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Singapore's Changi Airport has been named the world's best for the sixth year in a row in the annual World Airport Awards by Skytrax. So most people have got the message that there is plenty to do at the airport including a four storey slide to whizz down, movie theatres, a cactus garden, swimming pool, sunflower garden and a butterfly enclosure.
Less well known is the fact that if you are in transit at Changi Airport for at least 5.5 hours before your next flight, you can leave the airport on a FREE transit tour of Singapore.
You can choose between two different tour routes. Each tour is 2.5 hours long, and jointly organised by Singapore Airlines, Singapore Tourism Board and Changi Airport. Tours are conducted in English by informative guides who are extremely proud to show you modern, vibrant and exciting Singapore and its amazing architecture.
The Heritage Tour takes you to the Colonial District, the Central Business District where you can see all the amazing and much photographed skyscrapers, Kampong Glam and Malay Heritage Centre, Merlion Park where you have 20 minutes to stretch your legs, Chinatown where you will find a Muslim mosque, a Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple all on the one street and Little India with its fortune-tellers and their parrots and flower vendors selling garlands of jasmine.
Or there is the City Sights Tour, where you will get to the city skyline and the 165 metre high Singapore Flyer the world's second tallest observation wheel, The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (Singapore's premier arts destination that resembles a durian, making it a striking icon by the waterfront), Marina Bay Financial Centre, the often photographed Marina Bay Sands (MBS) with its world famous infinity pool on the 57th storey and this tour stops at Merlion Park and Gardens by the Bay (30 minutes stopover). This horticulture oasis nestled in the heart of the city features the much photographed Avatar-like Supertrees.
If you can organise to be on a night tour you can see these tree formations lit up which is a memorable sight. The Heritage Tour runs 5 times daily and the City Sights Tour runs 2 times daily.
How to Get These Free Tours
You must register at least one hour before the start of the tour by visiting the Free Singapore Tour (FST) Registration Booth (near Transfer Lounge F in Terminal 2, or Transfer Lounge A in Terminal 3) upon arrival. These tours as you can imagine are popular but there are certain ways to organise the tours before arrival.
You can do this if you are flying on Singapore Airlines (SQ) and/or SilkAir (MI) ticketed and operated flights into and out of Singapore.
Or if you are travelling on itineraries consisting of Singapore Airlines (SQ) and/or SilkAir (MI) ticketed and operated flights connecting to Scoot (TR) operated flights. 12288;
It also applies if you are travelling on selected Air New Zealand (NZ) operated flights (SQ4281, SQ4282, NZ281, NZ282, NZ3285 or NZ3286.) with connecting flights on Singapore Airlines (SQ) and/or SilkAir (MI) operated flights.
Pre-book by contacting your local travel agent or local Singapore Airlines office at least 72 working hours prior to arrival in Singapore.
Not applicable to passengers flying from China and Thailand.
Subject to availability of selected tour and visa requirements.
What's the Catch?
Once you do one of these tours and see everything that Singapore offers, you are likely to want to go back there for a holiday. That's the plan.
But if you don't get back there you can at least truly say you have been to Singapore and not just to the airport.