With attractions more commonly seen in a national park than a transport hub — including a butterfly garden and a 40-metre waterfall — it’s no surprise that Singapore’s Changi Airport has reclaimed its spot as the world’s best airport for the 12th time. It also took out Skytrax’s awards for the World’s Best Airport Dining, Best Airport for Leisure Amenities, and Best Airport in Asia.
Long layovers are a breeze in an airport where every consideration has been made to keep the transiting engaged. Some passengers purposely arrive hours before their flight so that they can experience all there is to experience at the precinct.
Experience Changi, the world’s best airport
The airport’s claim to fame is the Jewel — a ten-level landmark of forests, gardens, eateries, stores, and entertainment. It sits at the heart of Changi Airport and operates 24 hours (with most stores open from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm).
Entering Jewel, your eyes are drawn to the central Rain Vortex, which, at nearly 40 metres, is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. During the day, the sunlight catches the spray, and a light show is projected onto the wall of water at night.
Atop Jewel sits Canopy Park — the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in nature. If you’re not afraid of heights, see the park from the Sky Nets suspended eight feet above the ground, and test your bravery by walking across the glass-bottom 22-metre high canopy bridge.
It’s not all fear factor and great heights, though. The rooftop pool and jacuzzi are a little more relaxing, a place where you can soak pre-flight and watch planes taxiing down the runways. It’s possible to catch a rare moment of airport zen with more than 1,000 butterflies, too, in the world’s first departure-side butterfly habitat.
You won’t have any issue finding something to sate an appetite worked up exploring all corners of the 70,000-square-meter airport. Choose from more than 190 eateries, ranging from upscale restaurants to quick bites and takeaways. Start your European sojourn pre-flight with a meal at the Jewel’s Poulet Bijou or Mamma Mia! Trattoria. They’re leagues above the airlines’ hot-food trays.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Singapore without a healthy dose of high-end shopping. Kill some time browsing the Balenciaga bags, Dior makeup, travellers’ edition whiskies, and Colombian cigars. If you decide to purchase, the duty and tax-free savings are a welcome bonus.
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Lead image: Darren Tan on Unsplash