Singapore Airport: A Disneyland For Backpackers

published by Bren

Last updated: January 13, 2024

Airports! Don’t you love airports?

I’ve spent my fair share of time sitting in airports, usually in an isolated corner picking my nose and listening to Taylor Swift.

Earlier this year I spent about 12 hours sitting around in Mumbai airport, and a few years before that I was having the time of my life prancing around Nairobi’s airport for 18 hours or so.

Needless to say, sitting in the airport sucks. You probably haven’t showered for over 30 hours, all the good seats are taken, the food is stupid expensive and everyone is in a super shitty mood.

Unless of course you’re in Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Chances are you’ll have more fun in Singapore airport than you’ll have in actual Singapore. I promise, it’s so cool I’m actually looking forward to the next time I have to transit here. The place is like a gigantic big kid’s playground, with more big screen TV’s, video games and computers than Dick Smith Electronics.

Let me show you exactly how much fun you can have while in transit in Singapore.

First of all, there’s a Left Baggage service available. Personally I hate carrying stuff around the airport. Don’t you ever get sick of tying your backpack to your leg while you sleep? Or trying to strategically place your massive suitcase in the cubicle while you poop?

At Changi Airport you can leave your bags with someone else, and it’s cheap. I left two bags with them for about 12 hours and it cost me $5 USD!


This is a big deal because wheeling your bags around Singapore Airport isn’t just a mild inconvenience. Singapore Airport is enormous. It has three terminals (update: It has four now), all connected by the Skytrain. It comes every four minutes or so, and takes about a minute to get between terminals.

singapore airport guide

While in transit you always need to eat.

Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not, but in Changi airport your only problem will be trying to choose.

Every type of food is available – pizza, Burger King, chicken laksa, BBQ pork on rice, McDonald’s, wonton noodle soup, fried chicken and chips, vegetarian Indian…whatever you want – it’s here. The food’s not expensive either, this Hainan chicken rice only set me back $4USD! Or $12, cos I had three of them πŸ˜€

food in singapore airport

Then, it’s time to charge up your stuff. But what power plug do they use in Singapore?

Doesn’t matter, because the airport has craploads of universal plugs, including USB’s. 856 of them to be exact.

No more sitting on the floor against a random pillar, waiting for your phone to charge…

singapore airport guide

What I hate about sitting in the airport is the lack of fresh air. It’s like a big air conditioned greenhouse of zombies breathing recycled oxygen.

Luckily for you, Singapore has a handful of garden areas where you can lay low, breath some real air and chill.

My favourite is the butterfly garden:

butterfly garden singapore airport
butterfly garden singapore airport

The cactus garden and sunflower garden aren’t too shabby either:

cactus garden singapore airport
sunflower garden singapore airport

Then, just when I start to get bored Singapore brings me back to technology.

Scattered throughout the airport are free internet terminals, and there’s so many of them that they’re never full.

The internet is fast, too.

internet singapore airport
internet singapore airport

Then once you’re done stalking your ex on Facebook you’ll probably wanna sit back and relax somewhere.

Head to the free movie theatre and catch one of the latest blockbusters.

movie theatre singapore airport

If the theatre’s full, don’t worry. Just head to the other one.

movie theatre singapore airport

And if you don’t like the hush hush of the cinema, you can catch a movie on one of the many flat screens scattered through the terminal:

tv singapore airport

Once you start feeling weary, get a massage at one of the many health spas.

Prices start at around $20USD, but most will be closer to $40.

wellness spa singapore airport

Are you getting anxious about what’s happening in the markets?

Just head to the free Bloomberg corner, where you can run rampant on Bloomberg connected computers and watch the market news.

I didn’t even have access to this while working as an accountant!

bloomberg singapore airport

Bored yet?

Guess you better head to the game zone, where they have 9 free Playstation 3’s hooked up with the latest games.


playstation 3 singapore airport

Once you’re done losing at Fifa, you can head to the sports TV, sit back in your lounge chair and watch the real thing on the big screen.

sports singapore airport

You probably want more video games now.

You’re in luck, because they also have a free LAN cafe set up with six gaming PC’s, ready for you to Battlefield it up!


battlefield LAN singapore airport

Getting tired? Take a nap!

You can access a sleeping zone in a lounge for around $25, and around $9 will get you a drink and a hot shower.

shower singapore airport

After that you can head to the TV zone and relax in your own private television cubicle.

There’s a lot of them, so you should be able to find an empty one πŸ™‚

tv singapore airport

Walking through this place is always interesting. It’s scattered with fish ponds and gardens which are such a refreshing change to the dull, sterile boxes that airports so often are.

fish garden singapore airport

Now you probably need to use the internet again but you’re bored of using a normal computer.

Guess you better have a go with these wall mounted touch screen ones…

computer singapore airport

Miss your dog? Give him a call using these free internet phones:

Singapore Airport phones

Heading to the beach in Thailand or Bali? Be honest, those biceps are still looking kinda small.

Lucky you. There’s always time for one more gym session:

gym singapore airport

If you really need a decent snooze, there’s a couple of transit hotels you can check into without needing to go through immigration:

transit hotel singapore airport

And if you ever feel like you’re getting bored of the airport (which is impossible), there’s a free tour of Singapore on offer that will get you out into the real world.

free tour singapore airport

Then came the best surprise of all.

I was so exhausted from running around looking at all this cool stuff when I finally came across a massage chair.

Ready to spend my few remaining dollars on a much needed foot rub, I sat down and twisted myself in circles trying to find the coin hole. Turns out, it was free!


massage singapore airport

But what’s even crazier than all this is that this isn’t even half of it! I had about 4 hours in here and I still didn’t get a chance to see the swimming pool, the hair salon, the other gardens, the 4 storey high slide, the Aviation Gallery, the Zone X video arcade (arrgh!), let alone browse through all the amazing duty free shopping on offer.

All I can say is, if you ever need to transit in Singapore don’t get upset. In fact, I’d try and change your flights up so you can make your transit even longer. I could spend 2 days in here and not get bored. LAN party, anyone?

Oh, and I nearly forget the most important part. There’s beer, too πŸ™‚

beer singapore airport

Truth is, I was actually a little disappointed when it came time to board my flight. I felt like I was Charlie and my time in the chocolate factory was being cut short.

Next time I’ll make sure I get a little more time here πŸ™‚

Heading to Singapore?

  • Accommodation is not cheap in Singapore, and even hostels dorm rooms can be pricey, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune. I’ve scoured the country for the best accommodation options – check them out in my Ultimate Guide To Singapore Accommodation.
  • To keep your food costs down, eat in the hawker centres. You can get safe and delicious meals at all hours of the day for just a few dollars, and they are everywhere. Don’t be intimidated by the crowds! Just go in and find a seat, it works like any other food court. Many things are expensive in Singapore (at least by Asia standards) but food doesn’t need to be one of them.
  • IΒ highlyΒ recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel in Singapore is not dangerous but it is can be expensive and you do not want to be left with the bill in the event of an accident.Β I use World Nomads.Β They offer coverage in Asia and it’s super simple – you can literally be covered within two minutes. I use them often. For read my beginner’s guide on purchasing travel insurance, click here.

    Have fun!

World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

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  1. Hi Bren! I’m from Singapore and currently I hold a part time job at the airport. I love your article! Thank you for writing a good review of the place I love! Just wanna highlight to you that the 4 storey high slide, aviation gallery and the zone x video arcade are all in the public area instead of the transit area so I doubt you’d be able to see it unless you clear the immigration! And yes, the airport doesn’t sleep. All the amenities are 24/7 even on public holidays πŸ™‚

    Hope that helps!

  2. Hi Bren. I’m an American living in SG. This is probably also one of the fastest airports in terms of processing inbound passengers. I have been from my plane’s exit to a taxi in as little as 25 minutes (including buying some beer in duty free!)

    Singapore has some fun spots too, so don’t sell our little island short! But great review of the world’s best airport!

  3. Hi Bren, I’m a Singaporean, and thanks so much for writing such a wonderful article about our airport! It’s great that you enjoyed your transit, especially since it’s something most of us locals won’t get to experience. I never knew we had so much just in the transit area alone! The airport is one of my favourite hangouts because there are so many things to enjoy just in the public area alone. There’s plenty of good food to try, which I hope you get the opportunity to one day!

    I’m not widely travelled, but I can say that I was very surprised that when I landed late one night in Seoul, the whole departure hall was closed and deserted. On my flight back I also discovered that many of their eateries and services close at about 9.30pm, including the tax refund counter. The only open place we could eat at was McDs. It’s made me appreciate how high functioning our airport is, because everything is within reach any time you need it. Thanks again for writing this, I hope you visit again soon πŸ™‚

  4. Hello Bren. Came across your blog from a FB friend that shared your article. Very cool read. It’s interesting because I am Singaporean. Recently when I went backpacking in Australia, I had an interesting conversation with some of the European backpackers who said they don’t know much about Singapore the country but they heard a lot of good things about the Changi airport. Now I understand what they mean.

  5. Hello Bren! I’m a Singaporean studying in the UK now! Thank you for the lovely writeup on our beautiful airport! I don’t know why but I always like going to the airport, even if I’m not the one flying. I really love Changi though, I can see why it’s one of the best airports in the world! I didn’t know that there was so much to do in there, I definitely have to check it out the next time I’m back πŸ™‚ You should stop by again soon, there are plenty of other things to explore other than the airport πŸ˜‰ x

  6. I’m a Singaporean, and I’ve been going to the airport since the mid 90’s (because I like to watch planes take off and land, and because I’m a douche-y writer. No, really.), and the improvements they’ve made over the past two decades have been astounding. It used to be highly efficient and relaxing. Now, on top of those things, it’s also wildly fun! The part I enjoy the most is seeing people come here flustered and leave happy. It’s even better if they arrive happy, but less satisfying. LOL.

    I feel a little shameless, praising my hometown’s airport like that, but your article has made me a little puffy with pride. Thank you! Please come by again soon!

  7. Hi Bren, as a singaporean, back in 2013, my flight to cambodia was 7.40am the next morning. I did a super early check-in at 10.50pm the night before, leaving the airline staff at the check-in row wide-eyed.when she looked at the flight timing on my ticket. “R U sure, sir. UR flight is tomorrow morning!?”

    Yes, I did about 80% of what you’ve shared.. my purpose for the super early check-in and I’m still hungry for more.

    The airport security going for their patrol conducted 3 checks on me (3 different groups of officers at different timings) and they thought I was nuts.

    Happy travelling, palz.

  8. Hi Bren. Awesome article on my favourite airport period. Changi amazes me everytime I’m there, with new things to see and explore. It’s a mini town by itself and it never sleeps. There’s just too much to do and time zips pass just too fast @ Changi without you realising. Changi spoils me rotten and tires me out. With Terminal 4 and Jewel@Changi in the pipeline, much more is in-store and you might need to stay a day longer just to enjoy the new facilities. Happy blogging and transiting.

      1. Hi, I’m a Singaporean and they will have 5 terminals in total by 2025, and some sort of giant retail cum garden complex called Jewel in the center of it all. As for the slide, there are two of them: One of them (one storey high) is absolutely free and you can just go on in as long as you are above the minimum height, the other (four storeys high) requires you to spend SGD10 and redeem a ticket to have a go. Hope you get a chance at it in future!

  9. Hey Brendan it’s awesome reading your blog! Being Singaporean, I’m glad you enjoyed our airport! I have not exactly explored the transit area as there’s usually little time when I’m taking a flight. But on an ordinary day, I would bring my family there and enjoy the public areas of the airport for dining, shopping and the kids to run about. Enjoy your travelling man, and do come back to Singapore again! πŸ™‚

  10. Hi Bren, I’m a fellow Singaporean who came across your blog post through facebook. I’ve never traveled much and I am so amazed at the facilities in our Airport. I heard about the cinema, gardens, and swimming pool but the gaming corner was a new thing for me and I am so jealous! Just a question, are most of the facilities in T3? Because T1 and T2 don’t have much fanciful stuff compared to T3. Btw, Singapore is currently building a T4 and it’s going to be really grand. Hopefully by the next time you drop by, T4 is up πŸ˜€ You can go google it.

  11. Hi, Bren, I’m a Singaporean and am already 19 years old this year. I travelled almost every year of my life and never knew the airport had amenities like these! Hopefully I will get a chance to check out the movie theatre (that really caught my eye!) in future! And yes, the prime minister announced at last year’s National Day Rally that they will be building another TWO terminals! Even I can’t wait for them to be built because I really love Changi Airport, even if I’m just there to soak in the travel atmosphere πŸ™‚ Make sure to check out the two new terminals when they’re built! Thanks for the amazing article; so proud of Singapore!

  12. Hu Bren, Terminal 5 is on the approved blue print already. Thanks for your good write up of our International airport. Do not know about other airports but in Singapore, our airport is so designed that we Singaporeans consider the place as part of the go-to for shopping, feasting, chilled up and to a certain extend kids’ playground, without a blink on an eye and or surprise look from any Singaporeans. I never am bored going to my Changi Airport and proud of it.

  13. Every time I come back to Sg from overseas I always take the last flight (midnight) coz it is usually cheaper (if not cheapest), then i always go to the cinema to watch movie till I dozed off, then wake up in the morning to take train back home (save more money for midnight taxi, haha..). OR if I din have anything that day, I will just stay inside. Yes, it’s fun to roam around there. I wonder though, how if Sg was my final destination but I had baggage? lost and found? Coz I always carry all my things.

    1. So we can actually stay in the transit area until the next morning if we were to return from overseas via flights beyond midnight?! I did not know about this!! I always have the impression that transit area is SOLELY for passengers who need transit and it is not available to others. Looks like a good idea to choose midnight flights and spend my night in the transit area next time till the next morning πŸ™‚

  14. Hi Bren, like many others, I came to your blog via a fb post.

    I’m a Singaporean and proud of my airport. Thanks for singing so much of its praises! Frankly, I didn’t even know we have this much facilities and amenities in there! And, like you, I was delighted to find out about the baggage deposit two months ago, while having to wait hours for my bro to pick me up.

    I also like the way you answer every single comment with so much sincerity. I’m gonna put in my first subscription of any blog here!

    Hope you’ll return to this Sunny island! ^_^

      1. Yes, there is still an active golf course. You can see it on Google Earth, just west of Changi Village Road, and north of the newer Loyang Avenue. The sailing club still exists too. The bowling was the 10-pin variety, and it might just have been air-conditioned. It was next to the Astra cinema. As a Royal Air Force base it was huge, with a population of 12,000 if you include service families, their schoolteachers and other UK based civilians, and locally-recruited employees. But it wasn’t just a holiday camp. Confrontation with Indonesia was very recent.

  15. Hey bro! Thanks for sharing this, seriously!

    My girlfriend works in Singapore Airlines and she didn’t even know about those things you’re talking about in this post! Haha.

    I travel to Singapore quite often to stay together with her, and I myself don’t even know all these things exist.

    I just liked this post, liked your FB page, added you in FB so I can talk to you more about the crazily nice noodles that I’ve ever tried in Singapore, Malaysia etc (in case you’re coming over to the very east part of Malaysia, my hometown, Sabah or better known as Borneo Island :D), signed up to join your mailing list, replied to your FB page’s for the post, and now I’m replying here because there’s no way for me to post a reply on your About Me page (

    I was a local tourist guide in my hometown, and when I decided not to work for others and I wanna work in anywhere I want and still being able to travel around, I started to move towards the “working online” model… A very humble starting point, and it brings back my memories of how I got started in the online world.

    After reading a few of your posts, I think I’m even more deeply in love with your casual, humorous and lively writing styles presented on this site… to the point where I’m thinking if I could hire you/your team to write for one of our niche sites! LOL!

    Again, thanks for the post, me and my gf will definitely try out those facilities in the near future πŸ™‚


      1. Sweet as!! You’ve already been to K.K?! Arghhh! If you’re planning to come back again do let me know, There are a lot of different kind of Chinese noodles around Sabah. Those which you’ve read from online blogs, I don’t think they cover everyone of those nice noodles! loll

        From what I can see on how you’re managing your blog, you’re definitely not really that “new” in the IM space, I’d say intermediate level loll…

        You site can definitely grow faster and bigger (in terms of profit and virality), I bet you’re learning quite a lot from the right people and direction.

        I saw you mentioned you’re “lazy” (probably from the post about your first month’s profit from Elance), and I have tons of (lazy) strategies which I’ve previously used to help other marketers to boost the undervalued part of their web assets.

        I’d of course love to share those lazy strategies with you too hahaha…

        Let’s get connected in FB if you don’t mind πŸ™‚

        Have a good day wherever you’re right now!


          1. Cool bro…

            Blog about the food you had in Malaysia when and if you’re travelling over here!

            Ok great, I’ll just send you an initial email to save your contact first, and if I were you, I’d delete the email right after this, to keep those shitty spam bots from spamming the email address to death haha

            Talk soon.

  16. Hi Bren, what a great review you gave for this airport. My airport experience includes the JFK in NY, Orlando airport, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt airport in Germany and El. Venizelos in Athens , Greece.I could not believe that an airport like Changi , Singapore exist when I read your review. I ‘ve never been there but I ll make sure to visit it one day when I travel to this side of the world.

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