Airports are traditionally places of high stress, terrible food courts, cancelled flights and dodgy WiFi – not Singapore’s Changi Airport though. This modern, one-of-a-kind transport hub has been designed to make travelling easy, and is chock-full of exclusive shopping experiences, world-famous dining options and enough surprises to guarantee a return stopover trip. But how good is it really? Enough to be voted the world’s best airport… several times over.
So if you’re about to pay Singapore a visit and are wondering what to do in Changi Airport and the recently opened Jewel complex, here’s the lowdown on the must-eat meals and must-see attractions, plus a few sneaky hacks only the most clued-up airport-goers are privy to.
Have a Burger at Shake Shack
From humble American burger joint to worldwide phenomenon, Shake Shack has touched down in Singapore for the very first time, and all you need to do is grab your Changi airport map and follow the hungry-looking crowds heading to Jewel to find it. Best known for mouth-watering 100 per cent Angus beef burgers, plus an array of drool-worthy sides that include crinkle-cut fries and frozen custard, Shake Shack is the place to load up at if you don’t think you can stomach another so-so plane meal. And considering there’s still no word on whether the Shack will ever open in Australia, we think it’s worth getting in line to see what all the fuss is about.
Treat Yourself at the Shilla Beauty Loft
Lovers of all things cosmetics rejoice! Terminal 3’s Shilla Beauty Loft is the ultimate beauty centre for travellers – the first of its kind and a one-stop-shop for big-name makeup brands, including Chanel, Dior and SK-II. And while the range of products on offer (not to mention the discounts) is mind-blowing, it’s the complimentary services that has beauty aficionados raving. From a 20-minute pre-flight makeover at Dior, hand massage at La Prairie or Magic Ring Skin Test at SK-II, you’ll be saying goodbye to dull skin and bags under your eyes and hello to that fresh-faced glow only celebrities seem to have when they step off a plane.
Check Out the HSBC Rain Vortex
A 40-metre waterfall is probably the last thing you’d expect to see in a major international airport, but as Singapore’s Changi has proven, this is no ordinary airport. The HSBC Water Vortex is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, and while it’s a sight to behold during the day, it’s at night that this man-made wonder comes to life. Every hour between 7.30pm and 12.30pm in Jewel a spectacular light and sound show takes place. Sparkling lights, dazzling colour projections and an epic soundtrack transform the HSBC Water Vortex into a captivating moving screen, in what is a not-to-be-missed performance you won’t soon forget.
Eat at The Secret Staff Canteen
Shhh! Now this is one thing to do in Singapore Airport that needs to be kept on the down low. The staff canteens are perhaps Changi’s best-kept and tastiest secret. Hidden away in the basement of Terminal 1 and the rooftop carpark of Terminal 2, the canteens resemble traditional hawker markets and serve up some of the most delicious, authentic local fare you’ll find anywhere in the city. Just don’t expect any of the glitz and glam of the main airport food courts – this is basic dining, so think paper plates and plastic cutlery. And before you ask, the staff canteen is definitely open to the public; it’s hard to find on purpose so that the employees can enjoy a break from the airport crowds.
Visit Canopy Park
Travelling with little ones and have a couple of hours to kill between flights? At any other airport that would be a recipe for fatigue-fuelled tantrums, but not at Jewel Singapore Airport. Make a beeline for Canopy Park, undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Changi Airport with kids. Part adventure playground, part indoor garden, it’s located on level five and boasts giant slides, walking trails, suspended bouncing sky nets and Singapore’s largest hedge maze. Surrounded by lush, leafy plants and flowers, it’s the perfect place to stretch your legs and tire the kids out before the next leg of your journey.
Unleash Your Inner Art Critic
If you’re passing through Singapore on your way to explore the renowned galleries of Italy or France, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear you can start your art journey early at Changi Airport. Scattered throughout the terminals is a collection of incredible installations, sculptures and murals by local and international artists. Standout pieces include Kinetic Rain, a fluid and moving display of 1,216 bronze droplets suspended in Terminal One’s Departure Hall; Daisy, a propeller-meets-flower sculpture that’s an ode to aviation in Terminal Three; and A Million Times in Terminal Two, another kinetic installation featuring more than 500 clocks, which are said to represent the concept of time and memories.
Explore one of these things to do in Singapore Airport next time you’re on the island, no matter if you’ve booked flights to Singapore or have a few hours up your sleeve on a stopover.