Changi Airport – What to Eat, Buy, See & Experience


Changi-airport-singaporeChangi Airport – mere mention of it takes me back to 2004 when I had an 18-hour layover at Changi Airport Singapore. I was thankful that it was this airport where I had to spend that amount of time. Remember this was before the Kindle era or even Internet-enabled mobile era. So you had to look for options to pass time at the airports. I remember I took their two free city tours, checked into a transit hotel for a quick nap & shower and roamed around the airport. So, earlier this month when I got an invite from Changi Airport to visit them, I was more than happy to go back. And explore all the new things it might have added since then.

We were taken through a fun-filled exploration of the airport. That is a destination in itself through various activities that involved adventure, luxury, nature, entertainment, food and some authentic Singaporean delights. With each activity, we were discovering a different aspect of Changi Airport. A full day was not enough to explore the airport. I came back with a list of things to explore when I am next at Changi Airport like exploring its Art Trail.

There are a million things that you can do at Changi Airport based on how much time you have at hand and how many times you visit it. Allow me to share my top picks at Changi Airport in Singapore.

Eat & Drink at Changi Airport

Vegetarian Food at Kaveri
Vegetarian Food at Kaveri

Now, if you have been reading this travel blog, you know I am a vegetarian and that many times mean hunting for the food that you can eat. At Changi Airport you can eat Shuddh Desi South India Vegetarian Food at Kaveri restaurant at Terminal T2 food court.

Apart from this, you can try some local curry joints that can serve you rice and curry. Of course, there are bakeries and your comfort chains like Subways & McDonalds for a predictable meal.

Duplex DFS Store at Changi Airport, Singapore
Duplex DFS Store at Changi

If you like Alcohol, the double storey DFS store has an interesting display of bottles, the total of which adds to an auspicious no 998. There is a history of popular alcohol brands and beautiful displays of what is precious to the connoisseurs. The drink to try here is famous Singapore Sling. However, if like me you do not drink, ask for some mocktails, made out of juices and sugar syrup and decorated with cut fruits.

Mocktails at DFS / Raffles Bar Changi Airport Singapore
Mocktails at DFS / Raffles Bar

This picture shows the drinks Tropical Sunrise, Virgin Mojito, and Virgin Sunset.

Kapi & Kaya Toast
Kapi & Kaya Toast


My biggest recommendation though is Kaya Toast and Local Coffee called Kapi. You can get them at various outlets like Wang Café, Kaffe and Toast, Toast Box and Ya Kun Kaya Toast. Kaya toast is a simple toast with Kaya butter – a unique and popular breakfast item. Kapi that comes in varieties like Kapi-O, Kapi-C is a MUST try. I had it at a Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlet in town and came back looking for it at Airport while departing from Terminal 2 of Changi Airport. If you feel lost, ask the information desk for the local Kapi outlet and they would direct you to the nearest one. If you are tech savvy, there are kiosks where you can search for the outlet you are looking for.

Kapi Memorabilia at Changi T3
Kapi Memorabilia at Changi T3

You can even see the museum-like display of memorabilia associated with this coffee / Kapi at T3 of Changi Airport.

Adventure at Changi Airport

Slide at Changi T3
Slide at Changi T3

If you are traveling with kids, actually even if you are traveling without kids I recommend the Slide at T3. That is almost 4 storey tall slide and takes you down a few levels on the airport. I am not sure when was the last time I went down a slide. I wondered if I would be scared or if I would really enjoy doing it. But you know what, the moment you start sliding, the kid in you comes out. As soon as you come out of the other end, you invariably ask ‘ Can I do this once more?’

You can buy a ticket for the slide or you can claim a free slide if you have done some shopping at Changi Airport.

Sit Back & Relax @ Changi Singapore

Experience zone at T2 Changi Airport
Experience zone at T2 Changi Airport

There are snooze chairs everywhere at Changi Airport. But if you want to spend some quiet time, looking at a green expanse, while nibbling some food as your gadgets charge or as someone massages your feet there are many lounges that you can try. I tried the Plaza Premium Lounge and I am damn impressed by the service quality and the smiling staff. I took a foot massage and had a coffee while my camera and phones charged themselves.

Lounges at Changi Airport like elsewhere can be accessed through exclusive membership that may come with your credit card. Or for a small fee that you can check online or at the counter.

Perfect option to explore if you are jet lagged.

Entertain Yourself

There are two movie theaters inside do free screenings. Movies played are English and Chinese movies.

Perfect option if you have 3-5 hours to spend at Changi Airport.

There is an open experience zone too where you can sit in plush chairs and watch sporting events on Television or browse Internet or play games.

Social tree at Changi Airport Terminal 1
Social tree at Changi Airport Terminal 1

There is a social tree that lets you play games with many others; lets you take selfies for posterity and even let you flaunt the selfie on a giant screen.

My biggest recommendation though is to see the Kinetic Rain. A beautiful display of rain drop shaped balls going up and down creating patterns and waves that mesmerize you. If you have 30 mins or more to spend at Changi Airport terminal T2, this is where you should go. I think children would love it and also learn how to make simple principles of science work create beauty in our worlds.

Indulge in Nature

Sunflower Garden at Changi Airport Terminal 2
Sunflower Garden at Changi Airport Terminal 2

Now Airports are not particularly nature spots. Yes, we do have some potted plants here and there, but more often than not Airports are as urban and as concrete as space can get. Thankfully Changi Airport in Singapore has tried to undo this convention by building many small gardens across its three terminals.

Enchanted Garden at Changi Airport Terminal 2
Enchanted Garden at Changi Airport Terminal 2

The most popular gardens are

A Cactus Garden at T1

A rooftop Sunflower Garden at T2

An Orchid Garden at T2

An enchanting Garden at T2

A Butterfly Garden at T3

Orchid Garden
Orchid Garden at Changi T2

If you have to choose one of them, go for the Orchid Garden that has a fishpond with many coins in it thrown by people in the hope that their wishes come true. So each coin is actually a wish. Every time I passed by this it reminded me how we are all bound together by common beliefs.

Collage of Butterflies at Butterfly Garden Changi Airport
Collage of Butterflies at Butterfly Garden Changi Airport

Take the Free Singapore Tours from Changi Airport

Free Singapore Tour Bus at Changi Airport, Singapore
Free Singapore Tour Bus

Having done this many years ago I would definitely recommend the 2-3 hour tours conducted by Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines. At the time of writing, they offer two different tours – a heritage tour and a city sights tour. However a few years back I had taken a tour to Sentosa Island as well. Check the Changi Airport website for the latest update on tours offered and timings.

For a traveler and a travel blogger like me, this is the best use of time that you can make when you stop over at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Shop at Changi Airport

There are a million options to shop at Changi Airport. You can buy all luxury brands – be it electronics, beauty and wellness products, chocolates to indulge in or your regular duty-free stuff. You can simply get lost in shopping areas of Changi or treat yourself to Retail Therapy as you like it.

Bengawan Solo Outlet
Bengawan Solo Outlet

My top pick to buy would be local delicacies at Bengawan Solo. Try their Kuey Lapis – a fusion between cake and Bebinca, or their pineapple tarts or their various nut-based cookies. Colorful packaging makes it a perfect gift to carry back home. Bengawan Solo outlets on all the three terminals will remind you of our own Mithai shops in India.

That’s it from me. For a longer list of 50 things to so at Singapore Changi Airport check this list or download the iChangi App for instant access to updated information.

Now its your turn to tell me what is your favorite thing to do at Changi Airport?

You may like to read my travel blog posts of other countries I visited.

  1. Malaysia’s favorite Petronas Twin Towers.
  2. Bath – City of Roman Baths, Jane Austen & River Avon UK.
  3. Memories of a lone visit to New York.
  4. Malgorzata Chodakowska: Sculpting Wine, Germany.
  5. Bhutan For the Tourists.
  6. Walking around Prague Castle, Czech Republic.
  7. Handsome Parliament of Hungary.
  8. Top 15 Jordan Souvenirs to Pick.
  9. Top view of Mount Everest, Nepal.
  10. Wieliczka Salt Mine, Krakow, Poland.
  11. Modern Art in Streets of Bratislava, Slovakia.
  12. Exploring Sri Lanka.
  13. Street Food at Bann Ton Tan Riverside Market, Thailand.


  1. Thank you for writing this Anuradha. Singapore Changi is always my favourite since a decade or so. Needless to say the best airline is SQ. I am sharing your blog on Concept Voyages social media pages so I can sell more of Singapore this year. You are awesome. Keep it coming.

  2. Fabulous post. I began reading it with the plan to skim through at great speed but was pleasantly surprised by the tours, the gardens (love that one), kinetic rain and the massage chairs. Sounds like a great place to have your flight delayed. A tourist destination in itself.

  3. fel like takin the next flite 2 singa…
    my wife travelled here but did not xperience this.
    i had an 8 hour wait at the istanbul airport on my way 2 tel aviv, israel.
    equally good but cud not have described it so well.
    the samples of sweetmeats at every outlet of the istanbuli sweets filled our tummies.
    take off… launch 4 the next flight.

    • Ranjana, The biggest difference was availability of information on finger tips and easy navigation through GPS, and of course lot more has been added since my last visit. I do not remember gardens. In fact they are already working on T4 & T5 so the place would keep the old visitors engaged for a long time.

  4. Is it an airport? With all these luxuries! 🙂 Singapore is on my list and thanks for your wonderful post, I’ll keep some extra time just for the airport 😉

  5. Wow!! Of all the things that Changi has been coming – up with, I guess the Kinetic Rain is the most unique thing there. Looking forward to see if ‘live’ soon enough.