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Published February 4th 2018
Walk with butterflies
The experience of international travel - perhaps even a large part for some - involves waiting in airport terminals. It can be a monotonous sensation, collapsing in a chair in a transit lounge, clothes rumpled, eyes bleary, belt unfastened, shoes untied, unsure which pocket you crammed your passport and ticket into after passing the third security checkpoint of the day.
The Butterfly Garden in Transit Terminal 3, Changi Airport
Repeat the routine often enough and the tedium can become instinctive. Automatic. The blinking displays. The murmuring white noise drone of voices. The recurring announcements. A gate change. A late passenger. 'We apologise for the delay due to the late arrival of the incoming aircraft' (this excuse always rankles). 'Thank you for your patience'.
The unyielding sameness of terminals can be a debilitating experience.
This isn't a problem in Changi International Airport, Singapore. Enter one of the 4 terminals in Singapore's main airport - conveniently linked by air-conditioned Skytrain - and a transiting passenger is confronted by a kaleidoscope of restaurants, gardens and retail stores of bewildering variety. Roaming through atria lit with the glittering lights comprising a firmament of stars, it's no surprise that the airport is one of the most awarded in the world. Free movie theatres, Wi-Fi, an arcade, a free transit hotel, shops, restaurants and a free tour of Singapore (if you have enough time) provide captivating diversions, but it is the nature trail with themed gardens that is perhaps the most iconic of the above offerings. On the nature trail, the traveller is treated to a Cactus Garden, a Sunflower garden and an Orchid Garden, but it is perhaps Terminal 3's Butterfly Garden that provides the most interesting distraction.
Feeding at the Butterfly Garden in Changi International Airport
Enter the Butterfly Garden in Transit Terminal 3 and a visitor is struck, first by the return of blanketing humidity, and second by an array of flowering plants, butterflies and the relaxing chorus of a 6-metre waterfall. The garden is small but high; up to 40 different species of butterfly flicker, float and flutter while below, small paths lead the wanderer around the garden to information boards, an "emergence cage" where butterflies can be seen emerging from cocoons.
If you're on transit in Changi International airport for a few hours and looking for an informative diversion to your stop, a stroll through the Butterfly Garden in Terminal 3 would satisfy that requirement perfectly.