For some travelers, layovers are the worst thing about the process. Many of us, on the other hand, take the lengthy times spent in airports as all part of the overall experience. In the past, airports were rather dull places without much to do, but that’s all beginning to change. Some flight hubs are now becoming popular holiday destinations, offering countless things for travelers to do while they wait for their connection.
One of the leaders in this regard is Singapore Changi Airport, which has already been rated the world’s best airport more than 12 times in its 42-year history. Some people plan to have long layovers at Changi just so they can check out everything the Asian transportation hub has to offer.
Changi Airport Has a World of Attractions for Tourists
Changi Airport is inspiring other transport hubs around the world to follow suit and offer a vast range of things for travelers to do. As the only airport to ever be regarded as the best in the world for eight consecutive years, it’s clearly grabbed international attention and is doing a lot of things right. Because of Singapore’s location, it has long been a perfect place for layovers and connecting flights, with more than 100 airlines operating from it. It has always been known for its incredible cleanliness and efficiency, but more recently has emerged as an entertainment-packed destination as well.
The most amazing thing about Changi Airport is Jewel. If you haven’t heard of this before and you simply walked in during your layover, you wouldn’t believe your eyes. It’s a sprawling nature-themed entertainment complex set within the airport, with lush trees and plants providing a rainforest theme. It’s home to the Rain Vortex in the center, which is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. You’ll find hundreds of places to shop and eat in the ten-story building, along with a hotel. It has been open since 2019 and continues to amaze around 300,000 people per day. If you only have a short layover, you’ll wish it was longer after seeing everything that Jewel has to offer.
Some of the key highlights of Changi Airport include the Butterfly Garden and the Sunflower Garden, where you can feel at one with nature despite being in one of the busiest transport hubs in the world. There are other options for people who seek a different layover experience, though. For instance, the entertainment deck in Terminal 2 provides loads of digital activities for people to enjoy. There are countless consoles loaded with a range of games, allowing you to play single player or against other travelers. There’s also a movie theater showing all the latest releases – what better way to kill a couple of hours?
One of the worst things about travel is the unhealthy feeling you get when you haven’t exercised properly for a few days. Changi Airport offers tourists the chance to alleviate that feeling, as it has its own gym pods beside Terminal 2. It also has a massive rooftop swimming pool, allowing for exercise or relaxation.
Airport Located Only 15 Miles From Downtown Singapore
A lot of the world’s biggest international airports are located far away from the city, but that’s not the case with Singapore’s transit hub. Changi Airport is only 15 miles away from downtown Singapore, meaning you can get there in about 30 minutes in a taxi. It costs around S$30, but you also need to be aware of the airport surcharge.
If you have a longer layover and you feel like you’ve already exhausted all that the airport has to offer, it could be worth taking a trip outside and going on a tour in the city. One of the best things to do is take a river cruise and enjoy the views of the city from the water side. The great thing about this is that it takes around 40 minutes, meaning there will be time to fit other activities in as well before you have to head back to the airport.
Another must-see attraction in Singapore is the Marina Bay Sands resort. You can enjoy the surrounding area and get some great photos in front of the iconic building, and if there’s time, pay a visit to the interior itself. The rooftop observation deck provides stunning panoramic views of Singapore, and you’ll be able to see the airport from there too.
What Else Does Singapore Have to Offer?
Singapore may be one of the world’s primary hubs for transits and connections for around-the-world flights, but it’s also a popular destination in its own right. Because of its popularity, there are often deals on flights to Singapore from other countries in the region. For instance, you can fly from Bangkok to Changi for only $36 and from Ho Chi Minh City for $29. This makes it easy for backpackers around Southeast Asia to include a trip to Singapore on their itinerary.
Singapore also attracts tourists from around the world, with approximately 19 million people visiting in an average year. That’s because the country has way more to offer visitors beyond its exceptional airport. If you find yourself on a long layover of a couple of days, you won’t be bored in Singapore. Indeed, you’re likely to find plenty of things to do to fill the time.
Singapore has a unique charm about it, and its culture straddles the western and eastern worlds. For instance, it has a lot of bustling street food locations associated with Asian countries, but these tend to be more organized and hygienic than you’d find elsewhere. In fact, the cleanliness standards in the country are incredible, and you can even be arrested for dropping chewing gum on the street.
One of the best places to get a taste of the country is at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is one of the most relaxing places on the island, and it offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Another option for a relaxing day out is the Singapore Zoo, which is up there with the planet’s best rainforest zoos. The great thing about this wildlife reserve is that it uses hidden barriers that make the exhibits more natural-looking. Around two million people visit the $9 million site every year, and it has been praised for the way it treats its animals.
For a contrasting experience and to see the busier side of Singapore, it’s a great idea to head into the city and get to a hawker center. This is basically a large food hall, with countless stalls selling different dishes. You can get together with friends, grab a table, and then each go and choose your own meals from different sellers. It’s loud and at times manic, but it’s a great experience – and the smells of all the delicious food are amazing. There’s so much to do in Singapore, putting it up there with the best cities to travel around in the world.
Changi Airport is so magnificent that a lot of travelers now purposely plan trips that have a layover at the Singapore flight hub. If you haven’t checked out everything this amazing airport has to offer yet, it really should be on your bucket list. There are few airport experiences quite like it.