The words ‘in transit’ are not what most travellers want to hear, especially if they involve several hours filling in time at a strange airport. However, garden enthusiasts passing through Singapore’s Changi Airport are in for such a treat they may well want to ensure they deliberately transit there for at least 2 hours! That’s the minimum time it takes to enjoy what is essentially a free garden tour that can be taken without ever leaving the transit lounges! However, if you have less time at your disposal, you can still take in one or two gardens in as little as half an hour.
Arriving at the airport from New Zealand, most travellers will find themselves in Terminal 2, home of the Enchanted Garden, a visual feast of cool tree ferns, pools of archerfish, and giant mosaic ‘bouquets’ holding thousands of exquisitely displayed flowers.
Don’t be surprised to catch the calls of forest birds and insects – clever motion sensors set the sounds of nature in action as you wander by.
Also at Terminal 2 is the vibrant orchid garden and stunning outdoor sunflower display. The orchard garden features over 700 orchids of 30 species decoratively trailing over arches and trees. If you’re an orchid aficionado be sure to look out for the purple and yellow Dendrobium Changi Airport, named specially for the garden’s opening.
Although the sunflower garden is on an outdoor terrace, it is still an absolute treat to view after dark when well-placed lighting shows off the blooms to maximum advantage. While you walk through the floral forest, bear in mind that all the sunflowers you see have been grown in Changi Airport’s very own nursery.
Flitting from terminal to terminal is a breeze at Changi thanks to the airport’s smart transit train which whisks you from one to the other in minutes. So don’t be afraid to hop aboard and visit the Butterfly Garden in Terminal 3. This indoor forest setting is home to more than 100 butterflies which dine on trays of sugary fruits and the nectar from bright flowers. If your transit is during the hours of darkness, venture forth regardless and enjoy spotting the sleeping butterflies clinging to the surrounding foliage. When you emerge again from the steamy jungle, grab a frappé to cool down while you gaze at the huge koi in the adjacent ponds.
If time permits, board the transit train again to Terminal 1 and check out the Water Lily Garden where you can feed the fish at the Koi Pond at 9 am and 4 pm each day. And if you want to look down on all this beauty, take a stroll on the raised walkways of the Sculptural Tree Garden. Having trained to Terminal 1, don’t leave without visiting the Cactus Gardens to spot the Prickly Pears. And if you’re a Tequila fan, be sure to enjoy the Agaves!
While the formal garden trail at Changi is an unforgettable experience, the transit terminals are also dotted with cameo gardens full of interest. From beds of massed neon-coloured marigolds lit up with sculptural lighting to vertical gardens clinging to walls, the ornamental displays at Singapore’s Changi Airport mean gardeners from all walks of life will never find it a burden to transit in this beautiful setting!