How to Survive your Layover in Singapore Airport

How to Survive your Layover in Singapore Airport

So you’re about to fly off on your next adventure but you’re dreading that long layover in Singapore airport.

Fear not!

For Singapore is the best (in my humble opinion) airport to transit in ever.

I recently spent a whole 14 hours pent up in this place on my way over to Australia from the UK. Not only did I not get bored but it also significantly reduced the overall effects of jetlag once I did land in Oz. So wins all around I’d say!

Here are a few of the best things to do to quell that transit boredom.

Check in to a Lounge/Hotel

Yes, I know the whole live it up in an airport lounge idea isn’t exactly revolutionary. However, this is the first place I’ve come across that actually has hotels within the transit area (if you guys know of any other airports that off this please let me know!). So you don’t have to go through customs to get yourself a cosy bed and a hot shower!

While you can book into a lounge and have access to showers, gyms and food. If, like me, you have an extended layover or you are coming off a night flight then a stay in one of the transit hotels might just be a better option.

Rooms are booked in 6-hour stints (with the option to extend for an extra hour or 2) plus you can add a meal.

Singapore airport has 3 transit hotels located in terminal 1,2 and 3. Don’t worry about which terminal you are landing in as you can easily transfer between them using the Skytrain (more about that later). They each have different rates and facilities and you can find out more information here.

I stayed at the Aerotel transit hotel located in Terminal 1. The main perk of this hotel is that also comes with an open-air swimming pool and jacuzzi. Yes, you read that right, an outside swimming pool in an airport.

This was definitely the best decision I made of the whole journey to Australia.

Following a 13 hour day/night flight that 4-5 hour extended nap in a comfy bed, in a completely dark room followed by a refreshing hot shower was exactly what I needed. Add in a hot meal and I was all set to explore this amazing airport.

Go On a City Tour

Not content to confine yourself to the airport?

Well, you’re in luck.

As long as you have got more than 5.5 hours to spare you can join one of the free city tours that run from the airport.

The Heritage tour runs 5 times per day taking in sights such as Chinatown, lLittleIndia, Merlion Park and Kampong Glam.

The city sights tour runs twice per day, once in the early evening and once later at night. You get to see Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands, the Esplanade, and the Gardens by the Bay.

Check any extra baggage you may have in at the left luggage counter and head out on a 2.5-hour tour of Singapore.

Personally, I chose sleep over taking a tour this time but it is definitely something I intend to check out next time I pass through Singapore airport.

NOTE: you must be able to clear immigration so if you do intend to join a tour make sure you have any relevant visas that you may need in place prior to travel.

Be Entertained

More at home in front of a screen?

Well, Singapore Airport has you covered too!

Whether you’re a gamer, a movie buff or just want to get online, there is something to entertain everyone.

With free WiFi access (subject to downloading the airports free app which is actually pretty useful), plenty of charging points throughout the airport plus lots of internet access points too checking your emails, social media (check out my Instagram highlights to see how I made the most of the free WiFi) or just reading your favourite blog is super easy.

Love your Xbox or PlayStation? Well, head on over to the entertainment deck in Terminal 2.

Upstairs above the Orchid garden, you will find a little treasure trove of gaming stations.

Xbox and PlayStation 3 stations, an Xbox Kinect room loaded with Kinect sports to get you moving (virtually?) and an MTV booth where you can watch your favourite music videos on a 50-inch plasma screen.

Watch a film or two


Oh yes, that’s right. Singapore airport even has it’s very on cinema with 2 screens.

Movies at Singapore airport
Catch a film in one of the cinema screens

With 2 screens located in terminal 2 (embedded within the entertainment deck) and terminal 3 (near the Ambassador transit lounge) respectively, you can pass a few hours watching one of the latest movies for free. Although it has a strictly bring your own snacks policy.

You can check out the latest films that are showing and when here.

Relax in a Garden

Not content with everything else it has going on, Singapore airport has brought the outside inside.

Scattered across the different terminals you will find various different themed gardens for you to enjoy and relax in/around at your leisure.

Who said transiting had to be stressful?

Gardens include the Orchid, sunflower, Cactus, enchanted, water lily and butterfly. A few of the gardens are even outside meaning you can get out of the recycled air for a moment or two.

My personal favourite is definitely the butterfly garden.

Here you will find an array of different butterflies just doing their thing fluttering around making the whole place feel rather magical. It covers 2 floors so you can take the staircase up to get a better-elevated view of the area including the little waterfall feature helping keep the garden nice and humid.

The Butterfly Garden at Singapore airport
The Butterfly Garden

For a little bonus feature just outside the butterfly garden on the lower floor, you will find another water feature (kind of like a pond) filled with Koi Carp all very eager to come and say hello.

Explore the Other Terminals

Ok so if you’re going garden hunting you’re probably already doing this, however, if you have time to kill then checking out what the rest of the airport has to offer will definitely help you do that.

The best bit?

It’s super easy!

Just follow the signs for the AirTrain to whichever terminal you desire to go to, wait a few minutes max for the next train to arrive. Jump on and go.

Personally, I favoured terminal 1 (disclaimer – I didn’t make it to terminal 4), it just seemed a little bit more chilled out and quiet than the others.

For me, terminal 2 seemed to be where the action was at. There just seemed to be more people around and of all the terminals it felt the most like an airport transit lounge.

I did, however, manage to find a sweet, little, quiet, nap-type area to chill out for a bit. There was a water feature and lots of plants (by this point it totally didn’t surprise me) plus some pretty comfy loungers, each with their own charging station. So your devices can recharge at the same time as you!

free to use rest area at Singapore airport
nap time anyone?

Terminal 3, on the other hand, while home to the butterfly garden and koi pond, was also huge. The ceiling just seemed to be somewhere in the stratosphere and all the shops (which seemed to be the expensive fancy ones by the way) had these huge showstopping fronts to them. I felt like I could easily have been in any fancy shopping centre in the world, not an airport.

Still got some free time after all of that?

Well, don’t forget there’s a whole host of duty-free shopping for you to get yourself stuck into. Or perhaps you’ve worked up an appetite with all that exploring and so fancy checking out one of the many eateries (yes guys there is a Mcdonalds). Or even just a refreshing drink at one of the bars.

Whatever you end up getting up to during your time in Singapore airport, I hope I’ve helped you get a little feel for all the boredom-killer possibilities that are out there.


Until Next time

Keep Adventuring!

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