Ever had a long layover and wondered if you could turn it into an adventure? An 8-hour layover in Singapore is perfect for this. Known for its cleanliness, modernity and vibrant food scene it’s a popular stopover destination.
I ended up on an 8-hour layover in Singapore by accident. My flight route from Brisbane to Amsterdam via Shanghai didn’t operate anymore. My flight was cancelled and my airline was unreachable.
It felt like a disaster, as I was already at the airport and my funds were running out. The lady at the booking counter reassured me that my only option was to take a flight with an 8 hour layover in Singapore. I thought this was a nightmare at first.
This meant that my travel journey would be around 35 hours in total, completely on my own. Then I thought to myself: let’s view this as an adventure and an opportunity instead.
If I can get out of the airport, that means I’ll have enough time to explore Singapore, a futuristic city that I’ve never been before. And that’s exactly what I did.
This article will tell you how to make the most out of an 8-hour layover in Singapore, transforming your waiting time into an adventurous mini vacation. Ready to discover Singapore during your layover? Let’s get started!
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Can you leave Singapore Changi Airport during a layover?
Most people can leave Singapore Changi Airport (IATA code: SIN) during their layover. Do check if your country needs a visa to enter Singapore.
If you’re a citizen of one of the following countries you won’t need a visa: Australia, the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom and South Korea.
For some countries that do normally require a visa, there’s a visa free transit facility under certain circumstances.
Make sure that you have between six and eight hours at least to spare. Keep in mind that it might take around 30-60 minutes for immigration and customs checks.
You’ll need to fill out an immigration form, too. And don’t forget to keep your next flight’s ticket close by! I would make sure to arrive back at the airport at least two to three hours before your next flight.
With an 8-hour stopover, there’s plenty of time for a short visit outside the airport to see several sights in Singapore. Why wait at the airport when you can explore Singapore?
Is it worth leaving the airport during an 8-hour layover in Singapore?
Yes, it’s definitely worth leaving the airport during an 8-hour layover in Singapore. With at least six hours to spare, you have enough time to get a glimpse of the city’s beauty.
There’s a ton of must-see spots near the airport. The Gardens by the Bay is just one example of these places. And it’s only twenty minutes by car from the airport! Another is the SkyPark Observation Deck: you can see all over from here.
If you have luggage with you that is heavy, you can store your bags at the airport. All terminals offer 24-hour luggage storage. You pay a small fee for this service.
Transportation options from the airport
Getting around Singapore is pretty easy. Here you’ll find the best transportation options from the airport:
Taxi: It’s fast and simple. You can find them at the airport. I highly recommend using a taxi, as it’s convenient and takes you exactly where you want to go. It’s not extremely expensive either.
It takes less than 20 minutes by taxi to get to must-see sights such as the Gardens by the Bay.
Subway: This is an affordable way to get into town. Follow signs at the airport for the MRT station.
Free Shuttle Service: Use this if you choose the layover package.
SIA Hop-on Bus: Also part of the layover package, it takes you to key places in town.
Exploring Singapore during your layover
So what to do and what sights to see during your layover here? Here is some inspiration:
Take a free Singapore tour
Singapore Airlines offers a free tour. It lasts 2.5 hours. You get to see the city’s past and present. The Merlion Park is on the list of stops. This park lets you walk through history.
Enjoy the sights, sounds, and colors of Singapore! To join, your layover must be at least 5.5 hours long.
Personally, I always prefer to go on my own adventures, but if you prefer a bit of guidance, then joining this tour will be perfect for you.
Visit the Gardens by the Bay
Make sure to see the Gardens by the Bay. It’s one of the most famous spots in Singapore. It has big domes and tall trees called Supertrees. You can also walk in the sky on pathways high up between these trees.
Right next door is Marina Bay Sands, another great place to visit nearby. The views from its SkyPark Observation Deck will take your breath away! This place is worth exploring during your layover.
Visit Marina Bay Sands
You should definitely visit the luxurious Marina Bay Sands during your layover. This place is close to Changi Airport. It’s easy to get there and back fast. Marina Bay Sands has many fun things for you to do.
You can for instance admire the city from the SkyPark Observation Deck on top. The view is very pretty, day or night! There are also other great things inside like a casino and pool with a view at the top too!
Capture the Merlion Statue at Marina Bay
The Merlion Statue at Marina Bay is a must-see. It stands in One Fullerton Park, near many fun things to do. Many people stop here during their layover. It’s an iconic place in Singapore.
This figure actually tells a story. The Merlion shows how Singapore grew from a simple fishing village to an amazing city. Don’t pass up on seeing this great symbol of Singapore’s past and future during your visit.
Try out local eateries at hawker stations
You must visit hawker centers on your trip to Singapore. They are like open-air food malls. Hawker centers have many tasty foods from Singapore streets.
They have delicious and affordable food options and they’re often visited by Singaporean locals. The Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown is one of the great places to try real and yummy foods from Singapore.
For tourists on a layover, visiting a hawker center is ideal as it lets you taste local foods without spending much money.
Admire the waterfall at the airport itself (Jewel)
Not everything you do on your layover has to be outside of the airport. While at Changi Airport, visit the Jewel.
This is a big waterfall inside the airport. It is called the HSBC Rain Vortex. At 130 feet tall, it is the biggest indoor waterfall in the world! It falls from the top of the airport and looks absolutely amazing.
You will also find one of Asia’s largest indoor gardens here, named Shiseido Forest Valley. Walk around this lush garden near to the waterfall and enjoy its beauty.
Tip: Go on the free Skytrain in Changi Airport. This skytrain passes the jewel as well.
Optional activities during your layover
The options mentioned above can be easily done during your layover. You’ll definitely make it back on time and you won’t have to rush anything. However, if you notice that you have plenty of time left, then consider adding one of the following activities:
Explore Chinatown for shopping & food
If you have more time to spare, head over to Chinatown. Here you can try local street food and admire some of its beautiful temples.
One of the temples worth visiting is the Buddha Tooth Temple. It’s a tall, red building that stands out. Inside, you can see the hair and teeth of Buddha in a golden room.
Another temple worth visiting here is the Sri Mariamman Temple. If you want to learn more about the history of this place, you can visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre.
Visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens
If you’re looking for a place to relax during your layover in Singapore, then Singapore Botanic Gardens will be the best place for you to visit. It’s especially a lovely place to go for nature lovers.
You will find small gardens, trails and lakes here. Kids also have their own garden to enjoy. There’s not yet an entrance fee, expect for the special orchid garden.
It feels like you’ve stepped out of the airplane into a rainforest. Breathe in the calm and come here to enjoy nature during your layover.
An 8-hour layover in Singapore is a really great way to explore some of the best sights here. Y
ou can easily visit the Marina Bay Sands, walk through the Gardens by the Bay, capture the Merlion Statue and admire the Jewel at Changi Airport.
If you’re a nature lover, make sure to add the Singapore Botanic Gardens to your list as well.
And if you have even more time to spare, check out Chinatown as well while you’re here. I’m sure you’ll have a great time during your layover in this futuristic city.
Away with Danae