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5 cheap destinations for the upcoming public holidays

Dreaming of a fun, fascinating getaway but watching the budget? Happily, there are plenty of amazing nearby destinations that you can visit without burning a hole in your pocket with flights and accommodation. With a string of public holidays coming soon, and several of them incorporating a Monday or Friday (for example, Labour Day on 1 May, and the Hari Raya Puasa public holiday on 26 June), surely it’s time to take a well-deserved break! Here are five wonderful – and wallet-friendly – destinations to consider.

Jakarta, Indonesia

National Monument in Merdeka Square in Jakarta
The towering National Monument in Merdeka Square

Getting there:

Fly AirAsia to Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport from $103 or Tigerair from $125.

Where to stay:

Save!  Swiss-Belhotel Mangga Besar, from $67.

Splurge!  Fairmont Jakarta, from $380.

Things to do:

There’s plenty to explore in the bustling capital of Indonesia, from its intriguing architecture to the tasty local cuisine. Be sure to drop by the towering National Monument in Merdeka Square; if you’re a history buff, you’ll love a visit to the Indonesian National History Museum which is right next to the monument. Elsewhere, get your shopping fix at one of the countless malls, or head to the waterfront for ocean views (and where, if it’s a family holiday, the kids can go crazy on the rides at Ancol Dreamland).

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur skyline
Gorgeous city skyline as evening falls in Kuala Lumpur

Getting there:

Fly Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur International Airport from $146 or AirAsia from $149.

Where to stay:

Save!  Grand Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, from $62.

Splurge!  Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, from $321.

Things to do:

Begin with a stunning panoramic view atop the iconic Petronas Towers in the heart of KL. Foodies will love this city, where you can find a different cuisine everywhere you turn – whether it’s nasi lemak from a roadside store, crispy prata at a 24-hour eatery, fusion fare, or an international hotel buffet spread. Retail-lovers should seek out Bukit Bintang, a famous shopping district with many malls offering a range of local and international brands.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok tuk-tuks
Hop on a tuk-tuk to get from place to place in Bangkok

Getting there:

Take Tigerair to Suvarnabhumi Airport from $319 or JetStar from $351. Alternatively, fly AirAsia to Don Muang Airport from $259.

Where to stay:

Save!  Best Western Plus @20 Sukhumvit, from $73.

Splurge!  The Siam Bangkok, from $802.

Things to do:

Bangkok is a renowned short-haul destination from Singapore, and one of Southeast Asia’s premier food and retail paradises. You can do both of those things – eat and shop – at everywhere from roadside stalls to air-conditioned malls; or visit Asiatique, a pretty night market by the river, for a plate of Thai food faves, a cold beer, and a browse through a quirky mix of shoes, bags, accessories and home décor items. Had your fill of tuk-tuks and wats? Travel one or two hours out of the city to visit a floating market or the ancient temples of Ayutthaya.


Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City streets
Stroll along the streets in Ho Chi Minh City and admire its age-old architecture

Getting there:

Fly JetStar to Tan Son Nhat International Airport from $262 or Tigerair from $269.

Where to stay:

Save!  Sanouva Saigon Hotel, from $69.

Splurge!  Park Hyatt Saigon, from $378.

Things to do:

The best way to start the day in this city of rich culture and history is to set out early for the well-known Bến Thành Market, which sells everything from fresh food, handicrafts, and souvenirs to daily household items. After enjoying a bowl of pho, wander through the retro halls of the Reunification Palace, or explore the War Remnants Museum to learn more about Vietnam War. Continuing the military theme, a half-day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels, about an hour from the city, offers insights into how the Vietnamese people lived and fought during the war.

Yangon, Myanmar

Myanmar pagodas
Majestic pagodas in Myanmar

Getting there

Fly JetStar to Yangon International Airport from $262 or Tigerair from $267.

Where to stay

Save!  Clover City Center Hotel, from $58.

Splurge!  The Strand, Yangon, from $319.

Things to do:

Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city, and there’s much to see and do. Visit the many temples and religious sites, including the most famous of them all, the Shwedagon Pagoda, or stroll down the streets taking in the classic British architecture (the city has the largest number of colonial buildings in the region). On the way, check out the roadside food stalls serving up noodles, skewers and more – or try a bowl of the ubiquitous mohinga, rice noodles cooked in fish curry.


Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

Flight and hotel information courtesy of Skyscanner. 

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