WHAT TO SEE IN CHANGI-PASIR RIS: A COMPLETE GUIDE

By LINDA JAMES | Updated June 15, 2023 | AREA GUIDES

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To be honest, not a lot of tourists would probably see Changi-Pasir Ris as a place to visit when in Singapore. However, there are several good reasons to visit: Jewel shopping centre, a beautiful white sandy beach and a marine park that contains some really amazing ocean life as well as a museum that chronicles life in Singapore during the Japanese occupation.

If you’re travelling to Singapore to attend a conference at the Changi Business Park, you should definitely consider adding on a few days for some R&R here.

Getting There

Changi Airport (CG2) is accessible via both the EW and DT MRT lines. If using the EW line, exit Tanah Merah MRT (EW4) and transfer to an airport-bound train. If using the DT line, exit Expo MRT (DT35), transfer to the EW line and an airport-bound train.

Changi Village can be reached by taking a 2 bus from Tanah Merah MRT (EW3) or by the 109, 2, 59 buses.

What to See & Do

Changi Beach Park

One of the most popular coastal parks in Singapore, this has 3.3km of white sandy beaches and a host of facilities such as BBQ pits, shelters, and benches and tables.

The locals love it for family gatherings and fishing as well as cycling and jogging.

It’s a stone’s throw from Changi Village, which has a great hawker centre, as well as cafes and bistros with ocean views.

Address: Nicoll Dv/Changi Coast Rd
Open: 24 hours 
Cost: free 
Getting there: exit Tanah Merah MRT (EW4) and take a 2 bus; 89, 19, 9 buses; from the rear of Changi Village, walk across the pedestrian bridge. 
More information: www.jewelchangiairport.com

Changi Museum and Chapel

World War II left an indelible mark on Singapore and this museum documents life in Singapore during the Japanese occupation. There are more than 100 artefacts that tell the story of how people lived, the struggles they faced and how they experienced liberation when the war ended.

The first four zones focus on Changi from the 19th century to the 1920s, the fall of Singapore in World War II, and the lives of soldiers and POWs.

The final four zones detail the lives of the POWs and the hardships they faced as well as their resilience and what happened after liberation.

The museum was originally housed in Changi Prison, which was a POW camp. Free guided tours are available.

Address: 1000 Upper Changi Rd North
Open: daily 9.30am-5.30pm, closed Monday
Cost: free
Getting there: near Tampines East MRT (DT33)
More information: www.nhb.gov.sg/changichapelmuseum

Jewel shopping centre

Arguably one of the best shopping centres I’ve ever visited! I always book my last night in Singapore at Changi just so I can wander its seven floors. You know a shopping centre is special when the locals go out to the airport for entertainment!

And that’s the reason it’s so popular – it’s not just a shopping centre, it’s a whole “experience”. The highlight of this experience is the Rain Vortex,

a 40m-high indoor waterfall, which even comes with a light and sound show at night time. One of the coolest ways to see it is to catch the free Skytrain between T2 and T3.

There’s also one of Asia’s largest indoor gardens, Shiseido Forest Valley, a collaboration between Shiseido and art collective teamLab. At five storeys high and 22,000sqm, it surrounds the Rain Vortex and contains about 3000 trees and 60,000 shrubs of 120 species from high-altitude tropical forests around the world.

You can follow the free walking trails over four levels and spend literally hours in there. It’s usually free but may be ticketed during peak times like Christmas.

If you’re looking to burn off a little energy (or your kids’), head to Sky Nets – bouncing and walking nets that are suspended over the interior of the shopping centre. Tickets start from $S15 for adults, and $S10 for children

At the top of Jewel on Level 5, there’s a 14,000sqm park packed with recreation and leisure activities: two gardens, the Topiary Walk and the Petal Garden, a suspension bridge 23m above the ground with a glass panel floor so you can see through to level 1 of Jewel, two mazes – the Hedge Maze and the Mirror Maze, and Discovery Slides, four integrated slides that provide a great view of the Forest Valley and the Rain Vortex.

Then there’s Foggy Bowls, four concave bowls that people can jump in while mist is released to create an illusion of playing among the clouds.

Entry to Canopy Park, the Discovery Slides, Foggy Bowls, Petal Garden and Topiary Walk is $S5 a person.

Changi Experience Studio is 3000sqm of interactive games and displays about Changi Airport’s history. Entry starts from $S25 for adults and $S17 for children.

Address: Airport Boulevard
Open: 24 hours though various outlets will have individual opening and closing times
Cost: mostly free but some ticketed activities
Getting there: exit Changi MRT (CG2) and take the link bridges on level 2 of Terminals 2 and 3; exit Tanah Merah MRT (EW4) and transfer to airport-bound train; exit Expo MRT (DT35), transfer to the EW line and an airport-bound train. 
More information: www.jewelchangiairport.com

Pulau Ubin

This island, known as Ubin, is overseen by the National Parks Board and is part of the Ubin–Khatib Important Bird Area (IBA). This island once supplied Singapore’s construction industry with granite (Pulau Ubin means “granite island” in Malay).

The 1020ha Pulau Ubin Recreation Area includes Chek Jawa, which is about 700ha. These wetlands contain six major habitats with marine wildlife such as sea hares, sea squirts, octopuses, starfishes, sand dollars, fishes, sponges, cuttlefishes and nudibranches. They’re at the eastern end of Ubin, about 3km from the public jetty. There are taxis or you can rent a rent a bike. Walking would take about 40 minutes.

Visitors are really well catered for with a centre that has a viewing jetty and a 1km boardwalk with mangrove and coastal loops. There’s also a 21m viewing tower.

Before you go, make sure you check the tides because they will affect how much you can see.

There’s also a guided tour available for $S60 for a group of 5. Book early if it’s something you really want to do.

Many of the locals go to Ubin to go mountain biking because it has one of the city’s best trails, Ketam Mountain Bike Park, which is about 8km. Local vendors rent bikes if you’re interested.

Address: near Changi Point Ferry Terminal
Open: Seven days, 9am to 5pm.
Cost: $S4
Getting there: 10-minute bumboat ride from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Each boat carries 12 passengers and the captain waits until it’s full. If you don’t want to wait, you can pay $S40 for the whole boat.
Getting around: Bike rental ranges from $S5 to $S20 (whole day). There are also taxis available.
More information: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserves/pulau-ubin-and-chek-jawa

Sree Ramar Temple

This temple in the Dravidian style features statues of Lord Buddha and Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, as well as Hindu deities such as Rama.

Address: 51 Changi Village Rd
Open: Daily 6am-noon, 5.30pm-9pm
Cost: Free
Getting there: buses – 109,19,2,59,9; ferry – Changi Pt Ferry terminal
More information: http://www.sreeramartemple.org.sg

Where to Stay

YotelAir

I love staying in 5-star hotels if I can get a great deal but, that said, I also enjoy experiencing the quirky and different – and that’s YotelAir. It’s also one of my favourites because you literally have eyes on Jewel’s Rain Vortex from the Komyuniti lounge terrace.

Located directly above the pedestrian walkway linking Jewel with Terminal 2, the hotel is extremely easy to find. As you enter, you’ll see the reception desk (which Yotel calls Mission Control) as well as some self-check-in stations. I tried using them once and couldn’t get them to work. Since then, the staff at the front desk have checked me in.

The Komyuniti lounge, which is on the right-hand side of the entrance, is open to all guests and provides 24/7 complimentary tea, coffee and water (and ice). There is a small menu of food available here but I’ve always headed out to the restaurants and cafes (of which there are many) in the Jewel complex.

Yotelair also has a fully equipped 24-hour gym, which actually does have some windows if you’re feeling the need for sunlight. There are the usual free weights and cardio gear.

There are 127 hotel rooms over two floors – the entry level and one above, which is accessed by elevator). None of the “cabins” have external windows, which I don’t think is a problem if you’re only staying a night and I’m not sure why people would do very long stays here.

There are only two types of rooms – the premium queen and a family. I’ve always stayed in the former. These rooms are very small – only 10sqm – but I’ve always been impressed by how much they pack in. I should mention that there’s also an accessible premium queen, which is much larger at 21sqm. 

The queen bed takes up most of the room and is against the wall on two sides. It has luggage storage under the bed and there are clothes hangers on the wall. The large flat-screen TV is directly in front of the bed, which can be inclined via an up-down button beside the bed. You can stop it anywhere so you can adjust the bed for watching TV, working on your laptop or sleeping. The beds are comfortable (I’ve stayed in a few different ones) and I felt quite cocooned with no windows. It does make for a good night’s sleep.

The space has been used so efficiently with narrow shelves on the wall that hold everything from your complimentary bottled water, pen and paper, and the TV remote control. It also houses a fold-down desk and there’s a small fold-up stool, which is housed in a specially designed recess beside the bed.

The recessed pink lighting felt a little odd at first but was sort of soothing over time.

The bathroom at the back of the bed is visible from the door and, like the bedroom area, is very compact. It’s got both a conventional shower head and a rain shower as well as a small sink. Last time I was there the toiletries, the kind in large containers attached to the wall, were by Australia’s Urban Skincare Co. There’s hair wash and body cleanser and hand cleanser. Two dental kits and a hairdryer are also provided.

Below the storage console at the side of the room, and above the desk when extended, are two multi-standard power sockets and two USB charging sockets.

The family cabins are 19sqm and cater for up to four people with a queen bed and a bunk bed.

If you’re just transiting and would like a shower, you can book a shower room.

Price: from $S120
Address: Jewel, Changi Airport
More information: https://www.yotel.com/en/hotels/yotelair-singapore-changi-airport

Where to Eat & Drink

Changi Village Hawker Centre

Popular dishes here include nasi lemak (Malay fragrant rice cooked in coconut and pandan leaves) and Ipoh Hor Fun (rice noodles in chicken and mushroom broth topped with shredded chicken).

Address: 2 Changi Village Rd
Open: Monday to Thursday 6am-2am, Friday 6am-midnight, Weekends all day
Getting there: Nearest MRT is at Changi Airport so best to combine MRT and bus eg Tampines MRT and 19 bus

Conclusion

Changi-Pasir Ris has a lot to offer travellers to Singapore including the Jewel shopping centre, one of the city state’s top attractions. However, there’s also an opportunity to learn more about Singapore’s involvement in World War II as well as a great beach, hawker centre and marine park.

More area guides

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