Contributed

Changi takes pain out of stopover

SIT down. Slump over. Stand up. Stretch. Swap sides. Rub tired eyes. Repeat. Or just abandon all decorum and sprawl on the floor.

If you've spent much time in international airports you know the drill.

There are only so many times you can get another cup of coffee or browse the shops for things that you either can't afford or can't carry, in a vain attempt to alleviate the pain.

It's fair to say that I've definitely had some airport "experiences" over the years but the last time I went overseas my stopover was different.

So different that at one point I almost momentarily forgot that I was in an airport, which despite the efforts made by most of them, is a level of diversion that is usually pretty hard to achieve.

I've passed through Singapore's Changi Airport on a number of previous occasions but only briefly and while I knew that there was "stuff there", aside from admiring the abundance of live orchids I hadn't really looked into it too much.

But with more than a couple of hours to burn it was time to suss things out.

Changi has the usual sorts of facilities and services that you would expect from a global transit hub - decent shops, food, internet and currency exchange for instance, but there are a number of aspects that set it apart from others that I've spent time in.

Thankfully for a budget traveller like me most of the highlights are either free or available at a reasonable price and top of the list would have to be the rooftop pool and bar areas and the delightful butterfly garden.

Having packed bathers, sunscreen and a change of clothes in my carry-on luggage I spent a few hours having a dip, drinking a beer and snoozing by the water before being able to have a shower and freshen up before the next leg of my flight.

Use of the pool facilities will set you back about AUD$12 which includes towel hire and a complimentary non-alcoholic drink.

Then after a bite to eat and a flurry of instagramming some of the 1000-odd butterflies in the butterfly garden I made the most of the reclined lounges in the quiet free rest area to put my feet up and recharge my phone.

Not too bad as far as transits go.

But there are plenty of other ways to keep occupied with an entertainment deck featuring free cinema screenings of recent releases and Xbox and PlayStation booths as well as various family areas with playgrounds for children.

If you're happy to part with a little bit of cash other napping options are available for various rates and the spa has a good range of treatments including some that are a little less ordinary - fish foot spa anyone? For longer stopovers there are transit hotels and the well-appointed Crowne Plaza within the terminals.

For such a large airport it's fairly easy to navigate and all the indoor greenery and natural light is a sight for travel-weary eyes and helps lift the mood.

While it's hardly ideal to be languishing in transit, if you have to be waiting in an airport at least at Changi you can try to make the most of it.

For more information visit http://www.changiairport.com

The writer was a guest of Changi Airport Group.

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