Most of the time, sleeping at the airport is a compulsatory and not so pleasant thing that travelers have to undergo because of an early, delayed or canceled flight. In the best case though, spending a night at the airport can even be a positive experience, taken that the conditions are favorable. We were almost eagerly waiting for the night at Singapore airport after we heard what this airport, also called one of the best in the world, has to offer. Even though our flight was departing only at 8 AM, we took a train to the airport already early in the previous night. This is how we also saved on accommodation costs in expensive Singapore and avoided an early taxi drive to the airport.
Singapore’s Changi airport is perfectly modern and one of the busiest airports in the world. It’s easy to understand why Singapore airport was chosen as the best airport in the world many years in a row. Its three terminals offer a wide selection of entertainment for the passengers, from cinemas to massage chairs and a butterfly garden. The airport offers a free wifi and you also get free drinking water from the tap. There is a convenient and cheap train connection from the city center to the airport. The security issues are taken very seriously in Singapore and almost the first thing we saw at the airport, was a bunch of guards walking around with big machine guns on their shoulders.
After we had finished our take away food that we bought in the city center (airport food is not budget traveler’s friend), we moved to the immigration and security check. We managed to do the check-in to our Scootair flight online which allowed us to enter the departure area early. The immigration check went quickly using the automatic gates that scanned our passports. And then we were already in the middle of the tax-free shops. But hey wait, what about the security check? We were confused because at all airports we have visited so far, the security check has been before entering the departure gate area. After wondering this for a while, we came to the conclusion that the security check must be directly at the gates, which turned out to be true. We also didn’t get departure stamps out of Singapore but googled later that this has been a normal practice since the immigration process was automatized.
Then we had the whole night to explore the shops and entertainment places of Terminal 2! The shopping selection at Singapore airport is amazingly big and the terminal had all the chicest and most expensive brand shops. At this airport everything is so fancy indeed. We started by strolling around a huge tax-free alcohol store that had an endlessly wide selection. We marveled at super expensive whiskeys, cognacs and wines. Wearing our worn-out backpacker outfits, we made our best to look like we were going to buy something.
Between tax-free shops and cafes, there are two gardens carefully decorated and equipped with fish ponds. The design has definitely been brought to the next level at this airport!
The most waited thing for us was the free massage chairs so we went to chase them next. A relaxing massage after walking around Singapore for two days sounded heavenly. Unfortunately, all the chairs were taken and they also turned out to massage only legs. We got to try the chairs out next morning before our flight though. Even though it wasn’t the full-body massage we had imagined, we have to admit that a shiatsu massage with a heat felt quite nice in the legs.
On the second floor of Terminal 2, there is an entertainment center where you can kill time by watching movies in the cinema or by playing PlayStation or computer games. And all this for free! The cinema was showing movies almost all night long but people seemed to use the soft chairs mostly for sleeping. There were more comfy chairs in front of the cinema but they were all taken already before midnight.
We found a decent spot next to a socket on the full-floor carpet of the second floor and laid down with our backpacks. We surfed the internet and slept for a couple of hours. At 3 AM, a guard came to wake us up and asked for boarding passes (with two guys standing behind him with machine guns in the hand. What a pleasant way to wake up…). One man who was sleeping next to us didn’t have a departure ticket as he had apparently arrived from a flight earlier. The guards didn’t give him any mercy and he had to leave the departure area immediately.
In the morning, we moved to our gate to wait for the flight to Indonesia. Sleeping at the airport wasn’t really refreshing but oh well, it rarely is. Anyway, we must say that the entertainment selection at Singapore airport made the airport visit quite pleasant! If we got stuck at an airport like in Terminal movie, we wouldn’t mind staying at this airport. So if you ever fly out of Singapore, we recommend going to the airport early and taking everything out of the selection.
Our tips for sleeping at the airport
- Dress up warmly as the air-conditioning tends to be very cold
- Take an empty bottle so you don’t need to buy crazy expensive water at the airport
- Eat before going to the airport and buy snacks with you, unless you want to spend your travel budget in expensive restaurants
- Arrive as early as you can because the best benches and sleeping spots are taken quickly
- Keep your luggage close to you when you sleep and hide the valuables from thieves
- Set an alarm so you don’t miss your flight 🙂
Do you have experiences of Singapore airport or of sleeping at airports in general?