If you’re planning to stay in Singapore over CNY, here are nearby getaways to spend the long weekend instead!
The New Year holidays may be over, but it’s time to look forward to another — the Chinese New Year holidays! Just like 2020, 2021 is made even better because it happens to create a four-day weekend from 11 to 14 Feb (how romantic) 😉
Make it a five-day weekend if you take leave on the 15th!
If you’re looking to escape the crowds inside and outside the house, along with nosy relatives and pesky kids asking for angbaos, we’ve created a list of the best places to escape from Singapore for much-needed getaways.
The countries here are usually unaffected by the CNY holidays. They’re also nearby, giving you enough time to travel to and fro within the long weekend!
1) Da Nang, Central Vietnam
Most people think of Ho Chi Minh, Halong Bay or Hanoi when they think of Vietnam. But few know about Da Nang — a laidback coastal city in Central Vietnam. It’s best known for its vibrant food scene, backpacker culture, and pristine beaches.
In fact, one of the best times to visit is from end January to May, as it’s generally sunnier.
One must-visit attraction is the new Bana Hills theme park that sits atop the Truong Son Mountains. It’s an eccentric wonderland of alpine coasters, three-storey arcades, and VR rides. There’s even the unique Golden Bridge that went viral on social media (see above) — modelled like two giant hands holding a long thread.
Jerome riding a buffalo on a tour through Hoi An’s coconut forest!
Your remaining days can be spent exploring the local markets and white beaches of Da Nang. If time permits, go on a day trip to the ancient imperial city of Hue, or the colourful Hoi An! Find out more in our 5-day Central Vietnam itinerary.
How to get there: 2h40m direct flight from Singapore to Da Nang (search flights from S$144)
Best times to visit: End Jan to May (sunny skies and low humidity levels)
Avoid: Rainy months of Sep to Early Jan
2) Khao Yai, Thailand
One of the most popular getaways from Singapore is Khao Yai. Just three hours away from Bangkok, the city is both magical and offbeat!
Khao Yai is a sprawling paradise of wineries, farms, vast flower fields, and mountainous landscapes. The best part? You can do anything from chilling in one of the many indie cafes to chasing waterfalls!
With cooling temperatures all year round, it’s the perfect condition for the PB Wine Valley to thrive. Who’d have thought you get to enjoy wine in Thailand’s countryside?!
Feed cute farm animals at the Primo and Palio Piazzas!
How to get there: 2.5hr flight from Singapore to Bangkok (search flights from S$120), followed by a 3hr drive to Khao Yai
Best times to visit: Nov to Feb (post-monsoon season and cool temperatures)
Avoid: Rainy months of Sep to Nov
3) Jaipur, India
Photo credit: @pkaran_ via Instagram
The exotic “Pink City” is home to the marvellous Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) and Amber Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In fact, India itself is a treasure trove of rich culture, beautiful architecture, colourful bazaars, and vibrant local life. It’s a whole new world that’s enticing to dive into.
At the Hawa Mahal, check out the honeycomb-shaped palace that looks straight out of a Wes Anderson film!
Be sure to also explore the exquisite design of the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors)!
How to get there: Flights from Singapore to Jaipur start from S$423
Best times to visit: Nov to Feb (Dry “winter” season and sunny skies)
Avoid: Rainy months of Jul to Sep, hot summer months of Apr to Jun
4) Mui Ne and Ho Chi Minh, Southern Vietnam
Photo credit: Tripadvisor
Ho Chi Minh City is one of the first few places people visit in Vietnam. While the populous city has an electric urban charm, the nearby coastal town of Mui Ne is worth a trip too! It’s got lovely sand dunes and beaches. We recommend visiting both — think of it as two getaways in one from Singapore 😉
Spend a day and a half exploring Ho Chi Minh, before making your way to Mui Ne via a five to six-hour bus ride to enjoy what the lesser-known gem has to offer.
Photo credit: @miss.hi via Instagram
Grab your camera and roam around the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum. The charming colonial building is filled with elaborate staircases and a collection of art pieces from Vietnamese and international artists over the decades.
If you’re a history buff, the Cu Chi Tunnels give a deep insight into the country’s conditions during the Vietnam War.
Photo credit: Tripadvisor
Mui Ne may be a seaside town at heart, but it’s an up-and-coming city with plenty of activities. One of the must-dos is visiting the White Sand Dunes — you can go sandboarding or simply watch the sunrise or sunset from there!
Photo credit: @lancelot104 via Instagram
Mui Ne Fishing Village is a must-visit for an insight into the local fishing life and bustling seafood markets. Come in the morning when the sun rises over the blue waters and colourful fishing boats, then enjoy breakfast at one of the market stalls!
Dec to Feb is also Mui Ne’s peak season for kitesurfing. If you’re up for it, head down to the beach and give it a shot, or watch the pros ride the city’s strong winds.
How to get there: 2hr flight from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh (round-trip flights start from S$117), followed by a 5hr sleeper bus to Mui Ne
Best times to visit: Nov to Mar (sunny skies and strong winds)
Avoid: Rainy months from Jul to Sep, hot summer months from Apr to Jun
5) Georgetown, Penang
Start at The Clan Jetty, an interesting place where numerous clans congregate and reside by the waterfront.
No trip to Penang is complete without seeing its acclaimed wall murals. Take the time to explore each street dotted with yellow pop-up food vans, boutique stores and hipster cafes!
Photo credit: Tripadvisor
Step into the world of Georgetown’s illustrious history at The Blue Mansion and the Peranakan Museum. The immensely beautiful building serves as both a boutique hotel and museum, and sheds light on the lives of affluent straits Chinese of that time.
How to get there: 1.5hr direct flight from Singapore to Penang (round-trip flights start from S$77)
Best times to visit: Dec to Feb (pleasant weather)
Avoid: Rainy months from May to Oct
6) Hua Hin, Thailand
Once a small and idyllic fishing village, Hua Hin has transformed into a wondrous holiday destination. These days, it’s a luxurious beach getaway for locals (even Thai royalty!) and travellers looking to escape the busy Bangkok life.
Kick back at Seenspace, Thailand’s “first beachfront mall”. It’s an open-air industrial mall with hipster shops, cafes, and live music. There’s also a very scenic rooftop bar with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean.
There’s even a Shiba Inu dog cafe that’s a lot less “commercialised” than Bangkok’s popular husky cafe for the same dose of happiness!
About a 90-minute drive away from Hua Hin city is the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, translated to the “mountain of 300 peaks”. The national park is well-known for its beautiful limestone mountains, pristine beaches and hidden caves that’ll make any nature lover ecstatic.
Hua Hin also hosts a variety of quirky bazaars and markets. For example, the hipster Cicada Night Market sells local crafts, from wooden-framed sunglasses to hand-painted porcelain dishes and leather accessories.
7) Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang is a quaint city tucked up north in Laos. The country has a rapidly growing tourism industry, but this place has just the right balance of modern comforts and charming old town vibes.
The photogenic Kuang Si Falls consists of four pools with glorious cascading waters that are about a 10-minute trek uphill and down. There’s even a swing hanging off a branch that offers a panoramic view of the entire waterfall!
Before you leave, don’t forget to check out the adorable bears at the bear rescue centre included in your entrance fee into Kuang Si 😉
It’s also not unusual to see French bakeries or charming cafes around Luang Prabang as the city draws strong influences from the French.
Drop by Saffron Coffee for speciality northern Lao Arabica produced by local farmers. Alternatively, there’s Utopia — a zen cafe overlooking the Nam Khan river that also transforms into a pretty happening bar by night!
For other exciting activities, visit The Lao Buffalo Dairy. It rents female buffalos from local farmers for milk until they are ready to calve again, hence creating a cycle of sustainable agriculture and steady income for locals.
When you’re here, try buffalo dairy delectables (cheese, ice cream, yoghurt and cheesecakes), or feed and bathe the buffalos!
How to get there: 4hr flight from Singapore to Luang Prabang (search flights from S$99)
Best times to visit: Nov to Mar (dry sunny days)
Avoid: Rainy months from June to Sep
8) Cebu, Philippines
Cebu Island has always been a backpacker’s favourite destination for its pristine beaches, blue lagoons, diving spots, and spectacular nature. With the Cebu airport now serving international flights as well, it’s hard not to give it a chance!
Exploring and canyoneering waterfalls are one of the best things to do here. While the blue falls of Kawasan remain the most popular for tourists, there’s also the underrated Inambakan Falls in Ginatilan with its amazing 100-foot waterfall that rushes into five sapphire-blue tiers.
Most people stay at Moalboal in Cebu as it’s the perfect paradise for snorkelling. You’ll be able to see flourishing coral reefs and whale sharks, all while swimming with schools of sardines and gentle sea turtles. Basically, one of the dreamiest getaways from Singapore!
There are plenty of snorkelling tours to choose from, so make sure you’ve settled on one before flying there.
Photo credit: Tripadvisor
Many visit the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol in the Philippines, but did you know that you can see the same spectacular view in Cebu? Known as the Casino Peak, this short trek brings you to the top of a narrow rocky ridge overlooking hundreds of hills!
How to get there: 4hr direct flight from Singapore to Cebu (round-trip flights from S$236)
Best times to visit: Dec to May (dry season — sunny skies and cool nights)
Avoid: Rainy months and typhoon season of Jun to Aug
9) Phuket, Thailand
Probably one of the most popular getaways from Singapore, Phuket is more than an opportunity for a glorious tan. Spice up your long weekend with activities from island-hopping to exploring caves at wallet-friendly prices!
Famous for its feature in Leo DiCaprio’s “The Beach“, the Phi Phi islands are a classic must-visit when in Phuket. Cross the Andaman Sea on the Phi Phi Island Tour and spend your day swimming in clear, turquoise waters.
If you prefer a non-stop adventure, check out this four-in-one activity. You get to raft down 5km of river rapids, zip-line 150m over a river, navigate an ATV through rugged terrains, and visit a temple cave — all in a single day.
How to get there: 2hr direct flight from Singapore to Phuket (round-trip flights from S$125)
Best times to visit: Nov to Apr (dry season — calm oceans and pleasant weather)
Avoid: Monsoon season of May to Oct
10) Langkawi, Malaysia
Photo credit: Tripadvisor
Beach getaways from Singapore are aplenty in Southeast Asia, but Langkawi happens to be one of those where the ocean is the main star. Pantai Cenang is one of the most popular beaches to visit, with calm waters suitable for swimming and various restaurants and bars to chill at.
Alternatively, Tanjung Rhu beach is a sandy paradise with picturesque limestone crags and clear waters. You might also see marine life if you go snorkelling.
Photo credit: Malaysia Truly Asia
Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands (only five of them are inhabited by people!), and one of the must-visit islands is Pulau Dayang Bunting, also known as the Lake Of The Pregnant Maiden.
If you’re bored with beach-bumming, hop on the SkyTrex adventure — an obstacle course of bridges, ropes, swings, and zip lines at dizzying tree-top heights for some heart-pumping action.
How to get there: 1.5hr direct flight from Singapore to Langkawi (Round-trip flights from S$78)
Best times to visit: Jan to Mar (dry season — no rain and bright sunshine)
Avoid: Rainy months of Sep to Oct
11) Bali, Indonesia
Bali is one of the top getaways from Singapore, and it’s pretty obvious why!
Right off the bat, a must-do in Bali is to relax at its amazing beach clubs. Popular ones include Finns Beach Club (Canggu), Potato Head Beach Club (Seminyak), or Sundays Beach Club (Uluwatu). They all boast the winning combination of front-row seaside locations, delicious bites, exotic cocktails and plenty of sunbeds to lounge on.
Aside from its majestic temples, Bali’s Tegalalang Rice Terrace is another unmissable spot for first-timers. The highlight of your visit will be the famous, Instagram-worthy swing that gives you a phenomenal view!
Bali is also where you can chill at cafes and hipster shops, embark on adventurous explorations to see wonderful secluded beaches, and dip in waterfalls. Check out the rest of our Bali content for more ideas!
How to get there: 2h40m direct flight from Singapore to Bali
Best times to visit: Nov to Aug
Avoid: Rainy months of Sep to Oct
Inspired to grab some getaways from Singapore? Share this article with your friends or partner and make that CNY 2021 escape a reality!
What other getaways from Singapore you recommend for CNY 2021? Let us know in the comments so we can escape our nosy relatives too.