Changi on the Cheap

Over the years, we have spent a considerable amount of time hanging about in airports, and our undisputed favourite place for a long layover is Changi International in Singapore. Here is our Changi survival guide:

Public art at Changi

Step 1: Collect your free money

If you are laying over in Changi and flying Singapore (or Air New Zealand) you are probably eligible for free money (details here). Cleverly spent, this free money can make your whole Changi visit free. Ask information to direct you to the right counter to claim your Transit Programme shopping vouchers. We received 20 Singapore dollars each, in each direction, although you can claim for both your out and return trips in either direction. Half the free money is in the form of vouchers which you can use for any duty free shopping including restaurants and the other half can only be used to buy alcohol, either to take with you or at one of the bars.


Step 2: sort out your free wifi

Ideally, you should download the Changi app which makes accessing the free wifi much easier and gives you a longer time limit (as well as useful airport info). This is an option which comes up when you connect to the wifi. You will need a working cellphone number to get the activation code. If you are struggling with the activation code, you can get a voucher for a few hours free wifi at an info desk.


Step 3: grab some grub

Changi has a wide range of restaurants and takeaway joints. Getting from terminal to terminal in Changi is easy, so check out the options on the app or info boards. We recommend Sushi Burrito ( which is exactly as delicious as it sounds – basically a giant sushi roll eaten like a burrito. They will make them to order if you buy a whole roll or you can get a half from the ready made options and they accept vouchers. Plan carefully, because you can’t get change for a voucher.

Sushi burrito


Step 4: hunt down some entertainment 

Changi is packed full of (mostly free) things to do:

  • Wander round the various indoor and outdoor gardens. Watch the sunrise from the sunflower garden.
  • Play PlayStation at the gaming centre
  • Follow live sports on the big screens on the concourse
  • Catch a movie at the movie theatre
  • Have a swim and a beer at the outdoor pool and exercise centre (pool entrance is a bit pricey at SGD17 but vouchers are accepted)
  • Check into the transit hotel for some shut eye (quite expensive, but occasionally necessary)
Chilling in the orchid garden
Airport pool!

Step 5: Drink some cheap beer

Beer is never cheap in Singapore and the Changi bars are all outrageously priced. The solution is to head to the cactus garden in Terminal 1. Here you find an outdoor bar offering a happy hour special Carlsberg draft for SGD15.30, buy 2 get one free. But do not order the happy hour special! Instead order a can of Leo (the thai beer) for SGD6. Pay with your vouchers of course. Winning.

Enjoying live music at the Cactus Pub

Cheap beer!




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