If you have a few hours, need a meal, or even a whole day free in Singapore, Jewel Changi Airport is an attraction that you’ll not want to miss!
Built in April 2019, Jewel Changi Airport is an awe-inspiring nature-themed entertainment and retail complex built entirely within the Changi Airport precinct. Costing $1.7b SGD and featuring complete integration with the airport complex, the scale of the undertaking is breathtaking. Let’s be clear, this is not just an addition to the airport to help you kill some time, this is a tourist destination in its own right.
I’ve visited Jewel Changi Airport twice now (shortly after it opened in April 2019 and again in August 2022) and straight up, I can say it’s just as impressive as it was the day it opened. So read on with our ultimate guide to find out what you can expect when you pay a visit to Jewel Changi Airport.
Jewel Changi Airport: What is it?
This complex is on a scale only a few cities in the world can afford to undertake. It’s a visionary undertaking that includes a rain vortex, retail shops, hotels, entertainment, airport lounges, check-in, and dining. The Jewel complex spans 135,000 square metres and comprises ten stories – five stories above and five below ground.
Where to find Jewel Changi Airport
The complex is located right in the middle of Changi Airport, surrounded on three sides by Terminals 1 to 3. And this is what Singapore does best – everything is seamlessly integrated for access.
The front entry of Jewel is directly opposite Terminal 1 where Qantas flights arrive and depart from. Singapore Airlines operates flights from Terminals 2 and 3. These two terminals are connected by a 150m walkway, so it doesn’t really matter which terminal you’re based in!
Getting Around Jewel Changi Airport
I’ll be upfront here and say that you need good walking shoes and a head for heights if you travel to the upper levels via escalators. This complex is very big and so it is easy to get lost, even when there is good signage – you need to know where you want to go and what level it’s located on.
There are two very convenient options to help you:
- Grab a map from the concierge desk or download it to your phone. Map here.
- Use the electronic directory terminals usually located near the escalators and elevators.
How much does it cost to visit Jewel Changi Airport?
Entry and viewing of the waterfall vortex are all free.
However, the Level 5 Canopy Park Attractions all come at a cost. You may consider buying a ticket bundle for the kids or whole family. And of course, drinking and eating come at normal Singaporean prices – high compared to Bali!
Tickets can be purchased for one or many activities at self-service kiosks, concierge stations, online, or via the Jewel Changi Airport app.
Remember that you’re at the airport and may have access to decent Qantas and Singapore Airlines lounges where the food is free!
Attraction prices have increased since the 2019 opening. You can expect to burn through at least $100 to 200SGD for a family of four if you were to go all out! But personally, I spent 3 hours the second time around in the complex and didn’t spend a cent.
Jewel Changi Airport: Key attractions
On entry from Terminal 1 or curbside or the SkyTrain in the basement, you’ll walk into a cavernous plaza that steers you come face to face with the signature attraction – the jaw-dropping Vortex “waterfall”. At this point, you have a decision to make – walk around, go up or down. It doesn’t really matter as you’ll do it all.
Jewel Changi Vortex Waterfall
As you walk towards the HSBC Rain Vortex it pays to bear in mind that you’re looking at the world’s largest indoor waterfall at 40m high!
Approach the vortex the more perceptive of us may detect something is “off” or “missing” – noise. The vortex makes virtually no noise and it’s designed deliberately like that. The reason is that the base of the vortex is a funnel that guides the water down rather than normal water hitting water splashing impact.
At the bottom, called the Immersion Garden, you can look up and be dazzled by the size of the vortex as well as enjoy the cooling mist effect.
Authors Tip: Every evening there is a Light and Sound Show run hourly from 7.30 pm to 12.30 am.
For something a little different, you can also catch the Skytrain which connects all the terminals in the complex together. You’ll need to catch it for the leg between Terminals 3 and 2 to go through Jewel. You’ll get to run right alongside the HSBC Rain Vortex – the world’s largest indoor waterfall! (As of August 2022, the SkyTrain was not operating through Jewel).
After you stand in awe, head on up via elevator to Level 1, where you can enter the Shiseido Forest Valley walks – east or west. These walks provide immersive sensory treats, including mist generation. By the time you reach the top you might just spend half a day up there.
Level 5 Canopy Park Attractions
There is a range of attractions available for purchase from Level 5. Tickets can be purchased for one or many activities at self-service kiosks, concierge stations, online, or via the Jewel Changi Airport app. Attraction prices have increased since the 2019 opening. You can expect to burn through at least $100 to 200SGD for a family of four if you were to go all out!
If you’re a little short on time, and if you’re not travelling with children, you might bypass some of these. However, there is still so much to see and take in as an adult.
Jewel Changi Airport Canopy Bridge
This is a must-do activity when visiting Jewel, but surprisingly few travellers do it. An 8 SGD ticket can be purchased at a self-serve terminal and you can walk straight onto the bridge.
You might just laugh as you watch everyone else gripping the handrails when they step out onto the glass.
Up 23 metres and looking down to Level 1, you’re able to walk along the 50m bridge. The glass gets progressively clearer as you reach the centre – probably to help you get used to the idea. You don’t get wet as it’s not Disneyland, but you’ll have just as much fun, that or be terrified.
There are surprisingly few selfies being taken at the time of my visit – perhaps the evident fear on faces as people traverse the walkway isn’t that attractive on Instagram.
Manulife Sky Nets – Walking and Bouncing
Jewel Changi Airport features two sets of nets. These are perfect for both adults and children alike to experience.
You can choose to walk a net that is 25 metres above a void or bounce along a 250 metre long net that is sure to tire your kids out before a long flight. Brilliant!
A-Mazing entertainment for the kids
Still, on Level 5, there are two Canopy Mazes to enjoy – the Hedge Maze and the Mirror Maze.
The Hedge Maze features 6-foot high walls and panels that can be pushed to alter the path. If you’re unable to find the kids, you can head up to a tower that overlooks the maze to locate them.
Children will also enjoy discovering the Mirror maze.
More Jewel Changi discovery and fun
Jewel Changi Airport delivers even more fun things for adults and kids, including Discovery Slides and Foggy Bowls. The latter is a mist-generated area that provides the sensation of being amongst the clouds.
Stretch your legs in the Jewel gardens
Singapore is known for its incredible gardens, and Jewel Changi Airport is no exception.
In the Shiseido Forest Valley, visitors can explore over 100 species planted as 3,000 trees and 60,000 shrubs, spanning 5 stories. This garden is one of the largest indoor gardens in Asia. It’s hard to believe that it’s all located within Changi Airport.
While we’re speaking of garden, greenery is everywhere….
Changi Experience Studio
Down on its own on Level 4 is the Changi Experience Studio. This attraction is better suited to older kids and has a strong technology focus. You’ll learn all about Changi Airport and this will really appeal to the AV Geek in you.
iMAX your time in Jewel
Down at Level B2 there is a Shaw Theatres iMax complex with 800 person seating capacity. This is the perfect place to perch if you’re tired from travel, and if you just want to chill out.
If you have an hour to spare, consider a Jewel guided tour – learn how robots and man work together in the complex and how 2,000 trees and 100,000 shrubs are managed to perfection!
If you’re light on status or Airpoints and don’t have access to an airport lounge, Changi Lounge down on Level 1 provides a comfortable environment, complete with high-speed internet connectivity, ample charging, and power points for devices. Private meeting rooms are also available for booking.
Two and four-hour stays range from $15 to 24SGD.
Dining at Jewel Changi Airport
This is Singapore, and so wherever you are, there are reliable food options and in this case, there are more than 100. Every level in Jewel has food outlets, including many cult eateries that can’t be found in Australia. Some even have number queuing systems including Shake Shack. Down in the basement there are a number of fast food options such as Burger King and Boost Juice.
Rated dining options include:
- Burger and Lobster for… you guessed it – Level 5
- Jack’s Place for western food – Level 4
- Din Tai Fung for Chinese cuisine – Level 3
- Earle Swensen’s for western food – Level 3
On Level 5 you’ll find a number of licensed, family-friendly venues as well as some more expensive options. It’s easy to drift to these as you’re up there anyway, but the majority of good options are located on other floors and stand out in their own right.
Author’s tip: Use the Electronic Directory kiosks on every floor to choose a dining option.
Shop up a storm
Just outside the main rainforest shell, there are multiple floors of Jewel Changi retail outlets ringing the complex. Many big brands are here including Uniqlo, Marks and Spencer, Zara and the fishbowl-like Apple store, which you can’t miss on the ground floor. There are also plenty of shoe buying options.
Author’s Tip: leave shopping until after you’ve visited all the attractions on Level 5 to stay hands-free.
How long should I allow to visit Jewel Changi Airport?
I’ll say it now: treat the Jewel as a destination in its own right. With so many different attractions on offer, it’s worth putting aside half a day if you can. If you’re travelling with kids, if you’re in an old or worn lounge or skulking about a terminal, a visit to Jewel is a no-brainer.
Other useful services and amenities at Jewel Changi Airport
If you have a wheelie case you can stroll around the complex quite happily, but if yo’ure planning on doing a number of the activities on level 5 such as the nets, you’ll need to check in your baggage down at level 1 at the Left Baggage service. Beware – storage is not cheap.
Jewel Early Check-In Lounge
Down on Level 1, is the early check-in service where you can leave your bags 3 hours or earlier prior to your departure, 1 to 5pm daily. This service is only available for participating airlines and only some flights so research is advised. These include: Malaysia Airlines, Qantas and Singapore Airlines (selected destinations – Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Zurich).
YotelAir Singapore Changi Airport
Not a new concept, but nonetheless a great option if you need a few hours rest or are transiting Singapore. With good Wi-Fi, flexible spaces, 24×7 check-in/checkout, YotelAir might just be an option if you need to crash before your next flight. You can find it on Level 4.
Jewel Changi Airport: Verdict
Jewel is a world-class destination and it cements Changi as one of the world’s major airports.
The beauty of the place is that it’s so integrated with the Airport and you can wander in and spend an hour or a day. There’s no pressure to spend money, either. You could easily just walk around absorbing the atmosphere without any money changing hands.
Whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple, or in a family, a visit to Jewel Changi Airport isn’t to be missed!
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