19 Hours at Singapore Airport

9 mins read

Whether a butterfly-garden, a monumental indoor waterfall and over 2000 trees – no matter what you’re seeking, Singapore’s Changai Airport will have a version ten times better! So, when met with the option to stay there for either 6 or 19 hours on my layover from India to Australia, I opted for the later – determined to make the most of all the extravagant features this aviation hub boasts. Here’s how that went down.

Just landed from India, where the local time is currently 3AM. My body is confused and covered in aggressively itchy mosquito bites which I inconveniently acquired last night, watching the sun go down outside the airport. I am however extremely excited to have my first proper coffee in over a month –caffeine-buzz, here I come!

The iced-oat-milk-latte is starting to kick in, I can feel the tiredness evaporating from my body just like the hot steam coming off the nearby coffee-machines. Unfortunately, the itching is not showing any signs of subsiding. Might need to make moves, or I’ll explode from itch-agony. Will try to find some yummy brekkie!

Shops! Shops everywhere! Just bought some random items that I didn’t really need, including a very expensive vegan energy-bar, in a beautifully designed wrapping… Not really sure why, but hey, if there’s a zombie invasion, I’ll survive for a few more hours thanks to this gem!

This place is humongous, holy macaroni! Spent the past hour and half roaming around in search for some fresh foods & got distracted by literally everything !Eventually decided to stop at Boost Juicebar in T2 when I noticed my exhausted body was starting to shake. My 3 hours of sleep is starting to catch up with me – will schedule in a nap in the snooze area on today’s schedule! Note to self: Singapore prices are SHOCKING after spending a month in India. Urgently need to adjust spending habits.

Wow! The snoozing chairs here are literally comfier than my bed at home, not kidding, just zonked out in one for 2h straight. What a day to be alive! Now I feel ready to take on some administrative/uni-work – and what better place to do it, than stretched out on one of these beauties, with relaxing sounds of streaming water and slow jazz-tunes in the background? Yes, Changai Airport, yes.

Wandering around the different terminals, connected by sky-trains have left me in awe. Everything from the ultra-modern, sparkly-clean toilets to the vending machines serving hot food, screams of some sci-fi utopia. Slightly feel like I have entered Hunger Games. My imagination goes wild at the thought of getting locked in this futuristic bubble, together with the more than 300,000 daily visitors from across the globe, fighting for our lives. No, enough weirdness, time to find some scrumptious lunch!

I have made my way to JEWEL, and the name doesn’t lie – this retail/entertainment complex both sells, looks and acts as one, with its 12 nature-themed storeys packed to the brim with things to explore, purchase or experience. There’s plants EVERYWHERE! So, so, so, so beautiful. Stomach is starting to cry out for food, time to hunt down the best pearl in this glorious piece of architecture.

So. Full. Can’t. Move. The portions are almost as generous as the pricing in this place – just spent about $20 for a vegan poke bowl on the sunny top-floor of Jewel. Worth it? Debatable, but no time to ponder – got to hunt down one of the free cinemas available 24/7 in Terminal 2 and 3.

Still in Jewel. This place is even more spectacular than I first realized. It not only hosts more than 300 shops and restaurants, but also contains an indoor-garden spanning across its top five floors – in the centre of which the world tallest indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex, flows. It’s hypnotizing, mesmerizing, magical. Very over-the-top, very unnecessary and very, very beautiful. Feel conflicted and amazed. Can’s stop staring. Ok, going to sit down for a while and appreciate this work of art.

Also, feel like I’m slightly losing touch with reality after being inside of the airport for so long. Not sure what time, day or year it is.

Finally made it to the cinema in T3. This airport’s like a maze – got lost for hours. Found a butterfly garden on my journey! So colourful, and tranquil. Felt a bit bad for the little creatures, all locked up. At least they had some scrumptious pineapple to munch on… Hm, my body’s exhausted from all the walking, I’m so ready for some Zootopia!

The free cinema was a success – comfy seats and good sound quality! The tiredness is starting to take a toll on me though – still got 4h to go until boarding. I’ll try to stroll around and explore some more. T3 does boast some stunning art, in the shape of floral installations, weirdly shaped sculptures – oh, and I just spotted a free foot massage chair! That’s so happening.

Really, really, really sleepy. Made moves to T2 from where my flight will depart. Have now visited a cactus-garden, a sunflower garden, an orchid garden and a crystal garden. Feeling very calm and rejuvenated from all nurturing nature-time. Also passed the world’s tallest tubular slide inside an airport on the way, the thing is 12 meters long. 12 meters. Because why not, right? By the way, not breathing fresh air for 17 hours feels very strange. Feel like I’m turning into an alien. Gonna try to find a comfy little napping spot.

My eyes are so dry and my whole face feels like a rice-crispy – so poufy. Cannot wait to get on this flight. No matter how stunning an airport, a 19 hours layover experience is slightly too long to be enjoyable. Please get me out of here. I do appreciate the multitude of water fountains available everywhere though. Difficult to make any cohesive sentences, will stop typing now.

Finally, movement over by the gate. It’s happening, we are leaving! Bye bye Singapore, Australia here I come! It’s been a pleasure Changai Airport – what a place. Would consider another lengthy layover here – but would in that case make use of the free guided tours departing straight from the airport, to the city centre, for a change of scenery and some fresh air. Until next time, stay clean and unnecessarily innovative – sayonara, Changai!   

Feature Image: Photo by Duy Nguyen on Unsplash

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