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First-Timer’s Guide on How to Spend a Day in Jewel Changi Airport Singapore

Someone in the office told us once Changi is the only airport she’d pray for a delay. Now, we wouldn’t go that far, but we wholeheartedly agree that a long layover doesn’t seem that arduous when you’re experiencing it at one of the world’s best airports. With a butterfly garden, rooftop swimming pool and a free 24-hour cinema where you can hunker down during transit, Changi is more like a shopping mall than an airport.

And the airport just got better with the recent unveiling of Jewel, a one-of-a-kind entertainment and retail complex in the heart of Changi. If you’re thinking of visiting in the near future, we have some quick tips to share with you from our recent trip there.

How to Get To Jewel Changi Airport

Going to Jewel from Terminal 4 Changi Airport Singapore

It’s pretty straightforward if you’re arriving at the airport. From Terminal 1, you just need to walk out from the Arrival Hall and you will immediately see the entrance to Jewel. From the Departure Hall of Terminal 2, head to level 2 to find the link bridge to Jewel. Another link bridge can be found at level 2 of Terminal 3.

If  you’re coming from Terminal 4 like us, then first you can take the complimentary shuttle bus that takes you to Terminal 2, from where you can then take the link bridge.  

If you’re coming from downtown Singapore, you can take the MRT to Changi Airport Station and then head to one of the link bridges found at Terminal 2 and 3. Once inside, walk pass the retail area in the outer section and follow the thunderous sound to the structure’s centre and you’ll arrive at the very centre of Jewel where the 40-metre-tall (approximately. 130 feet) HSBC Rain Vortex dramatically cascades through the oculus.

What to Do in Jewel Changi Airport

While you really only need a day to take in the main attractions there, there are enough attractions in Jewel that the challenge is to successfully whittle down the enormous list of possibilities to a few manageable items.

 

1. Free Attractions in Jewel Changi Airport

The two major free attractions: Shiseido Forest Valley (open 24 hours) and HSBC Rain Vortex (8am to 12.30am). Most people come to Jewel to see Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at 40 metres high, with their own eyes. As Jewel is built around the waterfall, there are plenty of spots where you can take your pictures from. There’s a light and sound show that plays daily at hourly intervals from 7:30pm to 12:30am, but we had to give this a miss as we had a flight to catch.

HSBC Rain Vortex, the nucleus of Jewel.
Image: AirAsia/Nicky Almasy

From the ground floor, we went up the stairs to experience a five-storey-tall Shiseido Forest Valley. The forests that surrounds the Rain Vortex are home to more than 2,000 trees and palms and over 100,000 shrubs, which consist of 120 species of plants (but sadly only five per cent of which are native species). The Forest Valley feels like gigantic Insta-props, as they provide you with plenty of great vantage points for your selfies. The temperature of the forest is maintained at around 23 to 24°C, so it’s always comfortable for most people and we loved the dreamy feeling of walking while being shrouded by the mist that the oculus emits. If you’re visiting in the evening, you will get to experience Resonating Forest, and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ as the installed lighting of tree change colours when people pass by.

2. Paid Attractions in Jewel Changi Airport

Like other visitors who tend to gravitate around the Rain Vortex, we made our way from the ground floor and made our way up through Shiseido Forest Valley until we arrived on level 5 where all the paid attractions were. A great spot for families, this is where you have the chance to pick and choose your attractions. Note that your Singaporean friends are eligible for local prices, so don’t go hating on them for paying less.

Attraction Price (with approximations in MYR and USD)
Canopy Bridge SGD8/MYR24/USD6
Hedge Maze

Adult: SGD 12/MYR 37/USD 9

Child & Senior: SGD 8/MYR 24/USD 6

Mirror Maze

Adult: SGD 15/MYR 46/USD 11

Child & Senior: SGD 10/MYR 30/USD 7

Canopy Park

(Discovery Slides, Foggy Bowls, Petal Garden, Topiary Walk)

SGD5/MYR15/USD4
Manulife Sky Nets – Bouncing

Adult: SGD 22/MYR 67/USD 16

Child & Senior: SGD 16/MYR 49/USD 12

Manulife Sky Nets – Walking

Adult: SGD 15/MYR 46/USD 11

Child & Senior: SGD 10/MYR 30/USD 7

Changi Experience Studio

Adult: SGD 25/MYR 76/USD 18

Child & Senior: SGD 17/MYR 52/USD 12

Note that Canopy Park and Canopy Bridge are open from 9am to 3am, while the rest are open from 10am to 10pm.

As you might have noticed, the steep pricing is on the, err, premium side. If you’re budget travellers like us, you might want to consider getting a package deal at the counters on level 5 for this.

PackagePrice (with approximations in MYR and USD)

Bundle Package 1:

  • Canopy Park
  • Canopy Bridge
  • Hedge Maze
  • Mirror Maze
  • Manulife Sky Nets – Walking

Adult: SGD 38/MYR 116/USD 28

Child & Senior: SGD 27/MYR 83/USD 20

Bundle Package 2:

  • Canopy Park, Canopy Bridge
  • Hedge Maze, Mirror Maze,
  • Manulife Sky Nets – Walking,
  • Manulife Sky Nets – Bouncing

Adult: SGD 38/MYR 116/USD 28

Child & Senior: SGD 27/MYR 83/USD 20

Bundle Package 3

  • Changi Experience Studio
  • Canopy Park
  • Canopy Bridge
  • Hedge Maze
  • Mirror Maze
  • Manulife Sky Nets – Walking

Adult: SGD 55/MYR 165/USD 40

Child & Senior: SGD 38/MYR 116/USD 28

Bundle Package 4:

  • Changi Experience Studio
  • Canopy Park
  • Canopy Bridge,
  • Hedge Maze
  • Mirror Maze
  • Manulife Sky Nets – Walking
  • Manulife Sky Nets – Bouncing

Adult: SGD 71/MYR 218/USD 52

Child & Senior: SGD 50/MYR 153/USD 37

 

We chose Bundle Package 4 as we thought it was value for money, considering we only spent half a day in Jewel. If you’re planning to cover all the attractions in Jewel à la carte, it will set you back SGD102 (approx. MYR312 or USD75).

Canopy Bridge as seen from below. Image: AirAsia/Nicky Almasy

Plan your route wisely as there are attractions that will potentially have a longer waiting time and/or limited visiting time. And if you’re anything like us (e.g. get tired and hungry easily), you need breaks in between. We had half a day in Jewel and this was our route:

Canopy Bridge

Lining up for the Canopy Bridge

The Canopy Bridge offers the best view with its 50-metre-long, 23-metre-high bridge with glass bottom. Bear in mind that you are only given 30 minutes on Canopy Bridge before you have to make way for the next batch of visitors. When we were there, there was a long line to get on the bridge. Our suggestion is for you to arrive at the entrance early so it wouldn’t eat up your 30 minutes.

Mirror Maze

Mirror Maze

The Mirror Maze makes an ideal first stop as its the first thing you see when you come out of the ticketing counter. It might not look like much, but we were pleasantly surprised at how much fun we had inside. It can be overwhelming as well with all the mirrors, especially if you have a horrible sense of direction like us. Fortunately, the staff will arm you with neon-coloured foam sticks to help you find your way.  Use your pool noodles wisely to prevent yourself from running into the mirrors  on your way out. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes here.

Hedge Maze

Hedge Maze

Again, the Hedge Maze doesn’t look much but it actually bears the status of the largest indoor hedge maze. We have to say it’s not really impressive size-wise, but we had a load of fun weaving through the maze thanks to tiny details like movable gates, Instragrammable spots (with real flowers!), and some tiny surprises that you’re gonna have to come and see for yourself. Oh, and don’t forget about the watchtower!

Canopy Park

Petal Garden

Canopy Park is basically an oversized playground which is especially attractive if you’re traveling as a family. Topiary Walk, just like the name suggests, is filled with animal structures. We were dumbfounded when we saw Foggy Bowls, as it was basically just a place that release fog from holes in the ground, but the kids seemed to love it! More than just a playground equipment, Discovery Slides is also an art sculpture. And Petal Garden provides a lovely space where weary parents can sit down while watching their kids have fun.

Manulife Sky Nets – Walking

Manulife Sky Nets – Walking. Image: AirAsia/Nicky Almasy

Manulife Sky Nets – Walking is not for those with acrophobia (fear of heights) as the 50metre-long walking net is suspended at 25 metres high, giving you an unbeatable perspective of the Canopy Park Below. As you can imagine, it’s best not to wear skirts while on the nets and you will also be denied entry if you’re wearing flip-flops. If you’re a parent who thinks you can just dump your kid here while you catch a breather, tough luck. Every child going into both Sky Nets has to be accompanied by a paying adult.

Manulife Sky Nets – Bouncing

Manulife Sky Nets – Bouncing

Manulife Sky Nets – Bouncing Spanning 250 metres, this attraction is meant to give visitors the feeling of bouncing above a rainforest. But as adults who spend most of their time hunching over their laptops, let us warn you Sky Nets – Bouncing will tire you out real fast (although children seem to be immune to this). Your ticket is only valid for 60 minutes and it’s already inclusive of a 10-minute safety briefing. There are free lockers but for small bags only. If you’re  lugging around your entire apartment with you, you need to go one level down and pay for a bigger storage.

Changi Experience Studio

Changi Experience Studio with its innovative displays, offers plenty of interactive games to last you the whole day. Some of the games show how the airport staff work to make Changi a world-class airport. There is a game where you have to collect all the stray trolleys around the airport, and another game where you have to flash your best smile to be a stand up customer service representative. But our favourite game was a race simulation between a Porsche 911 GT3 Carrera Cup car and a Boeing 747, inspired by an actual event in 2009. We love that it’s a multiplayer game for up to 10 players, as it made it extra embarrassing when we lost the race to a group of elementary students.

Where to Eat at Jewel Changi Airport

A wide selection of F&B outlets is available at Jewel Changi Airport Singapore

Combining lush nature and retail, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Jewel is like the love child of Gardens by the Bay and Orchard Road. With 280 shops and food and beverage outlets spread over 10 storeys, there is no shortage of spots to fill your stomach after a day of taking pictures by the waterfall’s edge or jumping around the canopy park.

At Tiger Street Lab, local favourites like chicken rice are served along refreshing beer. If you’re a Japanese food connoisseur, JW360° will please your Japanophile palate. If you prefer burgers and fries, you can also find Singapore’s first Shake Shack outlet here. There’s also the two-storey Starbucks, which is their largest outlet in Singapore.

Shopping at Jewel Changi Airport

There are plenty of luxury retail outlets if they are your thing, and you’ll also find a handful of shops selling local specialties. One outlet not to be missed is Naiise, the only local brand to occupy a duplex in Jewel.

MUJI, everyone’s favourite Japanese lifestyle store, also occupies a duplex. Well, aside from the usual clothes, toiletries and stationery (along with that personalised stamp station where we always find ourselves) this MUJI also houses a café and most importantly, an Interior Consultation Service, which offers furniture and storage solutions for free.

But as we are just a bunch of big nerds, we were most excited about the first Pokémon Center outside Japan! They had all the imaginative merchandise any Pokémon fan could think of and more. We wanted to say “Gotta catch ‘em all!” but the only one we had our eyes on was the exclusive plushie of Pikachu clad in a pilot’s uniform.

Where to Stay in Jewel Changi Airport

The Rain Vortex

We chatted with some of the visitors who were sitting around the Rain Vortex and asked how long they were  planning on sticking around, and were surprised when they replied “We’re spending a night here.” Yes, you too could spend a night or two here as an alternative to Aerotel at Terminal 1 or Ambassador Transit Hotel at Terminal 2 and 3. Located within Jewel itself, YOTELAIR gives you that chance to bed down and relax before your next flight. We personally looked on enviously as YOTELAIR guests were having breakfast at their exclusive balcony with the beautiful sight of the waterfall in the distant. What a sight to behold first thing in the morning!

A Day of Fun at Jewel Changi Airport

If you’re planning to do everything mentioned above, set aside as little as five hours to enjoy everything comfortably, but you could easily fill a day if you have time to spare. If you’re doing a daytrip like us, don’t forget to factor in your travel time, especially if you need to go back to Terminal 4, because you still need to catch the shuttle bus back. We’re sure that the people behind Jewel are coming up with even more attractions in the future and we will keep on coming back!

Foggy Bowl at Canopy Park

That being said, plan your visit accordingly and, as the park attendants like to say to visitors in every opportunity possible, “Have a sparkling time” at Jewel Changi Singapore!

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Written by Ari Vanuaranu

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