Here are some last-minute travel ideas for the long weekend, whether you're looking for romance, adventure or shopping.
Procrastinators, breathe! We know, we all leave it too late to book trips for the public holiday weekends, but don’t give up the idea of having a short break from Singapore just yet! Whatever your holiday tastes are, we have just the last-minute travel plan for you! What’s more, these cool destinations are nearby, so you won’t spend too much of your precious days off on the plane. Here are some easy weekend getaways from Singapore for wandering nomads.
For a honeymoon paradise: The Maldives
No introduction needed – one of the most relaxing places on Earth, this honeymoon hotspot is the ultimate beach escape: the sand is whiter than white and the finest you will come across; the turquoise waters are crystal clear and home to an amazing underwater world – a diver and snorkeler’s paradise. There is also an excellent surf break for all those that are looking for a little thrill while on their holiday. Don’t get us started on the plethora of absolutely stunning hotels of various styles, from barefoot luxury to eco-friendly modern designs, that boast some of the best hospitality in the world!
Fastest way to get there: An average of four hours’ direct flight to the Maldives.
For romance: Koh Rong, Cambodia
Sitting amongst a lush cluster of mostly untouched islands, Song Saa Private Island is situated in Cambodia’s spectacular Koh Rong Archipelago – a haven of unexplored rainforests, baby powder-white beaches, and virgin coral reefs. Spanning two private twin islands, a wooden footbridge connects them, running over a marine reserve which safeguards the reefs and tropical marine life below. There are 27 luxurious beach, rainforest and over-water villas – with the latter being a first for this region. Upcycled materials from traditional fishing boats, driftwood, scrap metal and stone tastefully merge to create the unique, exquisite rustic-chic aesthetic that runs throughout.
Fastest way to get there: An average of two hours’ flight to the capital city, Phnom Penh, with another three hours’ taxi journey to Sianoukville where the fastest boat ride to Koh Rong takes about 40 minutes. Expect some delay when waiting for the next boat ride.
For adventure junkies: Labuan Bajo, Indonesia
Nothing says Crusoe like an (almost) undiscovered archipelago of islands. Indigo blue water, check. White sandy beaches, check. Mystical jagged mountains, check. Although the islands of Komodo and Rinca have gained some popularity in the past few years, many tourists aren’t dedicated enough to make the journey to Labuan Bajo (although flights from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo take only an hour and a half) – and that’s a good thing if you want peace and quiet. Many of the islands and atolls are uninhabited, making it exotic, idyllic and unspoiled – perfect for adventure and discovery.
Fastest way to get there: An average of six hours’ flight with one-stop via Jakarta or Denpasar.
For fabulous shopping: Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is our kinda city – awesome shopping, quirky nightlife, crackin’ food, and beautiful temples on every corner. For late-night drinks with fellow travellers, head to Khao San Road; Ari for hipster wares; and Chatuchak and Rod Fai Market for vintage tchotchkes, trendy threads, artisanal goodies, and Instagrammable snacks. Ready your camera (and your wallets): everything is asking to be snapped and bagged, whichever comes first. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to negotiate prices for a great bargain!
Fastest way to get there: An average of two hours and 30 minutes’ direct flight to either Suvarnabhumi or Don Meaung in Bangkok.
For great food: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is the perfect destination for any foodie. With a mélange of Malay, Indian, Chinese, Peranakan, Portugese (amongst others) influences along with tastebuds that won’t be sated, you could stay a long weekend gorging yourself silly. Petaling Jaya and Jalan Alor are popular amongst tourists and locals alike, testaments to the excellent food they put out. These food strips serve quintessential Malaysian food at street prices. And for some local labels to shop, head to Aseana, where you will find local designers creating some Pucci-esque dresses with traditional batik patterns. The Bangsar area is great for a spot of boutique shopping too!
Fastest way to get there: An average of an hours’ direct flight to Kuala Lumpur.
For families: Bali, Indonesia
Ocean breeze, salty hair, sun-kissed skin and that book you’ve been dying to get stuck into for month, Bali is our go-to destination whenever some major R&R is needed. It’s also the number one pick for families, and you know why? It’s easy, affordable and there’s something for everyone. But when it comes to our favourite places to stay in Bali, Seminyak is where we’ll be setting up camp. This bustling ‘hood is the epicentre of everything – whether you’re cafe-hopping or jumping off a waterfall, there’s no other precinct quite like it. Don’t forget to drop by popular attractions such as the Water Bom, Echo Beach and the plentiful restaurants that Seminyak has to offer. Be sure to subscribe to Honeycombers’ Bali to be in-the-know on all that’s happening in the lovely island.
Fastest way to get there: An average of two hours and 40 minutes’ direct flight to Denpasar in Bali.
For a relaxing weekend: Koh Samui
The laid-back vibes, family-friendly atmosphere, and proximity to Singapore make Koh Samui the ultimate relaxing break for both girly getaways and family trips. Head to Bophut if you want to experience one of the few places on the island that retains some of its original Thai-Chinese culture. Check out the charming fisherman village dotted with old Chinese shops and houses, and don’t forget to grab a bite at Orgasmic by Chef Wally that overlooks Bophut Bay. If you’re in the mood for peace and quiet, look no further than the Lamai-Hua Thanon area. Located on the South side of the island, you’ll find fewer tourists and superb seafood meals. There are also photo opps aplenty at the nearby Muslim fishing village; the elegantly painted kor lae boats and old school fish market are both highly Instagrammable.
Fastest way to get there: An average of an hour and 45 minutes’ direct flight to Koh Samui.
For a bustling experience: Macau, China
Often overlooked in favour of Hong Kong’s buzzing cityscape, Macao may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think ‘relaxing weekend getaway’ – it is, after all, dubbed the Las Vegas of Asia. But look past its bright lights and glitzy casinos and you’ll find that Macao offers an exciting mix of culture, shopping, food, and adventure – all the right ingredients for an epic weekend abroad. Macao is also one of the few places in Asia that boasts an exotic East-meets-West vibe – be it in its history, culture or cuisine, including authentic Macanese (Macao-Portuguese) food such as chourico (Portuguese sausage), bacalhau (cod fish), and leitão (roasted suckling pig).
Fastest way to get there: An average of three hours and 55 minutes’ direct flight to Macau.
For modern beaches: Bintan Island, Indonesia
Looking for the fastest short break from Singapore, that technically counts as going on a holiday abroad? A fast ferry ride away from Singapore is the tranquil archipelago of Bintan. With talcum-white sand beaches and grand golf courses, this beach destination is perfect for those desperate for a quick weekend away. Not the type to laze at the beach for hours or play golf? There are also a vast number of adrenaline-pumping activities including ATV rides and rainforest treks for adventure lovers. Plus, if you love the outdoors but hate roughing it out in the wild, have a taste of glamping at the Canopi Bintan Crystal Lagoon!
Fastest way to get there: An average of 50 minutes’ ferry ride from Tanah Merah to Bintan Island.
For water sports and activities: Cebu, Philippines
With 7, 107 islands (2,000 of which are inhabited), finding a tranquil beach in the Philippines is as easy as pie. A great introduction to the Philippines’ beaches is Cebu, only a direct flight away from Singapore. It’s a great for those who love snorkelling and diving; turtle sightings are very common and if you know where to go, you can even experience an impressive sardine run. If you need to couple your beach holiday with a bit of culture, Cebu boasts several temples, fort and shrines.
Fastest way to get there: An average of three hours and 45 minutes’ direct flight to Cebu.