This place doesn’t even seem real.
But it is. Have you heard of the Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore?
It looks like it’s from the future. You scroll through the photos and even if we're trying to be objective, there's no escaping the reality that they're absolutely breathtaking.
How can this majestic place possibly be an airport?
It features an indoor waterfall -- not only that, but the world’s tallest indoor waterfall -- along with nature trails, a butterfly garden, a 24-hour movie theater, nap amenities, showers, a swimming pool, a supermarket, canopy bridges, mazes to explore inside and sky nets, just to name a few of the outrageous offerings.
Safe to say, this is a little different than your typical airport with a newsstand to the left and a Starbucks to the right.
Check out these seven photos and we’ll show you around.
Well, before we start, let’s back up just briefly. Conde Nast Traveler said this airport was already among the best in the world, and that was before these most recent additions. For example, the movie theater and the butterfly garden we just mentioned? They were already in place. It’s the Jewel portion that’s new. Jewel is the area that showcases the waterfall, nature trails and canopy park. Simply put, it’s an architectural masterpiece. Phase one of the project opened this spring, and phase two will be complete June 10. Jewel is connected to terminal one, and you can get there by pedestrian bridge from terminals two and three.
Back to the action: When you step inside Jewel, you’ll be greeted by this “rain vortex” as it’s called, shown above, which is that waterfall we mentioned. It's about seven stories tall.
Airport officials said the waterfall was inspired by the frequent rains in Singapore and it will complement the lush greenery surrounding the area, “making it a sight to behold from every floor.”
Fun fact: Rainwater is actually funneled into the waterfall and harvested for landscape irrigation systems.
Here’s a view of the waterfall from the south viewing deck. Phew!
People with the Changi Airport Group are the ones behind the Jewel project, and officials had a goal of transforming the space from “just another airport” to a destination in and of itself. The Jewel is 10 stories, five of which are above ground and five that are below.
Safe to say, for the Changi Airport Group, mission accomplished.
Here’s an installation at Jewel showing 16 shimmering “clouds” that reflect weather patterns with their dynamic lighting sequences.
What other airports offer something like this, seriously?
Travelers who want to take some time to explore Jewel -- whether that means on a layover or simply by arriving early -- have some options to do so. It seems as though airport officials anticipated this: that is, the airport being such a draw for people. Who wants to be rushed or allow themselves only the recommended two hours before takeoff, when you’re departing from somewhere like this?
Anyway, Jewel has early check-in counters for 26 of its airlines, with some allowing you to check your bags as early as 24 hours before your flight, airport officials said.
The Changi Lounge even provides nap amenities, showers and business facilities.
Let’s talk about Canopy Park -- in fact, those are slides you see above: as in, slides you might see at a playground.
Where to start? At Canopy Park, there’s a glass-floored bridge 82 feet above ground, a huge “sky net” that’s up just as high, four impressive slides, two mazes, "foggy bowls" for the younger children -- which release mist to make it look like you’re playing in the clouds, and several themed gardens. Everything is climate-controlled.
This is part of phase two, set to open next week.
You can also eat here; one spot even offers dining under the stars. Event space is available, as well.
Here are those sky nets. One portion is for walking and another is for bouncing. Need to work off some energy before your flight? No problem.
For anyone who’s an adventure-seeker, you can take a leap on the bouncing nets and access a lookout point that features a stunning aerial view of the entire Canopy Park.
And this is the Hedge Maze on the top level of Jewel. Look at all that lush greenery. Jewel has more than 2,000 trees and palms and more than 100,000 shrubs from Australia, China, Malaysia, Spain,
Thailand and the United States, airport officials said.
What's next? Want to go on a walk? Here's a view that shows off some creative art in the shape of life-size animals.
There are so many places to stroll and hike around Jewel, it’s almost unbelievable. And we don't say that lightly. The Shiseido Forest Valley is essentially an indoor forest. It’s four stories. You can shop and dine here, too. You'll probably want to move in.
In addition to Canopy Park, Jewel is complete with even more nature trails for walking and even some quiet areas.
“Our goal in designing Jewel was to house a myriad of experiences all under one roof and provide a seamless travel experience for the millions of people that pass through Changi Airport each year,” said Ashith Alva, the head of projects at the airport. “To achieve this ambitious project, we brought together a collective of visionaries and experts.”
That much is clear.
The massive space was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Construction broke ground in December 2014.
Anyone else booking a flight to Singapore just to check out this crazy place?
View more photos on Jewel's Instagram:
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[SOUND ON] Come experience S E N S E at the Shiseido Forest Valley where art, science and nature intertwine in a multi-sensory journey of beauty. With dancing lights illuminating the trees, ethereal music playing in the background, the signature scent of SHISEIDO Ultimune, and an interactive Augmented Reality experience, your senses will be truly delighted. #PlayAtJewel