This week, I flew back to Australia and got reacquainted with one of my favourite travel destinations.
No, I’m not talking about a beach resort, or a five star hotel or a world heritage site (although there are many of those that I do love).
I am talking about an airport, or rather, a part of an airport.
Singapore’s Changi Airport is huge and modern and well designed, but one rarely thinks of an airport as a pleasant place. It’s crowded and peopled by stressed travellers who just want to get out of there.
But Changi has something I have not seen in any other airport – it has butterflies. About a thousand of them.
I can’t remember the first time I saw the butterfly garden. It was many years ago. I was delighted to find it is still there.
It’s a two story enclosure, filled with wildflowers and a waterfall and of course, butterflies. It’s part of the terminal so during a transit stopover, you just walk in.
After 14 hours in a plane, it’s a chance to step outside into the fresh air. Of course, being Singapore, the air is very hot and humid and I started sweating within seconds, but at least it’s not recycled air inside a tin can at 40,000 feet.
The place is filled with local flowering plants and with butterflies. The butterflies are well cared for, and so used to people that it’s easy to watch them and photograph them. It just gave my mind a pleasant place to go – avoiding the knowledge that in a short time I had to get on another plane for another few hours of travel.
It’s a bit too hot and humid to stay there long, and there are other people waiting to come in, but it did give me a lift.
Changi also has an outdoor cactus garden and an indoor orchid garden, all of which are free and available to all travellers.
I wish more airports would do the same. Nothing is ever going to make long flights in economy class pleasant, at maybe the hours spent handing around airports could be better. (And yes – I will be visiting the butterflies again on my way home to London).