Changi Airport in Singapore is an entire universe in itself. It is much more than just an airport where you come to board a flight or deplane. It has got so many exciting attractions inside it that it becomes an important Singaporean attraction itself for which you have to at least dedicate half a day in your travel plans!
We were part of the Changi Challenge where we had to explore the entire airport in form of an interesting treasure hunt. We had to perform different tasks at different attractions in the airport and immediately upload the images on to our social media channels. We were judged based on how interesting our social media updates were, and how much engagement we got on these channels.
Changi Airport was all geared up to celebrate the Chinese New Year. This year it was the Year of the Monkey. I loved the decorations and the theme of the entire airport which was geared up to welcome this new year. As many transit passengers are Chinese and they also form a major part of the Singaporean fabric, the airport really dazzled with the Chinese New Year decorations!
Slide at T3 was our first challenge. This attraction is in Terminal 3 of Changi Airport. I had read about this slide when I last came to Singapore an year back, but missed seeing it as it was in the Public area and not the transit area. (I had already moved into the transit area by the time I realized about this slide.) Our challenge this time was to slide down this 4 storied Slide and look at words stuck on the inside of the slide. We had to remember these words and then un-jumble them, which would form the name of the next attraction. We had great fun re-living our childhood while sliding down the slide.
Slide at T3 is available to anybody who has done a minimum of 10 SGD shopping at Changi Airport. It’s not scary or fast at all so you can relax while sliding down. It would be better to sit in an aerodynamic posture so that you can slide down faster at speeds of up to 6 meters per second, and enjoy the ride! The clues lead to the next attraction which was “Butterfly Garden”.
You wouldn’t think of an airport having a conservatory. But then again, Changi is not a regular airport. They have tried to give back to the nature as much as possible. Butterfly Garden is a 2 storied closed garden in Terminal 3 with a 6 metre waterfall in it too! Luckily our task was NOT to count all the butterflies in the garden as there are thousands of butterflies from more than 40 species! We had to take pictures of 5 different types of butterflies and post them online!
Changi airport also has 2 movie theaters- one in T2 which is more of an open theater but there is a quite theater inside Terminal 3 which showcases some of the best recent English films throughout the day. So if you have a long layover, you could park yourself here and enjoy some good entertainment.
Duty Free Shopping in Changi Airport arguably has the biggest liquor collection in the world. It has a 2 storied wall with almost all the top single malts and liquors in the world. There is the Long Bar by Raffles counter here in Changi airport which is by the famous Raffles bar in Singapore. This was where the world famous Singapore Sling cocktail was made exactly 100 years back! We were shown a demo of how to make Singapore Sling and then we tried our hand at making them ourselves too!
Duty free has experience zones for many famous Liquors like Johnnie Walker which has some of the rarest blends here. You can get cocktails or mocktails completely free at the Long Bar by Raffles and also you get free tasting sessions of any liquor that you want.
As we were making the Singapore Sling and other fruity cocktails, we were told about the famous incident in 1915 where a Singaporean Army Commander told the bartender at Raffles Bar in Singapore to make a special cocktail in honor of a beautiful girl he saw at the bar. This was the birth of the Singapore Sling. In Hainanese dialect, the word “Commander” is pronounced as “si ling”. That’s why it’s pronounced “Singapore Si Ling” and not “Singapore Sling”.
Sunflower Garden on the roof of the Terminal 2 is an open air attraction with hundreds of Sunflowers saluting the sun. It’s a wonderful place to take some selfies and also do plane spotting as it has a wonderful view of the runway. Our task was to count the number of Sunflowers on that day, which was close to 330! We also posted our selfies with the sunflower garden!
It was time for Lunch and I was really impressed to see the auto food ordering system in the food court. I could select the food item I wanted, and make the payment via card. Once the payment is done, automatically order goes to the kitchen. My token number is displayed when my order is ready so I can go and collect it. Minimal human intervention, no issue of language barrier and no need to queue up.
We were hosted for Lunch by Kaveri Vegetarian cuisine as most of the bloggers were Vegetarians. We enjoyed some amazing Indian food like Samosa, Dosa, Idli and Biryani. The quality of the food was top notch, so any vegetarian travelers to Changi Airport need not worry as there is pure Vegetarian food available at Kaveri Vegetarian cuisine.
One of the most popular attractions in Changi Airport is the Social Tree in Terminal 1 which is more than 9 meters tall. You can interact with the Social Tree using more than 7 different touch screens placed around it. You could upload your selfie and retrieve it many years later using a password. You can play a game with a friend or any other traveler. You can keep yourself entertained for hours!
Bengwan Solo is very well known in Singapore for authentic sweets and cookies. We had a blind tasting session here where we needed to guess the type of cookie or sweet that we were having. This was lot of fun and we not only guessed but also enjoyed the delicacies.
We were told that there was a final challenge waiting for us. We were quite tired by then, having traversed the entire airport but our spirits couldn’t be quelled down. But when we opened the final clue, it was a pleasant surprise by Changi Airport team who said that the treasure hunt was over and we could get a spa treatment at Plaza Premium Lounge! What a sweet surprise!
Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 1 acts as a supplement to the wonderful facilities already available at Changi. If you wish to have a shower, grab some lipsmacking food and relax in couches, you can do that at Premium Plaza for just about 16 Singapore dollars. You could also get Spa treatments like foot massage after being tired with all the shopping, Head and Shoulder massage, complete body massage, etc. The Plaza Premium Lounge is the best place to rejuvenate yourself before boarding for a long flight.
If you are transiting through Singapore for your final destination and have around 6 hours layover, you could opt for a Free Singapore tour. You don’t even need to apply for a Visa. It is a guided tour where you will be taken in Air conditioned buses to 2 popular Singaporean destinations – Merlion & Gardens by the Bay. If you plan in the evening, you could catch the laser show at Gardens by The Bay which is a spectacle in itself! More information about all the attractions at Changi Airport can be found here. So next time, do ensure that you have at least half a day for transit at Changi Airport if you are passing through Singapore or check in early for your flight at least 6 hours in advance if you are visiting Singapore!