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Stopping over in Singapore? Changi Airport is a destination in itself – especially Terminal 1, where Qantas planes arrive and depart daily. Here’s how to spend a few hours – or even a day – at this international gateway. By Chris Wright.
Sleep! The Aerotel is next to the pool and books rooms in six-hour blocks. Prices start from $S55 for a single room to $S260 for a family of five. (Or you can clear Immigration and go to the grander Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, accessed via Skytrain from T1 and linked by walkways to Terminal 3.)
Recharge between flights at the 24-hour Airport Wellness Oasis in T1. Treatments include a deep-tissue massage and a foot spa, or you can just pop in for a nap and calming herbal tea.
Swim! Yes, Terminal 1 (T1) has a decent-size outdoor swimming pool with a poolside bar. It’s open from 6am to midnight and the entry fee is $S17 per person – and it’s free for guests of the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel.
One of the airport’s best playgrounds – featuring a multistorey slide-and-climb structure – is in T1, at the rear of Sakae Sushi on Level 2. Alternatively, head to T3 and shoot down The Slide – Singapore’s tallest at 12 metres.
Immortalise your visit to Changi at The Social Tree, an interactive installation located after the departure Immigration counters in T1. Simply take a pic (or record a video) at one of the photo booths then “attach” it to the tree’s HD screens. You can also share your keepsake via social media.
Free wi-fi is available throughout the airport and there are more than 400 internet stations across all terminals, making it easy to stay connected.
Eat and drink
Changi has about 140 food and drink outlets, from sports bars to noodle joints. T2’s Penang Culture is a highlight (try the barbecue salmon); in T1, Saboten has good Japanese food.
T1 has three outdoor areas, including the Cactus Garden, upstairs past Burger King. It has a bar, the Traveller’s Cactus Pub, where you can get a drink 24/7, and is the best place to watch aircraft take off and land.
T1 is connected to terminals 2 and 3 by Skytrain. Visit the newest terminal, 3, with its Butterfly Garden, where you can relax amid the soothing sights and sounds of an indoor waterfall with tropical butterflies fluttering around you.
Changi Airport offers free tours of the city for people with more than five hours between flights. Look for a Free Singapore Tour stand.