Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Favorite Airport

Over the years, I've been to more airports than I can count.  Some of them were not so great (but we won't speak of those!) and some of them were awesome.  I've really liked the simple charms and open air design of Kauai's Lihue Airport (LIH), the sleek, modern vibe of South Korea's Incheon Internation Airport (ICN), and the dining at JFK's JetBlue terminal T5.

But the one airport that has captured my heart over and over is Singapore's Changi Airport (SIN), and so I am officially dubbing it My Favorite Airport!

The beautiful Orchid Garden, one of Changi's many gardens
I always have a 6-8 hour layover at Changi on my way to India. I've been there six times now, and each time I go, I am so impressed by the many things to do and see.  Changi Airport, like Singapore itself, is modern, warm, and ultra user-friendly.  There are three terminals, all connected by SkyTrains (free), and each terminal is packed with resources for the weary traveler.

After 20+ hours of travel, the first priorities on my list when the plane touches down in Singapore are a SHOWER and a NAP, and Changi doesn't disappoint with options for both.  Scattered throughout the airport are free "nap areas," with very comfortable leather lounge chairs on which to stretch out and sleep.  Some of them even have a massage feature!

Relaxing in the Rainforest Lounge
There are a number of lounges and transit hotels within Changi that you can use to freshen up. On our last visit, we went to the Rainforest Lounge, where for around $20US we were able to take a refreshing shower  and then relax in the lounge area with snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, and tv/movies/magazines for entertainment.  For additional fees, they also have a jacuzzi, massages, and private "slumberettes."

On our next visit, we may forgo the lounge in favor of using Changi's rooftop pool.  For around $10US, you can use the pool (or snooze in a poolside lounge chair), sip an included drink, and grab a shower.

Garden and Koi Pond

Here are a few other things that I love about Changi airport (notice how frequently the word free appears!):

  1. Free, fast wifi.  If you haven't taken your laptop along, they also have free internet kiosks you can use.
  2. Beautiful indoor gardens, including a butterfly garden, orchid garden and koi pond, sunflower and light garden,  and more.
  3. If you have a layover that is more than 5 hours long, you can sign up for a free 2 hour tour of the city.  I would definitely recommend this one!  Tour is subject to visa requirements, but no visa is needed for citizens of the US and many other countries.
  4. Awesome entertainment, including a free movie theater, free Entertainment Deck with Xbox and Playstation games, and live music. 
  5. Relax with a free foot massage at stations throughout the airport.
  6. Fantastic shopping and dining opportunities all over the airport.
  7. Customs and immigration are a breeze.  I don't think I've ever waited in line more than five minutes, and the folks are some of the most polite and pleasant I've encountered (just like in the rest of Singapore).     

There are so many fantastic things about this airport that I can't begin to cover them all here, but Changi's website has all the information you'll need to plan your layover.

So now I'm curious...what is YOUR favorite airport, and what do you love about it?  

This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Traveler's Sandbox.  Please visit them for more great travel photos and posts!

As always, I do not post sponsored links or accept paid insertions.  All places are mentioned here because I have personally experienced and enjoyed them.

28 comments:

  1. Changi is my fave too! I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about it a while back...

    http://manonthelam.com/cult-changi-unmasking-ungodly-behaviour-singapores-airport-employees/

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    1. Loved your post on Changi, Raymond. They really take customer service seriously in Singapore! :-)

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  2. It's been a while since I've in Changi, but it is an airport I love. Next time, I'm heading for the pool!

    I also like the Hong Kong Airport, and that's mainly for the duty free!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Nancie! I had a quick transfer at the Hong Kong airport once, but unfortunately didn't get to see the duty free. I'll have to check it out next time :-)

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  3. I haven't been to Singapore so Changi Airport is still in my future. But I totally agree with your mention of LIH. I felt like I had landed in paradise there.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy! I hope you get to visit Changi (and Singapore), both are wonderful. LIH definitely felt like paradise. That tropical smell, those beautiful flowers, ah...

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  4. You had me at free foot massages! I would travel there for that alone, but the rest sounds wonderful.

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    1. Jessica--I'm not gonna lie, I took advantage of the free foot massages more than once within a few hour span :-) Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Looks so nice, why would anyone want to get on a plane and leave it?

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    1. Dick--Changi's definitely a destination in and of itself, and yes, very difficult to leave!

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  6. We are flying to Singapore in November and I've read articles about the fabulous airport -- now I've seen photos and can hardly wait to see it in person!

    My favorite airports include Honolulu's (with its garden) and Savannah's with its wooden rocking chairs.

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    1. Thanks, Jackie. You are going to love Singapore and its airport!

      I agree with you about Honolulu airport. I've never been through Savannah but the rocking chairs sound so quaint and nice :-)

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  7. Love this airport too! We were here in 1998 during a Singapore visit. It's a toss up between this and Amsterdam airport for my favorite. But, Changi is still hands down the prettiest airport we've been to. I still can't get over how many orchids they have.

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    1. Mary--Yes, the amount of orchids at Changi is incredible. I wish I had a green enough thumb to just grow one!

      I haven't been through Amsterdam but I've heard great things about the airport...definitely on my "to see" list. Thanks for your comments :-)

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  8. I have not yet been to Singapore or even passing through the airport there, but I always hear such rave reviews of the place. I tend to not mind flying as much as I hate dealing with airports, so this would be a nice change to see somewhere where they do it right.

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    1. Thanks, Anwar. Changi is one airport where I have never felt stressed. They really go above and beyond with the customer service. One time we had a delayed flight in Japan en route to Singapore, and when we got to Changi they had a golf cart waiting to whisk us to our next flight...truly awesome service.

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  9. This airpor is awsome! In case you miss the flight and have to wait for hours in tthis airport, you will not get into despair! Another great airport I love is thht in Tel Aviv! Wonderful! There is a huge water fall in the main hall!

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    1. I completely agree, Francy. I could easily spend a few days at Changi! Tel Aviv airport sounds nice, I hope to see it one day.

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  10. Oh yes, Changi! Haven't been in almost 10 years now, but it remains my all-time favourite airport. The first time I took my then 4-year-old daughter to South-East Asia, we went through Changi 4 or 5 times. By the end of our trip, I think she thought of it as home.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sophie! I've never been through Changi with a child, but it seemed like they had great resources for families and kids. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did :-)

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  11. I haven't been to this airport. By the looks of it, I may just decide to spend my entire vacation there!

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    1. Yes, Debbie, you really could spend your vacation there. I know I could! Thanks for commenting :-)

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  12. It is a really nice airport, and it's so refreshing when you are traveling long distances. My dad lives in Indonesia and stays in one of the transit hotels there every time he travels to the U.S. When I passed through, I didn't have much time to see the gardens because I went to one of the hotels to try to get some sleep. Next time.

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    1. Jenna--I haven't tried the transit hotels but I can imagine they are lifesavers for getting some sleep after a long flight. Thanks for commenting!

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  13. Changi is great, I agree. It's definitely a nice part of living in Singapore. I also love Hong Kong's airport, which is efficient, clean and has lots to offer!

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  14. Elizabeth--I keep hearing great things about Hong Kong's airport and I can't wait to spend more time there. Last time I had to run to another flight and didn't get to see much at all. Thanks for your comments!

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  15. I don't travel a boat-load, but any airport that has a fast and free wi-fi always has my vote ;)

    Ps: Incheon is huge!!!!!!

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    1. Kiran--I agree, free wi-fi=awesome! I really liked Incheon, and probably only saw a fraction of what they have to offer. Thanks for commenting!

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