Why Singapore Changi Airport Is Still the Best

Most fliers just want to reach their final destination as quickly as possible. But intentions are different when passing through Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 4, according to the results of Travel + Leisure’s annual World’s Best Awards.

Singapore Changi Airport was voted by Travel + Leisure readers as the best international airport in the world. And its new terminal, T4, has quickly endeared itself to travelers since opening to the public on October 31, 2017.

Unique design on display at Changi Airport Terminal 4, in Singapore
Basavaraj Kulli/Alamy

The entire airport is renowned for its inclusion of nature, and the new terminal — which is two stories and 8.6 square miles— is no exception. Passengers will see more than 582,000 plants, trees, and shrubs as they pass through T4, and be able to experience 80 plus different shops and restaurants. Traditional Singaporean brands like Bee Cheng Hiang, Bengawan Solo, and Heavenly Wang have boutiques here, giving passengers an opportunity for one-of-a-kind last-minute souvenirs.

Traditional Singaporean Peranakan building facades adorn a wall in the Heritage Zone of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 4
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Indeed, the entire terminal was designed as a “theater of experience.” Several different exhibits and art installations immerse passengers in the history of Singapore and its culture. A sculpture by Chong Fah Cheong shows a mother and young boy hailing a trishaw on their way home. Petalclouds, an installation that runs along the Central Galleria, is designed to mimic clouds shifting in the sky. The sculpture also shifts form, as each cloud has 16 motorized “petals” that can turn. The Immersive Wall, an installation near security, has an LED display that lights up with Singapore landmarks.

A cleaner robot at Singapore Airport Changi Terminal 4
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T4 is tech-savvy, too. Travelers can take advantage of a fully automated departure process. With a boarding pass to scan,you can go through check-in, bag drop, immigration, and boarding all with self-service. (A facial recognition system is also in the works.) There’s no need to take electronics out of your bag as you go through security, which is capable of processing more than 5,400 bags per hour.

If you’re looking to book your way through T4, nine airlines operate at its gates: Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines, Spring Airlines, and the four airlines that make up the AirAsia Group.

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