What are the best budget destinations for short trips from Singapore?
1. Kuching, Malaysia
First up on this list of weekend getaways from Singapore, charming Kuching is packed with sights and lip-smacking treats to keep you busy for a short trip. Explore the historic old town to find the best Sarawak laksa and kueh lapis before heading out to Santubong for a river safari where you’ll see dolphins, crocodiles, proboscis monkeys and winking fireflies. Take the kids to the Sarawak Cultural Village where they can improve their blow pipe skills and explore traditional houses. Only a one and a half hour flight from Singapore, those hankering for a short beach getaway will be blown away by the Bako National Park with its empty beaches and pristine walking trails. Curious about indigenous eats? Pop into Lepau for a jungle feast.
Best time to visit: To avoid rainy days, head to Kuching between April and September, which is the driest time of year.
Where to stay: The Ranee Boutique Suites offers a stylish and comfy stay in town, and those opting for a bit of peace and quiet should choose the Village House packed with curio.
2. Hua Hin, Thailand
A short train ride from the delights of Bangkok, the resort city of Hua Hin has been popular with Thai royalty since the 1920s for its long beach, crisp air and cosmopolitan vibes. Grab goodies at Cicada Market, take a day trip out to the beautiful Hua Hin Hills Vineyard for an afternoon of wine tasting or spend some time checking out the amazing art at Baan Silapin. Hua Hin is renowned throughout Thailand for its seafood so after dark, be sure to head to Naresdamri Road for a bargain feast and romantic sea views. If you’re looking for relaxing weekend getaways from Singapore, Hua Hin should be on your list.
Best time to visit: June to October for cooler days and great deals on flights and rooms.
Where to stay: Hua Hin has great family-friendly places including the central Royal Pavilion Hua Hin. For a touch of luxury check out Putahracsa Resort.
3. Yangon, Myanmar
Yangon is changing like the wind, so grab a budget airfare now to see the city in its full splendour for your next short trip from Singapore. Malls are popping up all over the place, but in the heart of the city, gorgeous colonial architecture sits alongside crowded pavement tea houses packed with punters snacking on delectable Burmese treats. In the heart of the city, Shwedagon Pagoda is one of Southeast Asia’s must-sees, a beguiling and awe-inspiring testament to faith. To get up close and personal with the locals, take a ride on the Circle Line for a fascinating glimpse into city life. Burmese food takes time to understand; influenced by its neighbouring countries and yet totally unique, a local meal is guaranteed to get your taste buds working OT. A good place for a crash course is Feel Myanmar.
Best time to visit: Head to Yangon in the cool season running from November to March to get the best out of your visit.
Where to stay: To get the best bang for your buck, stylish G Hotel is the current talk of the town. Super central Clover Hotel is perfect for those who want to be right in the heart of the action.
4. Hong Kong, China
With its buzzing energy, Hong Kong makes one of the top weekend getaways from Singapore. Have your fortune told at a temple or head deep into the atmospheric backstreets of Kowloon to tuck into delectable dim sum and bowls of steaming wonton noodles before being dazzled by neon and tempting bargains in the night markets around Mong Kok. Soak in the Hong Kong street culture in Sham Shui Po. Take the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island and climb the Peak for incredible city views followed by an afternoon chilling out at beautiful Shek O beach, where you might strike gold and catch a Cantopop video being made.
Best time to visit: October to December for sunny days and cool evenings.
Where to stay: There are plenty of accommodation options in Hong Kong. The charmingly retro Brighton Hotel has great value rooms close to eating and shopping options. Check Inn HK has tidy aircon rooms for those on a budget.
5. Bali, Indonesia
Looking for a bit of bliss on your weekend vacation? If so, plan that Bali getaway because the ‘Island of the Gods’ has all the ingredients necessary for total rejuvenation and is one of the best budget weekend getaways from Singapore. You can choose to lounge on the endless beaches around Kuta and Seminyak or head up to the stunning emerald rice paddies around Ubud and join a yoga class, grab a massage or soak away your aches and pains in a soothing spa. Round off your relaxing holiday with a traditional Balinese feast of babi guling and sate lilit and return home supercharged!
Best time to visit: January for cool weather, cheap flights, quiet sights and hotel deals.
Where to stay: Beach lovers will enjoy The Breezes. For a tranquil getaway in the hills around Ubud at great value check in to the Taman Bebek Resort.
6. Padang, Indonesia
With budget airline Air Asia opening up direct flights to the capital of Indonesia’s West Sumatra province, taking short trips from Singapore just got easier. You can now explore the gorgeously cool highlands and traditional houses around Bukitinggi, home of the Minangkabau people. Don’t forget to pick up some of the silverware produced by the artisans at Kota Gadang. A short boat ride from the city of Padang lie a number of resorts on islands and in isolated coves where you can channel your inner Crusoe before heading back into town and tucking into some of the best nasi padang on earth at Lamun Ombak – the rendang and sambal hijau here will blow your mind!
Best time to visit: Sitting on the equator, Padang is warm and wet all year round. For cooler climes head to Bukitinggi, which is best visited from May to October.
Where to stay: In Bukitinngi, enjoy a warm welcome, mountain views and great rates at the Novotel. In Padang, find great service and fabulous rates at Grand Zuri Hotel
7. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Explore one of Southeast’s Asia’s most venerable sights, the stunning Angkor Wat temple complex, when you go for your short break in Siem Reap. Arrive at dawn to experience an unforgettable sunrise before venturing to some of the lesser known temples where you’ll need to clamber over roots and ancient stones to bring out your inner Indiana Jones. However, it’s not all about temples in Siem Reap; be thrilled at Phare The Cambodian Circus, and feed your soul with a Siem Reap food tour before getting an insight into the local artisan industry at Artisans Angkor.
Best time to visit: Head to Siem Reap in the cooler months running from November to April
Where to stay: Enjoy a splash in the pool at the fantastically welcoming Rose Royal Boutique Hotel or grab a book and chill in the gardens at La Residence Blanc
Read more: 8 days in Cambodia for under $800!
8. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Need to spice up your life? Look no further than booming Ho Chi Minh City. This city moves at warp speed and is just as noisy so leap into the fray and explore back street cafes serving fantastic Vietnamese coffee or grab a stool at a street-side stand for a banh xeo. Those with a penchant for nightlife will enjoy trawling the bars on Bui Vien Street and when it all gets too intense, join a cycling tour of the verdant Mekong Delta and soak up the village vibes.
Best time to visit: Dry season runs from September to April, with cheap flights in October
Where to stay: Get great value rooms at the stylish Alcove Library Hotel or check into the highly rated Long Hostel if you are watching your pennies.
9. Penang, Malaysia
Penang’s hawker fare, beaches and cultural gems make this island an ideal short getaway from Singapore. Treat the kids to a fun family day out at Escape, enjoy the watersports off the beaches of Batu Ferringhi or bring your camera and trawl the gorgeous heritage architecture of Georgetown. The city is dotted with beautiful cafes to escape the beating sun and after dark be sure to join the local crowds chomping down on divine local treats from rich nasi kandar to wok hei infused char kway teow at the city’s amazing hawker stalls and coffee shops.
Best time to visit: November to January for perfect weather and great flight deals.
Where to stay: Treat yourself to a heritage stay in one of Georgetown’s beautifully restored shophouses. Top choices include Campbell House and Muntri Mews. The city also offers accommodation for large groups and families visiting Penang.
10. Manila, Philippines
Often overlooked, Manila is a jewel to explore with its Spanish colonial architecture and cobblestone streets in photogenic Intramuros, vast shopping malls and lively night scene, you can be guaranteed one of the best weekend getaways from Singapore in this soulful city. Once you’ve explored the amazing displays and caught a gig at the Ayala Museum, head to Binondo, the city’s Chinatown, and check out the city’s street food scene where you can try choice Filipino snacks including balut, kwek kwek and kalingking.
Best time to visit: Fly to Manila between January to early March for dry days and cool weather.
Where to stay: Enjoy Spanish charm at White Knight Hotel Intramuros or enjoy a comfortable stay at the Hotel Jen Manila, a short ride away from the SM Mall of Asia.
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Published in April 2017 and updated in October 2018. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability