Most airports offer little more than the same dreary line-up of fast food restaurants, coffee shops, and grimy lounge areas with seats covered in Pollock-inspired stains.
Meanwhile, Changi Airport, Singapore’s international airport, is in a league of its own. Here are ten ways to spend your next layover in the one of the only airports you’ll be excited to have a long layover in.
Take a free tour of Singapore
If you’ve never been to Singapore before and only have a few hours to spend, take advantage of the airport’s free guided tour of Singapore. The tour lasts about five and a half hours and you can choose between the Heritage Tour that shows you Singapore’s historical neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam. The City Sights Tour that will bring you to iconic sights like Marina Bay Sands, the Merlion, Gardens by the Bay, and more.
Admire the colors of the butterfly garden
A small waterfall, tropical foliage, and tens of species of butterflies might make you forget that you’re inside an airport in one of Asia’s most modern metropolises.
Watch a movie in the free theater
After a long-haul flight you might not be up for watching yet another movie. On the off chance that you are, the theater has plush seats and features a rotation of family-friendly movies. Movies play all day, every day.
Interact with the art installations
Take a picture and post it for the rest of Singapore’s international travelers to see at the Social Tree, where you can pose in front of a Singapore-themed backdrop. Once you’ve got your snap, share it to the art installation and watch it whir around the structure. There are also areas where you can have a dot portrait taken and interact with a wall that mimics your every move in an Etch-a-Sketch type outline.
Geek out on the Entertainment Deck
With an Xbox Kinect, Xbox 360, 80s-era pinball and arcade games, PlayStations, and computers with games loaded onto them, game geeks can spend their stopover getting their tech fix.
Order a Singapore Sling at the cactus garden bar
On one of the airport’s rooftops, you’ll find a bar surrounded by tens of different species of cacti like prickly pear, agave, and cycads. It’s an interesting treat to see plants that typically exist in arid climates thrive somewhere that’s humid and tropical.
Enjoy the sunshine at the sunflower garden
Step outside into the sun at the sunflower and cactus gardens. The sunflowers are grown in the airport’s nursery and you can watch planes take off and land from a citrus-colored patch of flowers.
Swim laps at the pool
Even if you’re not staying at the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel, you can pay $17 SGD to enjoy their rooftop pool and jacuzzi for the day. A few laps around the pool is sure alleviate any swollen ankles after a long flight.
Chuck your kids down the 4-storey tall slide
While there are multiple playgrounds throughout Changi Airport, the best kid-friendly feature is a four storey tall slide. Every $10 spent in the airport earns one ride down the chute.
Read in a beanbag under the sculptural tree
Another outdoor-indoor feature is the sculpture garden with a windy walkway that encircles three tree structures that are part metal and part foliage. On the ground floor of the garden, you can rest on a beanbag chair and admire the statues of horses handcrafted from wood.
What activities would you like to do in Changi Airport?