CHANGI AIRPORT, Singapore--On a recent trip to Nepal, I had the opportunity to spend about 18 hours at the Changi Airport, a transit hub I'd always heard was one of the most advanced and tech-friendly in the world.
It's also the home of the first Airbus A380 in the world--Singapore Airlines was the first carrier to take delivery of the behemoth double-decker airplane. While many airlines fly them today, they seem especially at home here.
Shown on the airport's tarmac are two of the most iconic airliners: a Qantas A380 (left) and a Singapore Airlines 747-400. They are not quite side by side, so the perspective is an illusion. The A380 is the world's largest passenger plane and, even though it's not all that much larger than a 747, it is still one gigantic airplane.
Although there are plenty of other kinds of airplanes flying through Singapore, there seem to be no shortage of A380s. Here, a Qantas A380 waits to take off as a Singapore Airlines A380 begins to power down the runway.
An exhibit at Changi Airport presents travelers with instructions on how to fold paper airplanes, as well as demonstrating--with 600 paper airplanes hanging from the ceiling--how many airplanes fly out of Singapore every day.
Not wanting new arrivals to go even a minute without Internet access, Changi Airport offers free Internet on computers scattered throughout the terminals. There is also free Wi-Fi available everywhere.
The Sony Style store, located just across the walkway from the iStudio Apple emporium.
Singapore's terminals, especially Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, are designed to satisfy the shopping, browsing, and technology needs of travelers. But don't count on being able to buy gum. The well-known Singapore prohibition on gum extends to the convenience stores that are found inside the terminals.
For those waiting overnight for their next flight, but who don't want to leave the airport, Changi offers a transit hotel with rooms available for just a few hours. It features one of the best showers in the world.