A rather ordinary looking beach and park, Changi Beach Park is something of a poor cousin to the larger, more prominent and much more accessible East Coast Park further down the coast. Still, it is a popular weekend spot for locals, particularly residents from the many nearby HDB (government built) housing estates, and airplane enthusiasts as well.
In the old days Changi was the de facto go-to beach for many Singaporeans. In the ‘70s however land fill was used to extend the entire south eastern coast of the island and a new man-made beach and park was created, the 15km long East Coast Park. The spanking new beach park with many facilities became instantly popular and proceeded to steal much of the thunder from the old Changi beach.
The Changi area also changed considerably with the development of the massive Changi International Airport opened in 1981. By early 2000 much of the Changi beach areas had also been sequestered and more land reclaimed from the sea to form the Changi Naval Base.
Changi Beach today is a shadow of its former self. While some of the old “kampong” (Malay for “village”) feel has been retained and some of the original white sand beach remains, much of the beach park has been upgraded with new facilities and man-made areas.
A 3km long swathe, the beach park runs along Changi Coast Road from the Changi Ferry Terminal at one end, and ends in a small peninsula across the Changi River (Sungei Changi) from the Changi Village Food Centre and Changi Point Ferry Terminal (how confusing is that?).
There are several carpark areas along the park. Also plenty of toilet and showering facilities, barbecue pits, as well as designated camping areas.
If you are an airplane enthusiast, Changi Beach Park provides opportune vantage points to shoot dramatic photos of planes coming in to land at close range (although not quite as dramatic as at the Princess Juliana International Airport in Saint Martin). The beach park is situated very close to one of the airport’s 2 runways, and you will be able to observe planes coming in from an eastern approach over the water then literally skimming the trees to land at the runway a few hundred metres away. The 7th busiest international airport in the world, Changi sees a flight take off or land roughly once every 2 minutes.
There is a jogging track and a bicycle path running through the park, and many cyclists actually cycle over from the East Coast Park as the tracks are linked.
There is also an al fresco café, called Bistro@Changi offering snacks and standard café fare, along with ice cold beers. It is a popular pit stop for cyclists.
The beach park is fairly quiet on weekdays, and in fact if you want to relax by the beach but want none of the crowds, restaurants and entertainment that East Coast Park offers, then Changi Beach Park would probably be better suited for you.
Eastern tip of Singapore, along Changi Coast Road.
Park is lit from 7pm to 7am.
HOW MUCH TIME
Really depends on what you plan to do there.
- During WWII and the Japanese occupation of Singapore, Changi Beach was one of the mass execution sites for the Sook Ching operation, a macabre undertaking to exterminate anti-Japanese elements among the Chinese community. Japanese firing squads gunned down many thousands of Chinese males on the beaches, including some at Changi.
- You can book a barbecue pit at the National Parks Board (NParks) site. Costs range from S$12-$20 for a day’s rental.
- If you plan on pitching a tent overnight at the camping spots you’ll need to register your particulars and apply for a permit from NParks as well. There is no fee involved, this is just a measure to prevent indiscriminate camping in the parks.
- NParks page on Changi Beach Park
- The National Library’s Infopedia site about the Sook Ching massacre.