Filling in Time at Changi

Air travel comes with the all-too-common possibility of
lengthy stopovers. Yet, experienced travellers know how to fill in the time.
Some check in to hotel rooms and catch up on sleep. Others clear customs and
explore the city they’re stranded in before being summoned by their boarding

If I find myself stranded in Singapore and there’s not
enough time to explore the city, or not enough funds to check into a room, then
I know I’m not going to be too worried or bored. Changi Airport is one of my
favourite airports because there’s plenty to do for a cash-strapped, time-rich
traveller. Plus, there are lots of free things to do!

Changi Airport is the world’s seventh busiest airport and
spans over 70,000 square metres across three terminals. So, I like to wander to
get the blood pumping through my legs. Along the way, I always find foot
massages. The settings can be tuned to any level and the massages also massage
the lower legs. It’s simply a matter of sitting, slipping off the shoes and
pressing the on button. The massages operate for about 15 minutes and my feet
and legs feel relaxed long afterwards. I must admit, I have sat for multiple sessions
if no one else is waiting a turn!

If I’m tuckered out before boarding time comes around, then there’s
the nifty Skytrain that operates between terminals. It’s fun to ride the train,
though it can be a tight squeeze when I’m competing with crowds and bulky bags.
Early mornings have proven to be a good time to ride; there’s usually space
abound and peace aplenty.

I once read that staring at a green setting is all you need
to rejuvenate the eyes. Plenty of greenery can be found in themed gardens
dotted around Changi Airport, ranging from flower displays, orchid gardens and
koi fish ponds. Benches are also located near these ponds so I love the chance
to sit and take in these playful and colourful fish. There are also little
bridges to cross over these ponds too.

If I feel the urge to step outside, then I head to the butterfly
garden. This double storey sanctuary, complete with waterfall and colourful variety of plant and flower species, is home to a stunning display of
butterflies in all shapes, sizes and colours. You can view these flying
beauties up close and there are many butterfly photo opportunities too.

I also like to walk through the cactus garden. However, this
is a smokers’ area which means I pick and choose my moments. It is possible to
wander through this towering display of over 40 cactus species without sharing
the space with puffers, but again timing is everything.

A walk around Changi Airport’s terminals can reveal ad-hoc
art and sculpture exhibitions. There are permanent pieces erected around the
airport, though I have found intimate exhibitions from time to time. This is
another way I take in some colour and knowledge while I’m stuck in transit.

Around Changi Airport, there are computer terminals
equipped with PCs and free internet. I always leave my connection devices at
home, so this is a great way for me to catch up on email before I head to my
destination or home.

I find the snooze lounges located around Changi Airport offer
body-length reclined seats. These quiet areas are perfect for rest, sleep or
reading a book.

Even though I’ve spent my fair share of transit time in
Changi Airport, there are still a few experiences I’m yet to try!

The free cinema that screens full-length feature films
The rooftop swimming pool
The slippery slide that connects all levels. Yes, a slippery slide!
The free two-hour Singapore tour

Do you have a favourite airport where you like to fill in
time? Or, do you have your own ways to pass the hours before your next

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