Just a reminder that there are fabulous weekend getaways from Singapore to plan for, if you don’t want to go too far, now that we can travel again! You can choose a shopping short break or do some sightseeing. Or maybe just lie on the beach or beside the resort pool. (Tie in a public holiday to make it a long weekend!) We live in an amazing hub for travel to nearby destinations, and there are some gorgeous places to visit near Singapore that are only a ferry or short flight away – think fab resorts with beaches, great food and amazing views to enjoy. Here are some popular destinations for expats, including villas, hotels and resorts that you can book right now!
Right on Singapore’s doorstep, Malaysia is an easy place to visit near Singapore. In fact, many Malaysian destinations are just a drive away. As a short break destination it has some great beaches, historical towns and delicious food.
Just across the causeway, Johor Bahru (“JB”) can be good for the occasional shopping and eating experience (get there by car, taxi or bus). Kids will love Legoland there too; it’s barely an hour’s drive from home. Note that on Singapore public holidays, the roads can be busy, with long wait times at borders.
The Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur has areas of historical and cultural interest, fabulous views from the Petronas Towers, and buzzing nightlife in Bangsar. The nearby Batu Caves are worth visiting for stunning nature.
For white-sand beaches, Langkawi off the peninsular west coast and Perhentian and Redang islands off the east coast are among the highlights. Tioman, Sibu and Rawa are all close to Singapore. Kota Kinabalu in Borneo (East Malaysia) is a stepping-stone to Mabul and Sipadan.
Elsewhere, Penang and Malacca hit the spot for history. Taman Negara has the world’s oldest rainforest; the Cameron Highlands and tea plantations are located on the spine of the peninsula; and don’t forget the orangutans in Sabah.
Resorts near Singapore with a beach – Desaru Coast
For a fun short break from Singapore, head to South Malaysia’s Desaru Coast. It’s not difficult to reach – just a 90-minute drive or a 30-minute ferry and shuttle ride away. What’s more, a direct ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore to Desaru Coast has now launched. The beachfront destination is home to great resorts and hotels, including Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and One&Only Desaru Coast. These resorts near Singapore are all a great pick for a weekend away. And the beauty of a short break like this? You don’t have to get on a plane!
Things to do
- Have a blast at Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark. There’s something for all ages, from slides and water coasters to a wave pool and lazy river.
- Besides enjoying kayaking, surfing and beach sports, explore the area with visits to the Tanjung Belungkor mangroves, Desaru Fruit Farm and Panti Forest Reserve.
- Go golfing at The Els Club Desaru. (Yes, Els as in former world number one golfer Ernie Els!) Enjoy gorgeous coastal views as you take on the 27-hole Ocean Course.
Short breaks for nature reserves and fab scenery – Cove 55
Enjoy a peaceful weekend getaway at Cove 55, a boutique resort at the foot of Mount Santubong in Sarawak. The seafront property is a scenic 40-minute ride from Kuching airport, itself a short flight from Singapore. Overlooking the South China Sea, the hotel has various accommodation options, including with balconies and private courtyards. There are also spacious suite rooms that are perfect for families. Quality amenities include rainshowers and toiletries from Acqua Di Colonia. The hotel also has a gym and library, and it organises sunrise and sunset yoga sessions. Use one of your long weekend public holidays in Singapore to reach this cool destination for a short break!
Things to do
- Have a dip in the 30-metre saltwater infinity pool or enjoy a leisurely lounge with a drink from Cove Bar.
- Look forward to meals whipped up using fresh organic produce and herbs from Chef’s Garden, the resort’s kitchen garden. At Kechala, dig into modern cuisine made from local ingredients.
- Head to Semmengoh Nature Reserve where you can spot orangutans. You can also hike up Mount Santubong or visit national parks and villages close by.
There are an estimated 17,508 islands in Indonesia, of which only about 6,000 are inhabited. The main islands are Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya and, last but not least, Java. The latter is home to 70 percent of the country’s population.
For a relaxing short break on any weekend, Indonesia has plenty of places to visit near Singapore. Resorts with beaches less than an hour away by ferry include on the islands of Bintan and Batam, and some smaller nearby islands such as Telunas.
Elsewhere in Indo, head to Bali for beaches, terraced rice paddies, temples, ruins and jungle walks. Luxury villas can be very reasonable if you’re sharing with a group of friends or family. After one visit, you’ll soon see why Balinese food and hospitality are a favourite for Singapore-based expats.
Lombok is described by many as “the Bali of 20 years ago”, and the nearby Gili Islands are an idyllic hideaway. Manado, meanwhile, is perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling enthusiasts, with stunning scenery and volcanoes.
Family resort near Singapore with a beach – Telunas Private Island
No airports are involved in getting to this resort near Singapore. Telunas Private Island is a leisurely boat ride from Batam (itself only an hour by boat from Singapore). Sip on a cold drink or two and you’ll be there in no time! The resort’s overwater rustic villas house a sitting room, bedroom, cosy loft and private veranda. Guests can indulge in a mix of delicious Western, Asian and Indonesian cuisine whipped up by the resort’s executive chef at the Grand Lodge, located just down the wooden jetty. A perfect option for a romantic getaway or a short break with kids.
Things to do
- Make the most of the sunny days by taking part in the complimentary activities. These include mangrove kayaking, a waterfall hike and stand-up paddle boarding.
- Relax by the vibrant poolside Sand Bar while enjoying unblocked sea views. It serves everything from Long Island Iced Teas to mocktails (which the kids will love!).
- Pamper yourself with a spa session in one of the overwater pavilions or in the privacy of your villa.
A mountain hideaway in North Bali – Alta Vista
Escape to this rare, secluded hideaway in the Munduk mountains of North Bali and enjoy panoramic views of the island’s western peaks and down to the north coast. There are five spacious, elegant Balinese-modern villa-bedrooms available, or you can book exclusive use of the entire 1.25-acre, gorgeously landscaped estate set in natural scenery. Along with mountain-crisp air and an irresistibly restful ambience, you’ll find plenty of warm hospitality from the Alta Vista team – plus home-cooked cuisine! It’s a great spot for anyone who loves cool mountain terrain and Bali at its most pristine.
Things to do
- Relax in the heated infinity pool-cum-Jacuzzi, with a crackling fireplace on one side and amazing vistas of the Balinese coastline on the other. Have a drink or massage in the “Treehouse” enjoying some great sunset views.
- Appreciate authentic local village culture with flower, fruit, clove and coffee gardens. Trek to awesome waterfalls, across lush forests and village padi-fields. Go kayaking or fishing in dreamy mountain lakes. Take in beautiful lakeside temples and colourful local marketplaces.
- Visit Lovina Beach nearby for sea sports and dolphin watching. Go snorkelling and diving at Permuturan and Menjangan Marine Park. Soak inside village-style therapeutic hot-springs… and more!
Hidden oasis 45 minutes by ferry from Singapore – Tempat Senang
The first thing you’ll hear as you step into Tempat Senang Boutique Hotel and Spa is the sound of nature and nothing else. You’ll find yourself surrounded by a lush tropical jungle, waterfalls and water features that add a calming charm to this hillside property on Batam.
There are 12 overnight rooms at Tempat Senang, each one with a theme reflecting a different Asian country. Some overlook an 18-hole golf course and the South China Sea. The spa, meanwhile, is described as the ‘beating heart’ of this boutique retreat. Make sure you find time to browse the extensive spa menu and try a rejuvenating and memorable treatment.
Things to do
- Treat yourself to Tempat Senang’s signature dining experience, from its famous platters and ‘beer-can chicken’ to a seven-course culinary journey.
- Relax at one of the saltwater or freshwater pools and enjoy a drink or two at the cocktail bar
- Head to the spa for some pampering, where expert healing hands will get you back to feeling yourself again.
A culinary and cultural adventure – Capella Ubud, Bali
Located 20 minutes north of Ubud, Capella Ubud, Bali offers a retreat from city life. Surrounded by lush rainforests, this luxury property features snazzy rooms with intricate wood carvings, hand-painted fabrics, copper bathtubs and private salt water pools. Choose to stay in a one-bedroom Tented Retreat or the exclusive two-bedroom Lodge. Dig into delicious Indonesian and international dishes, and get pampered at onsite spa Auriga Wellness. with its range of organic treatments.
Things to do
- Go on a culinary journey through the working farms of Keliki Village. Explore the resort’s own honey farms, and coffee, tea and cocoa plantations.
- Witness sacred temple rituals at the Wos River or visit a local art school.
- Satisfy the adventurer in you with jungle boot camps, mountain bike ridge tours and workouts in nearby rice-paddy fields.
Oceanfront escape near Singapore – The Residence Bintan
Nature meets elegance at this hidden oasis on Bintan. The property is fringed by tropical greenery on one side and the South China Sea on the other. Located on the island’s south-eastern shore, it’s just a 55-minute ferry ride from Singapore – yet it feels like a world away.
The 127 rooms have simplicity and sophistication at their heart. They include 22 one-bedroom beachfront villas, 80 one-bedroom vista and garden terraces, 15 one-bedroom Deluxe Sea View Villas and four opulent two-bedroom villas.
Things to do
- Dine in style at the resort’s three restaurants and bars. These include traditional Indonesian dishes and Pan-Asian cuisine at signature restaurant Rica Rica, offering an innovative twist on local cuisine.
- The Spa with treatments by ila is home to eight private treatment rooms with serene views.
- Try one of the many activities on offer, which include a batik workshop where you’ll learn the traditional skill of dyeing fabric-making and take home your own personalised batik masterpiece!
Colourful but busy Bangkok has amazing food, fabulous temples, numerous markets and malls, and interesting nightlife. Not far away are the stunning temples of Ayuthaya which are best seen by bicycle.
For a beach holiday less than two hours away from Singapore by air, visit Phuket, Koh Samui or Krabi. Or take a boat trip around the breathtaking Ao Phang Nga National Park. Up north, a jungle adventure involving elephants, teak forests and numerous hill tribes awaits you in the Golden Triangle’s Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Sports and a spa at this resort near Singapore – COMO Point Yamu
It’s not just the awesome views of the Andaman Sea you’ll enjoy at COMO Point Yamu in Phuket. The resort is located on Cape Yamu, a serene peninsula on the Thai island’s east coast, away from touristy areas. Overlooking Phang Nga Bay, the hotel’s contemporary rooms, suites and villas are the work of Italian designer Paola Navone, and they perfectly reflect the property’s seaside setting.
Things to do
- Dig into hearty Italian-inspired dishes at La Sirena or go local at Nahmyaa that serves Southern Thai cuisine.
- At COMO Shambhala Retreat, pick from a range of holistic treatments and therapies in mosaic-tiled rooms overlooking the sea.
- Want to head out and enjoy nature? There are hiking, yoga and also watersports options available. Or, spend the day at COMO Beach Club on Naka Island (40-minute transfer). You can chill by the restaurant and pool, while the kids are entertained in the Play by COMO activity centre.
Kids’ activities and more – InterContinental Koh Samui Resort
The first thing that will strike you at this beachside resort located on the quiet southwest coast of Koh Samui are the ocean views over the Gulf of Thailand. The five-star property has many room options to suit different travellers. Choose a spacious ocean view room, or a pool villa or family villa.
Things to do
- Indulge in a relaxing afternoon at Thai Spa by Harnn. Pamper yourself with a soothing massage or a refreshing scrub.
- Drop the kids off at the Planet Trekkers kids’ club. There are loads of fun activities for ages four to 12, from beach soccer to nail painting.
- Go kayaking, snorkelling or diving, or visit nearby islands.
Cooking Classes with a sea view – The Pavilions Phuket
Offering views of Layan Beach, The Pavilions Phuket is just 20 minutes from Phuket airport. So it’s perfect for a long weekend or short break incorporating a public holiday in Singapore. The resort houses private pool villas and spacious suites. Guests can enjoy gourmet eats at the two signature restaurants, The Plantation Club and Firefly. As the sun sets, head to 360 Bar for drinks and panoramic views.
Things to do
- Choose from traditional Thai healing therapies and soothing Western rituals at the spa.
- Enjoy a fun cooking class and whip up yummy traditional Thai dishes.
- Lounge by the lap pool or work up a sweat at the fitness centre.
Cruise along the Mekong Delta and visit the astonishing Cu Chi tunnels just outside Ho Chi Minh City for a reminder of the war years. In the north, soak up the colonial French atmosphere of Hanoi, then leave the city for a boat trip around picturesque Halong Bay. The middle of the country boasts culturally significant Hue and the photogenic, sleepy Hoi An, a must-visit for a step back in time.
The rural area around Sapa, in the northwest, is something different. It’s highly recommended as a destination for everything from village retreats to rugged cycling trips. Do yourself a favour and take a cooking lesson; you’ll bring your holiday experience home.
Historic tours and a kids’ club – Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort
Opened in 2019, Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort in Vietnam is a seaside getaway located southeast of Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy stunning ocean views and take your pick from the resort’s wide range of rooms, suites and villas. Fancy a private pool? Each of the villas comes with one. You can even enjoy a floating breakfast in it! For larger groups, there are two- to three-bedroom villas spacious enough to house everyone comfortably.
Things to do
- Chill at Breeza Beach Club and enjoy a drink or two at the cocktail bar. You can even try your hand at whipping up your own cocktails at a mixology class!
- The resort’s Kids’ Club will also keep little guests busy with a variety of activities, including arts and crafts, fancy dress and painting.
- Treating yourself to a relaxing treatment at YHi Spa or lounge by one of the hotel’s three pools.
- Head out on an excursion to Vung Tau city, Binh Chau hot springs or other attractions nearby.
Bike rides and massages – Anantara Quy Nhon Villas
We love the sound of the one- and two-bedroom rooms at Anantara Quy Nhon Villas! Located on Vietnam’s south central coast, this all-villa property comes with infinity-style pools, in-room villa host services, spacious sundecks and also oversized bathtubs. You can choose a preferred room scent, enjoy Anantara’s signature natural soap collection, and enjoy the offerings in the in-villa wine cellar and delicatessen, including a selection of charcuterie, cheese and locally-made ice cream. There’s a swim-up bar that’s great for sampling premium cocktails, Vietnamese craft beers and Cuban cigars. And be sure to tuck into local seafood and regional eats at Sea.Fire.Salt, the signature restaurant of this resort near Singapore.
Things to do
- Treat yourself to an Anantara’s signature Dining by Design experience. From picnic-style to fine dining, choose which experience suits your taste.
- Hop on one of the hotel’s bikes and take a leisurely ride to nearby villages to explore.
- Head to the Anantara Spa and enjoy massages and more in nature-inspired treatment suites.
Two sister resorts in the Maldives – The Residence by Cenizaro
The Residence at Falhumaafushi
Situated on the unspoilt island of Falhumaafushi in Gaafu Alifu atoll, one of the largest and deepest atolls in the world, this 94 beach-front and over-water villa resort is an intimate retreat in the heart of a marine oasis.
The island’s beautiful house reef has resident sharks and turtles and is accessible right from the over-water villa deck. Designed to complement the tropical surroundings, the villas have been created using natural materials and are decorated with local artefacts.
Things to do
- The Spa by Clarins on both Falhumaafushi and sister resort Dhigurah is exclusive to The Residence in the Maldives and offers a range of treatments created exclusively for the resort. It’s an ideal place to escape as it sits directly on the lagoon.
- The resort has three restaurants and four bars, including romantic Falhumaa restaurant at the end of a 230m jetty, right on the reef facing the Indian Ocean.
- There’s a fitness centre, kids’ club and excursions to nearby islands, and the PADI 5* Dive Centre offers all level of snorkellers and scuba-divers the opportunity to discover unspoilt coral reefs and rich marine life.
The Residence Maldives at Dhigurah
Sitting on a 2km long island that’s home to over 2,500 coconut palms and soft white-sand beaches, Dhigurah is connected to its sister property on Falhumaafushi by a beautiful 1km bridge – the longest private bridge in the Maldives.
Dhigurah is an all-inclusive resort; gests also have access to all nine restaurants and six bars across both islands, including Cantonese dining at Li Bai and Mediterranean tapas at Café del Sol at The Beach Club.
The 173 Beach, Lagoon and Water Villas overlook the stunning turquoise waters, with both sunrise and sunset views, and private pools. Meanwhile, the Kids Club is one of the largest in the southern atolls, with plenty to keep little ones entertained from nature walks and beach games to arts and crafts.
Things to do
- Enjoy a treatment in one of the 10 overwater pavilions for singles and couples at The Spa by Clarins. There’s also a fitness centre, yoga pavilion, beauty salon and nail spa.
- Pick your own harvests at the resort’s Earth Basket, a garden full of local edible plants and fruit. The resort chef can then teach you how to whip up a delicious and nutritious meal!
- Experience the Maldivian sunset on a traditional dhoni cruise, and encounter pods of playful dolphins.
Laos & Cambodia
No stay in Asia is complete without a trip to Cambodia’s Siem Reap to see the incredible ruins of Angkor Wat. Phnom Penh is also worth a visit for the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda and a reminder of the country’s tragic history at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. A three-day stay can be the ideal short break in Cambodia, with a day in the capital and two in Siem Reap. You can also hire ATVs and head out into the countryside once you’ve seen the temples.
In Laos, visit charming Luang Prabang for its tranquil riverside ambience, beautiful temples, crowds of friendly monks and excellent French fusion cuisine. If you can spare the time, take a cruise on the mighty Mekong.
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