Gardening tips from Changi's experts

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Rose Chia, Horticulturist at Changi Airport Group

If gardening leaves you feeling wilted, take a leaf from the Horticulture Unit at Changi Airport. The 13-strong team and an army of service partners care for more than 500,000 plants at Changi Airport’s three terminals. They also tend to over 500 species of plants at the airport’s own 3-hectare nursery, located only 25 minutes away. The horticulture team makes sure that these plants – all of them real – always look their best and that the airport’s many landscape displays continue to captivate visitors. Their indoor gardening tips are a cinch to follow, even for the most novice gardener.

 

Get some ideas

Not sure where to start? Take inspiration from Terminal 3’s popular Butterfly Garden, one of the seven themed gardens in Changi Airport. The Butterfly Garden has different flowering and non-flowering plants that are just as easy to grow at home. Among these are vines such as Hoya and Philodendron, nectar producing shrubs such as Ixora and Wrightia  (also known as Shui Mei), and foliage and ferns like the  Aglaonema, Calathea and Selaginella.

The Orchid Garden at Terminal 2 is another great place to get home gardening ideas. This is where you’ll find a large showcase of hardy indoor plants and more than 700 orchids grouped according to shape and colour. The orchids comprise of about 30 species and hybrids such as Aranda, Dendrobium, Mokara, Phalaenopsis and Vanda.  The garden also showcases a special orchid hybrid named after Changi Airport – the Dendrobium Changi Airport.

 

Wrightia religiosa, one of the more common flowering plants

 

Thriving in light or shade

If you live in an apartment with bright light, you can grow indoor flowering plants like Aeschynanthus (Lipstick Plant), Gloxinia, Orchids and Saintpaulia (African Violets). A popular flowering plant today is the Hydrangea, which does well in a breezy, cool and bright area that gets the morning sun. Direct sunlight can damage delicate plants, the key is bright natural lighting, not direct sunlight.

Otherwise, if you have a big sunny garden, you can grow Allamanda, Bougainvilllea or Ixora. Sunflowers will also be great as they thrive best in locations with full sun. They will also be a cheery addition to any home garden! For Sunflowers to bloom beautifully, they require six to eight hours of direct sunlight everyday (not a big problem in sunny Singapore!). They are known for their hardiness and ability to adapt to any soil conditions as long as it is not waterlogged.

If your home has more shade than sun, choose shade-loving foliage plants such as the Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen) Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane), Philodendron (Heart Leaf Vine) or Scindapsus (Money Plant). Other houseplants that flourish in the shade are Aplenium (Bird’s Nest Fern), Nephrolepis (Boston Fern) and Adiantum (Lacy Maidenhair Fern).  These also tend to do extremely well in apartments.

 

Pentas can withstand full sunlight, growing in dry and hot locations

 

Water with care

Water is crucial for a healthy potted plant. But how much water do you need? In general, water the plant just enough so that the soil and roots are wet. You can also mist the leaves and flowers every day. If your plant is under-watered, its leaves will turn yellow. Conversely, an over-watered plant will also wilt because its roots have rotted and its soil is waterlogged.

At Changi Airport, the horticulture team ensures that plants are watered efficiently. Some 70 per cent of plant watering at the airport is automated through staged and timed automatic irrigation system. Between watering sessions, the team generally waters the roots well, and then lets the soil dry. The amount of water used also depends on the plant and location. For instance, the plants at the Sunflower Garden are watered more often than the Cacti and arid plants at the Cactus Garden because these require less watering, having adapted to dry and arid environment.

 

Ask and learn

You can find houseplants in many stores, such as supermarkets and DIY shops. But if you’re a gardening newbie, buy your houseplants from a nursery, not a supermarket. This way, you can ask its gardeners for help.

Always keep in mind the minimum growing requirements of each plant you buy. By providing the basic plant requirements, you allow nature to do its work in enabling plants to grow and flourish. There is no need for fancy chemicals or fertilisers.

 

Sidebar: A closer look at Ixora

 

The Ixora is usually very attractive to butterflies due to its sweet nectar producing flowers

 

Many Singaporeans can remember having fun tasting the Ixora’s sweet nectar when they were children. At the Butterfly Garden, Ixora nectar is a source of food for over 1,000 tropical butterflies. The lush garden grows two varieties of this tropical free-flowering plant – the common Ixora Javanica and the Ixora Super King, which has bigger flowers and leaves.     

Ixora is generally easily available and effortless to grow in Singapore’s hot and humid climate. Besides food and water, the only ingredient you’ll really need is sunlight.

At home, place the Ixora plant in a sunlit spot, such as a balcony. The sunlight will help to make the plant flower. You can also feed it with fertiliser pellets about once a month so that it flowers better. To help induce flowering, prune the leaves regularly and snip off withered flowers.        

Pests like mealybugs can infest the Ixora plant. To get rid of them, just dampen a washcloth with water and a little soap or dishwashing liquid, then wipe the leaves clean from the bugs. Avoid using pesticides as far as possible – these can have other unwanted side effects and do more harm than good. 

 

A top view of the Butterfly Garden at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3

 

Want more gardening inspiration? Head down to Changi Airport’s gardens to pick up some ideas on how to spruce up your indoor garden. And if you bump into our gardeners while you’re there, don’t be afraid to say hello and ask for their expert tips.

 

Themed Gardens at Changi Airport

• Butterfly Garden

Terminal 3 

Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2 & 3, Transit Area

 

• Cactus Garden

Terminal 1 

Departure Transit Lounge, Level 3, Transit Area

 

• Enchanted Garden

Terminal 2

Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area

 

• Orchid Garden

Terminal 2 

Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area

 

• Water Lily Pad Garden

Terminal 1

Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area

 

• Sculptural Tree Garden

Terminal 1

Departure Transit Lounge, Level 2, Transit Area

 

• Sunflower Garden

Terminal 2

Departure Transit Lounge, Level 3, Transit Area

Airport facilities you might have missed but are so useful

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Airport facilities you might have missed are so useful

You probably have heard of the cool stuff that make Changi Airport amazing – from the Butterfly Garden, the rooftop swimming pool to the new Raffles Long Bar - the list goes on.  But apart from these attractions that passengers wax lyrical about, there are many overlooked-but-yet-essential facilities at the airport that could come in really handy to make one’s travel journey smoother.

Whether you're a business traveller who needs to print an important document urgently, or a parent trying to pacify a cranky child with soiled diapers, there are a whole range of obstacles that could confront travellers on-the-go.  Changi Airport is determined to help you overcome the insurmountable.

Check out these essential facilities located throughout the three terminals that are designed to make your passage through the airport a problem-free one.

 

Baby Care room

 

 

Anyone who has ever travelled with babies will know what a challenge it can be, with the countless things parents need to do to tend to their babies, in between trying to make sure they don’t miss their flight.

From changing diapers, preparing formula milk, cleaning bottles, to wiping down a baby after a messy feed. It’s a nightmare to have to do these in the toilet (yes, that is how desperate parents can get) or in full view of strangers. And if you are a breastfeeding mum who needs to nurse your baby or fulfill your pumping commitments as a cow, a comfortable nursing room will bring tears to your eyes.

Parents can take heart that at Changi Airport, there are Baby Care facilities dedicated for parents’ use available at each terminal, complete with  hot water dispensers, nursing rooms, and  peaceful, private space to attend to your baby's needs in a stress-free environment.  Some of the more spacious areas are even equipped with play facilities or a TV to entertain the restless toddler while mummy gets busy.

You can find a Baby Care Room at Changi Airport here.

 

Catch up on your sleep

 

 

Comfortable, free-to-use snooze lounges are available throughout Changi Airport. But for weary travellers on a long layover, you can get some serious shut-eye at one of the transit hotels located at all three terminals without having to clear immigration. You'll feel refreshed and full of energy to tackle the next leg of your trip no matter where you're headed.

Some of the transit hotels have family rooms to cater for families with kids. And here’s a tip if you love plane-spotting - try asking for a room overlooking the airfield! From the comfort of your room, you'll enjoy a good view of the hustle and bustle on the tarmac, without any of the noise.

For more information about our transit hotels, go here.

 

Baggage Storage

 

 

If you have some hours to kill in between flights, exploring Changi’s three terminals and surprising yourself with what is in store is a good idea.  But making your way around a sprawling airport with bags in tow is not. Fret not, for just a small fee, you can leave your luggage at one of the several 24-hour Left Baggage counters in both the public and transit areas of each terminal and free up your hands for more important tasks - like sampling the delectable cuisine on offer or indulging in some retail therapy!

The rates for left baggage are as follow and you can also find our baggage counters here:

 

Rates
  First 24 hours Subsequent 24 hours
Loose $1.07 $2.14
Cabin $3.21 $4.28
Suitcase $4.28 $5.35
Odd size $8.56 $10.70

 

Clinics, Pharmacies and Special Needs

 

 

It's not something anyone hopes for, but we can't control when we are going to be unwell.  In those unfortunate instances, you can visit any one of several medical clinics located at the airport.

And for those last-minute medicine pick-ups or emergency replenishments before you board your flight, there are also a number of pharmacies available to help you with your medical needs. With any luck, you'll be in tip-top shape for the journey ahead.

Designed with the needs of the elderly and less physically mobile in mind, Changi Airport also has ramps, user-friendly lifts and special toilets that can be found throughout the airport. Wheelchairs and strollers are available to passengers on a complimentary and first-come first-served basis.

You can enquire about these services at the airport's Information and Customer Service counters, or request for wheelchair service and a minder directly from your airline when you book your flight or during check-in. Should you wish to rent a wheelchair for a longer period of time or for out-of-airport use, you can do so at any one of our clinics for S$15 per hour.

For a list of clinics and pharmacies at Changi Airport, click here.

 

Business Centres

We are never truly away from the office - even when we are on a holiday! Imagine realising that you’ve forgotten to print an important contract half an hour before you are due to board a flight to see a client. You can resolve your emergency by using one of the airport's three 24-hour business centres that offer services like typing, mailing of documents, as well as photocopying and faxing. 

Our business centres are available here at Changi Airport.

Entertaining your kids during long layovers

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It takes a parent to understand the immense stress of bringing your restless, hyper kids on a long journey. The horrors of having to keep them entertained, and orderly enough not to be a public nuisance to other passengers is enough to make you tear your hair out.

One tip for parents bringing their kids on long flights is to break the journey up.  Rather than coop the kids up on a claustrophobic mega long flight that spans more than ten hours, consider taking a nice break in between, with a stopover at a nice airport.  This allows both parents and kids to stretch their legs, run around and catch a refreshing breather before boarding the next leg of the flight.

As one of the busiest international air hubs in the world, Singapore Changi Airport handles high volumes of transit passengers every day, among whom are plenty of stressed parents. Thankfully, there are plenty of activities at Changi Airport to keep even the most energetic children occupied for many hours. And the best news is, after hours of activities, they might fall into a deep sleep, which gives parents an easier time on board. Choose from sprawling playgrounds, multi-storey slides, a butterfly garden, and an entertainment deck with computer games, just to name a few!

 

Movie and a swim time

Swimming pool at Terminal 1’s Transit Hotel

There's no better way to keep noisy kids in check than to put them in a movie theatre in front of some family-friendly fare. You can enjoy movies of various genres at both Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. Best of all, these screenings are free-of-charge and run round the clock!

Once they're out of the cinema and ready for some action, head to the swimming pool just across the Transit Hotel at Terminal 1, where they can use up some of that excess energy in full view of the runway and aircraft parking bays.

 

Artistic pursuits

Wood Block Rubbing Stations are available across all 3 terminals

Each terminal offers interesting activities like the Wood Block Rubbing Stations – a popular art form in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s. Relive the fun of the past and make your own wood block print with papers and crayons provided.

Designed by local artist Justin Lee, each print is a unique icon inspired by Singapore’s attractions and popular culture. There are prints of the world-renowned Singapore Zoo and other famous places such as Chinatown.

At Terminal 3, the kids will marvel at a pygmies wall art piece that features 'cockroaches' that will hide when they clap, only to reappear when the coast seems clear!

 

Chill out with games

PlayStation 3 games at the Entertainment Deck at Terminal 2

Over at Terminal 2, there is a Family Zone that will make children – and their parents – beam with delight. Situated at the Departure and Transit Mall, the zone is an ideal lounge for families with nursing rooms, diaper changing stations, play pen for toddlers and a comfortable corner to watch cartoons.

Older kids and young-at-heart parents who are avid gamers will be thrilled at the entertainment deck on Level 3 of Terminal 2’s Transit Mall. From free LAN games to Xbox 360 as well as the PlayStation 3, it is a one-stop multimedia centre that promises to keep everyone glued to their games.

 

Get close to nature

If you prefer something more relaxing for your children, visit one of the many lush gardens in the various terminals and learn more about nature on these educational trails. 

Enchanted Garden at Terminal 2

Step into the Enchanted Garden at Terminal 2, and be lost in the Shangri-La like atmosphere where plants magically come to live with sights and sounds. Motion sensors will trigger sounds of nature and blooming flowers while LED lighting on the pathway forms a fascinating carpet that sparkles.

Sunflower Garden at Terminal 2

You can also stroll through the open-air rooftop Sunflower Garden at Terminal 2 and be spellbound by the sight of cheerful yellow blooms; or feel the flutter of over 1,000 beautiful butterflies at the Butterfly Garden at Terminal 3, a tropical retreat that allows visitors to get up close with these colourful creatures. With so many activities to captivate the kids, you might have a hard time making them want to leave.

Butterfly Garden at Terminal 3

 

Slide heaven

Playgrounds are located in the transit areas across the three terminals

The kids will be thrilled at the many elaborate playgrounds in each of the terminal’s transit areas. Children can spend hours at these colourful play areas that include ladders and zig-zag slides.

The Slide at Terminal 3

If you have a chance to pop out to the public areas of the airport, then you have to visit the world’s tallest slide in an airport, located on Level 1 at Terminal 3. Shriek your way down the 12-metre slide, almost 4-stories tall, at a speed of up to six metres per second.

Just spend S$10 at the airport to be eligible for a ride on the slide. Tickets can be redeemed at Terminal 3’s Information Counter on Level 1. If the Slide@T3 is too scary for the younger ones, try a shorter version – around one-and-a-half storey tall – at Basement 2. This slide is free of charge.

Top 5 places to take a selfie at Changi Airport

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Whether you're at a concert, a museum or even an airport, you can't go five minutes without bumping into someone taking a selfie. At Changi Airport, there are dozens of backdrops that would make for a stunning self-taken photograph.

To help you narrow your choices, and save you time in the process, here are Changi Airport's top 5 selfie spots.

 

Sunflower Garden

Transit Area, Terminal 2

 

With bright flowers sitting amid a backdrop of the airport's runway, a stunning photo is waiting to be snapped at this rooftop garden at the Transit Hall of Terminal 2. Better still if you're there on a day when the clouds are in a playful mood to add a dramatic dimension to your shot.

 

Social Tree

Transit Area, Terminal 1

 

This towering art installation cries out for a photo. At almost nine metres tall, the Social Tree is an advanced memory capsule that allows visitors to display their photos and videos on 64 giant 42-inch high-definition screens that make up the 'crown' of this tree.

The 360-degree crown also shows off various animated backgrounds, including a mystical forest and the Singapore skyline. Not only a visual treat, a selfie of this intriguing creation will be accompanied with an equally compelling story.

Best of all, images taken are stored for many years, allowing you to retrieve your precious memories of Changi Airport on subsequent visits. 

 

Raffles Long Bar

Transit Area, Terminal 3

 

There's no need to head in to town to experience the majesty of the iconic Raffles Hotel. On the second floor of the DFS Wines and Spirits duplex boutique, you can capture a slice of that heritage on camera at the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar, where the world-famous Singapore Sling was first concocted. To complete the picture, have the bartender whip up a cocktail to drink as you snap the selfie. Or better still, take one with the bartender as well!

 

Butterfly Garden

Transit Area, Terminal 3

 

With 1,000 butterflies housed at this garden at Terminal 3, you have no excuse for not taking a photo with one of these colourful creatures.  Your selfie will be greatly enhanced by the surrounding landscape of flowering plants, lush greenery and a six-metre grotto-waterfall at this unique habitat.

 

Enchanted Garden

Transit Area, Terminal 2

 

Giant glass bouquet sculptures that make up the centerpiece of this Shangri-La like garden at Terminal 2 is a favourite for selfie enthusiasts. The sculptures are decorated with a mosaic of reflective and shimmering stained glass that houses a stunning variety of freshly cut flowers and soft ferns.  With a backdrop like that, you will be immersed in your very own fairy tale.  

Maximise your time at Changi Airport

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Start your travel on the right foot when you check in early! Other than having the best picks of flight seats, checking in early also gives you more time to explore Changi Airport. With so much to do – from savouring cocktails and whiskeys (for free!) to frolicking amongst butterflies and sunflowers – you will easily be spoilt for choice.  Check out the list of recommendations that we have curated just for you.

#ChangiYummy

 

1. Swing by for a complimentary Singapore Sling at the Raffles Long Bar [WW1] (T3 transit area) before you depart! 

2. Sample Paradise Dynasty’s (T3 public area) multi-coloured Xiao Long Bao (steamed dumplings) in innovative flavours like crab roe, cheese, garlic, herbal, Sichuan spice, foie gras and black truffle.

3.  Unwind at the airport cafés like the Hello Kitty Orchid Garden Cafe (T3 public area), and Paris Baguette (T2 public area), with artisan beverage offerings, fresh sandwiches, and a spacious spot to zen out before your flight.

4.  Chill out with a glass of alcohol at any of the airport’s bars. Find a selection of beers, wines, cocktails and light meals at establishments including Harry’s Bar (T1 - T3 transit area) and O’Learys Sportsbar and Grill (T1 transit area).

5. Keep up with the football action at the Carlsberg Sports Bar (T3 transit area). A place to be for all things fun and sporty, this bar is themed around the official beer of the Barclays Premier League, Carlsberg.

6. Indulge in an international selection of cuisines including Chinese (Soup Restaurant, T2 public area), Japanese (Itacho Sushi, T3 public area), French (Poulet, T3 public area) and Indian (Chutney Mary, T2 public area) fares.

7. Grab a midnight bite to soothe hunger pangs! With so many 24-hour outlets, including Swensen’s (T2 public area), Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert (T2 and T3 transit area) and 1983 Taste of Nanyang (T2 public area), you will be spoilt for choice!

Entertainment awaits

 

1. Catch the latest blockbusters or animated movies for free at one of the airport’s two 24-hour movie theatres (T2 and T3 transit area). With comfy seats, a big screen and surround sound system, your cinematic experience will be nothing less than one at a downtown theatre!

2. Take an artistic monochromatic selfie at the interactive Dots Portrait Wall installation (T2 transit area) and save it for keepsakes by sharing it with yourself via email.

3. Get your gaming fingers ready! At the Entertainment Deck in the T2 transit area, get free access to gaming consoles like the Playstation and the Xbox!

4. Take a selfie at The Social Tree (T1 transit area). The 9-metre tall installation acts as a time capsule and stores your precious pictures for decades to come.

5. Get up-to-date news or catch your favourite shows at our TV lounges (T1 – T3 transit area)!

Family-friendly fun

 

1. Take a ride on the world’s tallest airport slide, the Slide@T3 (T3 public area). Standing at 12 metres high, the slide is four storeys tall, and is sure to get you pumped for more!

2. Visit the Family Zone (T2 transit area) where your little ones can be entertained with popular children’s shows while you take a break.

3. Unleash restless kiddos at the air-conditioned playgrounds located across all three terminals. Complete with slides, soft landing areas and cubby houses, they are sure to have a whale of a time!

4. Try your hand at the Woodblock Rub (T2 and T3 transit area, T1 and T3 public area), an art form originating from Peranakan culture and was popular in Singapore during the 1950s to 1960s. Colour your own special woodblock print with the icons of Singapore!

5. Sign up for the Free Singapore Tour (T2 and T3 transit area) and take in the sights and sounds of Singapore’s most loved attractions.

6. Take a unique family portrait at the various photo spots such as the trishaw of olden Singapore (T1 public area) or against the Marina Barrage backdrop (T3 public area).  It'll be a unique souvenir for you to keep. 

Become one with nature

 

1. Immerse in nature at the Butterfly Garden (T3 transit area) and let the butterflies enchant you. This enclosed garden is home to a 6-metre waterfall and more than 1,000 butterflies.

2. Get up-close with one of Asia’s most prized fish, the Koi at our Koi Pond (T3 transit area). Stop by during their feeding times at 9am or 4pm daily and catch them in a flurry of activity!

3. Escape to the tropical Orchid Garden (T2 transit area) and admire the various hues of Singapore’s national flower.

4. Be cheered by the bright sunflowers at Sunflower Garden (T2 transit area). Overlooking the airport apron, get sneak peeks of the flurry of activities happening at the airport tarmac while you are enjoying the splashes of bright yellow across the garden,

5. Visit the outdoor Cactus Garden (T1 transit area) while surrounded by more than 100 species of cacti and arid plants from the deserts and dry areas of Asia, Africa and America!

6. Weave your way through an immersive experience at the Enchanted Garden (T2 transit area). Watch and listen as it "magically" comes to life with sight and sound!

Recharge, rest & relax

 

1. Take a dip at our rooftop swimming pool (T1 transit area). For about a small fee, visitors can make use of the pool, a jacuzzi, a collection of magazines and shower facilities.

2. Pamper away travel aches with a massage at any of our free foot and full body massage stations located throughout the airport!

3. Enjoy an array of beauty and spa treatments including luxurious manicures and massages at any of our spas across the three terminals and step out looking your best before your vacation.

4. Experience unique aqua foot therapy at the Airport Wellness Oasis (T1 transit area). Thirty minutes with the little Garra Rufa fish will reveal baby-smooth toes and heels.

5.  For a completerest, book a room at the Transit Hotels located across all terminals. Equipped with full bedding and bathroom facilities, and even a wake-up call service, conquer jet lag in style. Best of all, there’s no need to exit immigration!

Shop to your heart's content

 

1.  Enjoy great savings on beauty products and fragrances at The Shilla Duty-Free stores across all terminals, home to the largest selection of beauty brands which are up to 40% cheaper than downtown Singapore!

2. Treat yourself on your travels with a little piece of luxury from our designer stores, including Hermes (T1 – T3 transit area), Burberry (T1 and T2 transit area), and Prada (T2 and T3 transit area).

3.  Visit our Wines and Spirits by DFS Duplex Store (T2 and T3 transit area). With tasting bars and individual boutiques for spirits brands such as The Macallan, come by for a immersive shopping experience!

4.  Pop by The Planet Traveller (T3 public area) to pick up last minute essentials before you depart. Find everything you need from outdoor gear, travel maps to even a new luggage for your trip!

5. Shop till you drop with a variety of popular brands of apparel and accessories available within the airport, including Victoria’s Secret (T1 and T2 transit area), Lacoste (T1 - T3 transit), Charles and Keith (T2 and T3 transit area) and more!

6. Find a wide range of cameras, electronics and computers at the airport-wide electronics stores that include the Samsung Experience Store (T3 transit area), or the airport’s Apple Premium reseller, iStudio (T1 - T3 transit area).