The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Visitors enjoying a view of the Shiseido Forest Valley from the Canopy Park at Jewel yesterday. The main draw for many, though, was the 40m-tall indoor waterfall at the $1.7 billion complex. (The Straits Times/Lim Yaohui)
At 40 meters, Jewel Changi Airport's indoor waterfall is the world's tallest. And it proved the popular choice for snaps and selfies as around 60,000 people became the first members of the public to experience the $1.7 billion, 10-storey complex.
About half a million people have signed up for free preview tickets to visit the 135,700 sq m complex, up to 10pm next Tuesday, before Jewel fully opens its doors next Wednesday, its official opening day.
Located next to Terminal 1, it is connected to Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 via air-conditioned travelators.
Actor J. Jaikishan, 26, was among those who visited yesterday.
"Jewel is a giant teaser for what Singapore has to offer to the world," he said. "An indoor garden, nightlife, food and water features can all be found here, right where many visitors to Singapore will be."
While Jewel boasts more than 280 shops and food and beverage outlets from Basement 2 to Level 5, for many, the main draw was the waterfall that occasionally emitted mist.
"Even looking at the waterfall can be soothing," said Mr S.P. Yong, 72, a retired Chinese language tutor who was at the fifth-storey garden with his wife.
McDonald's service crew member Doreen Yong, 56, and her daughter Vivien Neui, 22, were among the first group of visitors to the Pokemon Centre - the first one outside Japan.
"We were excited to visit it as both of us are Pokemon fans who play Pokemon Go," said Ms Neui, a Republic Polytechnic student who walked away with a Singapore-exclusive Pikachu plushie.
Food was also big on the visitors' list of things to do.
American chain A&W, the first fast-food outlet to open in Singapore in 1966 before it pulled out in 2003, attracted long queues on its return to the country. At 6pm, there were over 50 people in the queue at the 24-hour, 80-seat outlet at Basement 2. A staff member informed customers that the queueing time was about an hour, with about another hour's wait for food to be served.
Restaurant manager Melanie Aquino, 32, gave up as she felt the queue was too long. "It is a pity as the last time I ate at an A&W in Singapore was more than 10 years ago," said Ms Aquino, who had taken half a day's leave to be there with five relatives.
Fans of Shake Shack have to wait longer, however, as it will open to the public only next Wednesday.
The New York burger chain, which will offer exclusive local items such as vanilla frozen custard ice cream blended with pandan and coconut and topped with gula melaka crumble, was open only to the media yesterday.
Three teams from a lion dance troupe were seen performing outside different shops to usher in good luck and prosperity.
Play attractions on the fifth storey were not open, but visitors could stroll through the garden.
Hobbyist photographer Goe Meng Hui, 25, was there to capture a good shot of the indoor waterfall. "This reminds me of the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay but yet is unique in its own way," said the undergraduate.
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