For those who are plugging away at the office from Monday to Friday, there’s nothing better than the weekend — well, unless you have a long weekend ahead of you. And it’s no secret that planning your trips around public holidays is an excellent way to stretch your travel calendar. Good news is — the next long weekend is in August, with two public holidays in Singapore. National Day falls on 9 August, which is a Friday, and Hari Raya Haji on 11 August which is a Sunday and that makes the following Monday a public holiday too.
On most weekends, you have to decide between waking up early to get stuff done or sleeping in, but not on a long weekend. With all the extra time you get, it’s perfect for taking a trip with your besties to someplace new, or throw a pool party with friends and families. Then, spend the next morning sleeping in.
Here are 3 destinations near Singapore to level up your long weekend! Caption your photos with #TGIF and #longweekend because you have an extra day to slay in the sunshine.
1. Boracay Island, The Philippines
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President Rodrigo Duterte once called Boracay Island a cesspool due to overtourism and demand it to be closed for a major clean-up. After months-long rehabilitation efforts, Boracay’s powdery white shores are spotless, without a hint of green algae on its coastline. It is not hard to figure out why this island remains as the country’s most popular getaway despite its small size, spanning only 7km long and 500m wide. You would have seen them on the ‘gram, the world-famous technicolour sunset taken in Boracay with parasails and small Bangka sailboats across the horizon.
As of today, the government has imposed a limit of 6, 000 visitors allotted each day, making a trip to Boracay a novel experience. This number is based on a calculation that the island as a whole could only handle 19, 000 people, with a third allocated to tourists.
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Getting There From Singapore
There are no direct flights that operate from Singapore to Caticlan. However, it is possible to get to Caticlan via Manila on Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. The only budget airline that flies from Manila to Caticlan (Boracay) is Cebgo.
The average flight time is about 6h 25min.
This Caticlan airport is the closest airport to Boracay and in order to get there, you will first have to find transportation to Caticlan Jetty Port and then hop on a boat (10 to 20 minutes ride) to Boracay – most hotels would arrange for land and sea transport from the airport. In the event you do have to purchase tickets to get to your hotel, there are plenty of clear signages around the airport that will point you towards getting to the jetty port.
Stay connected in Boracay with ChangiWiFi from $4 daily. Find out more here.
2. Luang Prabang, Laos
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This sleepy UNESCO World Heritage town is underdeveloped and untouched by tourist activity. So don’t expect modern infrastructure and luxurious resorts. It’s perfect for backpackers, looking for a Southeast Asian respite. There is none of the hustle and bustle on the streets, and time passes really slowly here.
This small ancient kingdom in northern Laos is abounding with natural wonders and populated with temples and Buddhist monks. Best way to explore this old town? On a bike. Do make a pit stop at Wat Xieng Thong, the oldest ornamental temple built in the 15th century by the Lao King Setthathirath, near where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers join.
For natural wonders, take a taxi out to Kuang Si Falls, which has become a popular instagrammer’s hotspot due to its menthol-blue waters, and the formation of the cascading rocks somehow reminds us of the salt pools in Turkey. After taking a dip in the pool and documenting your insta-moment, head over to the local night market at Sisavangvong Road for dinner.
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Getting There From Singapore
Scoot is currently the only local airline that flies direct from Singapore to Luang Prabang. Flights to Luang Prabang run three times a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The average flight time is about 3h 10min.
Stay connected in Luang Prabang with ChangiWiFi from $2.50 daily. Find out more here.
3. Penang, Malaysia
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We know, you must be thinking is this all about the historic capital George Town? Yes and no. There is more to this 293-sq-km island of Penang, one of Malaysia’s most cosmopolitan and exciting destinations, especially for the foodies and cultural history buff.
For those who are new to Penang, go on a walking tour at the world-renowned ‘Street of Harmony’ in George Town – a UNESCO World Heritage site that features Malaysia’s best restored traditional architecture along with a multitude of heritage trades and arts.
The myriad of architectural styles such as Chinese shophouses, Colonial-style churches, Malay kampungs, and Anglo-Indian bungalows, they reflect the serendipitous outcome of cultures coming together. Plus, there is a seemingly never-ending spread of street food stalls and cafes to indulge in.
For an off-the-beaten-path experience, hike through lush jungle to deserted beaches at Penang National Park. It is advisable not to swim in this beach because there are plenty of jellyfishes so be careful – you don’t want to be stung by them! Located within the Penang National Park is the historic Muka Head Lighthouse, which is still operational. The lighthouse can be reached by a steep jungle trail which offers views of the Straits of Malacca.
Image by mr_jake.c via Instagram.
Getting There From Singapore
You can fly direct from Singapore to Penang with any of these airlines: Scoot, AirAsia, Jetstar, Malaysia Airlines and SilkAir.
The average flight time is about 1h 25min.
Stay connected in Penang with ChangiWiFi from $4 daily. Find out more here.