Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Exploring world's finest airport-The #ChangiChallenge experience!

Those who are following me on twitter/Facebook/Instagram might have noticed that I was in Singapore last month with few other bloggers and took part in an activity #ChangiChallenge.
This post explains how the day went on where we participated in a series of challenges designed to help us explore the Changi Airport, rated world’s finest.

When we were invited to visit Changi Airport, the exact specifics of the activities we will be part of was not shared with us. It was kept as a surprise. I had assumed we will be shown some new passenger friendly features/attractions at the airport. But on the day of the event, we learnt that we will be given a series of challenges and there will be a prize for winners.

Challenge one: The Slide at T3 and the puzzle
The first challenge was to enjoy a ride down the slide at T3 and while sliding down, we need to note down a series of letters posted on the top of the tube, come out, re-arrange the letters to identify our next stop/attraction at Changi airport.

The Slide is a 3 story tall spiral shaped tube in which one (even adults) can slide down at rapid speed (6m/s or about 21 kmph) and land on a cushioned platform at the end. If you shop of 10 SGD inside Changi airport, you get one free ride down the slide. (Not valid for forex, sim card purchase/topups, medical bills or Crowne Plaza hotel receipts. But The Slide is in public area, which means transit passengers can’t enjoy this unless they have Singapore Visa to come out of transit area. One should be of height Min 1.3 meters and max height of 2 meter to try this slide. Below short video explains what it was to slide down all the way!-Captured on my head mounted GoPro.
As I slid down, it was possible to control the speed by pressing our legs against the walls of the tube, so I was able to note down the letters. I noted all the letters, struggled for a while to assemble it. Then I read the instruction again- answer would be one of the many attractions. I started visualizing various attractions- sunflower garden, orchid garden, social tree, kinetic rain, swimming pool, butterfly garden etc one by one and suddenly realized that Butterfly garden is the perfect match. (our hosts confirmed that it consists two words). After checking my answer and measuring time taken by others, I was declared winner of this round, with bonus points.

Challenge two: Click pics at Butterfly Garden
Next we were heading to butterfly garden. Here the task was to take good pictures of the butterflies-but later realized that it needs to be shared online too. I couldn't do well in this challenge as photos taken in my Nikon can't be shared instantly. Took a few from mobile and shared but it was no match to others who had better mobiles expert level skills in social promotions. We had time till evening to upload pics, but my USB disabled office laptop couldn't rescue me out. Check this post for all my good pics of Butterfly Garden at Changi Airport

Challenge three: The Singapore Sling at DFS Raffles Long Bar

DFS runs duty free shops at several airports around the world. They have recently set up shop in Changi. The two story shop is pretty grand and well stocked. Ground floor stocks most of the fast moving items whereas the first floor has a exclusive lounge and Raffles Long Bar where guests can try customized drinks and buy from their super premium collections. (Changi is the only 2 story shop for DFS) We were escorted upstairs and we were briefed about the history of the famous Singapore sling drink. For the teetotalers amongst us, mock-tails were made. We tried Virgin Sunset, Virgin Mojito and Tropical Sunrise. Hrish and Nivedith tried their hands making the sling themselves. We were given a walkthrough of the of the super premium collection they had. Some of them cost as much as 15000 SGD.  Again this round required social media promotions and getting lots of reach.
We saw that how some of the alcoholic beverages are maintained in their authentic native conditions so that customers never need to compromise on the experience. DFS procures most of the products directly from its source and caters to exclusive requirements of its elite clientele.

Challenge four: Movie Theatre
We next headed to the movie theater and were required to enact a movie title looking at which others are required to guess which movie it is. Again, not my strong hold. Took part but not very sure if I did well. In an unlikely event that you find yourself bored inside Changi, just hop into the theatre to enjoy an ongoing movie, for free.
Then we had lunch at Kaveri, who served authentic south Indian dishes. Changi officials joined us here clarifying our questions about the airport and its expansion plans (T4 will be coming up in 2017). As we went from one terminal to another, the view from skytrain was beautiful.

Challenge five: Sunflower Garden: Count the flowers
Sunflower garden is a major open terrace garden in Changi from where you can take good look at flights taking off or landing. Our challenge was to count the flowers and give the total count. I gave a count of 322, which was closest to actual count of 316 that day (count of flowers varies each day)- happy I won another challenge with bonus points. Check this post of mine for various gardens in Changi airport.
Challenge Six: Taste and Recognize
We were at Bengawan and Solo outlet where we were blindfolded and our next challenge was to identify a savior given to us- I failed miserably in this round- couldn't identify even one properly- Desitraveler won almost all rounds.
A tour of Changi is not complete unless you visit this award winning loo with a view...

Challenge Seven: Play at Social Tree
Social Tree is an interactive spot in T1 to have some fun and time pass. I had checked it last June and I had stored a pic of mine last June, which I managed to retrieve this time. New addition to the social tree was a gaming functionality- you can play with other passengers at adjacent kiosks and engage in an interactive game. Game had multiple levels of complexity, which I got used to after few attempts. Nivedith won this round. Read my detailed post on Social tree here.

Challenge Eight and Nine- No challenge, just relax: 
Visit the pool: We visited the swimming pool in T1 and the gym and spacious library close by
Then we headed to the luxurious Plaza Premium Lounge in T1. After whole day of walking and exploring world's finest airport, this was much needed change. We had some nice refreshments and enjoyed a relaxation massage at the plaza lounge. [Check this post for various accommodation options inside Changi]

Also learnt that Changi has a provision for quick fresh up and make up, in case you need to head direct to a meeting after landing.

We came out of the transit area, stopped by at the Kinetic Rain [Full details here], headed back to Crowne plaza to get fresh up for the Singapore City Tour, during which we enjoyed the Sound and light show at Gardens by the bay.

Overall we had a great time exploring the Changi Airport during these activities. The PR team had done a day long reccee previous day to ensure that everything is in order and can be completed within stipulated time. Their efforts paid off well. They spent late night going through our posts and identifying the winner. We immensely enjoyed taking part in the #ChangiChallenge. Nivedith G won the overall challenge and rest of us won consolation prize.

During the exercise I also learnt how social media promotions can be more effective and what mistakes I did compared to others. Having a high end phone with good 4G internet connection, knowing how to take good selfies, putting the right hash tags and tagging more n more people in each of the posts, having good presence of mind to take the picture with right angle/background and making quick edits before posting, ensuring that caption text is exciting/inviting for people to like/respond etc makes a huge difference in how far your posts can reach out on social media- small things but if ignored, your post may not get as much reach as it reserves. Besides that one also needs to decide how much of content one should put on facebook and twitter- too many will spam our friends and I would prefer to have the primary content on my blog so that people visit the blog, instead of posting all content on facebook leaving them with no motive to visit blog.

Overall, I thank Changi Airport Group for hosting us and allowing us a wonderful experience at the airport and in Singapore. Also not to forget lots of planning and perfect execution by Tanvi and Alethea.

Last two pic courtesy Nivedith G.


Arun Prasadh said...

Interesting challenges. I would love to go down that slide and accepted tasting challenge happily.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Arun. Do try the slide when in Singapore

Deepak Raju said...

How do you ever find time to explore an airport?

I've been through that airport a few times. Frankly I didn't realize all these were available. Will surely explore next time. Thanks v. much.

Try to visit Bangkok airport. That's pretty impressive too.

And to complete this list at the bottom of the pile has to be Kolkatta airport. Facilities are non existent.

However all that aside, it has no traffic.

I've passed through at various time frames. It seemed our plane was the only one around.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

THis one was on invite, so we went there exclusively to check the airport. Even otherwise, I keep a buffer for traffic delays etc and end up at airport early.

I have seen Suvarnabhoomi airport in BKK and Kolkata too. Do explore Changi next time- information counter staff will be happy to guide you to attractions nearby

Santosh said...

Interesting.. Good to see you had fun

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Santosh