Changi International Airport, the major gateway to Singapore, is on the island's eastern end and is a 20-minute drive from downtown. It has two terminals with a third one under construction. Most airlines are based in Terminal 1. The terminals are connected by a free, two-minute ride on the Skytrain monorail, which operates daily 6 am–midnight. Take the travellators to move between terminals during non-operating hours.
Changi's facilities are second to none. Each terminal is served by the Ambassador Transit Hotel, where you can shower or rent a room for six-hour periods. You take shorter naps at Terminal 2's Shower, Fitness and Lifestyle Centre. Terminal 2 also has a rooftop swimming pool and jacuzzi, a movie theater, a supermarket, medical facilities, smoking rooms, and outdoor rest areas among other things. All local calls from the phones in the Departure/Transit areas are free. There are Free Internet Corners throughout the airport. You can fax documents from Terminal 2's Singapore Telecom & Singapore Post, which is open from 6 am–midnight. If you have at least five hours to kill at Changi, register for a 2-hour sightseeing tour of Singapore at one of the clearly marked tour counters.
Changi International Airport. 6542-1122 for airport information; 1800/542-4422 for flight information. www.changiairport.com.sg.
From Terminal 2, you can take an MRT to downtown for S$2; these trains run every 12 minutes from 5:31 am–11:18 pm. The trip takes about 30 minutes, but you'll need to switch trains twice to get to most hotels. A taxi ride downtown takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Each terminal has two clearly marked taxi stands; look for signs once you exit from baggage claim's clear glass doors. Cab fares range from S$13 to S$15, plus an airport surcharge (S$5 Friday–Sunday before 5 pm, S$3 all other times) that only applies if you're coming from, not going to, the airport. Other surcharges apply between midnight and 6 am or when baggage is stored in the trunk. Limo taxis usually provide cold water and newspapers. They charge a flat fee of $35 to any destination, which is a good value if you have lots of luggage. There's also a six-seat Airport Shuttle that runs to and from all the major hotels—except in Sentosa and Changi. These shuttles run every 30 minutes from 6 am–6 pm, and every 15 minutes at other times. Bus terminals are in the basement of Terminals 1 and 2. Take Bus 36 to get downtown; it costs S$2 in exact change.
Taxis & Shuttles
Airport Shuttle. 6542-1721.
Comfort Cablink. 6552-1111.
Premier Cabs. 6552-2828.
TIBS Taxis. 6555-8888.
There are over 100 stores at Changi. You can be fairly confident that you'll get better prices here than on the island. The "Double the Difference" guarantee means that if an item you purchased at an airport outlet is cheaper at a downtown outlet or major department store, you'll get a refund that's double the difference in pricing. You can pre-order items online from www.changiairport.com.sg, and pick up your purchases when you arrive.
When you depart Singapore you can get a 5% Goods & Services Tax (GST) refund on your purchases. Look for the Global Refund Tax Free Shopping sign and ask for a Global Refund Shopping Check when you make your purchase. You must spend at least S$300 total to qualify. When leaving Singapore you'll need to show these checks with the purchases, receipts, and your passport. If you're packing the goods in your luggage, go to the GST Refund Inspection Counter in the departure hall of either terminal before check-in. If your items are carry on, head to the counter that's after immigration. Either way, your checks will be stamped, and at the counter next to customs you'll get a cash refund, Changi Airport Shopping Vouchers, credit to your credit card, or have a bank check sent to you.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe