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Changi Airport, Singapore: Inside the World’s Coolest Airport



Most travelers dread extra time spent at the airport: arriving several hours before a flight, dealing with long layovers, running out of snacks. Unnecessary added stress, am I right? But spending time at the right airport can make all the difference. When you see all that Changi International Airport has to offer, you won’t want to leave at all.

Singapore’s Changi Airport

At the start of 2019, Changi Airport was named the world’s best airport for the seventh straight year. What makes it the top of the tops? Stick around and find out:

Get lost in lush, secret gardens

Changi Airport, Singapore. DerekTeo /

Changi Airport is nothing but a maze of beautiful gardens: orchid, butterfly, sunflower, cactus, water lily, and “enchanted,” to name a few. Built to encourage travelers to “slow down, sooth and refresh,” pockets of lush greenery can be found in each terminal and are easily accessible by the airport’s Skytrains.

Hop up to the airport’s rooftop Cactus Garden for a drink, sunshine, and incredible view of over 100 species of cacti. In Terminal 2, immerse yourself in a colorful celebration of Singapore’s national flower: the orchid. The Orchid Garden features more than 700 orchids from 30 varieties meticulously arranged according to their various colors and shapes, representing the four elements of nature—Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Looking for some vitamin D? Head to the Sunflower Garden, a sunny warm spot that is home to several varieties of sunflowers grown in Changi Airport’s very own nursery.

Changi Airport, Singapore. Sorbis /

Terminal 2’s Enchanted Garden is interactive and magically comes to life with sights and sounds. Motion sensors trigger sounds of nature and blooming flowers while fibre-optic and LED lighting. Wander down the winding pathways and watch as they form a fascinating floor of twinkling lights.

Butterfly Garden, Changi Airport, Singapore.

Last (but absolutely not least): the Butterfly garden (Terminal 3). The world’s first airport butterfly garden was designed as a tropical butterfly habitat with a profusion of flowering plants, lush greenery and a huge grotto waterfall. Meet and interact with over 1,000 tropical butterflies from as many as 40 species. Educational corners and individual enclosures let you feed and watch the butterflies from right up close.

Keep yourself entertained with big-screen movies and seriously high-tech games

Entertainment Deck, Changi Airport, Singapore. Sorbis /

So, you’ve explored the gardens and have a little extra time to kill. Changi’s 24-7 movie theaters and entertainment deck have you covered.

Movie Theater, Changi Airport, Singapore. Sorbis /

Movie Theaters: If you’re looking to zone out, definitely head to the movie theaters in Terminals 2 and 3. You’ll be able to enjoy the latest movies (most are new releases) in the comfort of real movie theater seats.

Entertainment deck, Changi Airport, Singapore. Sorbis /

Entertainment deck: At the entertainment deck, hook up to Xbox Kinect, a gaming experience based on body movements and voice-activation. To get a good workout, take on friends at tennis, bowling, soccer, wake racing, target shooting or climbing. Want a little old school fun? Experience nostalgic gaming with retro arcade machines, PlayStations and computer games.

See, feel and experience local and interactive art exhibits

Changi Airport, Singapore. Credit: Changi Airport

Changi Airport’s curated collection of local and international art installations and displays can be found in each terminal. The end result is an immersive, exciting, and visually stunning airport experience. Each time you turn a corner, you’re greeted by stunning displays, colorful light shows, and jaw-dropping installations.

HSBC Rain Vortex, Changi Airport, Singapore. Credit: Changi Airport

HSBC Rain Vortex: When evening hits, this beautiful sheet of water becomes a screen for a light and sound experience. With hundreds of vantage points around the plant-filled room, you can sit back, grab a drink and enjoy the show.

Kinetic Rain, Changi Airport, Singapore.

Kinetic Rain: Made up of exactly 1,216 bronze droplets, Kinetic Rain (Terminal 1) is a fan-favorite. Depending on where you’re standing, each sculpture forms 16 different shapes, ranging from the travel-related, like an airplane and hot air balloon, to the fantastic (aka, a giant droplet dragon).

Daisy, Changi Airport, Singapore. Sorbis /

Daisy: The epitome of innovative airport art. Standing at a whopping 13m tall, Daisy (Terminal 3) is “inspired by the journeys and connections facilitated by Changi Airport and the Port of Singapore.” Appropriately painted in Singapore’s national colors and powered by built-in sensors, the propeller moves in response to the movements of travelers walking by.

A Million Times at Changi, Changi Airport, Singapore. Credit: Changi Airport

A Million Times at Changi: A Million Times at Changi is both a kinetic sculpture and a functioning clock. How does it work? “Its hands move from unpredictable and mechanical spinning to a series of perfectly synchronised designs and patterns.” According to the artist, it “reinvents the presentation of time to offer delightful moments.” At 7.5m wide and 3.4m tall, A Million Times at Changi is one of the biggest kinetic artworks in the entire world.

Eat, drink, and shop shop shop.

Hello Kitty Orchid Garden, Changi Airport, Singapore. tipwam /

The best part about being stuck in an airport? The drinks and food. Duh. Changi is stuffed with over 200 restaurants, bars and snack carts.

Whisky House, Changi Airport, Singapore. MAX SAYPLAY /

From traditional Japanese food to A&W, there’s something for everyone and you definitely won’t go hungry between flights. Head to the Whisky House to browse and taste-test from hundreds of whiskies, or grab a quick bite at the Hello Kitty Orchid Garden (closed for 2019).

Shops at Changi Airport, Singapore. Joel Whalton /

At Changi, you don’t just shop. You pamper yourself. With rows upon rows of stores, you’ll feel like you’re walking through a tiny (and colorful) city. The airport is home to over 400 storefronts and plenty of unique shopping experiences.

Coming to Changi in 2019:

As if everything above weren’t enough, take a peek at the wild and interactive attractions coming to Singapore’s Changi Airport in by the end of 2019 (scroll):

+ 5 Other Airports Where You’ll Never Be Bored

Changi isn’t the only airport you’ll want to plan to be at for your next layover. Some other great airports offer plenty of activities and attractions to help keep travelers entertained. Like Changi, most of these airports have won some serious awards. We promise you’ll never be bored when visiting these 5 airports:

Incheon International Airport (South Korea)

At Incheon International Airport, start with the movie theater. Yes, there is a movie theater, and it’s located on the basement level of Terminal 1. There are two screens for viewing, and movies show every day of the week. It’s a super entertaining way to kill some time before your flight takes off. Don’t forget to hit the indoor ice rink, also located in the basement level of Terminal 1. Warm up at the Spa On Air afterwards with a hot bath, sauna or massage. Visit the Museum of Korean Culture in Concourse 4F to see ceramics and other art pieces that are on display and check out the Incheon Airport Korea Traditional Culture Center to learn a bit more about culture and history in Korea.

Munich Airport (Germany)

Munich Airport has a lot to love about it. Munich is home to the only airport in the world with its own brewery, Airbräu, where they brew three beers and serve up delicious food and drinks. At the on-site visitor’s center, travelers can play mini-golf and kids can have fun at the playground. For those who want to rest up between flights, private Napcabs are available for rent. During the colder months, the airport transforms into a wintery Christmas market.

Hong Kong International Airport

While at Hong Kong International Airport, you’ll never run out of things to do. Catch a flick at the MAX theater—this theater location has the biggest screen in all of Hong Kong! Play a round of simulation golf at the indoor golf club or head to i-Sports to play a few rounds of virtual reality games. You can also learn all about airplanes at the Aviation Discovery Center.

Zurich Airport

Zurich Airport has plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy. Travelers can head to the stunning, light-filled observation deck to view planes landing and taking off, stop by the on-site pharmacy or grocery store, or adventure with their kids in the play areas. A transit hotel is available for those who want to catch some shut-eye.

Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport is another fun place to spend an afternoon between transit. Enjoy relaxing at the Zen Garden, swimming laps in the swimming pool, or streaming free tv shows. For those who want to get a massage or want to glam up, there are many spa and salon services throughout the airport. If you want to rest up before your next flight, sleep’n fly sleep pods are available for rent.