In other parts of the world, “winter” holidays mean one thing – an escape from snow, ice, and freezing temperatures to exotic destinations full of sunshine and tourist overcharging. But for Singaporeans, end-of year holidays are a necessity that helps us keep our sanity and recharge our morale before dealing with another year of 44-hour work weeks.
You deserve to use some of your bonus or savings towards a relaxing holiday. But you don’t need to spend a few thousand bucks to visit a place halfway across the globe to enjoy yourself – because there are plenty of holiday destinations nearby where your SGD can go even farther than you do!
Here are 6 great holiday destinations you should consider visiting in December/January (if you haven’t booked already!):
1. Bali, Indonesia
Bali offers something for just about every type of traveler. If you want to experience a fun nightlife, mingle with tourists from around the globe, and test your bargaining skills to the limit against the locals, there’s Kuta.
If you want to detox from the daily grind of congested MRT stations, malls, and well… just about any place with four walls in Singapore – there’s Ubud, Uluwatu, and Nusa Dua. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – surfing, golfing, hiking, trekking, diving, and visiting some magnificent temples are just some of the other things you can do on this island paradise.
Air Ticket: Depending on when you fly, expect ticket prices to be about $240-$500+ per person if you’re flying with AirAsia.
Lodging: Lodging in Bali varies according to the area you’re staying at, but you can find a good hotel for as low as $35-$120 a night if you book with Agoda.
Fun Activities: Almost anything than can be done in the ocean can be done here – surfing, scuba diving, parasailing, snorkeling, etc. There’s also outdoors activities such as canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and sightseeing tours.
2. Bangkok, Thailand
You don’t need me to tell you what’s great about Bangkok! It’s a must-see destination for every Singapore for three simple reasons: 1) it’s got an AMAZING nightlife, 2) it’s arguably the best city for shopping in Asia, and 3) everything is SUPER CHEAP!
But Bangkok is more than just a commercial paradise; it’s also full of magnificent cultural sites that must be visited at least once, such as Wat Arun and the Grand Palace.
Air Ticket: Depending on when you fly, expect tickets prices to be about $240-$400+ if you’re flying with AirAsia.
Lodging: Lodging in Bangkok varies according to the area you’re staying at, but it’s not hard to find a good hotel for as low as $40-$130 a night if you book with Agoda.
Fun Activities: If shopping is your weakness, then Bangkok is the place to do it cheaply. You can get everything from quality clothes to tailor-made suits. If you enjoy dancing, drinking, clubbing, and listening to live music, there are plenty of places to visit. Oh, and before I forget, spa/massage treatments are unbelievably cheap here too!
3. Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia
Pulau Langkawi is like a cheaper, cleaner, quieter, and less congested version of Phuket. Maybe that’s why it has earned the nickname “The Jewel of Kedah,” and UNESCO World Geopark status.
If you’re looking for a destination offering plenty of beautiful scenery, adventurous land and sea activities, and a quieter but lively nightlife without the sleaziness of other locations, then Langkawi is a destination you can’t pass up!
Air Ticket: Depending on when you fly, expect ticket prices to be about $350-$600+ per person if you’re flying with AirAsia.
Lodging: Lodging in Langkawi varies according to the area you’re staying at, but it can get really cheap if you are not picky. You can find a good hotel for as low as $20-$130 a night if you book with Agoda. Prices can get really low so do a bit more homework and read up on some of the reviews if there are any on the site.
Fun Activities: Langkawi offers many of the same water- and land-based activities as other destinations on this list (parasailing, island-hopping tours, snorkeling, hiking, etc.). There are also plenty of changes to wind down and relax with numerous spa facilities and a great nightlife scene.
4. Krabi, Thailand
One of Thailand’s must-see destinations, Krabi is known for its numerous (over 150) islands offering visitors what they can’t get in their home countries – a pristine, secluded beaches and diving spots that aren’t overrun by tourists and cargo ships (like Sentosa!).
If you’re looking for a destination with beautiful scenery without any of the tourist congestion found in other destinations (like Phuket!), Krabi is the place to visit.
Air Ticket: Depending on when you fly, expect ticket prices to be about $200-$350+ per person if you’re flying with AirAsia.
Lodging: Lodging in Krabi varies according to the area you’re staying at, but you can find a good hotel for as low as $30-$150 a night if you book with Agoda.
Fun Activities: In Krabi, you can partake in the usual water activities (scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, etc.), but island- and beach-hopping is a must. Make sure to visit Poda Island, Tup Island, and Koh Phi Phi at least! If that’s not your thing, you can always visit the many scenic temples (Tiger Cave Temple), go rock climbing, or watch some Muay Thai matches.
5. Ha Long Bay (Bai Chay), Vietnam
If you’re taking a short holiday at the end of this year, why not spend it visiting one of the most beautiful locations in Asia – Ha Long Bay. It’s one of Vietnam’s most iconic holiday destinations primarily for its beautiful and secluded grottoes, lagoons, semi-inhabited islands, and beaches.
Just keep in mind that even though the Vietnam Dong is the national currency, you should bring along at least $200 USD (in smaller denominations) in case some vendors only accept USD. Oh, and make sure you sharpen your bargaining skills before you go!
Air Ticket: Depending on when you fly, expect ticket prices to be about $350+ per person if you’re flying with Tigerair. But you’ll also need to take a bus (about $8+) or a taxi to Halong Bay ($20+). It can be a bit complex to get there, but following these directions helps.
Lodging: Lodging in Ha Long Bay varies according to the area you’re staying at, but you can find a good hotel for as low as $13-$150 a night if you book with Agoda.
Fun Activities: Visiting Ha Long Bay without taking a cruise and taking in the scenery is like buying a ticket to Universal Studios Singapore and not getting on the rides – it’s why you go! Aside from taking a cruise, you can also go kayaking (another must!), scuba diving, rock climbing, or visit the local casino.
6. Kyoto, Japan
Ok, so maybe I put this one on the list because I’m a HUGE fan of Japan Hour. Seriously though, it’s one of the top tourist destinations in Asia for a reason – it’s a culturally rich city that contains Japan’s most beautiful temples and shrines.
So if you enjoy quiet holidays where you can immerse yourself in a new culture and take photos your friends will be extremely jealous of – visit Kyoto.
Air Ticket: Depending on when you fly, expect ticket prices to be about $550-$700+ per person if you’re flying with AirAsia.
Lodging: Lodging in Kyoto varies according to the area you’re staying at, but you can find a good hotel for as low as $30-$130 a night if you book with Agoda.
Fun Activities: If you’re a Japanophile or have an appreciation for history and scenery that’s unlike any other place in Asia, Kyoto offers entertainment districts featuring Geishas and hundreds of breathtaking temples.
Final Note: Before flying, make sure that you’ve got travel insurance! If you don’t know what that is or think you don’t need it, reading Why You Need Travel Insurance will change your mind.
One last thing, double check your credit cards to see if you can get cash back, air miles, airline ticket discounts, or even FREE travel insurance. And if your wallet is missing a credit card that offers great travel benefits, visit SmartCredit.sg to find one that does.
Where will you be travelling to this holiday season? Share your destinations with us on Facebook!
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