Changi Airport in Singapore is not just any airport – it’s a world-class destination in itself. With its state-of-the-art facilities, award-winning services, and endless entertainment options, Changi Airport is a traveler’s dream come true.
And the best part? You don’t have to spend a dime to enjoy the airport’s many attractions. In this article, we’ll show you how to make the most of your layover or transit time by exploring the many free things to do at Changi Airport.
From art installations to rooftop gardens, there’s something for everyone at this iconic airport. So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the hidden gems of Changi Airport – without breaking the bank!
What is Changi Airport famous for?
Singapore’s airport is one of the most famous and busiest airports in the world. Aside from being an airport, it’s also a tourist destination, especially when Jewel Changi was opened in 2019. Its 40-meter-high waterfall is the centerpiece, surrounded by verdant beauty.
Getting to Changi Airport Singapore from the city
Coming from downtown SG, getting to the airport is easy. Just board the MRT and voila! You’ll be arriving at the basement of Changi airport.
You can also go by bus, just hop on to the 36 (A/B) bus that will take you to the airport.
To check out the train schedules: SMRT schedule
To check out the fares: SG transport fare calculator
Traveling with a group? Check out these airport transfer options:
Getting around Changi Airport
Changi Airport has 4 terminals. And that means, being prepared to walk. A lot! So put on your comfiest shoes, and explore all that Changi can offer.
To get to the other terminals, you can opt to take the Skytrain, free shuttle bus, or walk via the travellators. Since I love trains, of course you know which one I took. It takes only four minutes to get to the other terminal, so relish the view outside.
Skytrain connecting terminals 1 to 3 operates from 5 AM to 2:30 AM. The Skytrain is free and you can access it from Transit Hall and Public Area.
There is also a free Transit Shuttle Bus between T2 (Gate E) and T3 (Gate B) that operates from 2:30 AM to 5 AM. Transit Shuttle Buses between T2 and T4 are operational 24 hours for passengers with a valid onward boarding pass.
By the way, much of this airport is carpeted so there is less noise and walking felt more comfortable for me.
There were 6 hours left before my flight back to Penang and I intentionally arrived early because I heard that Singapore’s Changi Airport is a destination unto itself.
This airport has been voted as the World’s Best Airport multiple times in a row and is a favorite among my traveler friends. So how did I spend the remaining hours before departure at Changi Airport Singapore? Find out below.
Top things to do for free at Changi Airport
- Explore Jewel Changi Airport (HSBC Rain Vortex & Canopy Bridge)
- Check out the Butterfly Garden
- Ride down one of the slides inside Changi Airport
- Relax in the free-to-use rest areas & snooze lounges scattered around the terminals
- Watch a free movie
- Go on an art tour and check out the art installations
- Get some sun at the Sunflower Garden
- Enjoy a free massage on the massage chairs
- Play arcade games at T4 Entertainment Corner
What is there to do at Changi Airport for free? [Attractions]
So now, what can you see and do to pass the time? Take your pick from the multitudes of free maps available around Changi Airport and choose from there. There are also machines like below that can give you suggestions on what you can do for the number of hours you have until your departure. It prints out the info on a sheet of paper.
Changi Airport Terminal 2
- Enchanted Garden – T2 Transit Hall
- Sunflower Garden – T2 Transit Hall
- Viewing Malls – Public area
- The Wonderwall – Public area
- Free to use rest areas – Transit
NOTE: The northern wing of T2 will be fully completed by 2024. The below zones were still present in 2019.
- Orchid Garden – T2 Transit Hall – 24 hours
- Movie Theatre
- Entertainment Deck
- Children’s playground
- Experience Zone
Since I only have a few hours, I decided to check out the greenery first in Terminal 2. The Enchanted Garden will surely put you in a trance with the sounds of nature and the stained glass-laden giant flower sculptures filled with fresh flowers and greens.
The Orchid Garden meanwhile, reminded me of my mom and grandmother, being the orchid lovers that they are. You can find more than 700 orchids here in different varieties! There’s a koi pond as well.
Fun fact: Singapore’s national flower is an orchid – Vanda Miss Joaquim!
I searched for the Sunflower Garden and was so happy to see them even with the harsh midday sun. Luckily, there were no other people around so I finally got to take some selfies as well. It would have been relaxing to stay here if only it was an overcast day.
These sunflowers feature different varieties that are grown in the airport’s own nursery.
Stumbled on the Entertainment Deck by accident from the Sunflower Garden and was happy to see the Movie Theatre (also available in Terminal 3). But alas, it was quite full when I checked inside. Lots of sleeping people though. The Entertainment Deck also offers XBOX, MTV booth, PlayStation, and a small cafeteria.
While in Terminal 2, I also passed by a children’s playground, snooze lounges which are all occupied, and art rubbing station which are all available in other terminals as well. There is also the Experience Zone where you can sit in comfy chairs while watching your favorite news or sports.
Changi Airport Terminal 3
- Butterfly Garden [T3 Transit Hall – open 24 hours]
- The Slide
- Crystal Garden (sculpture)
- CLIMB (Basement 3)
- Free to use rest areas
- Movie theatre (Level 3, Departure Transit Hall)
- Play Area (Basement 2)
You can find the tallest slide in an airport in Terminal 3, Level 1. Max height is around 6 feet so unleash the kid in you!
There is also a Butterfly garden with around 1,000 butterflies from more than 40 species!
NOTE: The below zones might not be present anymore in Changi Airport
For those who want to get a little buzz, The Long Bar by Raffles at DFS Wines & Spirits offers free cocktail tastings such as Singapore Sling.
Koi lovers can find the Koi Pond at T3 Transit Hall. Kids can also feed them during feeding time!
Changi Airport Terminal 1
- Arrival Garden
- Cactus Garden
- Discovery Garden
- Kinetic Rain
- Piazza Garden
- Tropical Rainforest Vivarium
- Water Lily Garden
- Aerobar by Aerotel
- Play Area
Cactus garden [T1 Transit Hall] and the art installation Kinetic Rain are the popular ones in Terminal 1. Other gardens include the Piazza garden, Water Lily garden, and Sculptural Tree garden. There is also an outdoor rooftop pool with jacuzzi (SGD 17) if you want to take a dip at the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel.
The Social Tree is an interactive installation where you can have your photo taken and displayed on the screen.
Changi Airport Terminal 4
Opened in October 2017, Terminal 4 has reopened since September 2022.
- Chandelier – art installation & playground (Transit)
- Entertainment Corner
- Heritage Zone
- art and sculptures – Hey, Ah Chek!, Immersive Wall, Les Oiseaux, Petalclouds, Singapore Rojak, Steel in Bloom, Travelling Family
- Free to use rest areas
Other amenities and services
Aside from the mentioned above, there is a multitude of amenities and services that Changi airport offers for all kinds of travelers.
- Changi Airport Wifi
There is free Wi-Fi (fast!) which you can connect to – WiFi@Changi. There are also internet stations on all the terminals. If you cannot connect to the complimentary WiFi using your mobile phone, just head to one of the WiFi Password Kiosks you can find around the airport. You can also approach Information counters.
- Changi Airport Shopping
And if you’re fond of shopping, then the Duty-Free shops will surely be a good choice for you. You can even shop online at www.ishopchangi.com. You can shop Duty-Free for up to 30 days and at least 18 hours before your flight. You can even enjoy free delivery in Singapore when you spend above $380 on selected products.
There is also a Travelers Box at Terminals 1 & 3 where you can get travel essentials like SIM Cards or even win raffle prizes.
- How do I check my flight details?
- Where can you sleep inside Changi Airport?
Snooze lounges are available at Terminals 1 -4. You can also choose to check in at the following hotels inside the airport:
- Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel – Terminal 1 (Check reviews here)
- Ambassador Transit Hotel – Terminal 2 (Check reviews here)
- Ambassador Transit Hotel – Terminal 3 (Check reviews here)
- YOTELAIR Changi – Jewel Changi (Check reviews here)
Massage chairs at Changi Airport
I was looking for the massage chairs all around (recommended by a friend) but couldn’t find them. Was jumping for joy when I saw these leg massage chairs near my departure gate. Definitely good for my sore and aching feet from walking all around!
You can find the leg massage chairs in Terminal 1, 2, and 3. The full-body massage chairs can be found in Terminal 3.
Changi Airport Lounge Access
Do you want to enjoy the benefits of the premium lounges in the airport before your flight but you don’t have a Priority Pass or Lounge Pass? Check out these Klook offers:
You can indulge in local delicacies, relax away from the crowd, and make use of the workstations. You can also take a shower at these paid lounges inside Changi Airport.
Are you a frequent traveler? Join Priority Pass so you can enjoy airport lounges across the world! Plus, savings on airport shopping, dining, and spa experiences.
Free Singapore Tour
If you are spending a long layover in Changi Airport (at least 5.5 hours and less than 24 hours), then you definitely should take advantage of the Free Singapore Tours – Heritage Tour, Changi Precinct Tour and City Sights Tour. Both are guided tours that run for 2.5 hours with 2 stopovers.
Where to register:
- Terminal 2 Transit (Level 2, Departure Transit Hall (Near Gate F50)
- Terminal 3 Transit (Level 2, Departure Transit Hall (Near Gate A1-A8)
How about your luggage? You can leave them at the Left Baggage for a fee.
Registration details, eligibility requirements and tour timings can be found in this link.
Where to eat at Changi Airport
Of course, you’re going to get hungry! And don’t you worry for there are countless dining options throughout the four terminals. Terminal 1 has 26 restaurants and cafe, while Terminal 2 has 41, and Terminal 3 has 39 dining choices.
From local brands to fast food chains, coffee shops, and a multitude of cuisines, you will not get hungry, as long as you have money to spend! 😉
If you’re on a budget, look for the locals’ open secret: the airport staff canteens at Terminals 1 and 2! Click here for directions. You can also check out the public food court in the basement of Terminal 3.
Japanese food lovers can eat their hearts out at ANA’s Japan Gourmet Hall SORA in Terminal 2 which has 7 stalls and can seat about 300 people. Other food halls can be found in Terminal 1 (Food Gallery Menu of Colors) and Terminal 3 (Singapore Food Street).
Click here for Changi Airport Dining Directory.
Jewel Changi Airport
UPDATE APRIL 2019: Jewel Changi officially opens to the public on April 17. It features the world’s tallest indoor waterfall called Rain Vortex as well as an indoor forest. Jewel also has a hotel, IMAX cinema, and lots of dining outlets. The donut-shaped structure is designed by Moshe Safdie.
How to get to Jewel Changi?
- From Terminal 1, you can reach Jewel’s North Entrance through the Arrival Hall at Level 1
- From Terminal 2 and 3, head to Departure Hall Level 2 and take the escalator to level 3 to get to the link bridge to Jewel
- From Terminal 4, there is a complimentary 24-hour Airport Shuttle Bus to T2 then follow the instructions above
What to expect at Jewel?
- Have your picture taken with the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, the HSBC Rain Vortex, which also has a free light and sound show at night. [8 AM – 12:30 AM]
- Check out the 4 levels of Shiseido Forest Valley which features different plant species from around the world. [Open 24 hours – free – luggage not allowed]
- 5th level attractions are now open (as of June 10) but require admission tickets
- Canopy Park – SGD 5 (includes Discovery Slide, Foggy Bowls, Petal Garden, Topiary Walk) – 9 AM to 3 AM
- Canopy Bridge – SGD 8 (9 AM to 3 AM)
- Manulife Skynets Bouncing – SGD 22 (includes Canopy Park attractions)
- Manulife Skynets Walking – SGD 15 (includes Canopy Park attractions)
- Hedge Maze – SGD 12 (includes Canopy Park attractions)
- Mirror Maze – SGD 15 (includes Canopy Park attractions)
- Lots of shopping, food, and entertainment options.
- You can also sleep in YOTELAIR CHANGI, located on the 4th level of Jewel Mall.
- Learn more about Changi Airport at the Changi Experience Studio on the 4th level
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
Have you been to Changi Airport? What was your experience like?
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