Singapore has a new attraction. And it’s one that excites Singaporeans across the nation. So much as that an estimated half a million people squeezed into Jewel Changi Airport for a preview earlier this month.
When my turn came two Saturdays ago, I decided to avoid the Jewel car park and park at Terminal 3 instead.
Jewel is connected to Terminals 2 and 3 by link bridges that come with travellators so visitors can save some energy for when the action starts.
The sound of waterfall greeted us as we stepped into the building. It was like the sound of the Pied Piper and all of us were drawn towards it.
Much has been written about the 40-metre tall HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and the centre piece of Jewel. Facebook and other social media posts were filled with photos and videos from others who have seen it.
But, whatever has been read or seen online is nothing compared to the real thing. We felt like we were in a scene out of Avatar as we walked past trees towards the viewing gallery at Level 2.
Many were already waiting in anticipation for the light show as we inched our way to a good spot to watch and catch some good shots.
The waterfall was a delightful sight to behold. Though it’s man-made, it is so wonderfully designed. Just looking at the curtain of water flowing down from the roof to the basement made me feel so proud to be a Singaporean.
A burst of ooos, ahhhs and wows accompanied the lights that came on.
The half-hourly show was enchanting with the play of lights. It’s a must-see so make sure that you plan to stay till night time when you visit.
Besides the glorious waterfall, there are many other insta-worthy photo spots, including the Shiseido Forest Valley, which features more than 900 trees and 60,000 shrubs.
Shop and eat
Shopaholics will feel like they’ve entered a combination of Marina Bay Sands and Vivocity (two mega malls in Singapore). Jewel is huge and packs more than 280 shops and eateries. Locals were drawn to A&W, which went off grid many years ago, and Shake Shack.
For me though, the sight of Zara, Marks and Spencer, and Lim Chee Guan, the famous bak kwa store, is enough to convince me that this place is worth many more visits. My family calculated that it’d take more than two years of weekend dining to complete all the eateries here.
Play and enjoy
Catch the latest movies at the cinemas, including Singapore’s first dedicated children and family hall and next-generation IMAX hall which comes with laser.
By mid-May, children and the young at heart will certainly go wild as several Canopy Park attractions will open at the highest level. These include bouncing and walking nets, hedge and mirror mazes, discovery slides, foggy bowls, petal garden, topiary walk, and the canopy bridge.
Sometimes, it’s not the bells and whistles that draw the crowd but the desire to provide good visitor experience. With its many levels of parking, one could be forgiven for forgetting where the car is parked. Here’s where a car finding system lets you enter the licence plate of the car and gives you the exact location. Now, that’s what I call “great deployment of technology”.
Thought is also given to travellers, since the mall is located at Changi Airport. Get this — up to 24 hours early check-in is available for 26 airlines, including Singapore Airlines. Those who cannot check in can store their luggage at Baggage Storage at Level 1 for between S$10 and S$45 for 24 hours. Even smaller items such as travel pillows can be stored at S$5 for 24 hours.
Asia’s first Yotelaor offers smartly designed cabins for travellers to catch some rest, work out or do some work.
As such an iconic mall, Jewel will surely cement Changi Airport’s position as the world’s best airport. It’s the crowning glory to an amazing airport that I take great delight in whenever I’m travelling. I’m mesmerised and foresee that my family will be spending lots of time here, and find any excuse to do it.