After spending four hours exploring both the transit and public areas of Changi Airport Terminal 4, we discovered that there’s plenty for everyone, young and old, to eat and shop!
Although Changi Airport Terminal 4 is more compact in size than the other terminals, it truly packs a punch in many ways, from its ability to handle 16 million passengers per annum to its fully automated departure process. During a second media tour (click here to read about the first one back in July) yesterday, we were surprised to learn that it actually holds more than 80 retail stores and dining outlets!
Spanning over 16,000sqm of the terminal, the shopping and dining haven features both local and international brands; some are familiar to us, but there are many fresh ‘faces’ too. It also packs many positively surprising concepts that will surely please travellers as well as local families on a fun day out. Let’s start with the top highlights within the transit area:
Get Pretty with The Shilla Duty Free
Ladies, prepare to camp out at the Cosmetics & Perfumes concession. Unlike the ones at other terminals, this one is split into four distinct zones: makeup, wellness, skincare and fragrance. Each is decked out differently to create an immersive experience. You can test a new lipstick shade or customise a skincare range while waiting for your flight. The usual Cosmetics suspects are all present, but we were excited to find new brands to shop for as well.
There were exceptionally fresh new finds in the Perfumes section. Think Diptyque, Alexander McQueen and Tory Burch fragrances, as well as some branded by Mercedes and Bentley for the guys.
But our favourite part about duty-free shopping here is how seamless it is, because the Cosmetics & Perfumes and Liquor & Tobacco concessions are integrated. This means that you can shop from both and pay for your purchases in a single transaction – no need to queue up twice!
Bottoms Up at DFS
Which, of course, brings us to wines and spirits. Beyond just picking up your favourite bottles, there are three experiential zones you have to well, experience, while you’re in transit. Cheerful mixologists will great you at the Cocktail Bar, where you can get hands-on in creating a fun cocktail to sample.
There are also pop-up cocktail tastings inspired by iconic Singaporean foods. Can you guess what’s in Coco Gnac, Fluffy Pandan or Suka-Suka Melaka?
Next up is an evergreen gentlemen’s favourite from T2, The Whiskey House. Its second incarnation at T4 sees an impressive assortment of premium whiskies. Yes, they are available for complimentary tastings as well.
Finally, crafty connoisseurs cannot miss The Craft Collection. This new-to-Changi concept boasts various craft beers and spirits such as craft gin, sourced from around the world, on tap.
Double the Volume
We love the high ceilings at T4 and this becomes even more of a boon when stores can have double-volume façades. They’re 11 metres high and extremely enticing – yes, prepare for double the shopping too! Our favourite was Singapore brand TWG Tea in its largest outlet in the world.
If the sparkly gold and glass front windows aren’t enough, the walls are stacked to the ceiling with a jaw-dropping more than 2,000 tea tins! Even better, you can enjoy complimentary tasting of some 800 varieties of tea. And pick up tea-infused chocolate bonbons too.
Across the hall to The Cocoa Trees is where the kids will be running off to. First, the vibrant and colourful carnival décor will call out to them. Inside, they’ll find endless amounts of chocolate and candies in what is also the world’s largest store for this brand. There are also on-screen interactive activities to keep them amused.
Oh, and do stop by the souvenir store even if you’re a jaded Singaporean – there are gorgeous heritage-themed finds and cute toys for the kids. You may even have another tea tasting, this time from another local label The 1872 Clipper Tea Co.
Speaking of heritage-themed finds, you can’t miss visiting the Heritage Zone with its digital theatre performance Peranakan Love Story. The row of heritage shophouses now contain real, functioning shops that replicate life in Singapore’s shophouse heyday. Familiar brands include Bee Cheng Hiang, Bengawan Solo and Old Chang Kee, for instance. The Eu Yan Sang store even features traditional medicinal cabinets, just like the old medical halls from our grandparents’ time.
And what is a row of shophouses without coffeeshops to dine at? With nostalgic interior décor and furnishings that will surely amuse the kids while putting you in a sentimental mood, enjoy local favourites at Heavenly Wang and Curry Times. You can also watch the roti prata man in action while dining at the former, while the little ones can ride on old-school kiddy rides at the latter.
Little Bits and Pieces
Another first at Changi that the young and young-at-heart will love is an interactive netted zone for test-flying drones at electronics concession E-Gadget. And while you may have seen WH Smith at the other terminals, the one here is huge! It’s the first of ten new large-format books store to be launched across the four terminals.
Also landing at Changi for the first time and great for family shopping is ZAKKASG – we love the adorable animal and Minion suitcases for kids! Another first is Airport Pharmacy from Australia, great for picking up products from popular Australian brands such as Swisse and Lucas Paw Paw.
When you’re tired from all the shopping – keep in mind that all the above are just a handful of the highlights! – take a break at the lovely indoor ‘garden’. It’s a pretty and fun combination of plants both living and sculpted in metal – definitely Insta-worthy!
All the shopping will surely make you hungry. For a spot of Cantonese dim sum, head to Treasures (Yi Dian Xin) by Imperial Treasure. We love how the booth seats are shaped like bamboo steamers, and we love the food that come in said bamboo steamers too!
For bar bites and a cool pint for the adults, head to Tiger Den. The first-ever Tiger Beer-branded diner does a range of yakitori, satay and other snacks really well. Don’t worry, there are non-alcoholic beverages for the kids and teetotallers too.
If everyone in the family is craving something different, head to the International Food Hall. Unlike the usual food court fare, it features nine varied options. There are familiar fast-food favourites Subway and Burger King, as well as Bowl Thai, Chutney Mary, Niigata Bento and PhoStreet for some Asian cuisine. You’ll also find the ubiquitous chicken rice, congee and noodles for some local delights.
Not Flying? No Worries!
Even if you don’t have your passport and boarding pass, there are still plenty of options in the public area. For starters, there are three floors of dining concepts at the far end of T4! Notable newcomers to Changi include Andes by Astons, London Fat Duck and Sushi Goshin by Akashi, which does a mean foie gras and uni sushi. All three are located on the Level 2 Mezzanine, as is Food Emporium by NTUC Foodfare.
So if you’re anything like us, why not plan to book your next flight out of Changi Airport Terminal 4? The integrated duty-free concessions, double-volume retail stores and dining outlets are a-calling!