If you’re flying to Southeast Asia or Europe with Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Jetstar or Scoot, chances are you’ll be stopping over in Singapore. Changi Airport in Singapore is one of the world’s best airports, and there’s also plenty to see and do in Singapore itself. So it’s no surprise that many Australians choose to stop over there.
Whether you’re just in transit or staying for a few nights, this AFF guide will help you to make the most of your Singapore stopover!
How to get from Singapore Changi Airport to the city
The easiest way to get from Singapore Airport to the city is by train. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system runs every day from the airport from around 5.30am to 11.20pm, with regular trains running between Changi Airport and Tanah Merah station. You can easily transfer at Tanah Merah for trains to the city. The fare is just a few dollars. When using public transport in Singapore, we suggest loading money onto an EZ-Link card, which works similarly to Sydney’s Opal cards and Melbourne’s Myki cards.
Taxis are also plentiful in Singapore and the trip from the airport to downtown costs around $25-45.
Where to stay in Singapore
The Aerotel Transit Hotel is located airside within Terminal 1, and is ideal for overnight or long daytime transits at Singapore Airport. The hotel operates 24 hours per day and accessible from all terminals without needing to clear immigration or customs. There is a swimming pool, gym, bar and library, and rooms can be booked in six hour intervals.
There is also a Crown Plaza hotel located right outside Terminal 3. But this can be a little pricey, so you may prefer to stay outside the airport. The Changi Village Hotel is a short drive away, and there is a complimentary shuttle bus. It’s also very easy to get downtown, so you may consider staying in the city.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel is a Singapore icon, famous for its rooftop swimming pool.
Other Singapore hotels recommended by AFF members include:
- Carlton Hotel (recommended by James Shann)
- Grand Mercure Roxy Square (recommended by Captain Halliday)
- Hilton Garden Inn, Little India (recommended by philelltt as a good Hilton hotel that doesn’t cost many Hilton Honors points to book)
Some hotels in Singpaore, including Carlton Hotel, now lend free mobile phones to hotel guests so they can make unlimited overseas calls and access mobile data during their stay.
We always stay at the Carlton Hotel since it is very conveniently located. They have introduced a “Handy” mobile phone which is free to hotel guests and allows you to make free calls to anywhere in the world. Also, it has free roaming, so that you can check E-mails etc. wherever you are, in Singapore.
What to do in Singapore
There is plenty to see and do in Singapore! Here are some recommendations from Anna:
The Museum of Asian Civilisation is fascinating if you like museums and/or it’s too hot or wet outside. It’s walking distance from City Hall MRT station / Raffles / Fairmont / Swissotel. (Not sure if City Hall is technically the closest MRT stop).
If you are an active person and will be able to shower somewhere afterwards before getting on your flight, then the Tree Top Walk and suspension bridge on the MacRitchie Nature Trail is great. Take water with you.
If you’re travelling with children, there’s lots to do on Sentosa resort island. The Singapore Zoo is also world renowned.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to take a day trip to Indonesia, you can even take a ferry to Batam Island. The trip takes around an hour each way.
There are numerous lookout points where you can get a great view of the city. One of the best kept secrets is the Pinnacle Apartment complex in Tanjong Pagar. It costs just $6 to take the elevator to the 50th floor, from where you can get a great view of Singapore.
Where to eat in Singapore
There are plenty of excellent restaurants in Singapore, including in Chinatown and Little India. But some of the best food comes from the many hawker centres that you’ll find all over the city. Here you can get a quick and cheap, yet delicious meal.
jb747 recommends trying the nuclear chicken and black pepper prawns at Fatties. And Mr_Gimlet recommends East Coast Seafood for a chilli crab fix located between the airport and the city!
If you don’t have a long layover, BlinkJet recommends a couple of hawker centres near Singapore Airport…
In the case of a short stopover, nearest hawker centers include Changi Village & Blk 85 Bedok for you to satisfy your food cravings.
You can even get the Singapore hawker centre experience without leaving the airport! AFF member busker recommends visiting the Changi Airport staff canteens located landside in Terminals 1 and 2. The food here is cheap and delicious, and there are enough seats for around 700 people.
The best Singapore Airport lounges
If you’re flying Business or First Class with Singapore Airlines or Star Alliance, you’ll have access to the wonderful Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounges. There’s also The Private Room for Singapore Airlines First Class passengers. But if you have Star Alliance or Velocity status but you’re flying Singapore Airlines in Economy, you’ll be relegated to the crowded KrisFlyer Gold lounge which, until the lounge refurbishments are completed in 2021, does not even have toilets or showers!
If you’re flying Qantas, the Qantas Singapore Lounge is good but often overcrowded. Depending on your frequent flyer status and the airline you’re flying, alternatives include the much more peaceful British Airways Lounge and the Emirates Lounge.
Other airlines may have different lounge arrangements. If you find yourself without lounge access, there are many pay-per-use lounges at Singapore Airport. Some of these lounges also offer access to showers for a reduced price.
Arrival and departure
Australians do not require a visa to visit Singapore. In fact, Australian travellers can use the Smart Gates for immigration at Singapore Airport.
When you depart, beware that security screening at Singapore Airport takes place at the boarding gate. If you’re leaving Singapore on an international flight back to Australia, no liquids over 100mL are allowed through security. So if you plan to buy duty-free alcohol on the way home, make sure you have it delivered to the gate in a sealed bag.
If you have some spare time during your Singapore stopover, Changi Airport has a butterfly garden, swimming pool and even movie theatres.
Depending on the airline you’re flying, you may even be entitled to free shopping vouchers to spend during your transit at Singapore Airport! See the Changi Airport website for more information about the Changi Transit Programme.
Singapore Airlines Singapore Stopover Holiday
If you’re flying Singapore Airlines, you can even book a heavily-discounted Singapore Stopover Holiday as part of your ticket! See the Singapore Airlines website for more information.
Do you have a great Singapore stopover tip to share? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Singapore (SIN) Stopover Tips