Senses come alive at airport's Enchanted Garden

SINGAPORE - A new garden with the sights and sounds of Nature has sprung up at Changi Airport to refresh the soul of weary travellers.

Sitting amid rows and rows of shops in Terminal 2, the garden in the transit area for departing passengers bursts into life with birds chirping and flowers blooming whenever a traveller enters - thanks to modern technology.

The Enchanted Garden is rigged with sensors, which when stepped on, trigger the sounds of the rainforests of Borneo.

Walking among the thick ferns, sensors will also bring to bloom mechanical anthurium flowers.

The multi-sensory experience is a hit with frequent travellers like Ms Saw Yee Linn, a ground staffer at Dubai airport.

Said the 32-year-old who was on a six-hour transit: "You don't get this in other airports.

"Time passes faster when you have interesting things like this."

Agreeing, Canadian Mitchell Jordan, 15, added: "It's great to see Nature where you least expect it."

The 390 sq m garden, with ferns and flowers of 50 different species, was conceived from feedback received from travellers, said Changi Airport Group's spokesman Robin Goh.

"Some transits are several hours long and we were looking for ways to make travellers not feel as cooped up at an airport.

"And when we asked them what they wanted in an airport, coming back to nature ranked quite high," said Mr Goh.

It is the airport's fifth garden and the first to have high-tech sound and sensor elements.

Other gardens include the Cactus Garden in T1 and Butterfly Garden in T3.

Dominating the new Enchanted Garden is four giant glass vases, shaped like a bouquet to hold at least 300 freshly-cut flowers.

"Most of the live plants here are grown in the airport's nursery. It helps them adapt to an indoor environment with less sunlight," Mr Goh said.

The garden also has a koi pond where visitors can feed the fish, a favourite feature of fisheries manager Egil Nilsen.

Said the 45-year-old from Norway: "Airports are usually cold and stony, so this is refreshing."

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