Not Your Usual Staycation: Life's A Beach In Changi
Just the thought of Changi brings back fond memories of its bustling airport and overseas holiday trips. But Changi is also home to white sandy beaches, scenic coastline views, and tasty local eats, making this the perfect laidback weekend Singapoliday choice.
From chilling at Changi Beach Park to exploring one of the last few Singapore kampungs on Pulau Ubin, there’s plenty to do for a Changi staycay besides spending the entire day at Jewel. In short, experience the old and new interspersed with rustic views at Changi.
WHERE TO STAY
Spend a quiet weekend getaway from the city at Changi Cove Hotel. This restored heritage establishment is surrounded by lush greenery, giving off a comfortable and tranquil atmosphere to rest and recharge.
Changi Cove Hotel has 112 rooms that come in either Standard or the larger Deluxe variant. Each room comes with a Nespresso machine for your morning cuppa, and a feature doodle wall to scribble your itinerary on (which can be wiped away with a cloth).
Plenty of reviews mention that the rooms are clean, comfortable and well-maintained. The only downside is the lack of a swimming pool (you can swim at the neighbouring Changi Beach Club), but why swim at a hotel pool when the beach is merely a stone’s throw away?
Speaking of the beach, the best part about Changi Cove is its prime location – it’s only a couple of minutes’ walk from Changi Boardwalk leading to Changi Beach, and a further 20 minutes stroll along the coast to Changi Village Hawker Centre.
WHAT TO DO
Early risers can catch the sunrise from Changi Boardwalk – watch your step and make your way there by 6:30 AM for the best views.
Then, savour the kampung vibe at Changi Beach Park, one of the oldest coastal parks in Singapore. Enjoy white sandy beaches, BBQ pits for rent, and even playgrounds for the kids. Pack your picnic mat, laze under the shade, and let your worries take a backseat.
As a bonus, you’ll find that it’s less crowded than the ever-popular East Coast Park. If you’re game, you can also run along the designated track all the way past Changi Coast Walk towards the life-sized dinos at Jurassic Mile.
The Changi Coast Walk offers beautiful panoramic views of the coastline. Take your time along the 2.2km trail, enjoy the sea breeze, and fill your Instastories with photos that look like you’ve travelled back in time to a serene, untouched Singapore.
The Changi Coast Walk is also home to Constant Wind Sea Sports Centre, where you can try your hand at windsurfing, kayaking, or sailing. But before you head for the sea, load up on some carbs at the Changi Village Hawker Centre just around the corner. More on what you should be ordering there later.
If you have an extra day to kill, how about traversing tropical Pulau Ubin? The Chek Jawa Wetlands is a nature lovers’ paradise, teeming with flora and fauna along its mangrove swamps and beaches. Also check out Butterfly Hill, home to about 140 species of butterflies. Rent a bicycle to explore Pulau Ubin or book a guided tour, it’s your call!
To get here, you need to take a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal, but it won’t leave until the operator has enough passengers. Do check with the operator for how much the 10-minute ride will cost, and don’t forget to leave Pulau Ubin before 6pm.
Horror thrill seekers can make your way up to the Old Changi Hospital, said to be Singapore’s most haunted spot. You’re not allowed into the premises, but just standing at the entrance at night can give you the chills. Check out our experience testing ghost apps at Old Changi Hospital.
Of course, there are also many activities to explore in Jewel Changi Airport besides shopping and eating. Try walking on the Manulife Sky Nets suspended 25m above ground, get lost in Singapore’s largest hedge maze, or check out the interactive games and immersive shows at the Changi Experience Studio.
WHERE TO EAT
Start your day with a fulfilling brunch at Chock Full Of Beans. The brunch options here come highly recommended, especially the Chock Full of Big Breakfast and their different varieties of Eggs Benedict.
However, the real reason most people patronise this café is for the cool latte art. Their 3D latte art of famous cartoon characters served on their ice lattes is particularly Instagram-worthy, but you need to ask for it or you won’t get it.
Of course, you haven’t really sampled the best of Changi’s food offerings without a visit to Changi Village Hawker Centre. The nasi lemak and satay bee hoon are the most famous here, but there are other stalls here that many claim to be the very best. Here’s our Changi Village Hawker Centre cheat sheet to help you pick.
• Nasi lemak at either Mizzy Corner or International Nasi Lemak
• Satay beehoon at Ho Guan Satay Bee Hoon
• Ayam penyet at Sari Bistari Changi Village
• Chicken hor fun at either Amigo Chicken Chop Hor Fun or Weng Kee Ipoh Hor Fun
• Beef kway teow at Bedok Beef Kway Teow
• BBQ chicken wings at Changi Village Best BBQ Chicken Wing
• Goreng pisang at Million Stars Goreng Pisang
• Chicken satay at Jason’s Place
• Chinese desserts (especially the famed Commando Dessert) at Mei Lin Leng Re Yin Pin
Check out our Follow Me to Makan series in Changi for what we think of Bedok Beef Kway Teow, Mei Ling Leng Ri Yin Pin, and a review of Pranakorn, an authentic Thai restaurant nearby.
For a truly unique dining experience, make your way to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal for a short boat ride to Singapore’s only floating restaurant. Smith Marine is the first halal Chinese seafood kelong restaurant located in the middle of the sea. You can even catch your own snapper or seabass for dinner here! Best to go here with friends to save on the bumboat cost.
Another interesting makan spot is The Coastal Settlement, with its cozy alfresco seating and wall-to-wall retro memorabilia décor. The food here is a mix of Asian and Western fare, with popular dishes such as the Wagyu Beef options and Mushroom Pizza. Order a few dishes to share as portions are large, and relax among The Coastal Settlement’s green surroundings.
In the evening, grab a pint at Little Island Brewing Co. The restaurant-cum-microbrewery serves quality local craft beers with psychedelic designs. Order the Stars & Bars if you’re into IPA with fruity hop flavour and a sweeter caramel malt, or go for something lighter with their Four Letter Worts Light Ale. Just ask for their recommendations to go with your food. If you’re in the area on a weekday afternoon, you get to enjoy their S$5 beer promo pint (12pm to 2.30pm).
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