Making the Most of a Layover in Singapore

If you’ve got clients travelling to Southeast Asia, chances are, somewhere along the way, they’ll have a stopover. And there are few better places to have a stopover than Changi Airport in Singapore, one of the main hubs in all of Southeast Asia.

One might argue, straight out of the gate (excuse the pun), that there isn’t a reason to leave the airport in the first place. Changi is probably one of the best airports in all of Asia, if not the world. But let’s set that aside for the moment.

A lot will depend on how much time your clients have and their budget.

We’ve put together four layover packages for Singapore that clients can add on to any trip to Asia. All packages include a pick-up and drop-off to and from the airport.

Gardens by the Bay

Only a 4-hour Layover – There is just enough time to visit one of Singapore’s newest city attractions: Gardens by the Bay. Opened in 2012 as an urban outdoor recreation area, you could easily spend a few hours inside the glasshouse Flower Dome and the manmade Cloud Forest pavilion. And then stroll along the elevated walkway that connects to the Supertree Grove, an area of tree-like structures that illuminate the park in the evening.

The 6-hour Layover – With two extra hours, add in a stop along the city’s most prominent boulevard, Orchard Road, where the only limitation is the time you have to explore it. Aside from the art galleries and museums that live on the famed thoroughfare, there are also a ton of cafes, shops, and fine dining restaurants. For adrenaline junkies, try SG Flight Simulations or the Climbing Wall, an indoor rock climbing extravaganza.

The 8-hour Layover – Add two more hours and the driver will add on a visit to Chinatown, which could be described as the city’s hub of culture. Even though Singapore is quite a modern metropolis with ample greenery and glass skyscrapers, this area of the city seems to have maintained its turn-of-the-century charm with its traditional two-storey shophouses. Try some crispy duck or dim sum at the street market or wander through one of the many temples.

Chinatown, Singapore

The 10-hour Layover – With 10 hours to play with, you’ll really start to fall in love with Singapore. Two extra hours will allow you to visit Bugis Village, a shopper’s paradise with hundreds of stalls selling the latest electronics, jewelry, and clothing. If Bugis Village doesn’t have what you are looking for, you probably don’t need it.

Or forget all the running around and head straight to one of the restaurants on top of Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Unfortunately, you have to be a guest of the hotel to use the world’s largest infinity pool perched 57 stories above the city. Buy a vintage glass of Cabernet Sauvignon at Ce La Vi or Spagos and get bonus view of the pool and the skyline as well at the Gardens by the Bay more than 150m below.

Singapore really is an incredible city and a perfect stopover location, but if all of that sounds like too much, Singapore’s airport is a destination unto itself. Even with a 10-hour layover, you likely won’t run out of things to do.

Changi Airport in Singapore

Below is the list of my favourite things that Changi has to offer:

For Movie Lovers – Head over to Terminal 2 (located in the departures hall on level 3 near the Sunflower Garden in the transit area) or Terminal 3 (also located in the departures hall on level 3 but near the Ambassador Transit Lounge in the transit area.)

Changi Airport offers free movies 24 hours around the clock for those in transit. What’s best is that they are first-run movies, like those you’d see while in-flight, and not flashback hits of the 1980s.

For Wellness Enthusiasts – There is a selection of spas located around the airport that offer express services for those with limited time. They also offer a full menu like you’d be accustomed to seeing in any salon around the world. The only issue I have with these places is that they are priced at the same rates you’d expect to see at home, give or take a dollar.

But what I do love about Changi, and oh I realize this is a simple thing, but the airport offers free massage chairs throughout the terminals. These are the types of chairs that if you spotted them anywhere else, you’d expect to pull out your wallet and empty all your loose change into them, but not at Changi. The toughest part was eventually having to share them with the other airport patrons.

Massage chair in Changi Airport

For the Gamer: Already missing your Xbox One that couldn’t quite fit in your luggage? Head to the transit area in Terminal 2 and you’ll find Changi’s Entertainment Deck. Pull up a chair at one of the many free consoles, and before you know it, they’ll be announcing your zone.

For the Pool Shark: Soak up your last drop of sunshine before heading back home. Jump into your swimsuit and head over to Terminal 1. Actually, it’s probably best to head over to the pool first and then jump into your swimsuit to avoid awkward stares. The 360-degree view pool located on the rooftop of the Aerotel Hotel will only cost 17 SGD or approximately $13 USD if you aren’t booking a night. But for 17 SGD, the hotel supplies a towel and shower gel and a change room along with views of the underbelly of planes taking off and landing. But there is no shampoo or conditioner or blow-dryer so pack accordingly. Still, if you aren’t a shopper, spending a few hours relaxing poolside is a great alternative.

Travelling with kids?: Every terminal at Changi Airport has a full-on three-level play area with colourful slides and tunnels to climb through. And let’s not forget, Changi also offers free WiFi for parents so they can catch their latest Netflix series while Jimmy and Sally jump from platform to platform. Terminal 3 boasts the world’s tallest indoor airport slide reaching as tall as four stories. Jimmy and Sally won’t want to board the plane when it’s time to go.

Finally, Changi is probably one of the prettiest airports I’ve ever seen. With its Orchid Garden, Sunflower Garden, Enchanted Garden, Water Lily Garden, Cactus Garden, Butterfly Garden, and Koi Pond, you’ll soon forget you are even in an airport.

Visit with Koi Fish

Of course, like almost every airport in the world, Singapore’s Changi Airport has all the duty-free shops one would expect, comfortable sleeping lounges, and restaurants offering an assortment of international cuisines.

I have to say that writing this article has reminded me that I need to get back to Singapore soon. You should go too. Why should our clients be the only ones having all the fun?

For a complete list of Goway’s day excursions in Singapore, including stopover packages for those with more than 24 hours to spend, visit our Singapore pages on Goway.com.

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