Travel expert Anthony Bourdain recently declared Singapore’s Changi Airport to be: ‘By far, the best airport in the world.’ Welcome to the fan club, Anthony, because we’ve known this for years. Lucky enough to have a long layover in Singapore? Here’s our itinerary for an airport break that will rival your actual holiday (seriously).
1) Get a massage
If you’re feeling stiff from your flight, stop by the nearest transit lounge (find one in Terminal 1, 2 and 3) and book in a massage to get rejuvenated before your next boarding call. You can also visit the Airport Wellness Oasis at Terminal 1, East Lounge, where you’ll be able to take a hot shower, get your nails done, have a foot or body massage and dine at the spa’s café. All lounges are open 24 hours.
2) Swim in a rooftop pool
Go for a relaxing dip, sip a cocktail and watch planes take off. Oh and there’s a Jacuzzi, too. Is this a layover or is this the main attraction? Didn’t we tell you that visiting this airport is like going on a mini-holiday?
3) Eat from a hawker stand
No trip to Singapore, even if it’s just for a few hours, is complete without partaking in the city’s incredible street food. Luckily, you don’t even have to leave the hotel to find an authentic spread. Make like a local by heading to the Changi Hawker Centre on the rooftop of the parking lot of Terminal 2 or the Orchid Food Court in Terminal 1. Try the Hainanese chicken rice or nasi lemak (spicy coconut rice served with an array of local sides); there are around 20 food stalls to choose from.
4) Catch a movie
Take your pick because the airport has two cinemas (in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3); if you were so inclined, you could see up to 10 different films in one day on the big screens. Choose from blockbuster action flicks, comedies and award-winning dramas, then grab the popcorn and prepare to be transported.
5) Ride the largest slide in the world
Travelling with kids who are stir crazy, or craving to let off some steam yourself? We’ve got you covered. Head to Singapore’s tallest slide, the Super Slide in Terminal 3. Get ready for fast speeds: the slide is four storeys tall and riders reach speeds of 6 meters per second. If you’ve got younger travellers, ride the mini-version, the Slide in Basement 2 – it’s only one-and-a-half storeys.
6) Shop for your next vacation
Get access to all the best brands and fashion labels in one spot. If you’re eligible, redeem your Changi Dollar Voucher, valued at S$20 (approx. £11), at one of the many airport stores. Worried you won’t find anything? There are more than 350 shops in the airport to choose from – you might want to buy another carry-on while you’re at it.
7) Wander through a butterfly garden
But what about a butterfly garden, you ask? Sure. Changi Airport hosts a butterfly garden with nearly 1,000 butterflies of 40 different species – proving that you can practically do everything at this airport, including feed a butterfly while standing next to a waterfall. No wonder Anthony was so impressed…