Changi Airport Singapore: More than an Airport

3 Jun 2017 by Neha Gupta Kapoor
Changi Airport

There is so much to do on arrival at Changi Airport, before departure and when in transit, for the over 55 million passengers it handles annually. It is the world’s sixth busiest airport in terms of international passenger traffic and connects to 330 destinations across nearly 90 countries. Within India, it operates from 15 cities and has over 230 weekly services.


Changi is possibly the only airport in the world that has a wide array of entertainment and practical facilities for the comfort of its passengers.

Nature is an essential feature of the airport’s interiors with five themed gardens across the three terminals. Moreover, the one-of-its-kind rooftop Sunflower Garden (T2) is a welcome burst of fresh air and allows spectacular views of the runway. There is also Butterfly Garden (T3), rooftop swimming pool and bar (S$17/₹780; T1), both the first in the world at an airport, in addition to a 24-hour cinema hall (free entry; T2 and T3).

For some shut-eye, each terminal has free-to-use rest areas as well as transit hotels. Charges at Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel (myaerotel.com, T1) start from S$55/₹2,521 for six hours. Ambassador Transit Hotel (harilelahospitality.com/transit_hotel, T2 and T3) charges a minimum of S$90/₹4,127 for six hours. The rooms are compact and have the basics such as a bed, telephone (can request for a wake-up call) and a rack to place luggage. A business centre at each of these locations allows photocopying, mailing of documents, internet and fax.

If pressed for time, 24-hour pay-per-use lounges at all three terminals offer quick refreshing facilities such as private resting suites, shower cubicles, nail care, foot reflexology and massage therapies. Plaza Premium lounge (plaza-network.com) is at T1 and Ambassador’s transit lounges (harilelahospitality.com/transit-lounge) are at T2 and T3.

Terminal 2 - DFS Duplex Interior


Amongst over 360 retail shops at Changi Airport, the most prominent are The Shilla Duty Free (beauty) and DFS (wines and spirits). They are located at all three terminals.

The DFS at T3 is the biggest (two-storey) amongst all terminals. It has a Raffles Long Bar on the top floor that serves the world famous cocktail, Singapore Sling, for free. Over at T2, the top level of the two-storey DFS store is reserved for whisky, and the collection ranges from the latest on the market to limited editions. It even has a free tasting bar, helpful in narrowing down to the final buy, in addition to seats where you can unwind with a soothing drink of choice.

Continuing with samples, beauty junkies can treat themselves to free express makeovers at The Shilla Beauty Loft (T3). Passengers may also book themselves for skin rejuvenating facials here.

Those who are time-stretched can opt to shop online, before their flights, from Changi’s duty free e-commerce portal, iShopChangi. The items can be picked up at the airport stores just before boarding.


Look for 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken (T1 and T3), a Singaporean fast food restaurant that specialises in Korean-style fried chicken and also fried shrimps and calamari. Each of these is offered with two sauces – soya garlic, and hot and spicy.

If you have time to kill, Harry’s Bar (T2 and T3) is another local establishment worth a visit – whether you want to catch a live sports telecast or simply enjoy modern comfort food with a pint or two.

Tai Hing (T2) that has 30 outlets around Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China originated as a fast food eatery in Hong Kong. Be sure to find authentic Chinese classics such as suckling pig and roasted duck here alongside succulent roasted meats.


Here is how you can get a tax refund for items shopped in the city. For bills with a total value of S$100/`4,584 and above, you can claim a refund of Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the airport. Electronic Tourist Refund self-help kiosks (eTRS kiosks) are available across Changi’s terminals at all departure check-in halls (before departure immigration) and departure transit lounges (after departure immigration). A service fee is deducted from the refunded tax.

Check with the store from where you wish to shop if they support the tourist refund scheme, or else the refund is not applicable.

Future Developments

  1. Terminal 4 (T4) will open doors in the second half of 2017 and will boost Changi’s annual passenger handling capacity to 82 million.
  2. In early 2019, Jewel Changi Airport, a mixed-use lifestyle destination is slated
    to open and will house a 40-metre high Rain Vortex — the world’s highest indoor waterfall.
  3. Changi Airport will be able to serve up to 135 million passengers annually within ten years with Terminal 5 next on the horizon.
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