In Transit: Top Ten Free Things to do at Singapore Changi Airport (Part 2)

If you haven’t already read Part 1 one of my ‘Top Ten Free Things to do at Singapore Changi Airport’ post, check it out here..

So here goes, part 2 of my post.  Some more fun things to do when you’re at the world’s best airport with lots of time on your hands.

6. Butterfly Garden –  You may find it hard to imagine walking through a rain forest recreation, with dozens of tropical butterflies fluttering about you, in the midst of a buzzing airport, merely a few feet away from giant sized airplanes. But that’s exactly what you will experience at Singapore Changi Airport’s utterly fabulous Butterfly Garden at Terminal 3. This large greenhouse-like enclosure (the heat and humidity is instantly felt as you step inside) is home to over a thousand exotic varieties of butterflies. There are also a few educational panels showcasing the life stages of the butterfly. An interesting twist to your regular airport experience, wouldn’t you say?

Singapore Changi Airport
The massive greenhouse structure that houses Changi’s 1000 butterflies.

Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore Changi Airport

7. Visit Singapore – In my opinion, this is probably the best activity to do when you have a long transit at Singapore Changi Airport. If your transit time at the airport is more than five hours, you can avail of a FREE Singapore tour in a mini bus, with a guide, which takes you all the way to downtown Singapore, shows you the major landmarks and gives you a detailed commentary on the city and its history. It’s a great way to sit back in an air-conditioned bus and discover a new city (if you haven’t already visited Singapore). What I saw: East Coast beach, Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade Theatre, Raffles Hotel, Little India, the F1 course and finally, a photo op pit-stop at the iconic Merlion.

Visit Singapore – In my opinion, this is probably the best activity to do when you have a long transit at Singapore Changi Airport. If your transit time at the airport is more than five hours, you can avail of a FREE Singapore tour in a mini bus, with a guide, which takes you all the way to downtown Singapore, shows you the major landmarks and gives you a detailed commentary on the city and its history. It’s a great way to sit back in an air-conditioned bus and discover a new city (if you haven’t already visited Singapore). What I saw: East Coast beach, Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade Theatre, Raffles Hotel, Little India, the F1 course and finally, a photo op pit-stop at the iconic Merlion.
Singapore’s famous Merlion at Marina Bay and the buildings of Raffles Place in the background

8. Airplane Spotting – When you’re at a major international airport and if you are an airplane geek like me then Singapore Changi Airport is a veritable haven for you. The airport being the international hub that it is, you will get to see big and small jets from most international airlines. There’s a lot of Airbus A380 activity going on at Changi too so you will see a lot of those big birds. My recommendation: no matter which terminal you are transiting through, head towards Terminal 3, as the terminal overlooks the active runway. There are lots of passenger lounges overlooking the tarmac. Find a spot by the massive glass windows and watch with awe as those beauties take off and land.

A Jet Airways B737 lands from Mumbai as a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 prepares for departure.
A Jet Airways B737 lands from Mumbai as a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 prepares for departure.
Airplane Spotting – When you’re at a major international airportIf you are an airplane geek like me then Singapore Changi Airport is a veritable haven for you. The airport being the international hub that it is, you will get to see big and small jets from most international airlines. There’s a lot of Airbus A380 activity going on at Changi too so you will see a lot of those big birds. My recommendation: no matter which terminal you are transiting through, head towards Terminal 3, as the terminal overlooks the active runway. There are lots of passenger lounges overlooking the tarmac. Find a spot by the massive glass windows and watch with awe as those beauties take off and land.
An Air India Dreamliner lands in the background, while Singapore Airlines A380 and B777 prepare for departure.


9. Kinetic Rain – Whether you’re an art enthusiast or not, Terminal 1’s centre of attention is this breathtaking installation called Kinetic Rain. The largest kinetic sculpture in the world, this installation showcases 1, 216 metallic raindrops, suspended from the ceiling, which move gracefully in a sort of choreographed routine. The effect of the drops in motion is impressive. This is indeed a masterpiece of Changi airport and an absolute must-see.

Singapore Changi Airport
Kinetic Rain at Terminal 1
Singapore Changi Airport
Kinetic Rain at Terminal 1

10. Koi Ponds and Sunflower Gardens – Singapore is a city known for its greenery. In keeping with that very same spirit, the city-nation’s magnificent airport aims to bring touches of Mother Nature to the passenger experience. Make it a point to spend some time at Terminal 2’s gorgeous orchid garden and traditional koi pond. If you have a romantic bent of mind, you might feel yourself being transported to Vincent Van Gogh’s universe at Terminal 2’s sunflower garden. This open-air terrace makes for some gorgeous photo-ops with those remarkable yellow sunflowers. If you’re an aviation geek, you will be thrilled to look out over the ledge at the tarmac just below.

Singapore Changi Airport
Koi Pond in Terminal 2
Singapore Changi Airport
Sunflower Garden and terrace overlooking the tarmac.

Singapore Changi Airport

To make it easier for you, I’ve made a terminal-wise division of the different ‘free’ attractions at Singapore Changi Airport. Even if you choose to stay in your own terminal and are too tired to wander around, you have many options to choose from.

Terminal 1
Free Singapore Tour
Massage Chairs
Duty Free
Skytrain
Changi Airport Social Wall
Kinetic Rain

Terminal 2
Massage Chairs
Sunflower Garden
Orchid Garden-Koi Ponds
Free Singapore Tour
Duty Free
Skytrain
Movie Theatre
Aircraft Spotting

Terminal 3
Massage Chairs
Butterfly Garden
Free Singapore Tour
Duty Free
Skytrain
Movie Theatre
Aircraft Spotting

If not, you can do what I sometimes love to do when I am in transit at Changi Airport – sit around and watch bunches of the iconic Singapore Girls walk by, clad in their signature Pierre Balmain-designed sarong-kabayas, which have come to represent Singaporean hospitality in many ways, and an unofficial symbol of Changi Airport. Till next time, Bon Voyage! IMG_9045

 

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