Who hasn’t been in this situation. You are trying to find the cheapest flight to somewhere. You go to your trusted flight search engine or app and find a reasonable price. Getting slightly excited, you click on it, then… 18h stopover at…, well definitely somewhere you weren’t planning to go.
Two weeks ago, this happened to me when I was looking for a cheap flight from the Philippines to Cambodia. Direct flights were surprisingly rare and unbelievably expensive. So, I grudgingly went for the cheapest ticket I could find and decided to face the 18 hours stopover at Singapore’s Changi Airport. At first, I was considering spending my time in the city. Unfortunately, my flight arrived at 7pm in the evening. While public transport in Singapore seems very good, most websites informed me that it also stopped its service at 11 pm at night and that taxis bringing me back to the airport later on would be rather expensive. As I am on a budget, I decided to stay in the transit area.
Let me tell you straight away that it is probably one of the best airports to get stuck in.
What to do at Changi Airport
- Stay at the hotel
If you really want to have your own room, you can sleep at the hotel that’s in the transit area. While this wasn’t an option for me, I admit the lounge looked very nice.
- Shopping and Restaurants
As many airports, the terminal is huge and there are so many stores that it feels like being in a mall. You can shop for almost anything, really. Same goes for restaurants, from fast food to vegetarian restaurant, you have plenty of choice. If you prefer some snacks, you can go to one of the convenience stores.
- Spa & Beauty
I didn’t try it out but the list of possible hair or beauty services is extensive. If you are looking for some relaxation, this is the place to be.
- Walk through the garden
Discover the Enchanted Garden on level 2 of the transit area. Actual motion-sensors will trigger sounds of nature while you walk through it. When I was walking through, I was very curious to know how many gardeners are employed by Changi airport. Wander around and try to find the face in the wood.
Also on level 2 is the Orchid Garden, another green area. Apparently there are over 700 orchids in that area which also contains a Koy pond.
My personal favourite: the Sunflower Garden. This one is on level 3 and you actually step out onto a terrace. The flowers look well groomed and you can spend some time watching international flights taking off right behind the flowers.
- Xperience zone
For every sports fan, there are big screens and comfortable chairs showing the latest sports events.
- Movie theater
On level 3, there is a movie theater, open 24 hours. You can watch movies free of charge.
- Entertainment Deck
Right next to the movie theater, you can find Xboxes, playstations, and much more.
- Rest, Relax or Sleep
There are two rest areas in terminal 2, opposite boarding gates E5 and E11. You can find comfortable lounge chairs, charger stations, and internet boots there. Be aware that the airport is air-conditioned, so I advise you to bring a light sleeping bag or at least your silk liner as it can get quite chilly if you are trying to get some sleep. The light is dimmed in the area but I still used my eye mask and I recommend you bring earplugs or music as some people just want to chat and relax in that area.
This worked very well for me, too. When you first connect, you can opt between a 3 hours free WiFi service or download the app to your phone and you get 24hours free WiFi. I opted for the latter and was able to speak to friends and family on very good connections (I have learned to be very grateful for this after spending some time in remote places in Asia).
There is much more you can use such as a family zone, baby care room, children’s playground or prayer rooms. It was probably the most enjoying long stopover I have spent so far. So big thanks to everybody in charge of Changi Airport.