Let’s check out what Changi Airport’s newest attraction has to offer. The Changi Jewel is a brand new $1.3 billion commercial development within Changi International airport, Singapore. Changi airport has a reputation to be consistently one of the best, if not the best airport in the world.
Also, the establishment always aims to push the boundaries on what a typical airport has to offer. For this newest segment the Jewel building is their latest crown jewel. It is designed by architect Moshe Safdie.
Physically, the Jewel sits right in front of Changi airport terminal one, and the Changi airport control tower. It is the exact spot where an open-air carpark used to reside. Today, it delivers mixed experience of shopping, dining, entertainment and nature experiences all in one large integrated venue.
Also, the mall section is vast, spanning over 5 floors above ground including a rooftop canopy park. Moreover, it has another 5 underground floors with 2 devoted to more shops and F&B outlets, as well as three floors of basement parking.
Getting via Linkway Bridges to the Jewel
Furthermore, the Jewel is accessible via above-ground pedestrian walkway bridges from Changi Terminal 2 (T2) and Terminal 3 (T3). The Jewel sits squarely at the central location on the airport grounds right in front of Terminal one (T1). Hence, T1 is the closest terminal given its direct basement link connection.
For the other terminals, including the Changi Airport MRT station, you can only reach the Jewel through these walkway bridges. Interestingly, there are no Skytrain services directly to the Jewel, Terminal 1 will be your closest Skytrain station.
Notably, these linkway bridges interconnect T1, T2 and T3 via the Jewel as a hub. Moreover, the walkways are air-conditioned and have spaced travelators (moving walkways) throughout the long sector of the bridge. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to walk from either of the bridges spanning about 200 meters.
Furthermore, each of these bridges pops you in right into the second mall floor of the Jewel building. From the bridge, outside you can see the exterior torus shape of the glass-cladded building. Moreover, without a doubt, Terminal 4 remains as the lost child as a separate build and requires a shuttle bus service to bring you to the compound.
HSBC Rain Vortex waterfall
Taking centerpiece in the Jewel building is the HSBC rain vortex. Standing at 40 meters high, it is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. It surpasses the last indoor waterfall record holder, also in Singapore at the Gardens by the Bay Cloud forest conservatory in Marina bay.
The Jewel, in a very similar way is not too much different from their Marina bay counterpart. The attraction sits in a glass-cladded climate-controlled dome decorated with life vertical planter walls.
Moreover, the rain vortex area is surrounded by an inner enclave of green planter plants and a stepped seating pavilion. This five-storey wall garden is home to about 2,500 trees and 100,000 shrubs spread out through the building. Also, the Airport’s inter-terminal Skytrain service between Terminal 2 and 3 passes through Jewel via a bridge beside the Vortex. It offers close up views of the waterfall.
Furthermore, water from the Rain Vortex exits from an opening in the Jewel’s roof. It flows at a volumetric flow rate of 10 thousand gallons a minute plunging into 2 basement floors below. The waterfall sits centered as the nucleus of the jewel. Occasionally the sunlight can catch the spray producing a rainbow in the day.
Additionally, on dry days, the fountain is fueled via a water re-circulation system from a basement water tank. Additionally, rainwater is also harvested. Collected water from the HSBC Rain Vortex is funneled into the plunge pool into an underground water tank concealed in basement three. The tank has a capacity of 500 thousand liters and used for the attraction’s landscape irrigation system, circulated through pipes concealed within the building.
Jewel at night and light shows
Furthermore, the Jewel looks more spectacular at night. It is lit with an alternating set of colours which rotates throughout the night. You can watch a full video of the night time light show here.
Moreover, check out a night 180 degree panorama of the HSBC Water Vortex. It shows the neighboring vertical green planters walls all lit up at night with the Rain vortex taking center stage.
HSBC Water Vortex 180 degree night panorama
At night, alternating lights (currently in red) lights up the waterfall, flanked by the vertical gardens. It does have a different personality at night.
Also, every night at every 30 minute intervals from 7:30pm up to 9:30pm (5 shows), the Jewel rain vortex takes a mystic splendor though a sound and light show. Using a combination of lighting and projection effects, a music ensemble is played in the Rain vortex compound.
Also, the lights in the sector goes out before the show where light spots on the roof starts pulsating to music as the fountain gets lit up. Thereafter, several projectors placed on the green walls paint animations onto the water vortex itself, using the flowing water as a projection surface. The show lasts about 5 minutes.
Moreover, the light cast on the Water Vortex at night gives the Vortex a solid colour which carries on into the funnel located in the basement. It is a massive perspex clear funnel which takes up the entire center atrium of two basement floors.
The Jewel is a Torus
It is not wrong to call the Jewel a giant donut (though there is a Dunkin donut store there too). Or rather a donut shaped object called a torus. The structure was designed by architect Moshe Safdie. You may know him otherwise for other well-known landmarks such as the iconic Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.
Furthermore, constructing the jewel has its own fair share of restrictions. It has height restrictions, considering that it is situated right in the heart of a major Airport hub. It sits 37m just above street level, with almost half of the usable space underground. Also, the shops in the Jewel faces outward towards the building outer perimeter, this forms a separated green enclave in the center of the building which makes up the Water vortex grounds.
Additionally, the unique Torus shape means rain naturally funnels towards the building’s inner center into the Water Vortex. Interestingly, to accommodate a passing Skytrain track, the Jewel’s Torus is actually asymmetrical, slightly shifted to one side so as the trains remain dry.
Shopping and Dining
The Jewel offers a mix of high end shopping areas as well as mainstream fashion outlets typically seen in your heartland malls. On offer is 135,700 square meter of space, with most of it dedicated to a sizable commercial shopping center.
All the 280 shops and F&B outlets within the Jewel are managed by Singapore property developer CapitaLand. They similarly manage other big malls in Singapore such as Plaza Singapura, Bugis Junction and IMM just to name a new.
Furthermore, the mall itself spans the entire upper floors, as well as the basement. Interestingly, though the mall floor plan is circular, not all floors run a full circle. Hence, you have to detour using escalators and transverse between the second and third floors.
Some notables include anchor tenants such as an IMAX Cineplex operated by Shaw, as well as a Fairprice finest supermarket. The rest are a mix of small to large individual shops.
Flagship stores on the ground floor
Notably, stores by the main entrance on the second floor are all double-floored “plus-sized”. Here, you find big brand stores like Starbucks, Tokyu hands with large flagship stores. Also, adding to the list are sports retailer such as Foot Locker as well as Nike with sizeable large boutiques.
After a walk around, I noticed there is a quite a good mix of retail and food restaurants on every floor. On top of boutique stores, some notable many food offerings in the Jewel includes Roast duck! There is also a Ma maison Tonkatsu restaurant, an Atas Collins western food restaurant. Some shops and restaurants are open 24 hours a day.
Moreover, moving on, the basement predominantly a food area. You can access it via escalators near the rain vortex or elevators by the various green walls. The walkways from the shopping area to the Water Vortex area is nicely themed as a lush zen garden. It somewhat forms as a transition of city to nature.
Basement Jewel food hall
In addition, below ground, houses two levels of basement offering plenty of food options. The Jewel food hall resides here. It is a massive and budget-friendly food market made out of several small independent food stalls. Interesting, there is also a sizable Irvins Salted Egg store here too, presumably their flagship outlet.
Moreover, a row of restaurants surrounds the Water Vortex funnel in a circular fashion which spans the entire two floors of the basement atrium area. Notably, it does feel like a mini Suntec city fountain of wealth.
The Vortex plunge pool here is impressive. The perspex funnels looks like a giant aquarium at first sight. Check out a 180 degree panorama of the HSBC Water Vortex massive funnel at the basement food street areas of the Jewel building.
HSBC Water Vortex basement funnel panorama
Later when you start to take notice that it is the collector for all the water plunging down from the Rain Vortex several floors up. The place is completely sealed and dry, so no worries about being drenched by the funnel.
Got Shake Shack?
Newcomers include the very first Shake Shack American diner restaurant as well as the return of A&W (opens 24 hours) in basement two. Shake Shack’s spanky new large restaurant spans two floors and sits right at the entrance facing T1.
Moreover, there is also Gelato Boutique Birds of Paradise and a Koi (plus) bubble tea cafe. In addition to shops are some museums and exploratory attractions too. This includes several interactive zones and retail operated by the Changi airport group themselves.
Moreover, this includes the Changi group experience studio, as well as a Jewel gift shop. If you are a Changi rewards member, you can use your membership privileges here, as well as earn Changi reward shopping points. Also, to sweeten the deal further, for every purchase in the Jewel, you can concurrently redeem Capitaland star points too.
Furthermore, despite not being a proper flight terminal, you can also check-in your flight and bags in the Jewel onto any flight departing from the airport. You just have to use the aviation facilities on the ground floors, that include integrated ticketing and baggage services for fly-cruise and fly-coach transfers.
First Pokemon center out of Japan
Extremely popular stores here with patrons include the very first Pokémon center store out of Japan. It is a favorite with queues to enter stretching over 50 meters on the third level. It is after all a novelty shop of everything Pokémon.
If you had been to Pokémon centers in Japan, it is not much different with a selection of stuff toys, accessories, stationary and figurines. Moreover, Singapore-exclusive merchandise specific to the region include Pikachu plushies clad in a pilot’s uniform.
Next up, lets head up to the roof to explore the rest of the Jewel tranquil Roof Top canopy park. It has some nice flower decorations as well as an extensive children play area including mazes and a jumping Sky net.
Lets check it all out on the next page of my Changi Jewel explorations.
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