Holidays are serious business here in Singapore. At the beginning of each year, Singaporeans count with bated breath the number of long weekends. Then they start to anticipate making their escape months in advance.
Considering we have six long weekends this year, that’s a lot of holidays to plan. So it’s not surprising that after covering the usual favourites like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney, Singaporeans are hungry for more.
We had a look at Kayak’s top trending destinations of 2016 for Singaporeans so far, and were pleasantly surprised to find that there were a great many affordable destinations on the list (although, let’s face it, considering how expensive Singapore is most destinations in the region seem cheap in comparison).
Here are the top 10 Asian destinations that have seen the biggest year-on-year increases in Kayak searches, and how much it costs to fly there:
Singaporeans have always loved travelling to Japan, but before budget airlines started flying to Osaka most flights went directly to Tokyo, and people then had to take the train to explore other cities. Interest in Osaka has been boosted by the fact that it was one of the first destinations to be served by budget airlines, Air Asia to be specific. Plus, there’s the fact that the Japanese yen just keeps getting lower.
Cost: $450 to $600
India is one of the more challenging destinations to visit as at tourist, but Chennai has a reputation for being one of the safer and less stressful destinations. Lots of Singaporeans end up in Chennai when they are invited to weddings or visit relatives based there.
Cost: $300 to $360
3. George Town (Penang)
People always say that Penang is like Singapore was in the 60s, and now that young Singaporeans sick of our skyscrapers and technological wizardry are on a constant hunt for all things retro, it’s easy to see why more are flocking to George Town in Penang.
Singaporeans like nothing more than to take selfies with the many examples of street art dotting the historic centre, and stuff their faces with hawker food which still tastes great after all these years, unlike the bland offerings at our own Kopitiam chains.
Cost: $100 to $120
Tokyo has always been and probably always will be one of Singaporeans’ dream destinations, even if Kpop has totally eclipsed Jpop in the minds of local teenyboppers. It offers everything you could ask for in a holiday destination—a fascinating culture, shopping, food, mind-blowing modernity and a rich history. The fall of the Japanese yen could be one reason more and more Singaporeans are flocking to Tokyo and other Japanese destinations these days.
Cost: $350 to $450
5. Kuala Lumpur
KL is like a grittier version of Singapore’s CBD. Come on, they even have their own versions of Zouk and Neverland. Singaporeans often head to KL to eat, party, shop and get massages at a fraction of the price it costs in their own country. It costs almost nothing to fly to KL and thanks to the stupendously weak Malaysian ringgit, everything there is even cheaper than before.
Cost: $60 to $90
The spike in interest in Sapporo is partly due to the fact that skiing in Japan, particularly Niseko, is now all the rage amongst Singaporeans. Hokkaido has also become quite a popular holiday destination amongst Singaporean foodies. And well, given the fact that 2016 has been an excruciatingly hot year in Singapore, you can’t really blame people for wanting to fling themselves into the snow.
Cost: $600 to $800
While beach resort holidays used to mean Bali or Phuket, more and more Singaporeans are heading to Krabi. This is partly because during peak periods like public holidays, tickets to Phuket are always so inflated in price that many people just give up and head to Krabi instead. Krabi also offers access to islands off Ao Nang like Ko Phi Phi, Ko Tao and Railay (okay, technically not an island but feels like one).
Cost: $100 to $150
The Maldives used to be one of those places you could only hope to visit if you struck Toto. But now Singaporeans have discovered that they can just swipe their credit cards and worry about finding the money to pay up later! Okay, I jest.
Ever since Tiger Airways and Air Asia started offering budget flights to the Maldives, there’s been a surge of Singaporeans going there for diving, snorkelling or just camwhoring. Also, once unheard of, there are now a number of budget and midrange options in the Maldives for those who can’t afford to pay $2,000 a night for a Conde Nast Travel-featured bungalow on the water.
Cost: $300 to $450
9. Denpasar (Bali)
Bali has always been a favourite destination of Singaporeans, but it appears that its popularity continues to go. Is it the falling Indonesian rupiah, the availability of hipster cafes or the draw of favourites Potato Head, Ku De Ta and Rock Bar?
Cost: $180 to $250
10. Siem Reap
The temple complex at Angkor is one of the world’s most amazing sights. And Singaporeans are lucky enough to live just a short plane ride away. Siem Reap, the closest town to Angkor, has already been popular amongst Singaporeans for quite a few years, and it seems its popularity is continuing to grow. It’s extremely cheap when done as a budget destination and close enough to squeeze in in a weekend. The temples are mind-blowing and even the food is not bad.
Cost: $180 to $300
Which of the above destinations is your favourite? Tell us in the comments!