5 easy must-do weekend trips from Singapore

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Weekend trips from Singapore

Singapore is a tiny country with so much to do it's almost beyond belief. While it may only be a single city, Singapore offers as much to do with your time as many countries do. Amusement parks, pristine beaches, and one of the world's greatest street food scenes all combine to make this a city you may never want to leave.

But Singapore can be overwhelming. Once you've seen the futuristic landscapes of the Gardens by the Bay and explored the incredible cuisine of Chinatown, you may find yourself longing for a short getaway that will let you see more of this fascinating part of the world. After all, incredible cities like Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, and Ho Chi Minh City are only a short flight away from Singapore.

Then again, it's possible you took a long plane ride to get to Singapore in the first place, and the last thing you want to do is get airborne again. Luckily, there are plenty of weekend getaways from Singapore you can take without getting on a plane. Cars, buses, trains, and boats can take you on an unforgettable weekend getaway from Singapore and show you a different side of Southeast Asia.

Travel is much easier when you travel light. Before heading out on a short getaway, don't forget to leave your heavy bags behind at a luggage storage in Singapore. Knowing that your bags will be safely looked after while you're away will be a load off your mind as you go island hopping or head inland.

As a city-state, Singapore is surrounded by other countries, so you will have to consider immigration. But bring your passport along as you explore some of these great weekend getaways from Singapore, and you'll be glad you took the trouble to see what else is out there.

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Weekend trip from Singapore to Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru

Located just across the border in Malaysia, Johor Bahru is one of the easiest places to reach on a weekend getaway from Singapore. But despite how close it is, being in a different country means it offers a different atmosphere and vibe the more you'll find in Singapore.

Distance from Singapore

A causeway connects Singapore to Johor Bahru, so you can drive from one to the other in a little over an hour. It's also possible to make the same journey by public transit, but you'll need to transfer multiple times from one bus to another, so the journey will take more than three hours.

Our activity recommendations

Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque: Malaysia is a majority Muslim country, although it is home to many different religions. The Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque, built at the end of the 19th century, is one of the city's most impressive monuments and is a fascinating place to visit outside of regular prayer times. See the spiritual heart of the city on your weekend getaway and get a deeper understanding of the religion and culture of Malaysia.

Go shopping: Retail is one of the biggest reasons Singaporeans take weekend getaways from Singapore over the border into Malaysia. Johor Bahru is packed with shopping malls like City Square Mall that offer the latest and greatest in international fashion. If you prefer to keep things more local, you'll also find some interesting markets where you combine handicrafts and other local items that make great souvenirs of your trip.

Enjoy street food: It might seem a bit odd to leave Singapore in search of street food when the city has so much excellent food itself, but Johor Bahru is also an incredible food destination. Check out hawker centers like Pasar Karat to sample some of the very best food the city has to offer.

Best season to visit

Since the weather is great year-round, you can head here during any season.

Malacca weekend trips from Singapore

Malacca

Sometimes spelled Melaka, this is a historic city known for Portuguese and Dutch colonial architecture. In fact, this beautiful city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its historical importance.

Distance from Singapore

It takes just over three hours to reach Malacca by car from Singapore, though that doesn't factor in any time spent waiting at the border. Therefore, this isn't a great option for day trips, but for longer weekend getaways, it certainly fits the bill and will give you a completely different experience from what you'll get in Singapore.

Our activity recommendations

Jonker Street: In a city as beautiful as this, often the best thing to do is just take a stroll and soak up the ambiance. There's no better place to do that than Jonker Street. Packed with cafés, restaurants, fashion boutiques, and antique stores, this street functions as Malacca's living room and is a great place to explore on weekend getaways from Singapore.

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Malacca Historical City is somewhere you simply have to visit on your weekend getaway. Visit A Famosa Fort to see a relic of Portuguese occupation, then head to the Dutch Square to see the architectural legacy left behind by Dutch colonists. The cultural influences on Malaysia from overseas have been a powerful influence on the country to this day, and there are few better places to see that than Malacca.

Try the food: This is going to become something of a recurring theme in this article, but the food in this part of the world is truly incredible no matter where you go. Malaccan delicacies like chicken rice balls and nyonya laksa are everywhere, and they are a delicious addition to any weekend getaway.

Best season to visit

The best time to visit Malacca is from December to April. That's when the city isn't as hot and humid, and the rain isn't too bad.

Batam Island getaways from Singapore

Batam Island

Home to beautiful white sand beaches and incredible coastal scenery, Batam Island is one of the most popular weekend getaways from Singapore.

Distance from Singapore

Reachable from the Harborfront ferry terminal (not the Tanah Merah ferry terminal, which is on the other side of the city), Batam Island is one of the longer weekend getaways in Singapore, but the unspoiled wilderness it offers makes it well worth considering.

Our activity recommendations

Island hopping: If you have the time, Batam could be just the start of an incredible island getaway. There are tons of beautiful islands to explore here, each with its own rural charm, including pristine beaches, dense forests, scenic viewpoints, and, yes, incredible food. A short getaway here may make you feel like you've been on a much longer adventure thanks to all the different places you can see on a single trip.

Enjoy a spa treatment: Relaxation is the name of the game here, and getting a spa treatment on Batam is one of the best ways to enjoy weekend getaways from the city. Traditional Indonesian massage is available at many of the spas that have been set up to cater to the tourist trade on this popular island, so relax and allow the staff to pamper you in these incredible natural surroundings.

Take a hot air balloon ride: The islands of the South China Sea are certainly beautiful, and it's easy to see why they are such popular tourist attractions. They are even more beautiful from the air. Float above the islands in a hot air balloon, and you'll get incredible views of this popular getaway destination, along with the density of Singapore and the lush countryside that surrounds it.

Best season to visit

To take advantage of all the hot weather activities here, like swimming, plan your weekend getaway between May and August.

Weekend trips to Desaru from Singapore

Desaru

This laid-back coastal town provides a completely different atmosphere from Singapore, making it ideal for weekend getaways. Relax on the beach and enjoy the holiday atmosphere before heading back to the big and busy city-state just across the border.

Distance from Singapore:

You can reach Desaru with a drive of about two and a half hours, but be aware that there is an international border in the way since you have to cross into Malaysia.

Our activity recommendations

Water sports: Desaru is a wonderful location for water sports, including jet skiing, banana boat rides, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The warm clear waters are ideal for recreation, and the reliably sunny weather means you should definitely bring your swimsuit with you when taking one of the best weekend getaways from Singapore.

Meet the ostriches: Visit the Desaru Ostrich Farm, where you can get up close and personal with the world's largest birds. A great activity for families or animal lovers, you'll learn more about these fascinating animals and even get to help feed them.

Sample great fruit: Desaru is known for its fruit farms, and you can enjoy exotic fruits like mangoes and the notorious durian straight off the tree. Keep an eye out for roadside fruit stands or educational farms where you can take a tour and learn about the cultivation of these important plants.

Best season to visit

For the least amount of rain and water sport-friendly temperatures, schedule your trip between May and September.

Tioman Island weekend getaways from Singapore

Tioman Island

Although it's a little further from Singapore than from other options on this list, Tioman Island is worth considering for your weekend getaway just because of what it has to offer. One of the most beautiful of all Malaysian islands, this tropical paradise offers incredible beaches, coral reefs, lush rainforests, and everything else you need to make you feel like you're in paradise.

Distance from Singapore

The drive from Singapore to Mersing Ferry Terminal takes around two and a half hours, not including possible traffic at the border into Malaysia. From the ferry terminal, the ferry ride to the island itself takes an hour and a half.

Our activity recommendations

Snorkeling/scuba diving: The warm and crystal-clear waters of the island, combined with a nearby coral reef, make this one of the best destinations for snorkeling or scuba diving in the region. If you have some scuba diving experience, you can head out on a guided expedition to explore the coral reef with knowledgeable instructors who will take care of your safety and help you see some of the most beautiful marine life around. Otherwise, snorkeling offers a great way for beginners to participate in the underwater fun, so remember to bring your swimsuit.

Nipah Beach at night: Tioman Island is packed with incredible beaches ideal for the perfect island getaway. But Nipah Beach at night is truly something special. The phosphorescent seaweed glows when night falls, providing a natural light show that makes for a haunting and unforgettable experience as you listen to the whispering waves under the stars.

Go fishing: Several outfitters do business on Tioman Island, offering guided fishing excursions to catch some of the huge variety of fish that live off the coast here. Try your luck at hooking something for dinner, or just enjoy the ride and the incredible scenery of this truly stunning location.

Best season to visit

Head here during the summer, specifically in July and August, for the best weather.

Best weekend getaways from Singapore

Conclusion

A short time in the city — for instance, three days in Singapore — isn't nearly enough to do justice to everything this vibrant city-state has to offer. The incredible scenery, excellent food, and exciting tourist attractions of Singapore deserve more than that. So, if you're only in town for a limited time, it's better to focus your energies on what Singapore itself has to offer.

If you find yourself with a little more time on your hands, it may well be worth considering a weekend getaway from Singapore. There are so many great options here, both for day trips from Singapore and for longer weekend trips. It would be a shame not to take advantage when you have the chance. Leave your bags behind at a Singapore luggage storage and explore some of these fascinating locations, and you'll be getting the very best out of your trip to Southeast Asia.

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