Singapore Changi Airport Tax Free Scam
Posted on June 2nd, 2010

Prof. Hudson McLean

Singapore Changi Airport Tax Free Scam

I travel frequently to Singapore on business and except to buy my three bottles of Chivas Regal, I spend my time in the Business Class Lounge.

Several times, I have cruised passed some of the “Tax Free?” shops in the glorious Changi Airport.  The prices are over 50-120% higher than in the City of Singapore.

This is an arrogant “SCAM” at the Changi Airport.

Although the Business Class Lounge offers a wide range of drinks the cuisine is very basic compared with the Thai BKK Airport Business Class Lounges.

Even in the Food Court, Terminal One, the prices are over 200% higher than in town.  The Indian food which is available at Race Course Road Little India, or Tanglin Shopping Plaza at the top of Orchard Road, or in the Food Court at Concorde Hotel Basement, at around S$ 3.00 is S$ 15.00. 

The taste is nothing authentic but horrid. The Indian cook is not at all hygienic but unwashed and dirty. 

Electronics – which you can get at Sim Lim Square for S$ 120-; is around S$200-; at Changi.  The mark-up is exorbitant.

For Computer and Accessories – Try Funan Center. The prices are competitive, but after sales service is not the best.

Clothing – Do Not Buy at the airport. 

Unless you are in a desperate hurry, Do Not Buy any articles of any value at Changi International Airport.

Best Buys – Alcohol, Tobacco, Confectionaries.

However, should you demand quality service and after-sales service, try Takashimaya at Orchard Road.

For good South Indian Cuisine – Gayatri Restaurant next to Muthu’s Curry House Race Course Road.

Authentic Japanese Cuisine – Basement at Wheelock and a good value steaks at Jacks Place , on the top floor.

Drinks in the evening – Cuppage Terrace Restaurants and Bars next to Centre Point.

Your feed back would be most welcome!

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5 Responses to “Singapore Changi Airport Tax Free Scam”

  1. PRIYAN WIJEYERATNE Says:

    Having spent time in Singapore as an expatriate, your views about Changi and other joints are correct. At the time, early to middle 90s, alcohol was cheaper at Colombo airport. I guess, the lesson we can learn from it is that once you have established your mark you may then focus on how to make a quick buck, although by over doing it, you may end way down the drain, if you are not careful!!

  2. frequent traveller Says:

    As a frequent traveller in Asia, quite surprised to see your views. I find the prices at Changi quite reasonable compared to a lot of international airports I’ve been to, though I can’t say I’ve seen it all.

    In any case, do you know if you’ve bought something that is a lot more expensive than in the city, you can actually ask for a refund that is two times the price difference!

    http://www.changiairport.com/shopping-and-dining/shopping-guarantees;jsessionid=1A349FA1EBDA881563A0D70B7A4199F8

    http://www.changiairport.com/shopping-and-dining/shopping-guarantees;jsessionid=1A349FA1EBDA881563A0D70B7A4199F8

  3. cassandra Says:

    So, you travel Business Class and favour Chivas Regal. Can’t fault you on your good tastes and good fortune.
    But when it comes to shopping, duty free or otherwise, there is no better advice to follow than the old adage of ‘caveat emptor’ – ‘let the buyer beware’. Thanks for the tips, anyway.

  4. De Costa Says:

    You are too “high class” to my taste.
    Computer/ Parts – don’t go to Funan Centre – Sim Lim Square is cheaper. ( you cannot return any goods in Singapore even if they are faulty anyway !)
    South Indian Cuisine – try Masala Hut ( “kanu kade” as we call it) in Chander Road ( parallel to Race Course Road)
    Souht Indian Cuisine is best when prepared by unwashed and dirty Indian cooks ! what do you expect ? The best are the illegal workers who cook there for a living – have some compassion.
    You can try McDonald style Komalas ( do not entre the kitchen to check – just eat)
    My experience is perfume at Changi duty free is competitve.
    Chivas Regal – Cheaper in Australia burn you liver off !
    Takashimaya is for the rich. Buy from any other Dept Store.

  5. Sree lankan Says:

    At B’naike Airport Nescafe cost US$1/- (Rs 108/-) but the same is cost Rs 25 at the Arpico. So if you want to drink a coffee do you want to travel all the way Arpico? Then you pay the cost. Really a Prof.. Doubt so..

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