One of the greatest things about living in Singapore is how smack dab in the middle of Southeast Asia we are, which makes it super easy to plan a spur-of-the-moment vacay to the likes of Vietnam, Bali, Thailand, Malaysia and more. When you can take off on a Friday and be back by Sunday evening, it'd be rude not to spend most weekends exploring another country, dontcha think? Whether you're in search of sun, sea, and sandy toes, adventurous activities, scuba diving, culture, a jungly hideaway or vibrant city getaway, Asia has got you covered. The best part? You can reach all of these places within just two hours or less by plane from Singapore. Grab your passport, it's time to travel.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling metropolis that is steeped in history and culture. Sights you don’t want to miss here include the colourful Ben Thanh Market, the Reunification Palace, the quaint Emperor Jade Temple, and the Saigon Skydeck on the 49th floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower for bird’s eye views over the city. And of course, a trip to Saigon wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the delicious and ubiquitous Vietnamese street food.
Get There: Tiger Airways, JetStar, Singapore Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Vietnam Airlines all offer daily direct flights from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, and the flight time is about 2 hours.
Where to Stay: If you want comfortable and classy digs right in the centre of the city, the Park Hyatt Saigon is the way to go. The rooms here feature charming touches like French wooden shutters and marble bathtubs, and some even have direct access to the 20-metre outdoor pool.
Krabi is one of the most picturesque provinces in Thailand as it has stunning beaches, limestone karsts, waterfalls, caves, and coral reefs. Beachcombers can head to Had Yao for sun, sea and sand, rock climbers will love the walls at Rai Leh, and scuba divers can take day trips to amazing underwater worlds. There are also plenty of intriguing islands just a boat ride away.
Get There: Tiger Airways and AirAsia have daily direct flights from Singapore to Krabi, and the flight time is approximately 2 hours.
Where to Stay: Sleek and chic Deevana Plaza Krabi Aonang is an oasis of calm just minutes from great beaches, markets and restaurants. Each room here has its own private balcony, and there is a fab pool with an adjoining pool bar plus an elegant Thai restaurant on site.
Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia
Much like Singapore, Kuching is a multicultural mishmash of Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, and Indian influences, which means it is packed with interesting temples, mosques, markets and museums. Its waterfront location also makes for some great scenery. Spend your holiday here strolling the streets to find great little cafes and restaurants serving up authentic Sarawak cuisine, or get out and experience the incredible nature and tribes in the jungles and mountains nearby.
Get There: Malaysia Airlines, SilkAir, and AirAsia all offer direct flights from Singapore to Kuching, and the flight takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Where to Stay: Situated on the top of a hill in the middle of the city, Pullman Kuching offers incredible views of the city’s landmarks and the river, and it makes for a convenient base to explore Kuching. The rooms here are spacious and modern with all the amenities you need to feel right at home, and there are five different drinking and dining venues on site.
Langkawi Island, Malaysia
You can pretty much do it all on Langkawi Island where there are great beaches, duty-free shopping malls, lush rainforests, and a slew of seafood restaurants situated along the sand. Take a trip to Telaga Tujuh to swim in the waterfall pools, rent a kayak and float through the mangrove forests, take the cable car to the top of a mountain for panoramic views, or just hang out by your hotel pool with a cocktail in hand.
Get There: AirAsia, SilkAir and Tiger Airways all offer direct flights from Singapore to Langkawi, and the flight takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Where to Stay: The Danna Langkawi is a luxurious retreat overlooking a private white sandy beach. Standout features here include the three-tiered infinity swimming pool, serene Danna Spa, gourmet cafe, restaurant, cigar lounge and stylish rooms and suites with views of the rolling hills, rainforest, or marina.
With great restaurants, shops, art galleries and museums, Yogyakarta (or Jogja as the locals call it) is a great place to get a taste of Indonesian culture. Spend one day exploring the Kraton (Sultan’s Palace) and the shops along Malioboro Street, and another day visiting the ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan nearby. From certain vantage points in the city you can also catch glimpses of the volcanic peak of Mount Merapi in the distance.
Get There: SilkAir and AirAsia have direct flights from Singapore to Yogyakarta, and the flight time is approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Where to Stay: Located in the heart of Yogyakarta just minutes from Malioboro Street, The Phoenix Hotel offers gorgeous suites, each with its own balcony, in a historic colonial building. Start the day with a dip in the pool, grab a bite to eat at the inviting restaurant, and end the day with a glass of vino at the charming wine bar.