2019 has only just begun, but I’m already exhausted beyond belief. The only thing keeping me
from taking too many MCs motivated are the 3 measly long-weekends this year. There are actually 11 Singapore public holidays in 2019, but only 3 are vacation-worthy.
Singapore public holidays in 2019 (long weekends)
|Public Holiday 2019||Travel period|
|Good Friday||19 to 21 Apr 2019 (Fri to Sun)|
|National Day & Hari Raya Haji||9 to 12 Aug 2019 (Fri to Mon)|
|Deepavali||26 to 28 Oct 2019 (Sun to Mon)|
As you can see, there are actually 4 long-weekend public holidays, but 2 of them – National Day & Hari Raya Haji – fall on the same weekend. That means instead of two 3-day weekends, we only get one 4-day weekend.
11 Cheap travel destinations under $250
In general, you can score dirt cheap flights to most nearby destinations in Malaysia and Indonesia for under $150 all year round. And since they’re so nearby, you don’t really need a long weekend to head there.
As such, I’ve excluded them and included the more popular destinations you can fly to for a bargain (under $250).
Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia & Myanmar – from $100 to $150
Ho Chi Minh City
Also commonly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is just 2 hours away from Singapore. You’ll find an interesting mix of urban skyscrapers, ancient temples, as well as French colonial buildings. Top attractions within the city include the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, as well as the Cu Chi Tunnel from the city’s dark past. Tickets to HCMC can sometimes go below $100 too.
Go off the beaten track and visit Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penhm. There is a dark charm to this intriguing city: You’ll find breathtaking Buddhist wats and palaces, but most of the tourism industry centres around its grim war-time past. Many travel here to see the Killing Fields and Toul Sleng Genocide Museum. For under $150, visiting Phnom Penhm promises an eye-opening experience that’s easy on the wallet.
A hot favourite among Singaporeans, Bangkok is great for cheap food and shopping, with the super popular Platinum Mall and night markets like Artbox and Talad Rot Fai. If you’re more of a culture buff, you can also head to the ancient capital of Ayutthaya for a crash course in Thailand’s colourful history. Tickets are usually under $200, and under $150 when super off-peak.
The largest city of Myanmar, Yangon is a busy city with an urban landscape that’s dotted with stunning temples and pagodas. You’ll find chic bars and restaurants downtown, but for a quieter ambience, head to the peaceful parks and lakes around the iconic, must-visit Shwedagon Paya (a golden Buddhist monument). Flights to Yangon average around $200+, but can drop to $140+ when it’s off-peak.
Hong Kong & Indonesia – from $150 to $200
Yet another hit with locals, Hong Kong is an “easy destination”. It’s easy to get around with the city via the subway, and most streets have signs in English. Flights to Hong Kong are easily under $200, especially if you fly with Cathay Pacific. You can hike around the famous Dragon’s Back, or eat your way around the city – don’t miss the OG dimsum at Tim Ho Wan! Hong Kong is also a great place for luxury goods shopping… which you can afford to do because you saved on the airfare, right?
Bali flights usually cost around $160 to $190, making it a relatively affordable travel destination to consider. Make sure you try the famous Babi Guling at Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen, it only costs $5 for a set of assorted pork dishes and rice. For some fancy drinks by the sunset, visit the Potato Head Beach Club. Weather getting too hot? Go for a splash at the award-winning water park, WaterBom. If you’re game, you may also venture out of the main Seminyak district and visit Ubud, Uluwatu, and even the Gili Islands.
Taipei, China & Australia – from $200 to $250
Taipei is further away, so perhaps save it for the extra long 4-day weekend in August. Some say Taipei has the culture of a “mini Japan”, so if you can’t afford $700 tickets to Tokyo or Osaka, head to Taipei. Flights are usually under $300 or $250 during off-peak months. Immerse yourself in the Taiwanese way of life by hanging out at the night markets and venturing out to Jiufen and Shifen.
Shanghai and Beijing are the most popular cities in China, but tickets there pretty steep (over $350). For a cheaper alternative, consider Guangzhou. The birthplace of Cantonese cuisine, foodies who love their soups and noodles can zip to Guangzhou for a short gastronomical adventure. Airfares are usually above $250 but if you’re lucky, you might find some at around $240. Popular landmarks include the Canton Tower and the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
Another affordable Chinese city to visit is Shenzhen. Tickets are around the same price as Guangzhou. If you enjoy hiking, you can visit the 943-m Wutong Mountain, which is the second tallest in the region, losing only to Tai Mo Mountain in Hong Kong. For a panoramic view of the cityscape, visit the observatory decks at Ping An IFC and KK100.
For some reason, Perth is one of the cheapest destinations in Australia. Tickets are always on sale, and half the price of those to popular cities like Melbourne and Sydney ($500 to $600+). For the most “shiok” weather, head to Perth at the end of winter when it’s around 18 degrees Celsius which is pretty much “air-con” temperature. In the day, visit the iconic Bell Tower or stroll along the popular Cottesloe Beach. When the sun sets, kick back and have a few drinks at any of the downtown bars.
Like Perth, Darwin is often outshadowed by the more famous cities in Australia, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. Especially since airfares are below $250. You can swim under a waterfall the Litchfield National Park or get up close to native crocodiles at the Crocosaurus Cove. The tropical Darwin experience is quite unlike the rest of Australia, as it’s a lot more influenced by the Aboriginal population than most other parts.
Have you planned your 2019 travels on any of the Singapore public holidays? Let us know in the comments below!