How to Get from Singapore Airport to City Centre

How to get from Singapore Airport to City Centre

Whether you’re landing at Changi Airport (SIN) on a stopover, or want to continue your journey from Singapore Airport to the city centre, you are flying into much more than just another international airport.

Since the turn of the millennium, Singapore (Changi) Airport has been voted by travellers the Best Airport in the World no less than 11 times, and second-best airport 11 times.

Renowned for its cleanliness and smooth, efficient operation, it is located on the eastern end of Singapore Island, covers an area of 25 square kilometres, and is around 19km from the city centre.

Over 100 airlines operate out of Changi using three runways and four terminals, with a fifth due for completion before 2030.

Direct flights cover Asia, Australasia, Oceania, Africa, North America, the Middle East and Europe, with the airport handling over 65 million passenger movements a year.

The amenities offered by Singapore International Airport are genuinely mind-blowing. 

Before flying back to your next destination, take advantage of what’s on offer at the airport – such as the butterfly garden, swimming pool, the four-storey high artificial waterfall, gardens, imitation rain forest, high-quality restaurants, designer stores and duty-free facilities.

So, after a tantalising taste of what futuristic Changi Airport has to offer as you make your way to the exits, what are the best ways to get from Singapore Airport to the city centre, to continue your exploration of this modern and intriguing city.

How to get from Singapore airport to city centre

Singapore MRT Map

1. Mass Rapid Transit system (MRT)

I always use the MRT to get from Changi Airport to the city centre. It is cheap, easy, and comfortable.

Unfortunately, there is no MRT system that whisks you directly into the city centre from Changi Airport. And you will probably need to make one or two changes to reach your final destination.

A single MRT line (Changi Line) operates from the airport and has a station at the basement of terminals 2 and 3. If you land at Terminal 1, you need to take the skytrain. If you land at Terminal 4, you need to pick up the shuttle bus which will take you to the MRT station.

The Changi Line stops at just three stations: Changi Airport, Expo, where you pick up the Downtown or BLUE line, and Tanah Merah, connecting with the Green Line, which stops in the most popular tourist areas in downtown Singapore.

If you are staying at City Hall, Marina Bay, Bugis or the Orchard area, you will need to change at Tanah Merah to the GREEN line. If you are staying at Civic District, Chinatown or Little India, change at Expo to the Blue line.

From Changi Airport, MRT operating times are Monday to Saturday from 05:31 to 23:18 and Sundays and public holidays from 05:59 to 23:18. If you arrive outside these times, you must use another transportation.

The fare from Singapore Airport to the city centre costs around 2 SGD (around 1,5 USD).

Public transport payment options include the usual credit/debit cards, EZ-Link cards, or a Singapore Tourist Pass (excellent value). Tickets, EZ-Link cards and Singapore Tourist Passes can be purchased from MRT stations and any ‘Changi Recommends’ store.

Tickets for the MRT are cheap, and the journey is quick, around 30 minutes from Singapore Airport to the city centre. 

However, when you have several heavy bags or young children in tow, the stress levels can increase when trying to shepherd everyone from one platform to another, especially during peak periods.

Further information can be found at:

2. City Shuttle

Changi Airport offers an excellent shuttle service operating from 07.00 to 23.00. Whichever terminal you arrive at, make your way along the concourse, looking for the Ground Transport Concierge in the arrivals hall. Every terminal has one.

  • At terminal 1 arrival, GTC is on the basement level
  • Terminal 2, at the arrival hall level 1, by door 5
  • At terminals 3 and 4, in the arrival halls on level 1, by the information desks

Manned 24 hours a day, the concierge will assist you with your booking, point you toward your pickup point, and give you a departure time. 

The shuttle covers the majority of city hotels with delivery to the door. It also covers Singapore’s business parks for those travelling on business, and transfer to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal for those heading to Johor Bahru.

Please bear in mind that shuttle seats are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, so you may have to wait for the next shuttle to your hotel to turn up if all seats are already booked.

Journey time from Singapore Airport to the city centre is around 30 minutes, depending on traffic and the number of drop-offs, and shuttles leave the airport every 30 minutes (or when they fill up) for the city centre.

The cost is 10 SGD for adults and 7 SGD for youngsters under 12. Payment can be made by your credit/debit card (an admin charge will apply), by EZ-Link, Singapore Tourist Pass, or by cash to the driver. Be sure to tender the exact fee as no change will be given.

These city shuttles were envisaged primarily for the business traveller and those with limited luggage. While one medium case and hand luggage per person shouldn’t prove a problem, anything more than that might cause issues.

More info:

3. People Carrier (Van)

The Ground Transport Concierge desk (found on all terminals at the arrivals concourse) is precisely what it says. It is designed to help newly arrived travellers select and book road transport from Singapore Airport to the city centre and anywhere else in Singapore.

The service, which includes a driver, offers a four-seater vehicle for 55 SGD per trip, or a seven-seater at 60 SGD per trip, to any destination in Singapore.

Further information on booking city shuttles and people carriers, plus pre-booking online, can be found at:

4. Public Bus

Although getting from Singapore Airport to the city centre by bus is the cheapest option, it is not recommended for those with large volumes of luggage due to lack of storage space.

It is also the most time-consuming option, with average journey times into the city running from 60 minutes to over 90 minutes plus during peak travel times. Nonetheless, for those travelling light with time on their hands, it’s a great way to enjoy a little Singaporean culture first-hand.

Bus stops can be found at the basement of terminals 1, 2 and 3, and are pickup points for routes 24, 27, 34, 36, 36A, 53, 110 and 858.

At Terminal 4, the bus stop is next to Car Park 4B, where you can catch routes 24, 34, 36 and 110.At the bus stop by SATS Inflight Caterers, you can catch routes 27, 53 and 858.

However, for those travelling from Singapore Airport to hotels in downtown Singapore around Marine Parade Road, Somerset Road, Orchard Road, Raffles Boulevard or Bras Basah Road, routes 36 and 36A are the ones you require.

Public buses operate seven days a week from 06.00 to 23.00, and frequency is around every 10 minutes up to 19.00 and every 15 minutes thereafter.

Fares using EZ-Link cost 1.34 SGD or, in cash, 2.50 SGD. Contactless international credit/debit cards will incur an admin charge.

If you’re paying by cash, tender the exact fare as the money goes straight into the farebox, and no change can be given by the drivers.

5. Airport Taxi

After a long, tiring journey, most travellers just want to get from the airport to their hotel as quickly and hassle-free as possible. Although not the cheapest option, an airport taxi remains one of the most popular ways for travellers to complete the final leg of their journey.

At Changi Airport, taxi ranks are located at terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4. All you have to do is follow the taxi signs displayed along the concourse.

Airport taxis operate 24/7 and are a good, safe way to complete your journey. Just join any queue forming at the rank and wait until your turn arrives.

Your journey from Singapore Airport to the city centre will generally take 25 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. 

Fares are notoriously tricky to pin down and will likely be anything from 25 SGD to 40 plus SGD, depending on destination, time of day and surcharges.

You also have the option of using a standard cab, which is generally blue or yellow, or a premium taxi (higher fare), usually silver, black or white. All operate from the taxi ranks.

All Changi Airport cabs operate on a meter, but you need to be aware of certain surcharges that will be added to the meter reading.

  • All trips emanating from the airport are subject to an 8 SGD surcharge between the hours of 19.00 to 23.59 Monday to Sunday and 6 SGD at all other times.
  • In addition, surcharges across Singapore include a midnight surcharge of 50% of the final meter reading between 00.00 and 05.59. seven days a week.
  • Peak hour surcharges between the hours of 06.00 to 09.30 Monday to Friday, 17.00 to 23.59 Monday to Sunday, and 10.00 to 14.00 Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays amount to 25% of the final meter fee.

6. Private Hire Transfer

Joining hundreds of your fellow passengers heading to the airport taxi ranks on a hot and humid Singapore day may not be your idea of the best holiday start, but there is a better, less stressful option.

There are numerous government-approved private hire operators you can choose from in Singapore and book online. Booking and confirmation online means one less thing to worry about when you arrive. Welcome track all flights, and adjust pickup times should your flight be delayed on-route.

You can also choose a vehicle to suit your needs. When booking online, include the numbers in your party and your full luggage so a suitably sized vehicle is waiting for you.

If you’re a couple wanting to do it in style, you can also book a chauffeur-driven limousine. Drivers speak English and will be waiting outside your arrival gate with your name clearly displayed on a board.

Several options can be found at: Changi Airport Private transfers

7. Rideshare

Although you won’t find Uber operating in Singapore, you can use several other rideshare companies to get from Singapore Airport to the city centre.

Grab, Gojek, Tada Mobility, and Ryde are probably the largest. And you can download the relevant apps from the Apple App Store or Google’s Play Store. Your chosen ride will meet you at the arrival pickup points at terminals 1, 2, 3 or 4.

Fees tend to vary due to the time of day and how busy the operators are, but are roughly similar to the taxi fees.

8. Hire Car

There is little need for the average tourist to hire a car from Singapore Airport to the city centre for their stay in Singapore. 

Using the city’s excellent, well-integrated and punctual public transport system, you can get from the airport to the city quickly and easily. The same applies to all the attractions you might want to explore around Singapore City.

However, hiring a car might be advantageous for business travellers on a tight schedule or visitors with plans to investigate areas further away from the city, such as Johor Bahru or Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Car rental companies at Changi Airport are limited compared to many other international airports, and different companies are located in different terminals.

A couple of points to consider. If you intend to use your hire car to day-trip from your hotel, it is well worth enquiring if the hotel has overnight guest parking facilities. If it doesn’t, be prepared for some hefty overnight parking charges.

Secondly, if you intend to visit Malaysia, enquire about a Touch ‘n GO (TNG) card when collecting your car. You will need it to pay the tolls around Johor Bahru Causeway, and it is the only form of payment accepted.

9. To Summarise (in order of preference)

Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit System

A cheap and efficient way to get from Singapore Airport to the city centre for those travelling light. This is may favourite way to get to the city centre. I always use the MRT.

Changi Airport Taxis:

The favourite way to get from Singapore Airport to the city centre for many travellers . Operating 24/7.

Rideshare from Changi Airport

A good alternative to the taxi, especially if the ranks are busy with long queues. You can pre-book prior to arrival with fares comparable to taxi costs.

Changi Airport Shuttles

Both convenient, cheap and also operating 24/7. Ideal for groups or travellers with large volumes of luggage.

Private Hire Transfer

For those prepared to pay a little bit more to walk out of arrivals straight to their waiting car and be whisked to their hotel in ultimate comfort. Online booking, 24/7 pickup.

Public Buses

Routes 36 and 36A are the main routes around Singapore City Centre. Really only suitable for singles or couples with minimum baggage, and daily airport-to-city commuters.

Hire Car

If you have no intention of leaving the city boundaries then a hire car is a poor investment. Instead, use buses, the MRT or taxis when you’re out and about.

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