Need a quick getaway but don’t want to spend too much money? Lucky for us, Singapore is close to a lot of beautiful cities that we can have short getaways at without breaking the bank.
We understand that you don’t want to spend the bulk of your short holiday on a flight, which is why we’ve picked neighbouring cities that are less than two hours away from Singapore so you can head there over the weekend or a long weekend. The best thing yet? They won’t cost you more than $500 per person. Scroll through the gallery to find out your next travel destination.
If you haven’t been to Penang yet, consider making it your next weekend or 3D2N destination. The quick plane ride is about one hour and 25 minutes, and you can get roundtrip tickets starting from approximately $110 on a budget airline. Penang is widely regarded as the food capital of Malaysia and you should get ready to eat to your heart’s content. Their famous delicacies include cheap and delicious dishes like Char Kway Teow, Assam Laksa, Nasi Kandar, Chendol, and the list goes on and on. You can find comfortable accommodation in George Town starting from about $50 per night, which will put you right where all the food is at. Besides savouring the food, you can also visit the Pinang Peranakan Museum. Singaporeans who watched local Channel 8 drama The Little Nyona would immediately find it familiar-looking as it was one of the drama’s filming locations. Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the Peranakans and learn about their customs and traditions through the many photographs, antiques and artifacts on display. Tickets cost 20 ringgit (about $6.50) per entry. You can also visit The Top Penang, a large indoor theme park which includes attractions like a Jurassic Research Centre, aquarium, and magic mirror maze for the price of 99 ringgit (about $32). On level 68, there is also the open-air Rainbow Skywalk where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of George Town on a glass-bottomed walkway. If walking in the open air at such a high level is too intense for you, there is also an air-conditioned observatory deck on level 65. Entrance fee is 68 ringgit (about $22).
Fancy a beach holiday? Hop on a plane to Phuket which is only about two hours away. Phuket is great for a three-day trip so that you can maximise your weekend there. Depending on the dates and flight timing, you can get round-trip tickets starting from approximately $100 on a budget airline. Phuket is a beach lover’s paradise and it has more than 30 beaches for you to discover and explore. The most popular among tourists is Patong Beach, which also boasts a bustling nightlife and numerous bars and restaurants for you to choose from. If you love shopping, weekends will be the best time to visit Phuket because that’s when you can explore the huge Phuket Weekend Market to score some buys or feast on the food and local delicacies. There is even a Big C supermarket at Jungceylon mall for you to stock up on your favourite Thai snacks and groceries. As Phuket is a popular tourist attraction, there is a huge variety of accommodation for all budgets. There are many hotels conveniently located at the heart of Patong with rooms starting from an affordable rate of $50 per night. If you get tired of hanging out at the beach or shopping, try café-hopping and visit Hock Hoe Lee, Phuket’s first coffee roaster founded in 1958, which is said to serve the best coffee on the island, or Origami Café Phuket which has a Japanese-inspired menu and Instagram-worthy location.
Bintan is yet another popular destination for Singaporeans as it’s just a one-hour ferry ride away with ticket fares starting from $58 for a roundtrip. You can go for a romantic getaway at one of the many beach resorts with most places starting from approximately $130 per night or have a fun-filled trip doing land and sea activities that will get your adrenaline pumping. Adventure lovers can visit Treasure Bay Bintan, a one-stop activity hub where you can enjoy various recreational and sporting activities. The entrance fee is $12 per adult and gives you access to the Crystal Lagoon, a man-made seawater lagoon to do activities like Water ZOVB where you walk on water in an inflatable clear ball which costs $15 for 15 minutes. You can also choose to go for an ATV off-road trail which costs $35 for 40 minutes or shoot an air gun starting from $8 for 30 bullets. For something a little different than the usual resort experience, why not try out glamping, or glamorous camping at The Canopi which is located just next to Treasure Bay? You get to sleep in air-conditioned luxurious tents and enjoy a full range of facilities and amenities while you “camp” including 24-hour room service. Depending on your booking dates, prices start from approximately 2,299,000 rupiah (about $220) per night.
Batam is one of the go-to places for Singaporeans who want an affordable and hassle-free weekend trip. You can reach there on a short ferry ride which costs about $50 for round-trip tickets. Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall is Batam’s largest shopping mall and you can easily spend half a day there exploring the shopping, food, spa and massage options, or you can stock up on cheap groceries and toiletries at the supermarket. You can also check out one of the many seafood restaurants in Batam and have a seafood feast that will definitely be cheaper than Singapore. Accommodation options are aplenty and reasonably-priced. You can find four-star hotel rooms starting from approximately $60 per night. If you just want to relax and unwind, Tempat Senang Spa Resort & Restaurant offers overnight spa packages for one person or groups up to five people, which include a half-day spa session (three hours) and a stay at one of their themed rooms which cost approximately 2,874,900 rupiah (about $276) per person.
Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Johor Bahru may be the most typical place that Singaporeans go to for a short getaway, but it truly is where you can get the most bang for your buck. You can enter Johor Bahru just by tapping your EZ-Link card on a public bus, which means that you don’t need to set aside a substantial amount out of your budget for transportation. If you choose to stay one or two nights, the popular KSL Hotel & Resort which is connected to KSL City Mall has rooms starting from approximately $75 per night, which is a hard price to beat for a similar hotel room in Singapore. If you are bored of going to the same old areas around City Square and KSL City Mall, you can take a short cab or bus ride to the biggest mall in Johor Bahru, Paradigm Mall which is bigger than VivoCity, where you can shop and eat to your heart’s content. Alternatively, head to the newer mall, Mid Valley Southkey, which boasts SOGO department store, restaurants such as Kyochon Chicken (halal-certified!) and boutiques such as Kate Spade and Laneige. Another popular hang-out place is Mount Austin, a 20-minutes’ drive from the checkpoint. There are many cafes and restaurants for you to explore, and karaoke and massage joints for you to relax at so you can slowly take your time with a 3D2N trip. If you want to stay in the area, you can find apartment listings on Airbnb starting from approximately $25 per night. Big fans of hotpot and karaoke should check out The Rhythm, a themed karaoke establishment that allows you to eat hotpot during your singing session. Prices start from 98 ringgit (about $32) for per person for a three-hour singing session and hotpot meal in a small room for two to three people. Lego fans can also make a trip to Legoland with a single-day adult admission ticket costing 231 ringgit (about $75) to the theme park. It’s not just made for kids—adult Lego fans are also bound to have lots of fun on the rides and attractions like Miniland, which houses miniature versions of Asia’s iconic landmarks.
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