As we inch towards the second half of 2018, I’m beginning to feel the itch to travel. So I decided to revisit MOM’s list of Singapore public holidays in 2018, and was horrified to find that we’re only left with 1 “real” long weekend. Where did the others go? Are they already over?
Thankfully, there are 4 public holidays that fall on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 1 on a Wednesday. This means that they can still be travel opportunities, with the cost of 1 or 2 days of annual leave. I guess not all is lost then.
I took to SkyScanner and similar sites to search and compare prices for the cheapest air ticket promotions, and here’s what I found.
Cheapest Travel Destinations for Singapore Public Holidays 2018
In general, you can score 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. They’re mostly under $250, and I searched for direct return flights only.
|Public Holiday 2018||Travel period||Destinations|
|Vesak Day (Tue 29 May)||26 to 29 May||Ho Chi Minh City, Shenzhen, Tokyo|
|Hari Raya Puasa (Fri 15 Jun)||15 to 17 June||Guangzhou, Shanghai, Darwin, Maldives|
|National Day (Thu 9 Aug)||9 to 12 Aug||Phnom Penh, Yangon, Melbourne, Osaka|
|Hari Raya Haji (Tue 21 Aug)||18 to 22 Aug or 22 to 26 Aug||Bangkok, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Taipei, Perth, Melbourne, Maldives|
|Deepavali (Tue 6 Nov)||3 to 6 Nov||Phuket, Bandung, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Bali, Hong Kong, Taipei, Perth, Sydney|
|Christmas Day (Tue 25 Dec)||22 to 25 Dec||Ho Chi Minh City, Phuket, Bandung, Bali, Bangkok, Shenzhen, Haikou|
The next (and only) long weekend of 2018 is in June, but if you super gan chiong spider and die-die cannot wait, you can book a holiday for this month too. Just take one day off and make Vesak Day a long weekend.
Vesak Day 2018 Long Weekend
Saturday 26 May to Tuesday 29 May 2018
* Need to take 1 day of annual leave on Monday 28 May 2018
We’re about three weeks away to this weekend, so prices are not at an all-time-low. I did, however, manage to find some hidden gems:
Ho Chi Minh City (From $101 via JetStar)
Also commonly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is just 2 hours away. 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, but considering how last minute this is, $101 is a reasonable price.
Shenzhen (From $236 via Scoot)
Although not as popular a Chinese destination as Beijing and Shanghai, there’s enough to do for 4 days. If you enjoy hiking, you can visit the 943-m Wutong Mountain, which is the second tallest in the region, losing on to Tai Mo Mountain in Hong Kong. For a panoramic view of the cityscape, visit the observatory decks at Ping An IFC and KK100.
Tokyo (From $496 via Delta)
Tokyo is Singapore’s top travel destination, and I was surprised to find tickets under $500. I personally feel that 4 days is too short for trip to Japan – it’s a 7-hour flight – but you don’t mind it, $496 is a superb deal. For this long weekend, Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines are selling tickets at $800+ and ANA at $1,000+! Unless you want to experience the famous cherry blossom season (which was long over), May is a beautiful time to visit Tokyo and you can still enjoy attractions like the national parks and palaces, museums, and of course, the famous Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea.
Hari Raya Puasa 2018 Long Weekend
Friday 15 June to Sunday 17 June 2018
For this long weekend, prices seem to be lower for flights to China. I also found good steals for Darwin and Maldives, which are only about 4 hours away.
Guangzhou ($207 via Scoot)
The birthplace of Cantonese cuisine, foodies who love their soups and noodles can zip to Guangzhou for a short gastronomical adventure. Airfares are usually $250 and up, which makes this Hari Raya Puasa weekend a good time to go. Popular landmarks include the Canton Tower and the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
Shanghai ($355 via Spring Airlines)
The largest and one of the most modern cities in the country, Shanghai is more than dazzling lights and skyscrapers. 3 days is probably not enough for you to see all of it, but $355 is relatively cheap. Whatever it is that you’re looking for – be it beautiful scenery, fancy art galleries, ancient temples, or even a bustling nightlife scene – you’ll find it in Shanghai.
Darwin ($271 via Scoot)
Darwin is often outshadowed by the more famous cities in Australia (like Melbourne and Sydney), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. Especially since airfares are below $300. 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.
Maldives ($332 via Scoot)
Blue skies, white sand and clear waters, Maldives needs little introduction. It’s the stuff dream beach holidays are made of. $332 is a real bargain, with other airlines selling same-date flights at double to triple the price. Beach bums can laze around and get some vitamin D, while the adrenaline junkies can go for the water sports. Maldives is also a great place to go diving.
National Day 2018 Long Weekend
Thursday 9 August to Sunday 12 August 2018
* Need to take 1 day of annual leave on Friday 10 August 2018
For the National Day period, I managed to find impressive airfares for not just Cambodia and Myanmar, but Melbourne and Osaka too. You can also fly to HCMC ($117 via JetStar) and Darwin ($266 via JetStar).
Phnom Penh ($154 via JetStar)
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 just $154, visiting Phnom Penhm promises an eye-opening experience that’s easy on the wallet.
Yangon ($146 via JetStar)
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). $146 is considered cheap for flights to Yangon, which average around $200+.
Melbourne ($283 via Scoot and JetStar)
Melbourne is a top tourist destination in Australia. You’ll love visiting the local markets, having smoothies at the hip cafes, and even taking a trip down to Yarra Valley for some wine-tasting. You can also take a day trip down the stunning Great Ocean Road, but if you don’t want to rush through the coastal scenery, you can skip the city experience and spend the whole 4 days on the drive. Airfares to Melbourne typically cost over $400, so if you can get anything under $300, I say go for it.
Osaka ($424 via Scoot)
Another awesome find, if I may say so myself! Although slightly more expensive than other destinations, $424 is considered cheap for Japan, especially Osaka. Osaka is the food capital of Japan, and is famous for its colourful nightlife. Go crazy shopping and eating at Dotonbori, and if you’re a Pokemon fan like me, make sure you visit the country’s flagship Pokemon Center at Daimaru Umeda. You may also take the shinkansen to Kyoto, but I doubt you’d have the time.
Hari Raya Haji 2018 Long Weekend
Saturday 18 August to Wednesday 22 August 2018
* Need to take 2 days of annual leave on Monday 20 August and Tuesday 21 August 2018
Wednesday 22 August to Sunday 26 August 2018
* Need to take 2 days of annual leave on Thursday 23 August and Friday 24 August 2018
Bangkok ($134 via AirAsia and Scoot)
A hot favourite among Singaporeans, flights to Bangkok are relatively cheap during this period. The cheapest I could find is $134 taking AirAsia and Scoot (separate carriers to and fro). Bangkok is great for cheap food and shopping, with the super popular Platinum Mall and night markets like Artbox and Talad Rot Fai. Since you have 5 days, you can also head to the ancient capital of Ayutthaya for a crash course in Thailand’s colourful history.
Bali ($197 via AirAsia)
Bali flights rarely cost under $200, so $3 off is no big deal, but it’s still 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. 5 days is plenty for Bali, so you can plan time to venture out of the main Seminyak district and visit Ubud, Uluwatu, and even the Gili Islands.
Hong Kong ($162 via JetStar)
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. It’s a little too hot for Hong Kong’s famous hikes like the Dragon’s Back, but foodies can still eat their fill of dim sum at the OG 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?
Taipei ($205 via JetStar and Scoot)
Because you need to take 2 days of annual leave, this is the longest public holiday break. 5 days is a decent window for you to head to destinations that are further away. Taipei is one great example, and at $205, why not? Tickets are usually double that price, so if you can lock down your leave, I suggest booking it right away. Some say Taipei has the culture of a “mini Japan”, but you can still immerse yourself in the Taiwanese way of life by hanging out at the night markets and venturing out to Jiufen and Shifen.
Perth ($232 via Scoot)
August is the end of winter in Perth, so if you prefer something slightly chilly, consider this. The winter is mild, so it’s pretty much “air-con” temperature, averaging around 18 degrees Celsius. Perth is known for its laid-back culture, so #chillvibes only. 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. Airfares to Perth are known to be cheaper than those to Melbourne, but $232 is considered cheap even for Perth.
Deepavali 2018 Long Weekend
Saturday 3 November to Tuesday 6 November 2018
* Need to take 1 day of annual leave on Monday 5 November 2018
Phuket ($76 via JetStar)
Flights to Phuket are at their cheapest, costing only $76 to fly to the beach paradise. You usually have to pay around $150 and up, so this is a great choice those on a super tight budget. Once you’ve had enough of the main island’s beaches, I recommend heading out to the Phi Phi Islands (great place for scuba diving, by the way) and cruising around the scenic Phang Nga Bay.
Bandung ($152 via AirAsia)
Bandung is cool – quite literally. Because it’s surrounded by mountains, the climate there is generally colder than other destinations in the region. The beaches and tours around the craters and hot springs are perfect for nature lovers, while the factory outlets are great for shopaholics. $152 is the average price for flights to Bandung so they’re not particularly cheap this weekend, but they’re not expensive either.
Sydney ($272 via Scoot)
Sydney is 8 hours away, so if you do decide to go there on this short weekend, you probably only have about 2 to 2.5 days to explore. Although $271 is a real steal, I don’t think 4 days is enough. Top attractions include the Sydney Opera House, the sparkling Sydney harbour and at the ever-popular Bondi Beach.
Christmas Day 2018 Long Weekend
Saturday 22 December to Tuesday 25 December 2018
* Need to take 1 day of annual leave on Monday 24 December 2018
Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday, so the good news is that you can still attend your Christmas dinner parties if you manage to snag a day flight home. As mentioned above, prices are mostly at a high because it’s the peak travel season, but if you want, you can still fly out for under $400.
You can consider the following:
- HCMC ($98 via VietJet and Scoot)
- Phuket ($142 via Scoot and JetStar)
- Bandung ($177 via AirAsia)
- Bali ($205 via AirAsia)
- Bangkok ($190 via Thai Lion Air)
- Shenzhen ($247 via Scoot)
For some reason, flights to Haikou in China are lower than usual.
Haikou ($272 via Scoot)
Haikou is a port city in Hainan. At first glance, you’ll immediately notice the booming construction and restoration projects that are taking place all over the city. There isn’t much to do here in terms of sightseeing and shopping, but it may be worth a visit if you’ve already conquered the other more mainstream cities in China (like Beijing and Shanghai). Flights to Haikou usually cost $300+, and for December, this is considered cheap. That said, if you’re not absolutely keen on visiting Haikou, I don’t recommend snapping these tickets up right away. Prices for other flights are likely to fall closer to the date.
Have you planned your 2018 travels on any of the remaining Singapore public holidays? Let us know in the comments below!
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