So you find yourself at Changi airport with eight hours to burn, and the travel gods have arranged it such that your arrival and departure times are perfect for jumping on one of the free sightseeing tours that have been a staple of Changi stopovers for years and years.
So the question arises… Should you?
Short story, YES!
Long story: After a good shower and a meal, and knowing that anything on sale in the countless duty free shops at the airport is well outside your budget, then why not take advantage of a rare traveller freebie?
It only took about ten transits through Changi, but finally I did have time to join the tour. And I got far more than I paid for.
For one, I learnt that Singapore immigration isn’t nearly anywhere as scary as various horror stories would have you believe.
I also got to take an unsupervised walk outside the bus. (Never mind it was a 20-minute stop, and you’ll get left behind if you’re late back to the bus, but it was great just to set foot in Singapore for real, for the first time!)
And, I know how to tell the difference between private and public housing in Singapore. (Not telling, no spoilers!)
There are two tours to choose from. The Heritage Tour runs in the daytime and takes you through the colonial and cultural districts like Chinatown and Little India, with a stopover at Merlion Park and Kampong Glam.
The City Sights Tour is an evening affair that sees you go for a spin around some of the more glitzy spots in Singapore. From the bus you get to see The Singapore Flyer (second tallest observation wheel in the world), The Esplanade, Marina Bay Financial Centre, Orchard Road and Marina Bay Sands. You also get a stopover to see the Singapore Merlion at Merlion Park and the “avatar trees” in Gardens by the Bay.
You can register for the tours inside the transit areas in terminals 2 and 3. Registrations for the Heritage Tour are open from early morning until 2:30pm and tours run four times with departures between 9am and 3:30pm. The City Sights Tour registrations open in the afternoon through to 6pm, with tours departing at 6pm and 7:30pm.
If you’ve never been to Singapore and have a few hours to burn while waiting for your next flight out of Changi, the City Sights Tour is definitely not a bad idea.