airport caters to a wide array of interests with a host of leisure facilities. Perhaps one of the most compelling is the complimentary 24-hour movie theater, featuring a rich selection of the latest films.
Nestled on the 3rd floor of Terminal 3's North Departure Transit Building, near the Ambassador Transit Lounge, the movie theater promises to keep passengers of all ages entertained.
Gamers aren't left out either, with a games room housing an assortment of consoles and titles available for free play. For families traveling with kids, Playpoint at Terminals 3 and 4 offers dedicated play areas, creating a delightful diversion for the younger ones.
In addition to these, Changi Airport offers quiet prayer rooms and baby care rooms, meeting the more private needs of its patrons. This comprehensive array of entertainment and relaxation zones guarantees an enjoyable and serene experience for those passing through Changi.
Catering to the needs of passengers during long waits or transit periods, Changi Airport offers a selection of transit hotels and lounges.
YOTELAIR and Ambassador Transit Hotel, among others, offer modern rooms equipped with comfortable amenities to ensure a good rest before the next leg of the journey.
Beyond just a place to rest, Changi offers facilities such as showers, spas, and massages to help passengers rejuvenate and stay refreshed during their transit. These services are especially beneficial for those battling the fatigue and jet lag that long-haul flights can induce.
The airport's premium lounges, including Plaza Premium Lounge and SATS Premier Lounge, deliver a tranquil and luxurious setting complete with food and beverage services, Wi-Fi access, and designated areas for work and relaxation.
However, access to these lounges is usually restricted to passengers flying specific classes or members of certain banks. Other passengers can access these facilities at an additional cost.
If you're traveling on a budget and still wish to relax and recline, Changi Airport offers a solution in the form of public snooze lounges. These spaces are freely accessible to all visitors looking to catch a quick nap.
During our visit, my husband and I found ourselves with a few hours to spare before our flight. We chose to dine and unwind at the snooze lounge in Terminal 2. The lounge proved to be a comfortable and relaxing spot to rest.
But what if you just want to freshen up and take a nap? Changi also offers solutions for such needs. While an impromptu hotel booking may not be economically feasible, the airport houses nap rooms and shower facilities, complemented by a selection of massage services. However, do keep in mind that these premium services can be a bit costly.
Whether you choose to stay at the transit hotels or use the premium lounges, Changi Airport consistently ensures superior comfort and luxury. This means you needn't worry about how to fill your time, even if you find yourself facing a lengthy layover at Changi
For the mobile traveler, Changi provides a handy baggage storage service, enabling passengers to explore the airport or the city of Singapore unencumbered by their luggage.
This service offers secure, convenient storage for a range of luggage types, from carry-on bags and suitcases to larger, heavier items.
The baggage storage services are strategically located in every terminal, making it easy to drop off your luggage after landing, no matter which terminal you're in.
My husband and I used this service during our visit to Jewel Changi, and found it to be an efficient and hassle-free experience. For a comprehensive review of this service, be sure to check them out!
With a surveillance system operating 24/7 and a team of professional staff on standby, rest assured that your belongings will be safe and secure. Rates for storage are competitive and flexible, with the option to rent space either hourly or daily, depending on your needs.
This service allows visitors to freely explore the amenities, attractions, and impressive architecture of Changi Airport, unencumbered by the worry of their luggage.
One facility that particularly delighted my husband and me was the Water Drinking Station. Strategically located throughout the terminals, these stations offer complimentary drinking water to quench the thirst of passengers and visitors alike.
Although such amenities are a common feature at most airports, the water at Changi seems unusually fresh and delicious (lol). Modern dispensers at these hydration stations make it convenient to refill personal water bottles or to drink directly using the provided cups.
These stations not only help to reduce the reliance on single-use plastics but also signify Changi Airport's commitment to environmental sustainability and passenger well-being.
These are scattered throughout each terminal and near every boarding gate, ensuring you'll never be left parched, even if you had to dispose of your water at check-in.
Are you tired of waiting in line to check-in and drop off your luggage? Changi Airport has introduced self-check-in facilities. This innovative feature expedites the check-in process for passengers.
Although self-check-in kiosks were already operational during my visit to Singapore in late 2022, they were in their initial stages and several staff members were present to assist passengers.
However, by my visit in February 2023, the kiosks were running smoothly, contributing to a more organized and streamlined check-in process. For a detailed guide on using these kiosks, be sure to check out a previously published article on this topic.
The self check-in kiosks spread throughout the terminal allow for swift input of personal and flight information. Moreover, you can print your boarding passes and baggage tags without enduring long lines at the airline counters.
Aside from saving time, these kiosks grant passengers more control over their departure process. The clear, easy-to-follow instructions ensure that passengers of varying technological proficiency can operate the service with ease.
Should you need assistance, trained and friendly staff members are on hand to help. By leveraging the self-check-in service at Changi Airport, you'll embark on your journey with an enjoyable, stress-free start.
Changi also has early or fast check-in facilities in addition to self-check-in services. While the self-check-in service, as mentioned in point 9, is designed for those checking in and dropping off luggage up to three hours before departure, the early check-in service allows passengers to check-in and drop off luggage up to 12 or even 24 hours prior to departure.
This service is located at Jewel Changi Airport on the first floor and operates between 12 noon and 8 pm. However, note that the early check-in facility is exclusively available for passengers flying with specific airlines:
Another valuable facility is the tax refund, also known as GST Refund. This service may not be well known to all, but it's a valuable tool for international travelers. Changi Airport offers a refund of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) paid by visitors while shopping in Singapore.
To put it into context, this is similar to the Value Added Tax (VAT) in Indonesia, levied on most goods and services. However, unlike in Indonesia where the VAT often isn't included in the displayed prices, the selling price in Singapore generally includes the GST.
Under certain conditions, this tax can be claimed back:
GST Refunds can be claimed at counters or kiosks marked "GST Refund" upon arrival at Changi. Remember to have your passport, boarding pass, purchase receipt, and the purchased item ready for inspection.
Another great convenience at Changi Airport is the provision of the Skytrain and Shuttle Bus services. These transport facilities are designed to ease passenger movement between terminals and different areas of the airport.
The Skytrain, an automated train service, connects Terminals 1, 2, and 3. Available in both public and transit areas, the Skytrain runs from 5:30 in the morning until 2:30 at night. Clean, modern, and efficient, the Skytrain provides a swift transfer between terminals with minimal waiting times.
The Shuttle Bus service is particularly beneficial for passengers heading to or from Terminal 4. Free of charge and accessible in both public and transit areas, the shuttle bus takes about 10 minutes to travel between terminals in public areas, and between 10 to 18 minutes in transit areas.
These are just a few of the efficient and user-friendly facilities at Changi Airport that contribute to its reputation as one of the world's top airports. We'd love to hear about your experiences with these facilities. Share your experiences in the comments section, and we'll see you in the next travel article!