Travel blogger Jayne Gorman – aka Girl Tweets World – took a whistle-stop tour of Jewel Changi Airport. Here’s what she wrote for the folks back home…
Singapore Changi Airport has been named the world’s best airport time and time again – and just when you think it couldn’t get any better, it added a new Jewel to its crown in 2019.
Jewel is an incredible new nature-themed retail and entertainment complex, adjoined to Changi Airport, that leaves travellers to Singapore astounded before they even leave the airport. With more than 300 retail and dining outlets, 60,000 shrubs and the world’s largest indoor waterfall at the heart of it, Jewel is a destination in itself, and passengers flying into Changi Airport can be there in minutes.Singapore Changi Airport has been named the world’s best airport time and time again – and just when you think it couldn’t get any better, it added a new Jewel to its crown in 2019.
How to get there
Jewel is located landside at Singapore Changi Airport, directly connected to the arrival hall of Terminal 1 and easily walkable via link bridges (with handy travelators) from the other terminals. You can visit during transit at Singapore Airport if you have enough time to pass immigration, or you can add it onto your Singapore holiday itinerary.
As Jewel is not an airport terminal in itself (no flights depart from here), you don’t need a boarding pass to enter. In fact, entry is completely free, with just a few paid attractions on the upper levels.
Unmissable best bits
In keeping with the rest of Changi, Jewel is a world-class shopping mall with a wide range of international and local brands, alongside up-and-coming Singaporean designers. Almost every type of world cuisine can be found amongst the 100-plus dining options, including Singapore’s first Shake Shack, which was pulling the crowds in during our visit.
What sets Jewel apart, however, are the unique experiences high up in the building, the tropical plants that flourish in its indoor rainforest and the mesmerising waterfall that flows through it.
HSBC Rain Vortex
The main drawcard at Jewel is the jaw-dropping HSBC Rain Vortex. At 40 metres high, it’s the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and it pours magnificently through the centre of the doughnut-shaped complex. During the daytime, the spray catches the light and creates rainbows in its wake; by night, the plume is brought to life with a light and sound show. (Daily, every hour from 7.30pm to 11.30pm.)
There are leaf-lined vantage points to take in the spectacle on multiple levels of Jewel (you’ll feel like you’ve entered the jungle at the five-storey Shiseido Forest Valley), but to get the best idea of the scale of this engineering marvel, head to the Canopy Park on Jewel’s highest level.
In the Canopy Park on Level 5, you’ll find a couple of restaurants with airy terraces and some balconies overlooking the vortex, as well as a number of fun attractions that are ticketed.
To take a stroll amongst Jewel’s artificial clouds, buy a S$8 ticket for the Canopy Bridge. (Tickets available from nearby kiosks.) Thanks to the glass panel floor at its centre, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of Jewel’s tropical middle and all the walking trails that weave their way through the Shiseido Forest Valley to the topmost level. It’s the first thing we did on our visit and I could have sworn I’d stepped onto the set of a sci-fi movie.
Visitors who have energy to burn can also bounce above Jewel on the Manulife Sky Nets. Stretching for 250 metres, up to eight metres above the Canopy Park, these giant nets (one for bouncing and one for walking) are certainly a different way to work out in an airport.
Your ticket to the bouncing nets will also include admission to the rest of Canopy Park, including Discovery Slides (a scalable sculpture with a viewing deck you slide away from), Foggy Bowls (children are obsessed with these misty lawns), the Petal Garden (a mini taste of the Flower Dome at Gardens By The Bay) and Topiary Walk.
If you’re not feeling up to scaling giant nets, you could get lost in a Hedge or Mirror Maze instead. The decorative doors in the Hedge Maze will have you duped and the Mirror Maze is guaranteed to make you dizzy. Avoid looking silly by using the noodle provided to tap on a surface if you’re not sure if you can walk through it. (Ok, I lied – you will look silly.)
Changi Experience Studio
Aviation geeks will get a kick out of the Changi Experience Studio, a first-of-its-kind digital attraction, which features a series of interactive games that take you behind the scenes of Changi Airport. Highlights include a rematch of the epic race between a Porsche 911 and Boeing 747 that took part on a Changi runway in 2009, this time powered by a team of 10 people peddling! You can also take on various virtual airport challenges, such as scanning baggage or collecting trolleys.
Top tips for your Jewel visit
Now you know what to do at Jewel at Changi, here are some top tips to help you plan your visit.
1. To guarantee entry, purchase tickets for attractions ahead of your visit via the Jewel Changi website. You can book a timed slot up to seven weeks in advance, buy bundles that offer entrance to a couple of different events and find deals for families.
2. A number of airlines let you check in early for your flight and drop your baggage at the Jewel ECI Lounge on Level 1. Find a list of participating airlines here.
3. You can also store your suitcases with the Left Baggage Service. (Note: If you’re going on any of the attractions, you won’t be able to take bulky items with you.)
4. Got an early morning flight? Check into Yotel on Level 4 to get some sleep.
Jayne is a latte-loving travel and lifestyle blogger who has travelled to more than 60 countries and spent the last 10 years writing about it. She’s called London, Sydney, Melbourne and (very briefly) New York home but don’t ask her to rank them. Often found brunching or scoping out boutique hotels – now with a mini explorer in tow!