The world’s best Airport: Singapore

I have travelled all over the world in the last years, and have seen all kinds of airports. Some are small and cosy, some are big and messy, some are plain cold but amazingly efficient, and some are just charming and you want to come back every time again.
For me, the best airport in the world is Singapore Changi International Airport. By far. This airport has managed, despite its size, to offer all that you can expect from an international hub, and much more. Every time I go there, I discover something new. I discover something extraordinary that differentiates them so much from any other airport in the world.
Starting with check-in, everything is silent, nice. You see gardens everywhere. Security control is fast, even immigration (in and out of Singapore) is so amazingly efficient you believe its a myth. Waiting times during the 10+ entries I had in Singapore in the last year were under 2 minutes, every time.
Then there is the transit area. A whole world of shops arise. You can buy literally anything here, and you will wish there is still time for your flight because you might not be done shopping when your flight departure is called! Or, if you’re tired of shopping, and want to have a drink or a bite, there’s plenty of really interesting restaurants inside. Where else can you find a whole Hard Rock Cafe inside an airport? Or a chinese Hawker Center with all its little food stalls, just as in downtown Singapore? Or real, freshly made indian and Malay curries? Singapore Changi has it all.
Should you have more time, you can go even further. They have a stunning viewing terrace, and one area where they even have a rooftop pool and terrace. And five different botanical gardens, among those the famous butterfly garden and the orchid garden. Yes, I said live butterflies inside an airport. Not bad, huh? And of course: All free!
Also free are hundreds of high-quality massage chairs all over the place, where you can just relax and give yourself a treat. Oh, and there’s so many of them, you will always find a vacant spot. Not to speak about the numerous spas and massage facilities (okay, this is the only thing that’s charged).
You want to use the internet? Go get your free access code at the information desk. It’s high-speed, it really works and four hours are for free. This is not a usual thing in airports nowadays – especially in Europe (thanks, Frankfurt, for the ridiculously high charges. Probably the worst European airport, anyway.)
If you have access to an airline lounge, you can indulge in pleasures that are typical for the high-standard Asian airlines. Eat tasty curries, soups and dim sum in the Singapore Airlines Lounge. Have a full Malay meal in the Malaysia Airlines Lounge. Ah, and if you fly Star Alliance, you can of course also use the Singapore Airlines Lounge. What a difference to European Airline Lounges – especially those from Lufthansa, where you get old bread, tasteless sour cream spread and overcooked wiener sausages.
As if this would not be enough, the airport offers an interactive iPhone app that gives you a complete directory of the airport plus actual flight information. The cool thing is, it notifies you of flights you put on your hot list, and sends you text messages once flights have landed or are called for boarding. Very nice, indeed!

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