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Singapore Changi Airport consistently ranks as one of the world’s best airports. It recently regained the top spot in the Skytrax customer satisfaction rankings, after briefly losing out to Hamad International Airport in Doha and Haneda Airport in Tokyo. But Changi is much more than just an airport. It has earned a reputation among international travelers for outstanding amenities such as a spa, swimming pool, movie theater, massage chairs, and a butterfly garden.
For Singaporeans, it’s a destination in and of itself, even without a plane ticket. Many local residents head to Changi on weekends (or whenever they have free time) to enjoy the hub’s shopping and dining outlets, as well as features such as an indoor rainforest, carnival rides, and a mile-long display of dinosaurs.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Changi just for the sake of it is to check out Jewel, a 10-story nature-themed leisure and retail complex attached to Terminal 1. Jewel opened in 2019, essentially putting all other airport amenities to shame. If shopping isn’t your thing (though it’s a pretty big thing in Singapore), you can enjoy Jewel's massive gardens, complete with topiaries, hedge mazes, giant slides, a treetop suspension bridge, and numerous play areas.
When the airport is the destination:
- Changi opened in December 1981 with just one terminal and one runway. It now has four terminals, with a fifth (much larger) terminal under construction, set to open in the 2030s.
- In 2019, just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 68 million travellers passed through Changi Airport, the highest figures it has ever recorded.
- Besides the amenities, Changi has a great reputation for efficiency and timeliness, with many frequent flyers choosing to transit through Singapore to give themselves the best possible chance of making their connecting flight – which can’t be said of all major airports, unfortunately.