It is certainly a nice airport, the best airport ever built on the site of a notorious death-camp […]
That would have been quite difficult, given that Chiangi Airport is built on reclaimed land and both the Chiangi Prison (which gave its name to the prisoner of war camp) and the Chiangi Garrison (where the majority of prisoners were actually held) still existed 20-30 years ago. (They've both been replaced by new buildings, but they were still in use well after the airport had opened.)
Built extremely close to? Yes. But on the site of? Not to my knowledge.
All the Aus-EU flights I ever took through Changi had such short, 1-2 hour layovers that the Disneyland exploration element was cut short by having to sprint from one terminal to the next to be packaged back up into the airplane post-haste. I have become a tremendous fan of flying through Seoul Incheon Airport, which is full of cultural museums with music performances, free movie theatres, free hot showers in private bathrooms, infinite Wi-Fi and the comfiest/most sleepable couches in any airport anywhere: enough traveler joy to make a 6 hour break between flights a refreshing pleasure. It makes Frankfurt, or frankly ALL of the major EU hubs, look medieval by comparison.
I transited through this airport something like 8 times in a 4 week period back in 2007. I don't recall there being a movie theatre there at the time, but I do recall the free massage chairs, which were VERY welcome (my first transit through was from London, on my way to Shanghai).
Yes my experiences with this airport have been, that whilst it seems an excellent place you never have time to see it. Even on a continuing flight the trip from where you get off to where you get back on the plane is so tight you don't even have time to buy the duty free you couldn't buy in Heathrow because Changi makes you take everything off the plane and then you can't take those liquids back on the plane. (Quite a scam if you ask me.)
I have heard people wax lyrical about the place in times past when you had time to breath.
There is a hotel at one end of the transit area as well. I've never stayed there as we have relatives in Singapore with spare bed space (a rare thing in that city). But the hotel does have a great shower area with high water pressure and enormous fluffy towels for a very nominal fee ...
But that would probably mean using a Korean airline for at least one of the legs. And they are scary.
The movie theater is in Terminal 3 upstairs next to the butterfly garden. A good place to grab a nap in a dark place.
I also like the Ambassador Transit hotel where for a reasonable fee you can get a room & shower for up to 6 hours and never have to leave the security area. Last time I was there I got a room when I landed at 1am and slept for a few hours until daybreak before heading into the city. Saved me from having to reserve an extra night of expensive hotel cost.
Last time I was there the pool was closed for maintenance but I'm headed there again this fall and will have a 4-5 hour layover - may have to check that out.
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