Jewel Changi airport, or more commonly known as Jewel, is a new entertainment and retail complex, opened in April 2019 at Changi Airport, Singapore. Jewel is linked to three of the four terminals by covered walkways at Changi Airport. Jewel is open from 9.00am to 01.00am.
If you visit Jewel, forget the many restaurants and retail shops, you can find those all over Singapore. Instead, I suggest you head straight to the central area of Jewel, where you will find the centrepiece, the Rain Vortex. At 40 metres tall, about five storeys, the Rain Vortex is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. The fact that it’s surrounded by a magnificent terraced indoor rainforest is a bonus. Beautiful, multicoloured orchids and flowers provide splashes of vibrant color amongst the lush, green foliage of ferns and tropical plants that surround the Rain Vortex. Palm trees reach for the glass roof structure.
As you approach the central area you can hear a crescendo of falling water. Water falls from a circular pipe at the top of the Rain Vortex, cascading down to a massive transparent funnel at ground level that descends two floors down through basements 1 and 2. The sight and sound is mesmerising...
As darkness approaches, beautiful coloured light begin to transform the falling water into a kaleidoscope of colour; green to pink to purple, blue, green, yellow. A brief, about five minutes in duration, but spectacular light and sound show starts at 7.30pm, just as darkness falls. The show is repeated at 8.30pm, 9.30pm, 10.30 pm and 12.30 pm. The coloured light effects swirl around the waterfall and the music reverberates around the cavernous central area.
Late evening and night time is the best time to witness the Rain Vortex in full glory so try to have late night flight out of Singapore, if possible. It is also worth mentioning that you have to exit the airport controlled area to gain access to Jewel. Transit passengers who stay within the airport on the departure side of customs and immigration will not be able to access Jewel.
There are five floors above ground level and each floor has ample viewing area. Stairs connect the various other levels. The different levels can also be accessed by escalators in the outer retail areas. It does take a little exploration to find a good viewing spot in between the numerous trees that occupy the terraces. Be prepared also, to jostle with the hundreds, if not thousands, of people also keen to occupy the best vantage point. I wonder if the shopkeepers in the terminal buildings are happy with the opening of Jewel. Instead of spending time shopping in the terminals, thousand of prospective customers are now spending their waiting and transit times in Jewel. I do think however, many of the visitors in Jewel are not travellers at all. Jewel is yet another place for locals to find respite from the oppressive heat and humidity that Singapore is renowned for.
Of course, there is a lot more to Jewel then the Rain Vortex. If you are in the mood for something to eat there are countless restaurants, from the food centre to familiar fast food chains to high end restaurants. In peak times, lines and waiting times may be very long. There is even a Fair Price supermarket in one of the basement levels.
You can easily spend several hours exploring Jewel. Personally, I spent three hours and only scratched the surface. There is even an IMAX cinema and a hotel, for those lucky travellers with a long transit time.
I have been to many airports around the world but nothing compares to Jewel; it is certainly unique and will no doubt ensure that Singapore Changi Airport maintains its position as one of the best, if not, the best airport in the world.
It would certainly be inconvenient to drag a suitcase around Jewel so upon arrival at the airport, check in, then head to Jewel. It is a 10 minute walk along covered walkways so don’t forget to leave enough time to walk back to your departure terminal and clear immigration.
Written by guest blogger, Glenn Russell
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