How tech reignites wanderlust for the Garden City
FROM serving up novel dining experiences, innovative mall and retail concepts, one-of-a-kind attractions, to even using technology to redefine safety standards, Singapore’s quick adjustment to the new normal has helped propel it as one of the premier destinations to visit in the whole region of Southeast Asia.
And as Singapore and Malaysia have developed the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport, many eager wayfarers are preparing for the chance to finally resume leisure travel.
Smart nation for smarter travel
Half of the hassle in travelling has always been at the airports especially with new preventative Covid-19 measures in place.
With the VTL, those travelling to the Garden City can expect a safe and seamless travel experience. As part of the agreement, travellers can register and pay for their on-arrival PCR tests at Changi Airport before they depart from their country of origin.
Changi Airport was quick to upgrade its check-in systems with fully automated, touch-free kiosks alongside biometric systems that have been installed in the immigration lanes for safe and contactless identity verification that uses face-recognition technology instead of fingerprint scanning.
Using artificial intelligence (AI) that’s been tailored to globetrotters, you can download and use the Visit Singapore Travel Guide app which is a one-stop information hub for visitors to understand and familiarise themselves with safety and travel protocols in Singapore.
Singapore’s “crown jewel”
More than just impressing visitors with technological marvels, Changi Airport has been one of the first international airports to fully automate its systems for a seamless travel experience.
In the city-state, you can get started on your holiday the moment you touchdown. Jewel Changi Experience Studio at Changi Airport uses different types of technology to showcase various facets of the busy hub. Experiences here range from interactive arcade games, projection storytelling, immersive shows to gallery exhibits.
One exhibit is Cloud, a minimalistic but interactive exhibit that helps to initiate visitors on how to use the travel guide using visual displays within the digital dioramas of the studio.
There’s also an indoor Hanging Garden. Using the travel guide, visitors can explore seven stations located in this zone, with each showcasing various operational aspects of Changi Airport – from airside operations to horticulture.
A unique shopping experience
VivoCity, the largest shopping mall in Singapore, also houses Adidas’ newly opened performance concept store, Adidas Lab.
The sleek new space is split up into five different zones to enhance the overall shopping experience for consumers. One of the spaces boasts Adidas’ largest offerings of performance and athletic sporting gear, which include the popular Ultraboost shoes.
There’s also a dedicated space for the Adidas Original series. Here you will find an extensive range of the iconic Stan Smith sneakers, Adidas’ sustainable collections with Disney, and its line of “athleisure” shoes designed in collaboration with Pharrell Williams.
Visitors can also get creative with their new kicks and threads through the MakerLab. The first of its kind in Singapore, the MakerLab allows everyone and anyone to design their dream sneakers with experimental forms and fabric materials.
The in-store service is also extended to a line of Singapore-exclusive items that you can only find at the flagship store, such as the Adizero Takumi Sen 7 running shoes and Climacool Vento shoes.
Reinventing a popular spot
It comes as no surprise that online shopping has grown in popularity since the start of the pandemic. But there is still something special about going to the mall and picking up that new sweater you’ve been eyeing.
For Funan Mall, it marries the best of both worlds, owning up to its moniker as a “phygital mall”.
Since its reopening in June 2019, Funan Mall has taken on a more artsy yet futuristic design after its renovation, complete with an urban farm on the rooftop level.
Meanwhile, digital enhancements have also been included to cater to the rising trend of online shopping by introducing around the clock ‘click-and-collect’ drive through service where you will get your gifts from a robotic arm. Here you can shop from some of the best of international brands like Taobao, Brompton Junction, Audio-Technica, Fossil, and Singaporean fashion brand Love, Bonito.
At the centre of Funan Mall is a 25-metre-tall “Tree of Life”. As one of the major highlights of the mall’s facelift, the structure serves as a centrepiece that houses retail pods for brands to showcase their products in a pop-up store.
Once you’re tuckered out, make a stop and grab some nosh at the KOPItech food court where you can use Facebook Messenger or one of the self-service kiosks which accept cashless payments.
Reignite and reunite
Whatever you think you know about Singapore, get ready to discover a new side when you visit. More than just leaving an impression with technological marvels, the Garden City retains its rich multicultural heritage as a cornerstone in the city-state’s identity.
Whether you’re strolling through one of the new future-forward malls like Funan Mall or taking a walk on nature’s path at Gardens by the Bay, you can be sure to refuel your love for travel, food and leisure.
Wherever you decide to go, remember to check out the ICA SafeTravel site to keep updated on the latest VTL travel requirements.