There’s a certain poetic symmetry to tiny Singapore running one of Southeast Asia’s busiest airports.
Almost 400,000 flights fly in and out of Changi Airport annually, carrying over 65 million passengers flying out to (or in from) over 100 countries and territories worldwide.
In the decades since its opening in 1981, Changi Airport has since morphed into a Singapore must-see sight on its own. Recognized as the “world’s best airport” for several years in a row, Changi Airport bursts at the seams with innovative services and some truly cool diversions, like a four-story slide and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at the newly-launched Jewel Changi Airport.
Changi Airport Code, Location, Contact Information
- Changi code: SIN
- Location: Changi Airport is located on the eastern end of the island of Singapore, some 18-25 minutes drive from Marina Bay. Location on Google Maps.
- Website: changiairport.com
- Contact information: +65 6595 6868
- Tracking information: Track Changi Airport arrivals and departures.
Know Before You Go
Changi Airport has four separate terminals: T1, T2, T3 and T4. The first three terminals are more closely connected to each other, through the Changi Airport Skytrain and the Jewel Changi Airport, a multi-use commercial and leisure complex.
The terminals are arranged in an upside-down “U”; beginning with T3 on the western side, T1 on the north, T2 on the east and T4 on the southeast. Look at a map of Changi Airport here.
A fifth terminal, T5, is currently under construction opposite Terminal 4, and may be completed by the early 2030s.
Visitors to Changi Airport can download the iChangi smartphone app to help them navigate the airport on the spot, with access to flight times, shopping and dining info, maps and updates, even extended free Wi-Fi. Download on Apple iTunes, or on Google Play.
Public Transportation & Taxis 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 access the rest of Singapore through one of the following transport options:
- Bus: bus terminals at the basements of T1, T2 and T3 provide direct access to Singapore. Your best bet is Bus #36, which loops from the airport to the Marina Bay district, Orchard Road and back. The buses accept exact change, but it's far more convenient to use an EZ-Link card from the MRT terminal at T2, if you're looking to travel further around Singapore in the days ahead.
- MRT: The MRT terminal at the basement of T2 provides direct train access to the rest of Singapore. Visit the official SMRT page to find out more about Singapore's MRT network, or download the SMRTConnect smartphone app on Apple iTunes or for Android.
- 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. Read about taxis in Changi Airport.
- Users of car hailing app Grab (Apple iTunes/Google Play; official site) can direct a car to Changi Airport’s designated pick-up points. More information on the Grab page on Changi Airport.
- Car rental: Hertz and Avis operate efficient car rentals for travelers wishing to drive their own rides throughout the island. Read about car rentals in Changi Airport.
Where to Shop in Changi Airport
Singaporeans are so shopping-mad, they turned Changi Airport into one of the country’s hottest shopping destinations.
Changi Airport’s four terminals and the Jewel Changi Airport complex contain over 400 shopping outlets – hawking tax-free electronics, alcohol, tobacco and high fashion. Read a complete list of retail outlets here.
You can even shop from these outlets before you arrive at the airport. Just visit iShopChangi and buy your preferred items online, then pick them up at your chosen departure terminal.
Here are a few highlights from Changi’s selection of shops:
- An integrated duty-free shopping zone at T4 lets you shop for both cosmetics and potent beverages from either Shilla Duty-Free (pictured above) or DFS Wines & Spirits, then pay only in a single transaction.
- The newly-opened Jewel Changi Airport complex contains Southeast Asia’s largest Nike store. At 10,700 square feet, Changi Airport’s Nike outlet allows shoppers to explore a whole world’s worth of kicks and fitness apparel. Nike superfans can even create their own custom-designed shoes at the Nike By You area.
- The DFS Wines and Spirits Duplex (T2-T3) covers over 15,000 square feet, two floors, and three different store concepts: the Wine Reserve, the Whiskey House, and the Cigar Room.
- While the shopping concourses throughout all four terminals contain electronics and computer brands like Apple, Samsung and Sprint-Cass, zero in on Changi Airport’s one-stop-shop for electronics at E-Gadget at T4 – where they not only sell drones, you can even test-fly them in a special netted zone!
- Bring home an authentic taste of Singaporean culture. Culinary stores like Asia Favourites (T2), Bee Cheng Hiang (T1) and Taste Singapore (T1 & T4) sell sauces, local delicacies and other homegrown treats, conveniently packaged for transport home. At Jewel Changi Airport, stop by Supermama for homeware with Singaporean and Japanese design elements; or Naiise Iconic for quirky hand-crafted items.
Duty-free shopping. Prior to your flight, you can redeem the seven percent Goods and Service Tax (GST) levied on your shopping in Singapore at the departure lounge; the Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS) simplifies the whole process.
eTRS self-help kiosks at Changi Airport let you add up your purchases and calculate the refund owed you; you can redeem the tax refund at refund counters within the departure lounge. More information here: Tax-Free Shopping in Singapore.
Where to Eat and Drink in Changi Airport
Apropos for the foodie nation that perfected hawker centers, Singapore’s Changi Airport contains over 150 dining outlets, covering every craving from vegan food to Japanese to Singaporean classics. You’ll find the complete list of dining outlets here. Highlights include:
- Head to Changi Airport’s food courts for an embarrassment of choices: the International Food Hall (T4) hosts nine mini-restaurants ranging from fast food to Asian contemporary; and Food Emporium (T4) focuses on Asian and Singaporean dishes.
- The Long Bar by Raffles (T3) is an extension of the namesake Raffles Hotel bar in downtown Singapore. Order a Singapore Sling (invented at the original Long Bar) or one of their other old-school cocktails.
- The Heritage Zone (T4) is your go-to for Singapore food favorites, like kaya toast, chicken rice and curry chicken, served from shops set in a wall made to look like Singapore shophouses.
How to Spend Your Layover at Changi Airport
Despite its status as one of the region's busiest airports, Changi Airport is a comfortable place to wait out one's long layover.
Hotels at Changi Airport. Overnight guests at Changi Airport can check into the Ambassador Transit Hotel without having to clear immigration or customs. Check-in desks can be found at all three terminals across Changi Airport.
For more comfortable quarters, stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, accessible via T3; inside, guests can enjoy the hotel's 563 guestrooms, massive swimming pool, and relaxing spa treatments.
Tours. A free sightseeing tour is available if you have at least five hours to go before your connecting flight, and if you haven't left the transit area yet. Highlights of the tour include the Marina Bay Sands, the Singapore Flyer, Chinatown, and the central business district. A "City Sights" tour takes place after dark, and circles around the Marina Bay district, Bugis Village and the Raffles Hotel.
Planning to explore Singapore on your own? Look for the Left Luggage counters in your present Changi Airport terminal, and deposit your bags before you step out.
Changi goes “extra”. Why does Changi Airport have its own swimming pool? A slide? A butterfly garden? Because they can. These facilities demonstrate Changi Airport’s “extra”-ness, to their visitors’ benefit:
- Butterfly garden. T3 offers an open-air, two-story butterfly garden housing over a thousand free-flying butterflies. The garden is kept cool with a working waterfall.
- Four-storey slide. The Slide@T3 stands four stories tall and allows visitors to zoom through at a top speed of 13 mph. If you spend about SGD 30 on goods and services at the airport, you can use your receipts to redeem two ride tokens.
- Movie theater. Both T2 and T3 have their own free movie theaters. T3 also has a "4D" theater for thrill seekers looking for an amusement-park-style ride.
- Swimming pool. The rooftop pool at T1 costs SGD 17 per use, but is free for guests of the Ambassador Transit Hotel.
Jewel Changi Airport. Launched in 2019, Jewel is a mixed-use complex that complements Changi Airport’s already-considerable services with a raft of new ones – interactive adventure portals, over 280 retail and F&B outlets, and the HSBC Rain Vortex at its very center – the world’s biggest indoor cascading fountain.
Jewel cost US$1.3 billion dollars to build – covering ten stories and over 135,000 sqm, the building is open to both transiting passengers and non-flying visitors.
An interior park, the Shiseido Forest Valley, contains one of Singapore’s largest indoor plant collections, seen through two nature trails that eventually lead to the 40-meter-high Rain Vortex.
Changi Airport passengers can reach Jewel through link bridges connecting to T1, T2 and T3.
More information on all these in our article on Spending a Layover at Changi Airport.
Airport Lounges in Changi Airport
Flyers waiting for their flight at Changi Airport can claim a spot at one of the airport's many premium lounges, depending on their carrier, their membership in privilege clubs, or their willingness to pay a premium to escape the riff-raff in the general admission.
- Airline lounges. Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific,and Emirates among others, operate lounges in Changi for the benefit of qualified passengers. Read about Changi Airport’s airline lounges.
- Pay-per-use premium lounges. A number of airline lounges provide a relaxing environment for patrons who can pay a fee before entering. Read about Changi Airport’s pay-per-use premium lounges.
Wi-Fi and Charging Stations
Free Wi-Fi access is available in Changi Airport’s transit areas. Follow the instructions on Changi Airport’s official page, and you’ll be able to use the airport’s free Wi-Fi for a maximum of three hours.
Charging stations for power outlets and USBs are available throughout the transit areas at all four terminals. Read about Changi Airport’s charging points here.
Airport Tips and Facts
You can theoretically walk from end to end within Changi Airport’s transit area, but unless you’re working up to 10,000 steps on your Fitbit, it’s better to take the free Skytrain people-mover that commutes between T1, T2 and T3.
You don’t need to pay extra to get some Z’s between flights. Look for a snooze lounge around the transit area and take a nap for a while. Read about Changi Airport’s free-to-use rest areas.
Many airlines in Changi Airport allow check-in as early as 24 hours prior to your flight. Check with your airline if you can check in early, and enjoy those extra hours taking in Changi Airport’s attractions at your leisure.
SEASIA.CO. "Two Southeast Asian Airports in World Busiest Airpots List 2018." May 2019. Retrieved Jan 11, 2021.
Changi Airport. "Changi East | Changi Airport Group." Retrieved Jan 11, 2021.
Invest Asian. "Does E-commerce in Singapore threaten its malls?" Retrieved Jan 11, 2021.
The Playbook Asia. "The Largest Nike Store in Southeast Asia Opens at Jewel Changi Airport." Published April 11, 2019. Retrieved Jan 11, 2021.
- CNN. "Inside Changi Airport Singapore's new 'Jewel,' home to world's tallest indoor waterfall." Published April 16, 2019. Retrieved Jan 11, 2021.