Singapore's Changi Airport (IATA code: SIN, ICAO code: WSSS) is one of the region's busiest airports: the bustling three-terminal complex in Singapore's northeast handles over 100 airlines flying in and out of the island state.
In the space of a week, about 6,000 flights fly in and out of Changi Airport, processing over 46 million passengers flying out to (or in from) over 60 countries and territories worldwide.
- Location of Changi Airport: 1°21'45.8496"N, 103°59'27.9254"E (Google Maps)
This article is the first of two parts:
- In the first part, we discuss what to expect when you're flying into Singapore through Changi Airport, and how to get to the rest of Singapore once you've exited the airport's departure area.
- In the second part, we'll discuss what to do when you have a layover in Changi Airport - your accommodation choices, the airport's facilities for waiting passengers (including premium lounges like the Green Market), and how to spend your layover touring the compact island-state.
Flying Into Changi Airport
Changi Airport can easily reached by flights from Los Angeles (compare prices), San Francisco (compare prices), and New York (compare prices). From here, visitors can fly practically anywhere into Southeast Asia, as the region’s major carriers and budget airlines service regular flights from Changi.
US passport holders are not required to obtain a visa to visit Singapore; the Entry Pass permits a maximum stay of 30 days. More information on visa requirements in the region here: Southeast Asia Visa Requirements for US Passport Holders. For other info on traveling into the island-state, read this: Singapore Travel Essentials - Information for First Time Visitors to Singapore.
Singapore is more careful than most other countries where prohibited items are concerned: passengers have been arrested for unknowingly bringing in a couple of bullets in their baggage. (See more: Aussie warned after live ammo found on her at Changi Airport - ChannelNewsAsia.com) Certain items require written authorization from Singapore's Police Licensing & Regulatory Department; valid documentation may be required upon arrival.
- No-Fly Zone: More info here: Prohibited and Controlled Items - ChangiAirport.com.
Your Changi Airport Flight Status
Follow the links below to current flight information from Changi Airport, including arrivals and departures:
Getting To and From Changi Airport
Changi Airport's location in Singapore's northeast allows guests to arrive in the city center within 40 minutes of disembarking from their flight.
From Changi Airport, travelers can travel to the rest of Singapore through one of the following transport options:
Bus: bus terminals at the basements of each terminal provide direct access to Singapore. Your best bet is Bus #36, which loops from the airport to the city center and back, passing Suntec City, the Ritz-Carlton Millenia in the Marina Bay district, and Orchard Road (with shopping and hotels galore) along the way.
The buses accept exact change, but it's far more convenient to use an EZ-Link card from the MRT terminal at Changi Terminal 2, if you're looking to travel further around Singapore in the days ahead.
The other bus numbers leaving from Changi - SBS 24, 27, 34, and 53, and SMRT Trunk Service 858 - service Singapore's suburban "heartlands", home to government-owned high-rise housing and of little interest to tourists.
- Day tripper: For fares and other information on bus 36 and other buses traveling from Changi Airport, visit SBS Transit's Journey Planner. For details on getting an EZ-Link card, read this article on Riding Singapore’s MRT and Buses with the EZ-Link Card.
MRT: The MRT terminal at the basement of Terminal 2 provides direct train access to the rest of Singapore. Be forewarned: you may need to transfer trains as you go.
I counted no less than three train transfers when traveling from Changi Airport to Marina Bay Sands.
- Mind the train: Visit the official SMRT page to find out more about Singapore's MRT network, or download the SMRT iPhone app.
Taxi: taxi stands can be reached immediately outside Changi's arrival terminals. Fares are metered, with additional surcharges added for airport access and traveling late at night.
- Flag down: For more information on taxis in Changi Airport, read this: Airport taxis - ChangiAirport.com.
Car Rental: SIXT and AVIS operate efficient car rentals for travelers wishing to drive their own rides throughout the island. Compare rates on car rentals in Singapore.
Marina Bay Sands Shuttle: Guests staying at Marina Bay Sands get a dedicated shuttle to themselves. The bus leaves Terminals 1, 2, and 3 every half-hour every day. Just present a printout of your confirmation email to the shuttle bus operator when entering the bus. More info here: Airport shuttle bus - MarinaBaySands.com.
- Stay awhile: read our review of the Marina Bay Sands experience. Or find out about the public art in Marina Bay Sands: Walking Down Marina Bay Sands’ Art Path in Singapore.
Leaving Changi Airport
Visitors to Changi Airport are perfectly positioned to fly practically anywhere in the region - hundreds of nonstop flights, serviced by the region’s major carriers and budget airlines, fly from Singapore to any corner of Southeast Asia.
- Nonstop, in the name of love: for a list of tourist destinations in the region that you can reach nonstop from Singapore, read: Direct Flights from Singapore to the Rest of Southeast Asia.
When leaving via Changi Airport, you can redeem the 7% Goods and Service Tax (GST) levied on your shopping in Singapore before you fly; the Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) simplifies the whole process.
eTRS self-help kiosks at Changi let you add up your purchases and calculate the refund owed you; you can redeem the tax refund at a number of refund counters within the departure lounge.
- Putting the "Fun" in Refund: For the procedure to follow when redeeming your GST at Changi Airport, read this: Tax-Free Shopping in Singapore.
Proceed to part two of our Changi Airport introduction - Layover in Changi Airport, Singapore.