How To Spend 5 Hours at Singapore Changi Airport

Last Updated 19 January 2020

Having a long layover in any airport isn’t anyone’s idea of a fun time… But some airports are definitely better than others and spending 5 hours at Changi Airport will go surprisingly quickly as there is so much to do!

I actually try to transfer through Singapore if I can. Changi Airport is easily one of the best airports to spend time at if you have 5 hours or more between flights!

Believe it or not, I’ve transferred through Singapore Changi Airport a multitude of times but never (yet!) ventured into Singapore itself… That bit is still on our to-do list!

But, if the city is anything like the airport, I’m sure it is worth a visit. 

Update: We have finally ticked Singapore off our list!! And let me tell you – It is AMAZING!!! What a city!

How To Spend 5 Hours At Changi Airport

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Why Choose A Layover At Changi Airport?

I often fly from Europe to New Zealand to visit family and friends. Going through Asia is normally the fastest and cheapest way to go.

Read Next: 10 Little Known Secrets – Booking Cheap Flights!

I’m not surprised that Changi Airport is consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. It’s certainly my favourite, if that counts for anything! 

With the regular Skytrain linking the three terminals within about four minutes, it is easy to explore the whole airport, rather than being stuck in the terminal you arrive in or are leaving from. The Skytrain is complimentary and operates from 5am to 2.30am.

Having said that, I’ve often opted to walk in order to stretch my legs and get the blood pumping again.

Get more great tips on How To Travel Like A Pro!

Aside from the usual dining and duty free shopping opportunities, Changi offers transferring passengers a nice array of things to while away the hours before their next flight.

Not only that, but it is also refreshingly green!

Long story short, Singapore’s Changi Airport is definitely not the worst place to spend 5 hours during transit.

One of Changi Airport's many green spots
How pretty is this little green spot at Changi Airport?


My Favourite Way To Spend Time At Changi Airport? Go Swimming!

Unless you’re at Changi Airport in the middle of the night (as it is closed between midnight and 6am), I highly recommend going for a dip in Changi airport’s open air rooftop swimming pool.

Singapore is one of only a few airports in the world with this type of facility!

Your 5 hours at Changi Airport will fly by once you take a dip and freshen up in the shower.

The pool is part of the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel in T1. But, the good news is that you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to use the facilities.

For just SGD 22 (€15 / US$16), anyone can use the pool, jacuzzi and shower facilities. There are sun loungers and a poolside bar, and the price includes towels so you don’t need your own.

Note: If you’re a guest at the Changi Aerotel Transit Hotel, you can use the pool and shower facilities for free!

You can book a room there for just a few hours (or longer if you wish), and choose to include a meal and lounge access too!

Outdoor rooftop swimming pool at Aerotel Changi Airport
Why not go for a dip in the Aerotel’s outdoor swimming pool?


Catch Up On Sleep 

I don’t know about you, but I tend to struggle to sleep well on planes. If I manage 3 or 4 hours, I’m doing well.

So, there’s nothing quite like stretching out on a comfortable bed for a few hours between flights.

Changi Airport offers various transit hotel options across their terminals, without needing to clear customs. This is the perfect way to spend 5 hours at Changi Airport, and ensures you arrive at your final destination refreshed.

Prices vary but most have a minimum stay of 3-6 hours, which is perfect if you have around 5 hours to spend at Singapore Changi Airport. You may wish to book ahead of time though, as many were fully booked the last time we visited.

If paying for a hotel room isn’t in your budget, you could try one of the five free “snooze lounges.”  

These offer wave shaped seats and although perhaps less private than a room, still more comfortable than an economy class seat on the plane!

Use Changi’s Spas And Lounges

Even if you don’t qualify for one of Changi Airport’s business class lounges, there is at least one pay-per-use lounge in each terminal.

Again, prices and services vary but lounges give you access to a shower, food, drinks and some even have a gym and private napping suites.

And, with eight spa/massage salons, there are plenty of pampering options to choose from no matter which terminal you choose.

Get Back To Nature In Changi Airport’s Themed Gardens

There are numerous themed gardens spread across Changi Airport’s three terminals and there are plans for even more!

While none of them are massive, it’s so nice to see some greenery and have the feeling of, or actually being, outside. Especially after spending 10 or more hours on a plane.

Singapore Changi Airport garden koi pond
One of the many gardens at Changi Airport

The Cactus Garden in T1 is a rooftop, open-air garden which boasts 40 different species of cacti as well as a 24 hour open-air bar! Note that part of this area doubles as a smoking area so it may not be the freshest of fresh air experiences…

In T2, you can visit the Sunflower Garden which has 500 sunflowers and breathtaking views of the runway. If you’re an airplane enthusiast, this might well be the best spot as you have a clear view of the aircraft parking bays nearby.

Other options in T2 are the Enchanted Garden and Koi Pond where you can see Singapore’s national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim, amongst the beautiful collection of rare and hybrid orchids.

The Butterfly Garden in T3 is the first ever at an airport, though others have since copied the concept. There are 1000+ butterflies as well as an impressive six-meter tall artificial waterfall. This one is definitely one of my favourites!

Watch A Movie Or Some TV

There are two cinemas at Changi Airport – one in T2 and one in T3. The cinema is free and open 24 hours showing a range of movies back to back, including the latest blockbusters.

Equally, there are two TV lounges with comfy couches to enjoy your favourite shows.

Alternatively, either of these could be a comfy place for a quick nap if the snooze lounges are full!


Join A Free Singapore Mini-Tour

If you have more than 5 hours to spend at Changi Airport, you could actually head into Singapore itself. If you have any chance of doing this at all, I would highly recommend it!!!

The airport offers a FREE 2.5 hour Singapore Tour, giving you a taste of the city’s incredible sights.

You can leave your luggage at the Left Baggage counter in any of the three terminals for a small fee, to save you having to take it all with you as you explore.

My parents-in-law actually joined the City Sights Tour recently after they met up with us in Cambodia and absolutely loved it! They thought it was an amazing way to spend their time during their lengthy layover at Changi Airport.

Top Tip: Do check if you need a visa if you plan to make use of this tour though!

Marina Bay Sands hotel as seen from Gardens By The Bay in downtown Singapore
Singapore is a city that’s definitely worth visiting, even if it’s just on a quick tour during your transit at Changi Airport!


Changi Airport Is Still Growing!

If Changi Airport wasn’t already impressive enough, they have just recently added the spectacular new Jewel Changi, conveniently linked to T1, T2, & T3 passenger terminals.

This is a huge glass dome-shaped bubble, featuring an enormous indoor garden and a 40 meter Rain Vortex waterfall!

Get a ticket to the Jewel Changi Canopy Park to enjoy access to the Topiary Walk, Petal Garden, Discovery Slides, and Foggy Bowls at the Canopy Park located at the topmost level of Jewel Changi.

A perfect way to spend your 5 hours at Singapore Changi Airport!

Have you spent time at Changi Airport? What’s your favourite thing to do there during a lengthy transit? Let me know in the comments below!

How To Spend 5 Hours At Singapore Changi Airport


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4 thoughts on “How To Spend 5 Hours at Singapore Changi Airport”

    • Hi Helena, yes Changi airport recommends transit passengers have at least 5 hours if they want to visit the Jewel. Please note that the Jewel is located in the land side area of the airport, so you will have to proceed to immigration clearance to exit the transit area before visiting. Please ensure you check what travel documents/visas you need to clear immigration (if any). I’m not sure what the situation is right now with Covid though.


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