Thinking about jetting off somewhere for your next long weekend holiday? With Singapore being a major Southeast Asian hub, it’s easy to get to tons of exciting destinations that are just a short plane ride, car ride or boat ride away. Just think—you can take off on a Friday and be back by Monday fully rested and rejuvenated. If you’re looking for some last minute weekend holiday ideas, these are some of our favourite places close to Singapore where you can enjoy a quick and easy beach vacay, culture trip, or city break.
Bali is only about two hours away by plane and offers a plethora of things to see and do, making it one of the most popular weekend getaways from Singapore. Spend some time surfing breaks along the Bukit, hitting up beach clubs in stylish Seminyak, hanging out at hip bars and cafes in Canggu, or exploring your creative side in artsy Ubud. You can also do some white water rafting, trek a volcano at sunrise, dive among tropical fish and sunken ships, or just bliss out in a hammock far from the stresses of busy city life.
Getting there: There are numerous direct flights from Singapore to Bali every day. The flight takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.
Where to stay: Immerse yourself in Indonesian culture at Katamama, a unique boutique hotel by the Potato Head group. Everything about the resort pays homage to Indonesian artistry from the 1.5 million handmade Balinese bricks to the hand-dyed textiles and farm-to-table restaurant. If the surf breaks of Canggu are more your style, The Slow is a sweet space that blends seamlessly into its surroundings with all-natural elements. And if you’re planning a trip to Ubud, you can’t beat Bisma Eight for chic boutique vibes.
Katamama, Jalan Petitenget No 51B, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia 80361. p. +62 (0)361 302 9999
The Slow, 97 Jalan Batu Bolong, Canggu, Bali 80361. p. +62 (0)361 209 90000
Bisma Eight, Jalan Bisma, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia 80571. p. +62 (0)895 384 792 888
A trip to Bintan may be a bit of a cliche, but hey—the archipelago has everything you need for a short getaway from Singapore including high-end resorts, sandy beaches, water sports, and great food. You could spend the entire weekend just reclining next to the pool, feasting on fresh BBQ seafood, and strolling along the sand. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can explore sea gypsy villages, take a sea plane ride over the islands, play a few rounds of golf, or hike through the jungle.
Getting there: A ferry ride from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bintan takes about 1 hour.
Where to stay: Perfect for families or couples looking to chill out in style, The Sanchaya offers 29 spacious rooms and suites and an impressive private residence, all of which are richly decorated and fitted out with modern amenities. When you’re not relaxing in your air-conditioned sanctuary or suntanning on the sand and cooling off in the ocean and pool, you can indulge in creative cuisine and fine wines at the dining venues and de-stress at the spa.
The Sanchaya, Jalan Gurindam Duabelas, Plot 5, Sebong Lagoi, Tlk. Sebong, Kabupaten Bintan, Kepulauan Riau 29155. p. +62 (0)770 692 200
Jump on a plane and in just under two hours you can be snorkelling in turquoise waters amidst the backdrop of craggy limestone karsts. Besides being a prime beach destination, Krabi is also a world-renowned rock climbing centre, so newbies can learn the basics of scaling sheer rock walls and experienced climbers can test their mettle on towering cliffs. For those who prefer to simply bask in the sun with a good book, there are plenty of golden beaches where you can chill out and work on your tan.
Getting there: Scoot Airlines offers direct flights from Singapore to Krabi daily. The flight takes about 2 hours.
Where to stay: Krabi can get crowded, but the Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort is like an oasis of calm. This sprawling five-star resort has its own private beach, plus two beachfront pools, a slew of restaurants and bars serving up gourmet cuisine, a fitness centre, and a serene spa. We love that all the room types have private balconies overlooking the lush gardens and ponds.
Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort, 155 Nong Thale, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81180, Thailand. p. +66 75 628 000
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Nature lovers will love a trip to Kuching in Borneo. This sleepy riverside town has plenty of charm with old Chinese shophouses, funky cafes, and a beautiful boardwalk that comes to life with food vendors at night. It’s also the gateway into a number of protected national parks cloaked in steamy rainforests and criss-crossed with winding rivers that make their way past traditional villages with bamboo longhouses. Take a trip into the wild and you might catch sight of crocodiles, orangutans and hornbills.
Getting there: There are numerous direct flights from Singapore to Kuching. The flight takes about 1.5 hours.
Where to stay: Chic, contemporary, and within walking distance to great restaurants, bars and shops, the Pullman Kuching is the perfect place to base yourself in this riverside city. The spacious rooms boast floor-to-ceiling windows that offer views over the river or the city. Be sure to hit up Liquid Bar where you can chill out with cocktails next to the pool.
Pullman Kuching, 1A Jalan Mathies, 93100 Kuching Sarawak, Malaysia. p. +60 82 222 888
Fancy a road trip? Malacca is just a few hours drive from Singapore and a wonderful mishmash of old and new. Stroll through the winding laneways past historic Chinese shophouses, old churches, and hawker stalls selling a slew of enticing eats. Visit the Baba-Nyona museum to learn about Peranakan culture in the region, visit the Sultanate Palace to see how the Sultan Mansur Shah lived in the 15th century, and hit up the lively night market on Jonker Street.
Getting there: Malacca is about 2 to 3 hours from Singapore by car depending on traffic.
Where to stay: Set in a 1920s mansion that was once the home of a wealthy Chinese merchant, The Majestic Malacca offers up gorgeous architecture and interiors along with a bit of history. Guests can sign up for Peranakan cooking classes, set off on a guided historical walk through the city, or take a boat cruise down the Malacca River.
The Majestic Malacca, 188 Jalan Bunga Raya, Melaka, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia. p. +60 3 2783 1000
Nikoi Island, Indonesia
If it’s some serious R&R you’re after, Nikoi Island is the perfect solution. This gorgeous private island is the biggest in the Riau Archipelago and it boasts beautiful white sand beaches, lush rainforests, and coral reefs teeming with marine life. The beach villas are made with natural local materials so they blend seamlessly into the environment, and each is outfitted with modern conveniences. The resort also has an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and two restaurants including one for couples and one for families.
Getting there: Take a high-speed catamaran from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bintan Island. The Nikoi Island team will meet you on Bintan and whisk you off to Nikoi Island. The trip takes about 2 hours.
Nikoi Island, Indonesia
Just like Singapore, Penang was once an important trading hub and a landing point for travellers from across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, so you’ll find plenty of history and culture here. Hang out in the capital of Georgetown to sample delicious dishes with global influences, peruse street art, or visit historic Chinese clan houses and temples. Just a short drive away you’ll find impressive beaches, rolling green hills, and endless views of the sea.
Getting there: There are numerous direct flights from Singapore to Penang every day. The flight takes about 1.5 hours.
Where to stay: When in Georgetown, a stay in a heritage hotel is a must. Seven Terraces ticks all the right boxes with beautiful rooms set in restored historic shophouses right in the heart of the city. Elegant touches include smooth wooden floorboards made from recycled timber, ornate latticework, traditional Peranakan floor tiles, and antique furnishings.
Seven Terraces, Stewart Ln, Georgetown 10200, Penang, Malaysia. p. +60 4264 2333
Pangkor Laut, Malaysia
Feeling frazzled and looking for a peaceful escape where you can indulge in a bit of pampering? Pangkor Laut is a stunning hideaway on a private island that can only be reached by boat or helicopter. Book into a villa perched on the hillside, nestled in the tropical gardens, or on stilts over the ocean. The Spa Village offers a range of holistic treatments that draw on ancient Malay, Chinese and Indian traditions. Think Thai massages, Malay facials with healing herbs and Javanese floral baths.
Getting there: There are numerous flights from Singapore to Pangkor Island every day. The flight takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Pangkor Laut Resort, Pangkor Laut Island, Lumut, Perak, Malaysia 32200. p. +60 5 699 1100
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is home to the incredible Angkor Wat archaeological site, which should be at the top of every serious traveller’s bucket list. The temple complex is huge and has hundreds of unique temples and structures to explore, so give yourself at least two days to see as much of it as you can. When you’re not playing Indiana Jones amongst the ruins, you can dine on gourmet eats in town, do some shopping at the night market, or get pampered at one of Siem Reap’s many spas.
Getting there: Jetstar and SilkAir offer direct flights from Singapore to Siem Reap every day. The flight takes about 2 hours.
Where to stay: Located in the heart of downtown Siem Reap, The Park Hyatt Siem Reap was designed by Bill Bensley, so you can expect plenty of free-flowing spaces and stunning interiors with artistic touches. Think Art Deco elements alongside traditional Khmer motifs. The interconnected pools create a zen-like atmosphere, as does the peaceful outdoor courtyard with a giant banyan tree.
Park Hyatt Siem Reap, Sivutha Blvd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia 17259. p. +855 63 211 234
Yangon is often overlooked by travellers in Southeast Asia, but those who make the trip will be rewarded with gorgeous temples, interesting colonial architecture, and a buzzing energy among the markets, shops, and new cafes and restaurants that have been popping up like mushrooms since the country relaxed its travel restrictions. Must-see spots include the glittering gold Shwedagon Pagoda, Inya Lake with its footpaths and gardens surrounding the water’s edge, and the famous Strand Hotel.
Getting there: Jetstar, SilkAir and Singapore Airlines offer direct flights daily to Yangon. The flight takes about 3 hours.
Where to stay: The Strand is one of Yangon’s oldest hotels, having been welcoming travellers since 1901. Over the decades, the luxury hotel has gone through a number of restorations, and today it offers a beguiling mix of colonial charm and modern conveniences. The tastefully decorated rooms feature high ceilings, rich textiles, and all the mod-cons you could want like A/C, Wi-Fi, and deep bathtubs.
The Strand Yangon, 92 Strand Road, Yangon, Myanmar. p. +95 1 243 377