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Enjoying Changi Airport When You Have Long Layover

butterfly-Changi-Airport-SingaporeAfter our family visit in Penang, Malaysia, we again transited through Changi Airport (the World’s best airport) for a few hours during the daytime on our way home. Now, the fun part really began. I love airports! I enjoy window shopping and browsing the duty free duty shops.

Eat and shop your way through the airport

Since I know my way around Changi Airport, we officially entered the country by exiting through immigration. When you do that you can visit the public part of the airport to browse the mini-mart and food court that the airport employees use. I notice that you get better prices (non-tourist) and a greater variety of food choices! The trick is to plan enough time to re-enter the airport (officially exiting the country) through security. As long as I am careful to plan enough time to get back to my departure gate, it is fun to explore the airport. Changi Airport is like an amusement park! And since you’ve already paid the entrance fee through the Passenger Service Fee (aka airport tax), you might as well enjoy your layover and the fabulous facilities.

Gardens within Changi Airport

Singapore is a tropical garden city, so it’s natural to have themed gardens throughout the airport terminals. My favorite is the Butterfly Garden (T3) with a thousand butterflies. You can see butterflies feeding on slices of pineapples.Orchids Garden-Changi-Airport-SingaporeOther gardens include the Cactus Garden (T1), Sunflower Garden (t2), Enchanted Garden (T2) and Orchid Garden (T2).

Cactus Pub-Changi-Airport-Singapore

Personally, I prefer to spend time in the last two gardens because they are indoors and cooler. Singapore is a tropical country and has high humidity. While the indoor environments are air conditioned, these exterior gardens are not. The drastic weather and humidity changes might be uncomfortable for travelers with medical conditions.

Cactus Garden Changi Airport-Singapore


Changi Airport offers a wide variety of restaurants and cafés both inside and outside the secured departure area. Whether you are hungry or just want to sit down to take the weight off your feet, you will never be far away from food. There are more than one hundred eateries within the secured departure halls catering to many different taste buds and dietary preferences.

We met up with local friends outside the secure area for a top-notch meal.

Free City Tour

If you have a layover of five or more hours during the daytime, you may want to take advantage of the free city tour. Just head for one of the City Tour stands as soon as you arrive. It is the cheapest way to travel in this beautiful garden city.

Baggage Storage and Rerouting

Too much carry-on luggage to lug around? Check your extra bags into one of the baggage storage counters, which are available both on the public side of the airport and in the departure area. You can “park” your hand luggage safely and wander around unencumbered.

Was your outbound airline not able to check your luggage through to your destination? Have a chat at the transit desk and request that they reroute your checked baggage. Doing this will eliminate the need for you to retrieve your luggage from the carousel.


There is a lot more to do:

  • Free Wi-Fi and computer stations
  • Duty free shopping
  • Local specialties – the famous Singapore herbal ointment and other herbal products
  • Free children’s play area

Many of us have families back in Asia. Instead of dreading the journey, take the opportunity to enjoy a mini-excursion during your transit in Changi Airport. Stay tuned for my adventure at the Hong Kong airport!

If I am ever in a situation like Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) in the movie The Terminal and could choose the airport, I would choose to be stuck at the Changi Airport.

Fly Confident!