At Changi Airport, it’s not unusual for Singaporeans to come to the airport just to hangout, shop, eat, maybe see a movie. In fact, it’s quite common. People even get married there. It is, after all, on its seventh consecutive year of being named the world’s best airport.
Step inside the newly-minted Jewel wing, though, and it’s no surprise why the facilities have become even more of a veritable hotspot with both locals and travelers. Opened in April of 2019 on a former parking lot site (adjacent to Terminal 1), the complex clocks in at a whopping 1,460,660-square-feet. The design-forward space features 10 floors (five above ground, five below) of 280 largely concept-driven dining and shopping experiences, in addition to an impressive variety of distinct attractions. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie (you may recognize him as the brains behind Marina Bay Sands), Jewel has a striking dome-shape from the outside, yielding ample interior space for innovative indoor landscaping. Step inside, and you’ll discover a vibrant, densely-vegetated paradise.
If you have a long layover at Changi, or just want to explore this creative new space next time you’re in Singapore, here’s our guide for getting the most out of the new Jewel wing.
Pro tip: Pop into the pay-per-use Changi lounge to keep luggage safe while you explore the 10-floor facility. And if you fancy a nap — or just want to take a shower — head to level four of Jewel and check into the Yotelair hotel where guests can book stays by the hour, or sleep overnight, in cabin-sized short-term accommodations.
Shopping and Dining
Why go to a mall with a few floors-worth of stores and restaurants when you can go to a mall with 10 floors of stores and restaurants? With five floors above ground and five floors below, Jewel pretty much has it all when it comes to luxury brands, local shops, and delicious places to have a meal (or three) before takeoff. The shopping and eating experiences are only enhanced by the stunning design of the complex itself — it’s admittedly fun to wander between floors because it feels like every time you turn a corner, there’s something new to be discovered. Grab some new luggage at Coach, or a silk scarf to snuggle up in at Massimo Dutti; or spend hours pouring over local crafts and clothing at Singapore brands like In Good Company (chic and modern fashion) and Supermama (locally-designed porcelain).
Whether you choose to have dinner gazing down upon the five-level tiered Shiseido Forest Valley with sweeping views of the Rain Vortex, or head to the food hall on basement-level-two for an unforgettable Singaporean hawker-esque experience, you simply can’t go wrong with dining options at Jewel.
You can slurp up seasonally-inspired ramen at Shiki Hototogisu Ramen, which was awarded a Michelin star in the Tokyo Michelin Guide. Or sit for a modern spin on traditional Peranakan food at Singapore’s own Violet Oon, an upscale fine dining output that will leave you planning your next trip back. Shangri-La Singapore opened its first standalone restaurant, Shang Lounge, within jewel; this is a great place to go for elevated Cantonese, Huaiyang and Sichuan cuisines.
Want something quick? Go for Pow Sing, a local favorite for traditional chicken rice. For hotpot lovers, Beauty in the Pot is a can’t-miss.
Word to the wise: do not skip out on a scoop of gelato in a crispy cone from Birds of Paradise (located just outside the In Good Company shop). You’ll probably have to stand in line, but we promise, it’s very much worth the wait.
The staggering amount of lush and manicured vegetation — thousands of trees and plants surround the Rain Vortex — is arguably the most breathtaking part of Changi Jewel. Once you enter the space, you’ll be able to check off visiting the tallest indoor waterfall in the world from your bucket list. At just over 131 feet, the cylinder-shaped waterfall — known as the Rain Vortex — thunders down seven stories from the glass oculus at the top of the dome. Not only does the waterfall help maintain a cool and humid climate for the surrounding forest and gardens (not something you expect to read about an airport, eh?), but it recirculates rainwater, so it’s entirely sustainable. Pro tip: if you’re feeling brave and want the most dramatic views of the Rain Vortex and the surrounding plants, head up to the glass-bottomed suspension bridge on the fifth floor, where you can walk through mist and capture some truly stunning panoramic photos.
In the Canopy Park and tiered Forest Valley, visitors can stretch their legs and get a little whimsy in by playing on slides, bouncing in large net structures, and wandering among the foggy bowls (concave structures in the ground that emit a mist; walking among them feels like playing in the clouds). Don’t miss the topiary park, where large-scale flower topiaries depicting different adorable animals can be found.
If you’ve got time for a movie, don’t miss out on the IMAX cinema on basement-level-two. It’s got 11 screens, and usually rotates a few films at a time, so you might even get to catch more than one. There’s even a theater just for kids.