The airport exists as a glorious in-between, a liminal space that allows you to hover in that threshold between countries. A travel grey area, if you like. And if you’ve been to Changi Airport, you know it’s anything far from grey.
Changi Airport, a bonafide overachiever, has consecutively clinched ‘World’s Best Airport’ for eight years and for good reason. After all, it comes equipped with swimming pools, magnificent rain vortexes and a plethora of eateries that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
The airport has always been a magical place but with COVID-19 those lights might have dimmed a little. The rush of travellers, cumbersome luggage bags hitting the conveyor belt and tearful goodbyes have all hushed now. Still, there is some leftover fairy dust scattered around Changi Airport for us to reminisce before we jet-set around the world again.
Singapore’s #1 Walking Tour in Singapore Monster Day Tours is here as Tinker Bell to sprinkle that magic and remind you of just how fascinating our airport is. I joined this 2-hour walking tour spanning Changi airport and ending in Jewel and learned a little more about our airports.
The trip begins in Terminal 3 where we visit ST3PS. Though it was dark and only a sole redemption counter stood, in its heyday, ST3PS could easily hold up to 200 people.
This event atrium is where you can sit down and watch movie marathons and even live soccer matches. With their Ultra-high-definition LED screen, movie theatres will just pale in comparison.
Though ST3PS is temporarily closed now, I know I’m marking this place down for future dates or hangouts.
Every good itinerary always includes something educational and this one is no different. On your next stop, we get to see a model of our impressive Changi Airport and learn about what goes into constructing this travel hub. It doesn’t stop there—you’ll also learn when and why the various terminals are built the way they are and future plans for a Terminal 5.
You’ll glean all sorts of trivia that would certainly impress. For example, you will discover which Terminal used to be the Budget Terminal or why our plane flew at an angle or even the reason Changi was chosen as our eventual airport location.
You’ll have to join the tour to find out!
Changi Airport is littered with amazing artwork that is not just limited to the famous Kinetic Rain.
One that is dedicated to the avid traveller has to be Daisy (no, not the perfume). This is a 13-metre tall propeller designed by Christain Moeller. Decked out in Singapore’s national colours of red and white, this flower shape propeller was inspired by all the journeys and connections facilitated by Changi Airport.
Basically, a sculpture paying homage to those who have travel in their blood. A fun tidbit, the propeller has a motion sensor and would actually follow you around—fun huh?
Most people would overlook the architectural marvel that is our Departure Hall but after this—you won’t.
Another fun fact about Terminal 3 Departure Hall—look up and you’ll realise there are 919 panels on the ceiling. Yes, exactly 919 panels, no more and no less. What’s more, these panels shift around during the day to shield you from the sun and at the same time ensure that there are no shadows.
This also means you’ll always be bathed in excellent light, so whip your phone out for a great selfie sans the filter.
The innovation doesn’t stop at Changi Airport, on our next leg of our journey we got a little glimpse of the future of travel. These check-in kiosks are not your average kiosks. The check-in kiosks have now been upgraded to be contactless so all you have to do is hover your finger.
An ingenious piece of technology developed right here in Singapore. I tried it myself and was pretty impressed. If you are still a little apprehensive about these high contact surfaces, they are sprayed with a long-lasting microbial disinfectant coating that reduces virus transmission.
This is some Westworld stuff we can all be excited about.
If you’ve recently gotten into the plant game, you’ll want to pay attention to this. Right in the heart of Terminal 3 is a massive green wall with more than 10,000 plants of 25 species and a vertical irrigation system to boot.
It turns out, Changi Airport has its own horticultural team that is in charge of all the landscaping you see all over Changi Airport.
Not to mention, most of these plants are grown indoors without any natural light. The horticultural team acclimated their plants to indoor light so they would thrive along the hallowed halls of Changi Airport.
Their super green thumbs are what we plant parents aspire to.
A little highlight of the tour has to be the little old-school fun at Zone X. We were given 10 tokens and had some time banging it out at the Bishi Bashi machine.
For those feeling a little peckish, nothing beats a cup of teh and roti prata. It doesn’t get more Singaporean than that.
As we made our way to Jewel, another installation caught my eye. These gargantuan marble seed pods by local artist Han Sai Por are both simple and poignant.
It is carved from gleaming white marble with thick corrugated surfaces that resemble the surface of seeds.
A symbolic representation of how our Garden City continues to sprout and flourish, and an apt sculpture as we walk into our latest pride and joy Jewel.
Alright, so you know about the nine gardens in Jewel and you’ve taken a million pictures. What about a little scavenger hunt to further enrich your experience?.
Okay, what if you want to bring some of that Changi Airport magic home? It turns out, you can. If you’ve noticed, Changi Airport has its own unique scent that wafts through the vents. All part of their plan to keep you coming back for more, methinks.
Since international travel is put on hold for now, why not pretend you’re at the airport with Changi Airport scent collection. It’s a perfect gift for that jet-setter friend of yours as well.
These Monster Day Tours go at S$55 per pax on weekdays and S$85 on weekends. In true Singaporean fashion, the tour comes with S$45 worth of gifts and vouchers including this Changi gift card set with S$5 already loaded inside.
For those concerned with safety, Monster Tours will also supply you with a hand sanitiser set so you can have good clean fun on the tour. I’ve always known Changi Airport was one of the best in the world but not why it was lauded and praised all over the world. Well, now I do and that is all the more reason to be proud.
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