How We Spent a 6-hour Layover in Singapore Changi Airport

Expat Life, Wanderings

We had a 6-hour layover in Singapore on our flight from Dubai to Manila and we decided to spend it inside Changi Airport. Six hours might seem a long stretch for some but when you are in one of the world’s best airports, time flies.

I prepared an itinerary for the things to see and do in all the terminals but factoring in all our stops and sleep-deprived selves, we only managed to check out some spots in terminals 1, 2 and 3.

Here’s a rundown of our Changi experience.

Terminal 3

Our flight landed at Terminal 3 where the Butterfly Garden is located.

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The area has two levels but it isn’t that huge and a good 15-30 minutes would be enough to explore and observe the different species of butterflies. We had to cut short our visit though because someone was already hangry.

We stopped by a currency exchange stall to have our AE dirhams exchanged  to Singaporean dollars (1 AED = 0.37 SGD). AED 100 was equivalent to S$34 after transaction fees, more than enough for food since we didn’t have plans of buying anything at the airport.

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There are plenty of fancy restaurants in Changi but Singapore Food Street at Terminal 3 offers great choices at a more affordable price. You need to get a cash card though and preload it with SGD (I’m not sure if you can use other currencies but most likely it will still be converted to SGD) and use it to purchase from the different stalls. The card counter is located right at the entrance of the food street. Any balance left will be refunded to you once you return the card.

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We opted for a roasted duck and pork set and mais con yelo for dessert (I forgot how they call it but it sure did look like one to me). This meal cost around S$20 including the bottled water we bought. *Water is expensive in Singapore. I suggest you bring a tumbler and refill it. There are several water fountains inside the airport and it’s for free. 

Terrminal 2

Thanks to the Skytrain, getting to and from the terminals is very convenient. We boarded one to take us to Terminal 2.

The Orchid Garden and Koi Pond was pretty impressive considering it is in the middle of an airport. We were supposed to check out the Sunflower Garden but it was temporarily closed.

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We passed by the popular Irvin’s Salted Egg Chips stall and couldn’t resist buying. We used our Changi Dollar Voucher so no additional damage done on our pockets.

Every transit passenger travelling on Singapore Airlines or Silk Air is entitled to a Changi Dollar Voucher worth S$20. Please check this link to know more about eligibility to this rewards program. There’s two of us so that’s a whooping S$40 and please don’t question us if we spent it all on salted egg chips.

Terminal 1

After splurging our CDV, we headed to Terminal 1 for the Cactus Garden. We were already short on time so this was a quick one. Took a few snaps then we headed back to Terminal 2 to board our flight.

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Here’s a list of the rest of the things we wanted to check out if we had more time.

  • T1 – Kinetic Rain Sculpture, Water Lily Garden/Sculptural Tree Garden
  • T2 – Enchanted Garden, Entertainment Deck & Experience Zone
  • T3 – Shilla Beauty Loft, Longest Slide, Orchid Garden (yes, there’s another orchid garden in T3, why not)
  • T4 – Peranakan Gallery, Petal Clouds

Layovers at Changi won’t ever be boring as there are a lot of things to do. You can take a dip at the rooftop swimming pool, check in at an airport hotel to get a good rest, go to a spa to relax or you can also catch some sleep at the free sleeping areas.

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The Social Tree at Terminal 1. You can take a photo or video and upload it into this interactive installation.

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The whole airport is equipped with WIFI. You only need to register with your passport or local number if you have one. Internet kiosks are also present almost everywhere you turn.

We personally won’t mind spending another layover at Changi.


*Our flight arrived at 7:30 in the morning and departed for Manila at 1:50 in the afternoon.

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