Inside Singapore’s New Jewel Complex at the World’s Best Airport

The brand-new extension is not just a mall. It is also a stunning garden attraction and a preview of the city-state’s best local restaurants and shops.

Inside Singapore’s New Jewel Complex at the World’s Best Airport

The HSBC Rain Vortex and Shiseido Forest Valley as seen from Terminal 1 at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Courtesy of Jewel Changi Airport

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 (from which Singapore Airlines operates) and a shuttle bus from Terminal 4. The new shopping and entertainment hub at Changi Airport officially opened to the public in April 2019. The Jewel is located before security, so visitors on a layover have to clear immigration to access it, but the effort is worth it.


The Discovery Slides double as an attraction for children and sculptural art moment at the new airport addition.

Courtesy of Jewel Changi Airport

The best attractions at Jewel Changi Airport Designed by Moshe Safdie, the same architect behind the eye-catching Marina Bay Sands, the steel-and-glass complex filled with greenery is spread across 10 stories and 1.46 million square feet.

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 in early April.

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. On June 10, 2019, the 150,000-square-foot Canopy Park opened at Jewel’s top floor with a glass-floored 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. Admission to Canopy Park is S$5 (US$3.70, approximately), while access to various attractions within the park ranges from S$7.20 to S$19.80 (US$5 to $14).


The aerial Bouncing Net trampolines will open later this year at Jewel Changi Airport.

Courtesy of Jewel Changi Airport

The best eating and shopping at Jewel Changi Airport 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.

This article originally appeared online in April 2019; it was updated on June 11, 2019, to include current information.

>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Singapore

Charlene Fang writes about travel, luxury, lifestyle, food and drink.
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