If you’re flying from India to the Far East, Australia or New Zealand, chances are you might be transiting through one of the main Asian transit hubs — Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or, my favourite, Singapore Changi Airport. Having earned a reputation as one of the world’s best airports, Singapore Changi Airport has consistently won international awards purely for the quality of the transit experience provided to every passenger passing through Singapore, irrespective of airline and cabin class. Changi has always aimed for a seamless transit experience and has managed to achieve that effortlessly. I was recently invited to Singapore Changi Airport to spend a few hours at this massive complex of three terminals, easily connected by the fabulous Skytrain, and decided to put together a list of fun things to do when in transit. I decided to compile a list of the best things that can be done at the airport for free… yes, you did read that right, there is a bunch of things that you can do at Changi without having to spend a single penny. All you need is a good terminal map and a few hours on your hands. Here goes, enjoy my list.
1. Massage Chairs – This has probably got to be my favourite part about Singapore Changi Airport. The airport has generously placed massive foot and leg massage chairs across all the terminals, present outside almost every departure gate. And these are not one of those half-baked, lame vibrating chairs that only make you dizzy, these are serious, spa-quality massage chairs, which can easily take the stress of your feet, weary from all that duty free shopping. And what’s more, you can take your time in these chairs. There’s enough for everyone so you won’t get someone breathing down your neck to take over your chair.
2. Free Duty Free – At Singapore Changi Airport, you don’t need to be spending any money to be able to enjoy the Duty Free experience. I will let you in on a few untold secrets of Duty Free. Walk through the alcohol/spirits section at Terminal 3 and you might catch a free cocktail session or a spirit tasting session. After you’re done trying out your favourite fragrances at the beauty section, be sure to walk past the Chinese barbeque pork stall in Terminal 3 and taste some of the goodies on offer. Chances are, you will end up with a bag full of purchases before you board your flight…but again, that’s never mandatory!
3. Skytrain Joyrides: If you’ve always heard of Singapore’s famous greenery and are lamenting about not being able to experience it because of your short transit, do not fret. You can still catch a glimpse of it by hopping onto the uber-chic airport Skytrain that runs between terminals 1, 2 and 3 at Changi. There are quite a few routes that this Skytrain takes both inside and outside for passengers and non-passengers. I recommend taking the train between Terminals 2 and 3, which offers you a beautiful glimpse of the green canopy of Singapore’s airport road coming in from the city. It may not last more than a few minutes but it is definitely worth a try.
4. Take a selfie at the Social Tree – Seems like Singapore Changi Airport has been bitten by the social media bug. The Social Tree, located at the heart of Terminal 1, is a giant installation with interactive touchscreens at the bottom and 64 giant screens at the top. Take a selfie, mofify it, add effects and save it. With one sleight of hand you can flip your selfie from the small screen to the giant screen in the terminal. And, I was told, this selfie gets stored in Changi’s database for a hundred years. Talk about saving things for posterity!
5. Watch a Movie – If you’re in transit and are too tired to walk around scouring the shops, maybe you want to lounge around in a comfy chair and watch a movie. That’s exactly what you can do at the movie theatre in the airport. The latest blockbusters are played at specific timings throughout the day. Personally, at an airport like this, I wouldn’t spend my time watching a movie but by the looks of it, there were lots and lots of people who did. There’s a huge time indicator right next to the screen so you never have to worry about getting carried away by the movie and missing your flight.
If you thought we were running out of options…you’re mistaken…Part 2 of our list follows this blogpost. Click here to read: Part 2 Top Ten Free Things to do at Singapore Changi Airport