Tourism taglines are often fluffy one-liners that hint at the promise of something intangible. However, Singapore holds a fairly strong claim to its moniker of “city in a garden,” thanks to lush green attractions like the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Gardens by the Bay.
Now, with the opening of the $1.25 billion Jewel extension at Changi Airport, which was recently voted the best in the world for the seventh year in a row, visitors can witness Singapore’s green credentials as soon as they land.
How to find Jewel Changi Airport
The Jewel Changi Airport is connected directly to Terminal 1, with link bridges to Terminal 2 and 3 and a shuttle bus from Terminal 4. The new shopping and entertainment hub at Changi Airport opened for sneak previews on Thursday and will officially welcome the public starting on April 17. The Jewel is located before security, so visitors on a layover will have to clear immigration to access it, but the effort will be worth it.
The multi-functional space not only holds a shopping mall with 112 food and beverage outlets (including the first Shake Shack in Southeast Asia), more than 200 retail shops, and an IMAX theater, but also essential visitor services like early check-in counters, baggage storage services, and a pay-per-use Changi Lounge. A 130-cabin YOTELAIR also opened this week.
At the heart of it all is the 131-foot HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, which streams down seven floors via an oculus through Jewel Changi Airport’s roof. Every night, a light and sound show runs from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at hourly intervals, creating a spectacle of projections against the waterfall set to music.
Surrounding it is the Shiseido Forest Valley with two walking trails planted with orchids, palm trees, and some 60,000 shrubs. In June 2019, the 150,000-square-foot Canopy Park will open at Jewel’s top floor with a Canopy Bridge suspended 75 feet above the ground, plus a number of child-friendly, Instagrammable attractions, including a topiary walk, as well as giant trampolines and slides.
The new shops and restaurants offer a curated assortment of homegrown brands, bringing the best of Singapore to a single setting.
The Five Spice food court is modeled on the local hawker scene and offers a range of Singaporean street food, while Anthony the Spice Maker sells packets of ready-made spice blends like chicken curry and beef rendang so you can recreate these dishes at home.
For sit-down meals, local cooking doyenne Violet Oon has a stunning Peranakan-style space next to one of the entrances of the HSBC Rain Vortex. There, you can order a DIY popiah (Teochew-style spring roll) set, or have freshly grilled satay at the dedicated grill station. Before leaving, pick up a box of Gula Melaka coconut crunch cookies or jar of kaya (coconut jam) to take home–a tasty reminder of the Little Red Dot if photographs don’t suffice.
For a locally inspired wardrobe, In Good Company sells timeless basics that’ll let you brave Singapore’s humidity with style, while jewelry brand RISIS sells a line of Peranakan-tile-inspired trinkets. Upstairs at Naiise, visitors can browse a wide selection of local design items for mementos to bring home like an ang ku kueh (red tortoise cake) pillow.
>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Singapore