SIN: Singapore Airport - Guide, Terminal map, lounges, bars & restaurants
Singapore Airport GuideSingapore Airport is one of the world's central aviation hubs: many more people pour through Singapore Airport every day, than visit Singapore. It is a central stop on the Kangaroo route between the UK and Australia, and equally is the main jumping off point for flights from the US to holiday hotspots in Asia.
Which makes it all the more surprising that it is a genuinely pleasant, well organised, and up to date airport. True, things get a bit frantic late at night when pretty much every flight is departing, but other than that it genuinely does work. Changi airport is regularly voted number one in the world for convenience and facilities by both business and leisure travellers, and it's easy to see why. Even during the evening rush hour, it exudes an air of calm.
As befits major regional hub status, Singapore Changi Airport is continually expanding. It serves more than 100 airlines operating 6,100 weekly flights flying off to some 210 cities in about 60 countries.
In all terminals, internet access is provided free of charge, both wirelessly and via some 200 terminals and kiosks.
The airport was built on swamp land from 1975, until 1981.
Singapore Changi Airport has four passenger terminals, of which the main three (T1, T2, T3) are linked airside. The three main terminals are connected with the free Changi Airport Skytrain which has a total of seven stations. Alternatively you can wander at will airside between all the shops, and only need to be concerned with security when you are at the gate. This is the one main downside of Changi. At the gate you have to go through X-ray, and then are hurded into a small holding pen until your plane is ready. You can therefore spend an hour or more, in a small glass box, with no access to facilities.
Singapore Airport International Terminal 1Singapore Airport Terminal 1 is the oldest terminal, but it can still cut it.
One of the great delights of Terminal 1 is the swiming pool on the roof: you need to pay $14 for it, but it is free if you stay in the transit hotel.
Singapore Airport International Terminal 2Walking through terminal 2 is a delight, with internal waterfalls cascading through the departure lounge - or rather, as it seems, the shopping mall.
Singapore Airlines uses both T2 and T3, and only announces the arrival terminal two hours before landing, however most flights now go to T3. Indeed, Singapore Airlines designates T2 as departures for destinations now only in South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Africa.
T2, arguably the most interesting, has an indoor garden, a music listening area with couches and mood lighting, a computer gaming room, a small movie theater, paid massage services, and of course plenty of duty-free shops.
Singapore Airport International Terminal 3Terminal 3 is the newest, swishest terminal. Terminal 3 departs from the largely utilitarian architecture in the first two terminals. Like other new airports in the region, it has a structure mainly made of glass, with big transparent spaces inside the terminal. The roof has been designed to allow natural light to enter the building, with 919 skylights. A 5 m (16 ft)-high "Green Wall" with hanging creepers and waterfall was incorporated to enhance the tropical feel. The Green Wall, designed by Singapore based Landscape Design firm Tierra Design, also helps to regulate the internal temperature of the terminal with the occasional misting.
Terminal 3 houses a rare indoor butterfly garden, which is a great way to spend a few hours.
Singapore Airport Budget Airline TerminalThe Budget Terminal will be closed and demolished on 25 September 2012 to make way for Terminal 4.
The Budget Terminal is a strictly functional warehouse, with little frills, however air-conditioning has now been installed for arriving passengers, making it a little more bearable.
No transfer facilities are available at the Budget Terminal, so if your onward or connecting flights arrives or departs from the Singapore Airport Budget Airline Terminal, you have to go through arrival immigration and customs, check in your luggage again and go through departure immigration. You will need a Singapore visa for this.
First & Business Class lounges at Singapore Airport
Singapore Airport transportationTravellers should know that many bus, limousine and shuttle bus services operating to and from Singapore Airport usually require pre-booking.
Limousines charge a bbasic $50 to anywhere in the city and are a pretty good deal after midnight, as you can skip the queue and avoid the surcharge. The same pricing applies to chartering van-sized MaxiCabs, which are good for large families or if you have lots of baggage. They costs $7 and can be booked in advance or in the arrivals hall, between 0600 and 0200.
Singapore Airport trainIt is easy and cheap to get a train to the city centre, but you will need to change trains, which is pain if you have a lot of luggage.
MRT trains run from a station midway between T2 and T3, but you'll need to change trains at Tanah Merah station to a city-bound train: just exit through the left hand side door and cross the platform. The 30 min ride to City Hall station costs $1.90 plus a refundable $1 deposit for the large magnetic card.
Singapore Airport shuttle bus servicesThere is little point in getting the bus, unless you want an explore. Bus terminals can be found in the basements of T1, T2 and T3. Busses run 6am to midnight only. Fares $1.50, exact fare required (no change given) if you pay cash.
Singapore Airport taxi servicesGetting a taxi to and from Singapore Airport is trouble free, easy, cheap, and safe. There are signs after clearing customs. Meters are always used in Singapore and prices are reasonable.
Car Hire at Singapore AirportMajor car hire operators are located in the Arrivals Halls. To save time and ensure you get the car you want, book your rental in advance. Rental car operators from Singapore Airport include: Europcar, Thrifty, Avis and Budget.
Singapore Airport Departure TaxDeparture taxes now form part of your ticket price.
Singapore Airport Stopover tours.If you have over 5 hours to spare there are free city tours six times a day. Check in at the Singapore Visitor Centre in any terminal.
Singapore Airport Bars and Restaurants
Singapore Airport Poolside BarAirside, Terminal 1.
It is right by the outdoor pool, which is fairly small but worth the detour. It costs S$10.30 to use the pool, although there are few checks on who is in it. Theres also a small sub-tropical garden.
Open 0700-2300. Credit cards taken even for just one beer.
Singapore Airport La Cave WinebarAirside, rooftop, Terminal 1.
When you get bored of the Poolside bar, there is always La Cave Bar. This is a gorgeous little 'hut on the roof', which few people find: to track it down, head to the cactus garden on the roof of Terminal 1.
The only downside here is that it is quite pricey - with a decent Chardonnay setting you back about SC$15. However there are some lovely seating areas, where you can admire the view.
It is open 24 hours a day - so you can have a wine tasting at 6am if you feel like it.
Open 24 hours.
Singapore Airport staff canteencarpark next to T2 If you're up for something a little off the beaten track, seek out the staff canteen at level 3M of the carpark next to Terminal 2.
It is open to the public (although you won't get the discounts for airport staff) and serves local food. It is relatively cheap compared to other food options in the airport but not exactly cheap compared to elsewhere in Singapore. There are also staff canteens in Terminals 1 and 3.
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