2020 Long Weekends: 8 Short Getaway Ideas From Singapore

2020 Long Weekends: 8 Short Getaway Ideas From Singapore

Maximise your long weekends and enjoy a well-deserved break!

Workers in Singapore rejoice! Next year, there will be seven three-day long weekends without even needing to apply for leave. (May I remind you that this is definitely an upgrade from a mere four long weekends this year?)

Being Singaporeans, we definitely want to utilise our leave and long weekends prudently. By taking leave strategically on only eight days, not only are you able to stretch the existing long weekends to four days, but you’re also able to carve out one more four-day long weekend. That earns you a total of eight four-day long weekends!

If you are already wondering where to spend your precious vacation time, here are eight short getaway ideas to get your inspiration flowing:  

1. Drive to: Bukit Tinggi, Malaysia

Bukit Tinggi is only a 5-hour drive from Singapore. This small town provides a peaceful respite from nearby Genting Highlands. You definitely need to stay at Bukit Tinggi’s most popular accommodation option; Colmar Tropicale Berjaya Hills. This resort’s architecture draws inspiration from Colmar, a town located in Alsace, France. Having personally been to the real Colmar, I must say that this Malaysian version is darn similar! From its architectural elements to the shades of colours used, you don’t have to hop on a long-haul flight to experience this picturesque French town.

long weekend getaways

Image credit: Gula Kapas

There are plenty of activities for you and your family at the Colmar Tropicale resort, such as enjoying the lush forests on a Horse Trail, relaxing in the Japanese Village and feeding rabbits at the Rabbit Park. Outside the resort grounds, enjoy some of Malaysia’s untouched natural gems at Lentang Forest Reserve. You can take a dip in a hot spring at Kolam Air Panas Bentong or marvel at the sight of the majestic Bentong Waterfall.

Also read: Top 7 Attractions to Explore in Bukit Tinggi

2. Drive to: Mersing, Malaysia

Image credit: Amos

About a 3-hour drive from Singapore is the less traversed city of Mersing. Although most people see Mersing as a gateway to tropical Malaysian islands, such as Tioman Island and Rawa Island, there’s more to this coastal town than meets the eye.

You don’t have to hop on a boat to get to a white sand beach. On the mainland, you can bask in the sunshine at Air Papan Beach, which is lined with beach chalets and other facilities. You can also immerse yourself in Mersing’s multicultural town by visiting Sri Subramaniam Temple, Hock Soon Temple and Masjid Jamek Bandar Mersing.

If you love being by the beach, stay at one of the unique accommodation options at Air Papan Beach Resort. The resort also has a swimming pool and offers barbeque and karaoke facilities if you need a break from the salty seas. Want accommodation that is easily accessible to the jetty? Opt for Mersing Hotel, which is only a five-minute walk from the jetty. Mersing Hotel also offers quadruple rooms for families and is located opposite the popular Calypso Cafe.

Also read: 7 Gorgeous Malaysian Islands You Can Reach From Mersing Jetty

3. Take a ferry to: Cempedak Island, Indonesia

long weekend getaways

Image credit: Cempedak Island

Truly enjoy your hard-earned vacation by heading to a private island! Located only 91 kilometres from Singapore, Cempedak Island is a sanctuary for all you overworked souls. Choose either a beach villa or seaview villa and spend your stay refuelling your depleted energy tanks.

The entire journey from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Cempedak Island takes approximately two and a half hours. You first take a one-hour ferry from Singapore to Bintan. Then, the Cempedak Island team will accompany you during the one-hour car journey and 30-minute speed boat ride to Cempedak Island. Rest assured, all this travelling is worth it.

Image credit: Cempedak Island

If you’re coming to Cempedak Island to unwind, the Rock Spa is the epitome of relaxation. The spa gets its name as it is perched on top of granite boulders and nestled within a mangrove bay. With rooms facing the ocean, let the sound of the waves gently lapping on the shore serenade you as the pampering begins.

Want to enjoy rejuvenating activities among nature? Choose from a myriad of land and sea activities which include mountain biking, trekking, snorkelling and kayaking. While engaging in these revitalising activities, look out for the island’s wildlife such as pangolins, sea otters and even dolphins!

4. Take a ferry to: Pangkil Island, Indonesia

Image credit: Pangkil Island Resort

If you love the idea of having a private island to yourself and your closest friends, head over to Pangkil Island. Like the previous island, getting to Pangkil Island requires hopping on several modes of transportation. The whole journey from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Pangkil Island takes approximately three hours. Again, you must first take a one-hour ferry from Singapore to Bandar Bintan Telani. Then, the Pangkil Island Resort team will escort you on the 90-minute land transfer and 30-minute boat ride to Pangkil Island, a slice of paradise.

Image credit: Pulau Pangkil

Pangkil Island Resort offers nine different kinds of accommodation, which are named ‘The Driftwood Palaces’. You will never guess that these unique palaces are assembled using logs retrieved from the sea and the surrounding islands!

If you want to remain active on vacation, rally your friends and have a game of beach volleyball or boules. There are also jungle tracks around the island which is perfect to squeeze in a light jog. If you need a break from the sun, you can still engage in indoor team bonding activities such as table tennis, board games and a game of pool.

5. Fly to: Belitung, Indonesia

long weekend getaways

Image credit: wafa hanifah

With its crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches, it is not difficult to see why Belitung is named the ‘Maldives of Indonesia’ by the locals. Now that Garuda Indonesia has offered a new flight route direct from Singapore to Tanjung Pandan on Belitung Island, this island paradise is a mere one and a half hour flight away!

To fully enjoy the beaches, stay at Hotel Santika Premiere Beach Resort Belitung, a beachfront hotel with its own private beach. If you want to savour in authentic island life, stay at Homestay Joss. The friendly owners and excellent location will surely enhance your beach getaway.

Image credit: Arif Djohari

Other than the beautiful beaches on the mainland, you have to go island hopping to check out other pristine beaches on other nearby islands such as Lengkuas Island, Pulau Pasir, Tanjung Kelayang, Pulau Batu Garuda and Pulau Batu Berlayar. If you prefer staying on the mainland, a visit to Kaolin Lake is a must. This man-made lake sits on what was once a kaolinite mining area. Due to the white mineral deposits, the sand turned white and the water takes on a bright blue hue. The result is a stunning landscape that looks like it belongs on a distant planet!

6. Fly to: Yangon, Myanmar

Image credit: erer ererer

Although Yangon is only a three-hour flight away from Singapore, this charming city is painfully underrated. With a mix of modern buildings and traditional pagodas, this city is unlike any other. You cannot miss the Shwedagon Pagoda that dominates the Yangon skyline. This 99-metre tall gold plated and diamond studded pagoda goes by different names, such as Shwedagon Zedi Daw, the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda.

Image credit: Mg Cthu

Nearby the pagoda is Karaweik Hall and Kandawgyi Lake Yangon. This man-made lake draws water from Inya Lake and was made to supply clean water to the city during British rule. In the evening, head down to Karaweik Hall to catch traditional dance performances while feasting on an international buffet.

Merchant Art Hotel is a boutique hotel that is located in the heart of the city. Filled with over 200 hand-painted artwork, this hotel feels more like an art gallery! If you want the convenience of being near the city, but still want some peace and quiet, Summit Parkview Yangon is perfect for you. As the name suggests, you get the view of the Shwedagon Pagoda from most hotel rooms.

7. Fly to: Bohol, Philippines

Image credit: David Leaño

This less-travelled Filipino island is only a four-hour flight from Singapore. Bohol’s most famous natural attraction is none other than the Chocolate Hills! There are over a thousand cone-shaped hills that are spread over a whopping 50 square kilometres of land. They look like colossal chocolate kisses during the dry season, when the green grass turns brown. Although this natural phenomenon baffled geologists, they definitely are a chocolate-lovers dream!

Image credit: jaya

If you’re an animal lover, you mustn’t miss the chance to see the endangered tarsiers at The Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary. At only three to six inches tall, the Philippine tarsier is the smallest primate in the animal kingdom. Despite their small size, you’ll notice that they have huge eyes. In fact, these cute animals have the largest eye-to-body ratio in all mammals!

If you’re a beach bum, you’ll be happy to know that Cabilao Sanctuary Beach & Dive Resort is located just a stone’s throw away from the beach. The hotel can also arrange diving expeditions for you to enjoy the thriving sea life in the ocean. To be closer to the Chocolate Hills, Villa del Carmen Bed and Breakfast is a great hotel that provides excellent service at a great value.

8. Fly to: Luang Prabang, Laos

Image credit: Sharon Ang

Luang Prabang is an ancient royal city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This historical city is only a three-hour flight from Singapore. The magnificent multi-level Kuang Si Waterfall is a must-see in Luang Prabang. With the pale emerald waters falling from a height of 60 metres and through a series of pools, this waterfall seems almost magical.

The best time to visit the falls is definitely in the morning when the crowds have not arrived yet. If you’re not an early riser, stay at the Vanvisa Kuang Si Water Fall Resort which is located only five minutes away from the falls. You can also enjoy authentic Lao cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant.

Image credit: Sharon Ang

For you shopaholics, the Handicraft Night Market is your version of heaven. Traverse through the market to find a countless number of items for sale, such as silk scarves, T-shirts, shoes and ceramic products.

One of the best areas to stay in central Luang Prabang is the Historic District. Located in a quiet area at the tip of the city, Mekong Riverview Hotel is a charming boutique hotel which still provides easy access to the city. The hotel also offers stunning views of both the Mekong River and Nam Khan River.

It’s not halfway through the year yet and I’m already excited for 2020! Happy planning and may your bosses grant you your leave applications!

About Author

Sara Amira
Sara Amira

Sara’s passions in life are travelling, writing and eating. When she’s not in a window seat of a plane, she’s either cafe-hunting or exploring new neighbourhoods


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