My 27-Hour Vacation in Singapore’s Changi Airport

On an overnight stay, our writer wandered from the Shiseido Forest Valley to the Canopy Park, eating prawn dumplings, salted-egg potato chips and chrysanthemum gelato under a glass sky.

Comments: 25

  1. I have long considered Changi Airpoirt a must stop destination on my way to visit relatives in Kuala Lumpur. I could easily fly to KL directly from other cities but I make sure to include a detour in Changi as often as possible. I have my favorite food spots. And there's a shop that sells the most delicious traditional cookies and treats in beautiful tin boxes. Changi had free wi-fi before it was a thing, and many spots for families including a wonderful playground. Cheap and delicious food stalls are plentiful. It's such a nice respite after long 13 hour flights. I'm glad to see I am not alone in my love for this airport. I've often plotted of ways to convince my family an overnight stay at Changi was unavoidable. This article may do the trick.

  2. This presentation is really exciting and attractive, unfortunately given the foreseeable challenges to our planet I think it is a problem. It will not be possible to contain world emissions of CO2 without a little effort and some changes in our behaviors. Travelling is very nice and enriching, and I had my share, but it seems to me, particularly touristic plane travels, that it does not have a highly favorable "do we really need it?" to "weight of CO2 emitted" ratio. Furthermore with increased availability of HD and 4K televisions, I believe (it works for me) it can be replaced to some acceptable point by high quality films shot by a small team of professionals who can wait for the right moments, access all the best places, avoid the crowds, etc.. Therefore, unless there is some better proposals to start consequential actions on CO2 reductions, I think it could be wise and insightful to renounce such beautiful and enticing articles. Sorry.

  3. @Freedom Fry Air travelers who are concerned about the carbon emissions caused by their journey can donate to myclimate.org, a Europe-based nonprofit that works to help control climate change.

  4. I laughed out loud from delight at the "Reader, I did" line. Wonderful writing; thank you.

  5. Ms Rosenbloom hints accurately at the artificial/controlled natural/free dichotomy to be found outside the airport in the "real" Singapore. But, as she was in transit, I wonder where she was headed for her "real" vacation. And I wonder how that measured up against Changi. Bon voyage!

  6. Yes the airport is a wondrous place. But outside it is a different story. When you actualy get a local to just talk about the laws, rules and regulations they live under you will get a different story all together. Now I can sort of understand it. This country has a very different history. A better example is China. 1.75 billion people, all different and individual. Their history affects the way they now govern. Their situations are different with different cultural issues. It is a very prosperous and clean and orderly country. It is not a western democracy, but it works for them. And by and by the people do like it, they have a fairly good life. And are willing to forgo certain liberties. But for shopping, I prefer Dubai or Doha.

  7. @Gordon There are other liberties besides the usually touted freedom of expression and the freedom to carry a gun. In Singapore, different races live in relative harmony; it is safe and people can go out and about without fear of being accosted, just about everyone can live in a nice home and own it, thanks to the government, older cab drivers can afford to go for holidays in Bali or Bangkok or Australia; food is relatively affordable, healthcare costs are coming down for the individual as the government increases subsidies and certainly no one dies because of insulin rationing, and the residents have access to the internet without government trying to block this or that. All in all, Singapore is absolutely an example of what good, honest leadership can do for its citizens. And the new Jewel - a great place for a short staycation!

  8. @Gordon The population of China is slightly less than 1.4 billion people.

  9. A good read. I spent almost five years living in Bedoh and Changi when I was in my early teens ( Lee Kuan Yew was Prime minister), I fondly remember catching fish, roasting and eating them not 100 meters from the runway. Time to go back and see all that change. Thanks.

  10. Great pictures!

  11. Yes, but does that airport still have army soldiers walking around inside with machine guns? That's what I remember.

  12. @Dane Claussen I see many more guns at Heathrow.

  13. I remember my first stopover in Singapore in 1974. We were traveling with our children to New Zealand. When we stepped onto the tarmac we were greeted by a warm breeze and an official who lead us to the open veranda of the airport building. He checked our passports and smallpox vaccination papers while we were served a free drink. The children were immediately made to feel like royals. Nothing about this modern airport could compare to the reception we had received. I'm grateful for my memories before traveling became a shopping excursion.

  14. @Jo Ann Nice story. For me, while Changi is hyper-commerical, the service ethos you experienced still underpins everything.

  15. It sounds like the Jewel building is a great addition that keeps Changi ahead of the pack which has been threatening to catch it. The author mentions a couple of prices but I'm wondering how much this 27 hour siesta cost in total? My guess is $500 at least.

  16. Changi has a somber story, that of Changi Prison where Japan killed so many men and women during the War. My father had friends who died there. I cannot fly into Changi without hanging my head for a moment of reflection.

  17. I have stopped overnight in Singapore to break my journey to and from Europe but just exploring the airport sounds delightful. But I must call you out on the phrase "Last year, more than 65.6 million passengers passed through Changi" Phrases like this are all too common. I presume it means more than 65.6 million but less than 65.7 million. Who cares! About 65 million is sufficient without the unnecessary precision. Cheers.

  18. Just wait a few more decades till they finish LaGuardia Airport here in NYC. It will redefine your understanding of "Pleasure Dome". Just wait.

  19. The irony is that by flying so much we are destroying the real thing. It is deeply sad imo.

  20. How lovely that these wonderful and entertaining artificial "green" spaces proliferate and cause untold environmental damage while actual green spaces around the world slowly wither and disappear. All hail our ersatz and green-house gas spewing replacements for the nature we are destroying.

  21. Pretty it may be, but I just can't imagine hanging out at an airport . . . an airport means one thing only - in and out as fast as possible.

  22. @PS Yes, you are absolutely right.. for most North American airports. But given that all flights are international from and to Singapore, with many of them being long distance flights and perhaps with a long layover, having a place like Changi Airport makes a big difference in the travel experience.

  23. Love Changi airport! This year I noticed that Singapore Air changed their flight plans where you do not have to stay in Singapore for 8+hours on an international flight at least one way. I have flown SG Air for years and taken the tour from the airport. Planning to visit next year for several days to see the new SG!

  24. Changi is also famous for its amazingly fast baggage handling (something I sorely miss now that I'm back in the US). Someone once told me that Singapore has a law requiring that luggage arrive at the carousel no more than 20 minutes after landing. I have never been able to verify that, so I doubt there's really a law. But my experience (having flown into Changi a couple dozen times) makes me a believer!

  25. Singapore has been my home twice in the past so it holds a warm place in my heart. No longer a resident, I now stop in for several days whenever I can. Changi Airport is by far the best in the world...and aside from fabulous food, shopping, and the airport pool not mentioned here, your ID is checked 4 times from check in to boarding. At each stage it is fast and efficient because each gate has it's own screening machines. For an atmospheric swim and a good sleep, the short walk off the plane and into the Changi Crown Plaza doesn't get much better. The Changi Airport experience is so far above the pack that there is no comparison with any US airport anywhere. The worst airport experience is that after the long international flight to Honolulu from overseas there is no restroom access until after a long walk to the Immigration and Customs Hall. No other country in the world does this to their guests.