Jewel Changi Airport recently (11 April) opened its door to give selected members of the public and media a sneak peek into the much-awaited lifestyle destination.

The 135,700 sqm complex, built on the site of the former Terminal 1 open air carpark is designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie and features a distinctive dome-shaped facade.

There’s lots of stuff to shop, see, do and experience at the destination – from unique attractions, to one-of-a-kind retail concept stores, to brand new dining concepts, there is something for everyone.

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When we first stepped into the ten-storey complex, we were overwhelmed by the sheer size and the architectural details.

There are over 280 units in the complex, of which 30% are dedicated to F&B and the remaining space dedicated is to retail.

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The tenant mix also features well-established brands and anchor tenants, including a Fairprice Finest supermarket and a Shaw cinema with IMAX.

Further elevating the retail and dining experiences are the duplex retail spaces, terrace garden F&B options and dining facilities under the stars.

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Visiting Jewel for the first time can be quite an overwhelming experience, but fret not, we are here to provide some quick tips and tricks for first-time visitors.

Note that these tips and tricks adhere to our aversion for queues. We believe that the purpose of checking out a brand new attraction is for an overall experience rather than to go to a specific shop or food place – these can be done when the novelty wears off.

1. Avoid the F&B concepts during lunch or dinner time (especially A&W)

Unless you don’t mind waiting over two hours for your food that is

Singaporeans are seriously crazy about food and are willing to queue for hours just to try out the the newest food craze in town. The hottest queue would be for the A&W store at B2. We did not brave the queue as we were told that it would take at least an hour to even get to order and another to get your food served.

Our advice is to avoid all the F&B concepts during meal times and instead, head over during the odd hours in the morning or around 3 to 5pm, when the queue is thinner. In the case of A&W, since they are open 24 hours daily, consider visiting around 4 to 5am when everyone else is asleep.

If you were to ask us, our advice is to stay off the buzzy stores and head back again a few weeks later after the queue thins down. There’s a lot more to see and do than to spend too much time queuing for a root beer and curly fries.

However, if you are a hardcore foodie or Instagrammer who die-die wants the bragging rights of being one of the first to pose with an A & W root beer float in hand, by all means join the queue.

Bring a power bank and load up on data to play game or watch Netflix to keep yourself entertained while you queue. You’ll thank us later.

2. Must-visit: Canopy Park on the topmost level of Jewel

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Canopy Park will become a ticketed attraction after the official opening on 17 April. There are many fun offerings to look forward to like mirror mazes and slides which are not fully operational yet, but you can still visit to take a look. The park includes 14,000 sqm of attractions integrated within a garden-like setting.

If you have young kids, this is the place to take them to to let them run wild and have fun. There’s an interesting mist machine that allows kids and parents alike to let off steam literally.

3. HSBC Rain Vortex and Shiseido Forest Valley

As you can see, we tend to gravitate towards the attractions rather than the dining and shopping experiences. That’s because we dislike queues and would prefer to experience the place to make full use of our time there.

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The world’s tallest 40-metre waterfall will cascade through an oculus in the roof of Jewel’s glass façade. Rainwater is funnelled into the waterfall and harvested for landscape irrigation as part of the complex’s sustainability efforts.

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Spread across five levels, the garden is surrounded by a retail marketplace that is accessible via a series of vertical canyons from the Shiseido Forest Valley. Two nature trails meander through the gardens, climbing 30 vertical metres from bottom to top.

4. The new-to-market brands in Singapore

Brands coming to Singapore for the first time at Jewel include Shake Shack, Emack & Bolio’s, JW360, Laderach Chocolatier Suisse, Lavender, OYSHO, PINK FISH, Pokemon Centre Singapore, Shang Social and Yun Nans.

If you were to ask us, these are the must-visit stores as they are new to the Singapore market and can only be found in Jewel.

5. Ask about Jewel Exclusive Products and Services

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Many of the shops and restaurants offer Jewel exclusive products and services. As such, make sure to ask when you visit any of the units at Jewel so you don’t miss out on any of these exclusive goodies.

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For instance, at the Starbucks store at Jewel, there are exclusive drinks like the Nitro Flat White, Nitro Caramel Macchiato, Nitro Tropical Fruit Tea, and Nitro Green Tea Latte which are only available at Jewel in Singapore.

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6. Go local at Jewel

About 50% of Jewel’s tenant mix consists of brands that originate from Singapore to showcase our homegrown brands to international visitors and locals.

Established brands like In Good Company, Supermama and Tiger Street Lab will offer differentiated experiences through renewed or brand-new concepts. As mentioned, many stores offer Jewel-exclusive products or services and it’s worth checking with the service staff what these may be.

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A specially curated food souvenir cluster on Level 1 features homegrown brands offering iconic Singapore products that tourists and transit passengers can take home. These brands include Bee Cheng Hiang, Bengawan Solo, Chocolate Origin, Cookie Museum, L’eclair Patisserie, Rich and Good Cake Shop Since 1997, Taste Singapore and Tong Garden.

7. Eat Supper and Chill till Late

If you intend to stay late and chill at Jewel, Canopy Park and Jewel’s Basement 2 will be buzzing with activity long after the retail shutters come down.

The eight casual dining and bar offerings at Canopy Park will operate until 3am. In Basement 2, at least half of the offerings at the Five Spice by Food Junction food court will operate round the clock, alongside more than 30 other shops and restaurants including A-One Signature, A&W, IRVINS X Salted Egg, Swatow Kitchen, Stuff’d, An Acai Affair and Potato Corner.

8. Stay overnight in Jewel at YOTELAIR

If you really love your experience so much at Jewel that you can’t bear to leave, consider checking in for the night at YOTELAIR Singapore Changi Airport in Jewel.

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Guests can stay a minimum of just four hours at this swanky, contemporary 130 cabins hotel featuring free hi-speed WiFi, Netflix connected flat-screen televisions and other digital-age necessities.

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YOTELAIR Singapore Changi Airport is currently running a opening special promotion with discounted room rates. Visit their official website for more information.