Long weekends are a godsend – especially in Singapore, where employees reportedly take the fifth lowest number of paid leave days in a year, according to Kisi’s 2019 work-life index.  

Unsurprisingly, it follows that Singaporeans also happen to be the “sixth most vacation-deprived” folk in the world, according to a 2019 article citing Expedia’s vacation-deprivation study. In fact, nearly 80% of the workers polled would even take a pay cut for more time off – yikes! 

So what can a hard-working, vacation-loving Singaporean do? For starters, we can make the most of long weekends and go on shorter vacations. This way, we can squeeze in more precious mini-holidays in the coming year! Sound good? Read on to find out how to do it and which travel destinations make for the best long weekend trips from Singapore!

 

How many long weekends are there in 2020?

With seven long and lovely weekends headed your way, things are already looking up for the new year! Here are suggestions for when to apply for leave, to turn your three-day weekends into four or five-day weekends:

  • Chinese New Year (January 26)

This public holiday falls on a Sunday; making Monday, January 27th a public holiday as well. Take one day leave on Friday, January 24th or Tuesday, January 28th for a four-day weekend, or both days for a five-day weekend.

  • Good Friday (April 10)

Take one day leave on Thursday, April 9th or Monday, April 13th to make it a four-day weekend, or both days for a five-day weekend.

  • Labour Day (May 1)

Since this public holiday falls on a Friday, take one day leave on Thursday, April 30th  or Monday, May 4th for a four-day weekend, or both days for a five-day weekend.

 

Best long weekends in Singapore in 2020
  • Hari Raya Puasa (May 24)

This public holiday falls on a Sunday; making Monday, May 25th a public holiday. Take one day leave on Friday, May 22nd or Tuesday, May 26th for a four-day weekend, or both days for a five-day weekend.

  • Hari Raya Haji (July 31)

Since this public holiday falls on a Friday, take one day leave on Thursday, July 30th or Monday, Aug 3rd for a four-day weekend, or both days for a five-day weekend.

  • National Day (August 9)

This public holiday falls on a Sunday; making Monday, August 10th a public holiday. Take one day leave on Friday, August 7th or Tuesday, August 11th for a four-day weekend, or both days for a five-day weekend.

  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Since this public holiday falls on a Friday, take one day leave on Thursday, December 24th or Monday, December 28th for a four-day weekend, or both days for a five-day weekend.

 

| See also: Start planning long weekend trips for 2020 |

 

Ideal travel destinations for long weekends

Making short-and-sweet trips across the causeway into Malaysia, or further into the ASEAN region might be just the ticket for long weekend trips from Singapore. Check out these pocket-friendly, brisk getaway ideas: 

 

Miri  Diving holiday and adventure trip  

People flock from all over the world, sometimes travelling thousands of kilometres to immerse in the natural beauty that is Miri, Sarawak in East Malaysia. But fortunately, travellers from Singapore can conveniently make the trip in just two hours, via daily direct flights! Miri is home to some of the best beaches in South East Asia, a UNESCO World Heritage site (Gunung Mulu), and plenty of ecotourism spots.

 

A view of Miri Sarawak and the South China Sea

 

What to do in Miri 

Hike in glorious Lambir Hills, get in a spot of leisure fishing in the South China Sea, explore the caves of Niah National Park, or simply watch the sunrise over Miri in Canada Hill.  But whatever you do, don't leave Miri without visiting Tusan Cliff Beach, just 30 minutes from town. This golden, sandy beach offers breathtaking views of pristine blue waters and is famed for its rare and visually-stunning ‘blue tears’ phenomenon. Alternatively, if you are a diving enthusiast, you might be interested to simply spend the bulk of your vacation on a diving trip; just make sure you have sufficient travel insurance coverage. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll barely scratch the surface of what Miri has to offer on a long weekend; repeat visits are highly recommended!

 

When to visit 

The best time to visit Miri is from April to September, and note that you’ll have plenty of long weekend options to choose from that fall within this period.

 

How much will it cost?

Do book early and get in on lower rates for travel and accommodation costs, to enjoy an affordable vacation under $400.

 

Desaru  Weekend escape for beach lovers

Head to Desaru if you are in the mood for a quick, white sandy beach getaway or if you happen to be a seafood lover. Desaru, the foodie and beach paradise is just two hours away from Singapore by car (or bus) and approximately 90 minutes by ferry, making it a fitting long weekend destination.

 

Desaru Beach

 

What to do in Desaru

Start your trip with a tour of the Desaru Fruit Farm, where you can feast on healthy farm-to-table fruit platters. With a satisfied tummy, move on to the Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm and get up close (not personal) with living reptilian relics or head to the Desaru Ostrich Farm, if flightless birds are more your thing. Water sports enthusiasts can choose from a wide array of activities e.g. snorkelling, surfing, parasailing, jet-skiing and more. Of course, if you wanted to simply rest and rejuvenate as you lay on soft white sands, taking in picturesque views of the South China Sea, and then gorging on sumptuous seafood – no one would judge you…

 

When to visit

The best times to visit Desaru is from April to October, with June to August being peak season.

 

How much will it cost?

Desaru vacations offer options for any budget. It’s possible to keep average costs for a three-day, two-night vacation in Desaru under $450 with early accommodation bookings.

 

Royal Belum State Park  Tour an ancient rainforest

Ever wanted to step into a time machine and travel back to the days of (very) old? Well, hanging out at this rainforest is as close to time travel as one could ever get! Yes, the Royal Belum State Park in Perak, Malaysia is estimated to be over 130 million years old. To put its age into perspective – it’s even older than the Amazon rainforest! Getting there might take a bit more time than the other destinations on this list (an estimated six hours), but it is totally worth it.

Protip: Save your Royal Belum State Park trip for longer weekends of four or five-day stretches.

 

Royal Belum State Park

 

What to do in Royal Belum State Park

Go jungle trekking, swimming, bamboo rafting, and fishing; hunt for wild Rafflesia; take a rejuvenating dip in Telaga Tujuh waterfalls; or simply look out for exotic wildlife – the choice is yours! But here’s a friendly reminder: buy travel insurance with extreme sports or adventure protection to stay covered even in the wild.

 

When to visit

The forest reserve is accessible all year round, but you might want to plan your trip around the occurrence of certain natural attractions of interest. For instance, if you are into fishing; plan your visit between January and March, when lake levels are lower and conditions for snakehead fishing are just right. Or, if you love to hang around butterflies and experience a Malaysian “autumn”; visit in April when it’s butterfly season, and the native perah tree and cinnamon leaves appear. Visit the Belum Temenggor site for more information.

* A permit is required to enter the park. Singaporeans and other non-Malaysians are advised to apply for entry permits at least a week in advance.

 

How much will it cost?

Expect to shell out between $500 and $600 to cover travel, accommodation, transport, attractions, tours, and permit costs. As always, book early for more affordable rates.

 

Go farther into the ASEAN region

Wishing to venture an even greater distance? We got you! Here are two more incredible destinations apt for long weekend trips from Singapore:

 

Krabi  Paradise retreat for nature lovers

Beautiful Krabi in Thailand, facing the Andaman sea, is a sight for sore eyes. It also happens to be the ideal destination to unwind for a long, lazy weekend. With daily direct flights from Singapore, you could be kicking back and gazing at incredible limestone cliffs and clear blue waters of Krabi in just two hours!

 

Krabi beach

 

What to do in Krabi

Krabi is arguably the most restful, serene spot in all of Thailand. So naturally, the best thing to do here is to recharge; chill out and watch sunsets, sip Mai Tais, and daydream. But if you are an adventure seeker; there is a long list of activities to partake. Work in a bit of island hopping from Ao Nang, climb Railay’s limestone mountains, go whitewater rafting at Songprak River, or hike at Thung Teao Forest Natural Park. A word to the wise: buy travel insurance. You can enjoy the thrills of these exhilarating activities without the fear of paying for medical treatments out-of-pocket.

 

When to visit

The best time to visit is during November and March, but note this is also peak season. You can still visit during the monsoon season, from June to October, and enjoy lower rates all around. However, you may need to adjust expectations when it comes to water activities.

 

How much will it cost?

Expect to spend an average of $600 to $700 on accommodation, travel, and attractions.  

 

Yogyakarta – Explore Javanese art and culture 

The city of Yogyakarta (aka Jogja) in Indonesia has garnered a reputation for being the soul of Java Island, and the epicentre of its artistic and cultural heritage. Visitors are often instantly captivated by its mere existence amidst ancient temples, volcanoes, rice fields, and the seemingly-endless scenic landscapes. Yogyakarta is an excellent long weekend destination, as travellers from Singapore can revel in its ancient wonders via direct flights in just under three hours!

 

Prambanan temple in Yogyakarta

 

What to do in Yogyakarta

This destination is made for every type of traveller, and this will become increasingly evident as you sift through the sheer variety of activities on offer. Adventure junkies can surf sand dunes at Parangkusumo or go spelunking at Goa Jomblang, while beach lovers take mental pictures of the magnificent sea view of Indrayanti Beach or camp out on Pok Tunggal Beach. Foodies will delight in street fare at Malioboro, as art lovers relish the Ramayana Ballet and take in a shadow play (wayang kulit) at Sasono Hinggil Theatre.

 

When to visit

The best time to visit Yogyakarta is during the dry season, from April to October, which sees very little, if any, rainfall at all.

 

How much will it cost?

While accommodation in Yogyakarta is relatively affordable, flights are a little more pricey (average one-way flight tickets cost $200 to $220). Thus, expect to spend an average of $800 to $900 for this trip.

 

Making the most of your long weekend getaway

Now that you know where to go, it’s time to find out how you can maximise the positive experiences of a mini-vacation on a long weekend:

  • Fly non-stop. Remember that time is of the essence, and if direct flights are the fastest way to and from your destination; go with it. Book early to save on flight tickets. If you need/want to drive, take the scenic route to make it part of the vacation #roadtripping

 

  • Don’t check luggage. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, opt to carry-on when flying. Who has the time to wait to collect luggage on a weekend vacation? Worse still, what if it gets delayed or lost? If you have to check luggage, make sure that you have baggage coverage from your travel insurance plan.

 

  • Pace yourself. You might feel like you’re on a clock, with the temptation to get in as much vacay as you can. Avoid doing that and savour the experience instead. It’s completely all right to make your trip all about rejuvenation, and less about cramming in as many sight-seeing trips as possible. Also, remember to unplug.

 

  • Opt out of long-queue activities. If you are going to have to endure long lines; consider skipping a particular attraction, unless you really want to see/experience it. Or think about purchasing skip-the-queue type passes, where available.  

 

  • Sleep in. It may sound counter-intuitive on a weekend trip, but do sleep as much as you need. Getting enough rest will put you in the best mental and physical state to thoroughly enjoy your mini-holiday.

 

  • Be prepared. While vacations are meant to be relaxing and exciting, it can also be incredibly stressful. Avoid the unnecessary worry; plan ahead and prepare for emergencies by buying travel insurance. A good policy can cover you in the event of travel inconveniences like flight and baggage delays; medical emergencies and accidents; as well as loss of personal belongings, and much more. Let GoBear help you find the best travel insurance plan for your needs.

 

Conclusion

Use your long weekends to give yourself the break that you so sorely need! Going on life-changing, excitement-inducing vacations are completely possible on long weekends! So go ahead and squeeze in a holiday (or seven) in 2020!

 

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desireenair

desireenair

Seasoned writer of all finance topics. Reads widely and does plenty of research.

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