Singapore's Unique Changi Airport, by Ted Cookson

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by Ted Cookson
Published in November 2002

Have you ever considered which international airport is your favorite? My choice without question is Singapore's Changi Airport.  All else being equal, when flying to Asia I always prefer to spend my transit time at Changi. 

First of all, if your itinerary includes a layover in Singapore of at least 5 hours, you may sign up for one of two free 2-hour tours of Singapore offered 8 times daily.  You may choose between a scenic Singapore River tour featuring a ride on a traditional bumboat and a tour to the resort island of Sentosa which includes time enough for a short walk along a white sandy beach!  The first tours begin at 10:00 a.m. and the other 7 tours are scheduled hourly from 1 p.m. onward.  Airport tour counters open for registration at 8:30 a.m.  Tours cannot be pre-booked.  It's strictly first come, first served.

Sports fans may prefer to amuse themselves in terminal two's sports arena where ESPN, Star Sports and Super Sports are projected onto 42-inch flat screen plasma TV's.  Sony Playstations and Dreamcast game stations are available for free too.  And a display showcase of autographed sports memorabilia includes Tiger Woods' golf gloves, Ajax Amsterdam's soccer jersey, Shaquille O'Neal's basketball jersey, Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves and Wayne Gretzky's hockey T-shirt.

You can enjoy a workout and shower for about S$10.  (For a bit extra shorts, shoes and a T-shirt can be provided.)  If you prefer terminal one's rooftop swimming pool (about S$10), then do bring along your own swimsuit.  A one hour aromatic massage, available at either terminal for S$68, should leave you refreshed for your next flight.  On the other hand, terminal two's Shower, Fitness and Lifestyle Center will provide either a half hour head and shoulder massage or a half hour of foot reflexology for S$38.  Beds are available for napping at S$30 for 3 hours.  Transit hotels in either terminal offer a sauna (about S$10), a jacuzzi or simply a hot shower (about S$5).  Other services include haircuts, shampoos, facials, manicures and pedicures.

Are you an internet freak?  Internet access PC's are available in both terminals at S$2 per 15 minutes.  Internet access is free from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.  Also available are infrared internet data access kiosks (the first of their kind in the world), ethernet LAN network access, wireless LAN and old-fashioned dial-up access. 

News hungry?  Flat screen plasma TV's in both terminals project BBC World, CNN, CNBC and Channel News Asia plus Reuters financial information.  Just plop yourself down in one of the comfy padded chairs.

Thirsty for big screen action?  There is a free movie theatre in terminal two with a 100-inch back projection screen.  This theatre, which is an exact replica of downtown cinemas, screens Star Movies 24 hours a day. 

Or how about an airport nature trail?  Nature lovers may stroll through cactus, bamboo and helliconia gardens at terminal one and orchid, sunflower and palm and fern gardens at terminal two.  Terminal two also boasts ponds of koi, said to be the most colorful and expensive of freshwater fish.

Shoppers will be glad to know that Changi boasts more than 80 shops.  Airport prices are guaranteed to be no higher than in the same shops downtown.  Furthermore, a 30-day "no questions asked" money back guarantee is offered by all shops.

Changi Airport's other transit facilities include the following:  parents' rooms; children's playgrounds (for ages 1 to 12); multi-religious prayer rooms; open air areas including gardens and of course the previously mentioned swimming pool; transit hotels; designated air-conditioned and outdoor smoking areas; special television viewing areas for the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel and Star Movies; money changers (which have the commission embedded in the rates posted); left luggage facilities; Singapore Telecom postal and telecommunications facilities (all local calls made from the departure/transit lounges are free); pharmacies; food courts; and a 7-Eleven minimart in terminal two which is open on a 24-hour basis.

If you are planning to stay over in Singapore, you can even check in and arrange seating for your onward or return flight on a number of air carriers, including Singapore Airlines, by phone from your hotel or on the internet.  Then when you arrive at Changi you simply collect your boarding pass and deposit your luggage at dedicated counters.  This translates into less time spent in queues.

Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines both use Changi's terminal two.  All of the Gulf-based carriers flying to Singapore operate from Changi's terminal one. 

ABOUT TED COOKSON:  Egypt's most widely-traveled travel agent, Ted has been to every country in the world!  He has also visited 307 of the 315 destinations on the list of the Travelers' Century Club (visit and refer to World Travel Club).  A travel agent in Cairo since 1986, Ted manages EGYPT PANORAMA TOURS, a full-service travel agency, at 4 Road 79 (between Roads 9 and 10, near the "El Maadi" metro station) in Maadi.  Contact Egypt Panorama Tours (open 7 days a week 9 AM-5 PM) at:  Tels. 2359-0200, 2358-5880, 2359-1301.  Fax 2359-1199.  E-mail:  Web site:


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