It isn’t an overstatement to say that everyone is talking about Jewel Changi Aiport. Ever since groundbreaking happened for Jewel in December 2014, it’s become one of the most anticipated developments in Singapore, and with the opening date drawing closer, the buzz has been ramping up!
Well, the wait is now over, because Jewel is officially opening its doors on April 17th! We had the opportunity to explore the airport hub at a preview ahead of its opening date, and we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about visiting this one-of-a-kind airport destination.
What is Jewel Changi Aiport?
Jewel Changi Aiport is an all-in-one mall and attraction located at the centre of Changi Airport between Terminals 1, 2 and 3. It previously used to be the open-air carpark of T1, and has now been transformed into a unique development meant to cater to both travellers transiting through Changi Airport as well as people residing in Singapore who just want to visit for leisure 😉 At a whopping cost of SGD1.7bn to develop, you can expect some pretty amazing things from Jewel, including indoor gardens and canopy parks, shops, restaurants, and airport facilities (which we’ll go through in detail below!).
Is Jewel open to the public yet?
Not yet, but it will be soon! It’s currently in its preview phase between 11 – 16 April before it’s officially opened to the public on 17 April. The public is eligible to attend the preview through registration on Jewel’s website, which is free! The preview slots are 3 hours each, with four slots available each day, and each individual is allowed to register up to four tickets. Slots are limited though, so you’ll have to see if you’re lucky enough to land a spot!
Jewel is directly connected to T1 (the area in front of the Arrivals hall has been expanded to connect seamlessly to Jewel). It is also connected to T2 and T3 via a link bridge (if you’re coming from T2 and T3, the link bridge entrance is in the Departure halls on Level 2 for both terminals). If you’re coming by MRT, you can get off at the Changi Airport MRT station, and proceed to the link bridge at T2 or T3 – the link bridge is covered and airconditioned, with travellators included. It’s about a 5-10 minute walk 🙂
View of the link bridge to T3 from Jewel
If you’re coming from T4, there are free shuttle buses that will transport you to T2, where you can take then take the link bridge.
Bus services that go to T1 are routes 24, 27, 34, 36, 53, 110 and 858. From the bus bay at T1 you can just follow the signs to Jewel on Level 1. To note, during the preview phase, Jewel is also providing free shuttle buses from Jewel that go to drop-off points in Tampines, Bedok and Sengkang.
Do note that if you’re transiting at Changi, the location of Jewel is on the land site of the airport, meaning you’ll have to pass through immigration to get to Jewel, then re-enter through Departures to get to your next flight.
What to see?
Jewel’s crowning glory is most definitely its nature-based attractions. While Changi Airport is already known for rocking the garden concept, Jewel takes it to a whole new level with some amazing engineering feats to boot.
1. HSBC Rain Vortex
At the centre of Jewel lies the HSBC Rain Vortex, a 40-metre tall indoor waterfall that is also the tallest indoor waterfall in the world 😯
The waterfall is really a sight to behold. It falls from the dome of Jewel (which itself is made up of more than 9,000 glass pieces put together) and showers down all the through the centre of Jewel way to the basement floors up tp B2 (which have a glassed catchment area). The waterfall also emits fog at regular intervals, which combined with the surrounding lush greenery, makes for a dreamy effect.
At night, the Rain Vortex gets transformed, with lights prettily colouring the waterfall. There is also a light and sound show, where the waterfall is shone with lights set in time to music. The shows last a few minutes and are scheduled at 8.30pm and 9.30pm nightly, though when we went during the preview they had slotted in more shows (every half hour from 7.30pm)!
2. Shiseido Forest Valley
The main greenery area where the Rain Vortex is located is known as the Shiseido Forest Valley and is filled to the brim with lush greens and plants. Meant to allow visitors to take a leisurely stroll, the valley has two walking trails (the East and West trails) that will take you around the perimeter of the valley, with both routes going upwards to Level 4. There are plenty of seats and benches along the way so you can rest and look out to the waterfall anytime you want 😍
A nice thing to note is that the temperature around Shiseido Forest Valley is regulated to a cool 23 degrees Celsius, so it’s always a nice and pleasant climate.
3. Canopy Park (opening in June 2019)
Canopy park is the space located on the topmost floor of Jewel, on Level 5. This 14,000 sqm recreational area is filled with an array of attractions and activities. The park and its attractions are only scheduled to be fully open in mid-to-end June this year, however, some of them (like entrance into the Canopy Park general area, the Skynets and Hedge and Mirror Mazes and the Foggy Bowls) are due to open on 10 June!
Please note that if you’re transiting at Changi Aiport, large baggage and trolleys aren’t allowed into most of the attractions in Canopy Park, hence you’ll have to store in the Baggage Storage facility located on Level 1 (near the Early Check-In facility in Lobby H).
Canopy Bridge is a bridge suspended 23 metres above ground which runs across the centre of Shiseido Forest Valley (right by the waterfall!). The bridge has a glass bottom at its centre, meaning it’s probably not for those who don’t like heights 😅
The Manulife Nets comprise of two net-based attractions – the walking net, which is a taut stretch of net 25 metres above ground that you can walk over, as well as the bouncing net, which is essentially a giant trampoline!
We were told that if you bounce on the net, you can go up to 8-metres in height and have a lookout point that features an aerial view of the entire Canopy Park.
Hedge and Mirror Mazes
The park will also have two maze – the first being the Hedge Maze, which is the largest indoor hedge maze in Singapore and will allow you to weave your way through beautifully trimmed hedges to the watchtower located in the core of the maze.
There will also be a Mirror Maze, which, true to its name, is made of mirror panels that guarantee some kaleidoscopic fun. Both mazes weren’t available for the preview so unfortunately, we weren’t able to test it out, but we were told it can take up to 30 minutes to go through each maze, so it’ll be a treat to try once it’s open!
This cutely named attraction is an area of the park that is carpeted in artificial grassed and has craters scattered with cushions that you can sit on. At regular intervals, the craters will emit non-toxic fog that’s safe for kids! While Foggy Bowls is aimed at providing a fun setting for kids to enjoy, we saw plenty of older folk intrigued by it too during the preview 😂
The Discovery Slides is an installation that is part-art, part-slide, and part-viewing deck! This sculpture has a viewing area up top that kids can climb to, offering a great view of the Shiseido Forest Valley, as well as slides that will surely be a treat.
If you didn’t know (because we sure didn’t 😂), topiary refers to the art of cutting or clipping plants into decorative shapes. At the Canopy Park, the Topiary Walk has plants shaped into animals like orangutans, peacocks, birds and more! It was cool to see how creatively the plants were shaped to look like life-sized animals.
Shopping & other retail spots
When you’re done going through the many nature attractions at Jewel, it’s time to turn your attention to the shopping! Jewel has more than 100 shops, with a mix of all the familiar brands ranging from high-end names like Kate Spade and Coach to more everyday favourites like Uniqlo and Muji. But the best part is that it also has some groundbreaking stores that we are excited about and think you will be too!
Pokemon Centre (#04-201/202)
Chances are, you’ve been seeing this splashed everywhere across social media already, and it’s easy to see the hype! This Pokemon Centre is the first permanent Pokemon store outside of Japan 😯 When we were at the preview, there was a long queue just to enter the store and crowd-management was in full swing!
Whether you’re looking for plushies, Pokemon trading cards, a Pikachu bag, or Pokemon Nano Blocks, the store has it.
The store also has some exclusive Singapore-specific merchandise! We saw these cute Pikachu pilot and aircrew plushies (the ones in the picture are SG28, they also have smaller key-chain versions), as well as Pokemon face masks (SGD7.90) 😍
#HHWT Tip: Near the front of the store (by the statue of Pikachu on Lapras), there’s a tv screen where you can browse all the different kinds of Pokemon. It has a touch screen surface, and if you choose any of the Pokemon, they’ll list out its key metrics including strengths and weaknesses. We thought it was nice little addition to the store 😊
While Nike is hardly new to Singapore, the store in Jewel has an interesting feature – it’s the largest Nike store in South East Asia! This two-storey Nike store offers a large variety of both its athletic and leisure/street-style wear and even has a counter upstairs where you can do customisations.
The customisations available cover T-shirt printing, shoelace sets, patches, and more 🙂
If you’re looking for a sports hijab, this Nike store also stocks their Nike hijab in a few different colours (SGD34.90)!
Local brands spotlight
Jewel has a pretty strong stance on showcasing local brands, and we saw that in the local design and retail stores that had brick and mortar stores in Jewel! If you’re looking for home-grown products, or perhaps in the mood for cute Singapore-centric items, Jewel has got you covered. We visited a couple of stores including Miss Hosay (#02-214) (a local-based brand which curates a selection of gifts and novelty items sourced both from Singapore as well as overseas such as Keepcups and scratch maps), and Supermama (#02-207)(Singapore brand specialising in porcelain products!). There’s also another store brand (Naiise Iconic) which will be opening soon, selling design items featuring local themes 😊
Shaw Theatres (Opening on Apr 24)
In addition to the stores mentioned above, we also noted that there’s a Shaw movie theatre, which, for the first time in Singapore, has a dedicated children-and-family hall! 😯 This hall will have lower brightness and volume, as well as soft lighting inside the halls, with colourful seats and open space in front with bean bags for kids. The hall will screen kids and family-friendly movies.
The Jewel Shaw Theatres will also have Singapore’s first next-generation IMAX hall featuring IMAX with Laser – it’ll be open to the public with screenings of the upcoming Avengers: Endgame movie.
Where to eat?
The other biggest thing that has been anticipated with Jewel’s opening has been its food establishments. While some of the notable food outlets that are making its debut in Singapore at Jewel won’t be halal (*looks sadly at Shake Shack*), there are 16 restaurants that are halal at Jewel.
1. A&W (#B2-209)
[Update] HHWT’s stance – We‘re honoured to be invited for the launch to cover the establishments at Jewel Changi Airport. We prepared the article in accordance with the information we received on-ground. After some feedback from our readers, we’ve done further clarifications. According to the A&W PR team, they have gone through the necessary consultations to ensure their team understands what is required to qualify for halal application. They’ve mentioned to our team, that all ingredients are halal-compliant and there is currently no pork, no lard served in the eatery. They are in the midst of applying for halal-certification, but according to MUIS they have not officially received the application. HHWT is excited about the re-launch of A&W in Singapore but we advise caution for readers who may not be comfortable dining there at this moment of time.
A&W is opening its first outlet in Singapore in 10 years, and boy, are people excited! When we went, the queue for A&W snaked almost all the way out of the restaurant, and many people (including the HHWT team) had to wait up to an hour for the food to be ready 😵 It was worth it though to be able to get some of the classic A&W favourites that we haven’t been to savour in ages!
Read more about what we tried at A&W here. To note, the restaurant is one of several in Jewel that is open 24 hours!
#HHWT Tip: The restaurant works on a system where you order and pay at the counter, following which they will give you a buzzing device which will go off once your order is ready, which you can then pick-up at the collection counter. On the first day of the preview, probably due to the overwhelming response, the buzzer system wasn’t super efficient, so we ended up having to hand our purchase receipt to the restaurant managers standing at the collection counter, following which they helped make sure our order was prepared. This may not happen in the future, but if you’re planning to eat at A&W during these first couple weeks, you might want to keep a look-out for this so they don’t miss your order! 😊
2. Other halal eateries
Jewel has about 15 other eateries and food outlets that are halal. To make it easy for your reference, we’ve listed them down (along with store location) below:
- Burger King (B2-235/236)
- Jinjja Chicken (B1-247)
- KFC (B2-275/276/277)
- Subway (B2-223)
- Old Chang Kee (B2-247)
- Project Pizza (B2-260) – brought to you by the same people behind Pezzo, this pizza counter lets you create your own pizza from $5.90, where you can choose from over 50 toppings available!)
- Stuff’d (B2-256)
- Saap Saap Thai (B1-299)
- Sama Sama by Tok Tok (L3-225/226)
- Sankranti (L3-229)
- So Pho (B1-248)
- Commons (B1-289/290)
- Earle Swensen’s (L3-219)
- Elfuego by Collin’s (L2-216)
- O’tah (B2-241)
Disclaimer: Please note that these eateries have been listed as halal-certified in Jewel’s promotional materials and are listed as halal on their online directory. However, we do recommend to double check the display of the halal certificate in-store if you are uncertain and recommend to dine there at your own discretion.
4. Other notable Muslim-Friendly food outlets
*Please note that for all the eateries/food outlets listed below, they have not been certified halal, but based on our checks with the respective staff they do not contain any ingredients that are not halal. However, we encourage you to double-confirm in store if you have any uncertainties, and we recommend to dine at your own discretion.
Lavender is the popular JB-based bakery that makes its debut in Singapore with a store at Jewel! The store is already open for business in and we managed to visit it during the preview.
Based on our checks with management, Lavender is planning to apply for halal certification in July! Currently, all of its products are Muslim-friendly and uses ingredients sourced from halal-certified suppliers with the exception of three products which contain alcohol (which are clearly labelled). However, the bakery is looking to innovate so that these products won’t require alcohol in the future ahead of its application for halal certification 😊
Popular items include its kek lapis (in the chilled section) (from SG28 for a half cake), kaya spread (SGD4), Bamboo Charcoal Toast (SGD3 for a loaf) and pandan chiffon cake (SGD6).
#HHWT Tip: Popular picks have price labels that are marked with pink boxes!
Birds of Paradise
Another popular store that had crowds thronging it all day during the preview was artisanal gelato-maker Birds of Paradise. This homegrown gelato store previously only had one outlet in Katong, so many were excited to find out its second outlet was opening in Jewel! The stall is located in the storefront of In Good Company, another local brand that sells clothing.
Birds of Paradise makes artisanal gelato inspired by botanical and elements of nature. Popular flavours include spiced pear and white chrysanthemum, along with the masala chai. Prices start from SGD4.70 for a single scoop, SGD7.70 for a double scoop, and you can also opt for a special thyme-infused cone for an additional dollar.
Disclaimer: Based on our checks with Birds of Paradise staff, all of the flavours offered do not contain alcohol and use ingredients that are halal. However, we advise you to check again with staff if you are unsure and to dine there at your own discretion.
With all to see, eat and do at Jewel, if you’re not a passenger transiting through Changi, it might be easy to forget that it’s actually an airport hub! As such, there are a number of unique facilities meant to cater to those that are travelling.
1. Prayer facilities
We regret to report that there are no prayer facilities within Jewel itself 😔 The closest prayer facility available is technically in Terminal 1 which is connected to Jewel, however, we do note that the prayer room is located within the transit area (on level 3 at the Departure Transit area). Also, please note that the room is a multi-religious prayer room.
2. Early check-in (L1)
Jewel has special check-in facilities that will be a convenient option for travellers who arrive at the airport early and want to spend time in Jewel. So far, 26 airlines (including SIA, Emirates, SilkAir, Qatar Airways and Qantas) are confirmed to allow its passengers to use the early check-in counters (i.e. able to check-in to their flight, including baggage check-in, in advance at Jewel). This way you can pop your bags off at the counter and then be free to roam around Jewel. Do note that the early check-in times will differ according to the airline, so remember to check with your airline beforehand!
3. Baggage Storage (L1)
Located next to the early check-in area, the Baggage Storage is where you can keep any luggage or bulky items while exploring Jewel! As mentioned earlier, for a lot of the attractions in Canopy Park, luggage isn’t allowed, hence you’ll need to store it hear. Rates are charged per 24 hours and differ between loose, small, big and extra big items (at SGD5, 10, 15 and 18 respectively). They also over bag-wrapping services here for your convenience.
YOTELAIR is an airport hotel chain that is already present at a number of other international airports including London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports as well as Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. This hotel offers flexible accommodation options that are perfect for those transiting through, with minimum stays starting from four hours.
The hotel offers rooms, or cabins, as they are called, for two people (Premium Queen Cabin), or four people (Family Room), which come equipped with toilet and shower, smart bed, and WiFi. If you’re not looking for a cabin but want to take a shower or perhaps go to the gym, they also offer access to their communal gym and also shower facilities at SGD20++ per hour.
Room rates are currently at a promotional fare of SGD80++ for a minimum of four hours stay, or SGD140++ per night.
And there you have it, folks! We hope this proves to be a useful guide for you when exploring this brand-spanking new development. Please let us know if you have any useful tips or comments you’d like to share as you venture there yourselves!