A long weekend is always welcomed and this year, its good news for Singaporeans as the first day of Hari Raya Puasa falls on 15th June, a Friday. It’s time to start planning that short break. Ideally, you would want to head somewhere that isn’t too far but isn’t all that familiar either. An adventurous weekend of new experiences is now made possible with this list of tantalizing destinations you could do just within hours away!

  1. Muar, Johor

A night bazaar at Muar
Image credit: WIL | Flickr

Muar is a small town about two and a half hours drive north of Singapore. Most people come to Muar to eat. That’s because Muar has plenty of local specialties. You will want to check out delicacies like Otak-otak ( a type of spicy fish cake), Chwee Kueh and the local seafood Tze Char spots.

At night, head on over to downtown Muar to visit their night bazaar street where you can sample local snacks and drinks. Generally, hotels and hostels are very affordable here, with rates ranging from $25 – $80 per night.

  • How to Get There: Drive 2.5 hours through the North-South Highway. Exit at Pagoh/Muar and follow the signboards into town.
  • Estimated Total Cost: Less than $250.
  1. Pulau Lang Tengah, Terengganu

Image credit: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi | Flickr

Pulau Lang Tengah is a beach paradise that’s situated off the fringe of East Coast Malaysia in the state of Terengganu. To get here, you’ll have to drive or take a coach to the Mersing Jetty. From there, it’s a short ferry ride to the island. Lang Tengah isn’t a large island and the activities here revolve around the sea. There are 8 beaches in total, and all of them have the finest white sand and clearest crystal blue waters you’ll see in the region.

  • How to Get There: 3.5 hours by road to Mersing Jetty, Terengganu. There will be ferries at the Jetty headed to Pulau Lang Tengah so you’ll have to travel 1.5 hours by boat. Total travel time is about 5 hours.
  • Cost: Between $500 – $700 as the resorts on the island cost about $120-$200 per night. A slightly more premium experience than usual, the view is sure to pay off!
  1. Bintan Island, Indonesia

Resorts in Bintan Island
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Bintan Island is one of the nearest Indonesian islands to Singapore and probably not new to a vast majority of Singaporeans here. It is easily accessible by a ferry ride from the Tanah Merah ferry terminal. Islanders can sign up for eco-tours of their mangrove forests. There are many hotels and resorts on the island. The cheapest lodgings are about $20 but if you choose a resort with a golf course, it can go up to $200 per night.

  • How to Get There: Bintan Resorts Ferries (BRF) provides daily ferries to the island from Tanah Merah. There are five ferries on weekdays and seven on weekends. Each trip will take about 55 minutes. A return trip costs upwards of $45 -$50.
  • Affordability: Between $250 – $550 depending on where you stay.
    1. Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm, Kluang, Johor

    Chalets at Kahang Eco Farm, Kluang
    Image credit: KOREF | Facebook

    If you really want to pry yourself away from work and the hustle and bustle of daily life, Kahang Farm might just be the dainty little haven you’ve been looking for. This Eco-tourism destination offers visitors a ‘kampung’ or village life experience. Now before you get all excited – this means no Wifi, no air conditioning, and definitely no technology. Immerse yourself fully in the ‘kampung’ experience by diving head first into primitive living like how it was.

    Instead, for a flat fee, you get to experience first hand (literally) rice planting, zip-lining over a lake and bamboo rafting! This is one place you want to be if you’re looking to escape the city buzz.

    • How to Get There: Kahang Farm is located at KM 43, Jalan Kluang – Mersing, 86700 Kluang, Johor Malaysia. It is about 2.5 hours drive from Singapore customs.
    • Cost: About $160 – $200 for two nights, inclusive of meals and outdoor activities
    1. Kuching, Sarawak

    sarawak state assembly building overlooking Kuching river
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

    Book your flights to Kuching early. A round trip is beyond affordable, with tickets starting from $60. Hotels in Kuching range from 5-star resorts to humble hostels. On average, you’ll be able to find a clean, comfortable 2 or 3-star hotel for about $40 to $50 a night. Don’t forget to take a boat ride down the Kuching river and visit the famous Kuching Layered cake stalls on the other side of the bank., ‘Kuih Lapis’ is a must-buy souvenir here, as are many indigenous handicrafts available throughout the whole of Kuching.

    • How to get there: A flight from Changi to Kuching airport takes about 1.5 hours.
    • Cost: About $260 if you stay in a mid-range hotel.
    1. Joyo Island, Indonesia

    Beach Palace at Pulau Joyo
    Image credit: Pulau Joyo Official Site

    Joyo is a small private island that’s pretty near to Bintan and Rawa. It has six very large beach chalets which can fit about 28 adults each. The island is very suitable for families and those wanting a completely quiet retreat. It doesn’t have much in the way of shopping and entertainment but makes up for it in tranquil beaches.

    Apart from that, there’are bonfire nights and a private pool in each beach palace.

    • How to Get There: Once booking is confirmed with Pulau Joyo management, they will arrange for a ferry to pick you up from the Tanah Merah terminal. Transport prices are inclusive in the Joyo Island resort rates.
    • Cost: About $600-$800 for the first two adults in a beach palace. The rate is for two nights, inclusive of meals and transport to the resort.

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