Being stuck in an airport probably brings to mind the movie where a man learned to survive in an airport terminal. Imagine taking a bath in the small toilet cubicle and being all alone in a foreign country. What a nightmare, isn’t it? Although that isn’t quite the story of the typical traveller, the thought of having to transit or stop over in a foreign country isn’t something most of us would look forward to.
It’s just a matter of time (10 minutes perhaps!) before boredom and exhaustion set in. But for those of you who are lucky enough to be stopping over in Singapore’s Changi International Airport, you’ll find that airplanes aren’t its only attraction. In fact if you happen to be stuck here – or even if you’re just stopping over – you don’t really have to go into the city itself for greenery or entertainment. Believe it or not, besides being one of the top 20 busiest airports in the world, Changi is in itself a tourist attraction and even has the locals coming out here on weekends just to hang out. Strange but true indeed!
This award-winning airport features six – yes, six – lush, enchanting gardens within its concrete exterior. These open-roofed oases are spread out in its three terminals, providing a green sanctuary for travellers and visitors. While away your time with a cup of coffee and lose yourself in the scents of nature. Follow the Nature Trail and allow yourself to be enchanted by the colourful butterfly garden with numerous specimens which vary depending on the time of the year. Here you get to see how butterflies breed and grow in as much of a natural environment as possible. Also featured are ‘hungry plants’ – about 30 species of carnivorous plants from Singapore and the South-East Asian region. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see as these ferocious creatures latch onto the first bug naive enough to land on them. The butterflies are safe though- the two have a symbiotic relationship as the plants kill insects and small animals harmful to their pretty friends and pupae. Other equally vibrant gardens feature bamboos, cacti as well as orchids and sunflowers, with koi ponds adding a delightful touch to the latter two.
And of course, what is an airport without a duty-free zone? Changi Airport brings new dimensions to the meaning of ‘retail therapy’. Roam its three terminals, all dedicated to boutiques and eateries for as long as you have time because it really is immense. They were certainly constructed to serve with only your comfort in mind and to lighten your wallet, too. Some of these outlets are even open 24 hours, so you can still do a bit of shopping even if you’re there in the wee hours of the morning. You’ll find a wide selection of luxury items from Gucci and Cartier to cheaper products for the average buyer – and boy, will you be spoilt for choice.
Best of all, the outlets at the Changi Airport offers a refund guarantee. Should you buy a product at the airport but later find it being sold cheaper at a comparable downtown outlet, you can claim a refund of double the price difference. This however does not apply during sales and must be made within 30 days of purchase. Incidentally you could even pre-order products through the airport’s website and just pick them up when you get there. Great service? You bet! As always, customer satisfaction and comfort is its utmost priority.
Believe it or not, the airport even provides spa and gym facilities. After all, whether you’re waiting for your flight or just busy shopping, it’s always a pleasure to have yourself pampered. If you can’t spare the time for a full massage then may be you could opt instead for a quick manicure or pedicure with soft music to lull you into slumber. Otherwise you could let off some steam at the gym then freshen up with a shower. Again, these services are available 24-hours so it doesn’t matter what time you feel like dropping by – that is, of course, as long as you don’t have a flight to catch. If you happen to be in transit for more than five hours, take advantage of a special pass that will allow you to hop on a city tour for a quick glimpse of dynamic Singapore. Just register at the Free Singapore Tour Booths and you’re all set to go!
There are also lounges and quiet napping areas for you to snooze but if you’re thinking of really putting up for the night, why not check into the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, located within its immediate vicinity. Linked to Terminal 3 via covered walkways, with train access (People Mover System) to the other terminals, its rooms provide quiet comfort and tranquility with affordable rates beginning from SGD147 (USD101). If you’re hard-pressed for time, opting to spend your stay here means that you can make quick trips into the city without lugging your baggage around. After all, Singapore’s transportation system is extremely efficient so you should have no problems commuting to and from other places of interest. That is, of course, if you can drag yourself away from the delights of the Changi International Airport!