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Discovering Singapore & Changi Airport as a Transit Passenger: A Detailed Guide

Having traveled through Singapore several times, I've come to appreciate the country’s unique blend of efficiency, hospitality, and cultural richness.

On my recent trip to India, I experienced a 13-hour layover each way at Singapore’s Changi Airport. This provided me with the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into what makes this airport, and by extension Singapore, so special.

From seamless immigration processes, free WiFi and engaging free tours, here’s a detailed look at my experiences and insights into maximizing a layover at Changi Airport.

Should we start with a map?

There are four terminals at this award-winning Changi airport, and a fifth one is anticipated to be ready at some point. I spent most of my time on T3 and also at the Jewel - which you can visit once you clear immigration. I walked across terminalsthrough an internal walkway and also took a sky train once from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 to see the Jewel waterfall from the train itself.

Singapore Changi Airport Map
Singapore Changi Airport Map

The Jewel of Changi Airport

When transiting through Singapore’s Changi Airport, one of the highlights is undoubtedly the Jewel. Situated just outside Terminal 1, the Jewel is a stunning lifestyle and retail complex that offers much more than just shopping. Even with a short layover, you can enjoy the incredible Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, which is surrounded by lush greenery, creating a serene rainforest ambiance.

Photo by Pang Yuhao on Unsplash
Photo by Pang Yuhao on Unsplash

Adjacent to the Rain Vortex, you’ll find the Canopy Park, which features a hedge maze, bouncing nets, and slides. On the lower level of the Jewel, there’s a well-stocked grocery store perfect for picking up healthy snacks, fresh fruits, and learning about local cuisines. This store is a convenient stop for grabbing some nutritious bites for your onward journey. So, consider visiting this little grocery store, especially if you are looking for fruits to eat instead of restaurant food.

Terminal Highlights

Changi Airport offers numerous attractions within its terminals. The best way to explore it is to download the Changi app and be on a mission to spot all the different attractions. The airport and all its terminals are internally connected. You can walk or take the sky train.

First things first, explore the Jewel. Then start with Terminal 1.

Terminal 1 features fascinating art installations and the serene Water Lily Garden and the cactus garden.

Then, off you go to Terminal 2. Here, the Sunflower Garden provides a cheerful and sunny atmosphere with beautiful sunflowers in an open-air setting.

You have to visit the enchanted garden (which is a thing of beauty) and the magical Dreamscape! Just grab a coffee and walk around...