IF you ever get a long layover in Singapore, look it as a blessing and not as something drastic you have to endure. Changi International Airport is a dream. One of the world’s most modern airports that you would appreciate being stranded in for even a whole day and there is so much to do it’s like having a free vacation in a luxurious resort.
You can hop from terminal to terminal which features different attractions to occupy your time. Changi Airport showcase a wide selection of shopping, theater, gardens, dining, relaxation and entertainment options—name it and the airport have it. There is just so much to do and see. WiFi is fast and free and terminal seats have chargers installed, including outlets for USB.
Set an alarm because you might lost track of time and miss your connecting flight.
If you only have at least six hours stopover, grab the chan
ce for a quickie tour of the flower city for free. At the Changi Airport Terminal 2, look for the booth that advertises free tours and join the line. The only requirement is you have to have a passport, a forwarding ticket to your destination and visa, if necessary.
You can go on the Heritage Tours or the City Sight Tours at night, but you can’t have both. I opted for the heritage tour and went through immigration check out along with 18 other travelers from different countries. We boarded a bus printed with lovely flowers all around it advertising Free Singapore Tours and off we went. Our tour-guide gave us explanations of where we were but no one was really paying attention. Everyone was busy taking pictures through the huge glass windows. The Heritage Tour brings visitors through the Singapore’s past and present architectural showcases with a 20-minute stopover at the city’s famous landmark—the Merlion Park where you squeeze your way around with a thousand other visitors for quick photos. Too ‘touristry’ for a photographer but a visit to Singapore won’t be complete without posing for a photo at the Merlion Park, by this mythical creature that symbolizes the city’s beginnings.
We wheezed by Singapore’s cultural districts – Chinatown and Little India but the second stopover in Kampong Glam was what I liked the most. This is one of Singapore’s most colorful districts with rows of Malay and Arab restaurants and roadside boutiques selling souvenirs from fans to keyholders to bright colorful shawls and everything else, massage parlors, art galleries, coffee shops, craft stores, and more. You can’t miss the Masjid Sultan or Sultan Mosque at this stopover—the venue for the fasting month of Ramadan.
The two-hour and a half tour is indeed a quickie. If you’re hoping for a leisurely stroll where you can take photos for as long as you like, then these free tours are not for you. Check out the City Sightseeing open-top bus tours and other options of going out on your own. Oh, I’m coming back for the city lights tour. Soon I hope.