Airline passengers with a long layover at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) can once again enjoy free tours of the city to pass their time. The free Singapore tours are back after two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launched in 1987 by Singapore Airlines, the Singapore Tourism Board and Changi Airport Group, the tours allow travelers with long layover times to explore the surrounding areas without charge.
With around 30% of (pre-pandemic) Changi passengers classed as in transit or transferring, the tours were a successful tourist board gambit to entice new visitors to the region.
“We are happy to bring [the tour] back with the resumption of travel,” shared Lim Ching Kiat, the executive vice president of air hub and cargo development at Changi Airport Group, when he announced the return. “For travellers who choose to transit or transfer at Changi Airport, the Free Singapore Tour is designed to give them a glimpse of what Singapore has to offer.”
More than 800,000 tourists enjoyed the tours annually before the 2019 hiatus. At that time, three tours operated (the City Sights Tour, the Jewel Tour and the Heritage Tour), all of which are now reinstated. A new tour, the Changi Precinct Tour, was introduced with the relaunch.
Each tour offers a slightly different flavor:
- The City Sights Tour showcases the Singapore cityscape with stops at two of the city’s landmarks, Merlion Park and Jubilee Bridge.
- The Jewel Tour includes a curated tour through Changi Airport, taking in various iconic features of the hub, including the HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
- The Heritage Tour is a condensed deep dive into the history and culture of the area. It includes visits to the Civic District, Chinatown and the Kampong Gelam neighborhood.
- The new Changi Precinct Tour provides an immersive experience of Singaporean life, taking you through a residential town and quiet village before culminating at Changi Beach Park.
Tours run daily, and each lasts about 2 1/2 hours; there are plans to eventually offer nine tours per day. The tours are recommended for travelers with at least 5 1/2 to 24 hours of free time.
For tour itineraries, times and registration information, visit the Changi Airport Group’s website.
“We hope that the tour will inspire transit and transfer passengers to plan a longer trip to Singapore in [the] future, and discover much more of what our vibrant city has to offer,” said Chang Chee Pey, the assistant chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board marketing group.