The end of the year is here! of course, you don’t need me to tell you that. Wander along Orchard road, and you can already see all the different shopping malls competing with each other with Christmas decorations.
With such a festive mood in the air, you surely cannot be blamed for wanting to take a vacation before plunging into the new year. However, what if you have little to no more leave left?
Don’t worry, you won’t have to stare enviously at photos and videos that your friends post on social media. Through proper planning, and efficiently maximising your remaining time off, you can absolutely have a great vacation. Say you want to get out of Singapore and you can spare a day or two of leave. (Or you want to take advantage of the fact that New Year falls on a Monday this coming year.)
This list comprises of several phenomenal locations a short distance away from Singapore that will let you have a great experience without having to be in the plane long enough for your legs or rear suffering for it.
A mere 4 hour flight away, if you are keen for a quick getaway, you can hardly go wrong with the Maldives. One of the most famous holiday destinations in the world, you can be certain that you will find white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and thriving sea life makes for an unforgettable divining experience.
If you are looking to wind down, a water villa at a luxury hotel can afford you plenty of privacy while being surrounded by the ocean. Other hotels offer other experiences such as romantic beachfront resorts or modern hotels with all the comforts that comes with technology.
Cambodia has a lot to offer to a jaded traveler. Many of us here in Singapore often think about Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and other popular destinations within the region, but complete overlook Cambodia. If you are looking to explore ancient temples, immerse yourself in culture and simply enjoy great food, Cambodia is a great option especially if you are looking for somewhere new. However, I’m going to focus on a particularly noteworthy place to visit in Cambodia.
The Koh Rong archipelago consists of two large islands connected by a wooden footbridge. The sea surrounding the islands are a protected marine reserve meaning you get to enjoy pristine, clear waters where you can see right to the seabed. There are a large number of hotels, approximately 30 around the islands so no matter what you are looking for, you are bound to find something you like.
This is a fantastic option for city slickers like Singaporeans as it is such a violent contrast to the metropolitan hustle and bustle of our tiny island nation. You also need not have any fear of the trains breaking down there as the only way to get to the islands is by boat.
Indonesia is so much more than just Bali. Of course you can head to Bali and have a great time. However, if you take the time to explore, Indonesia can prove to be an exciting destination if you are willing to look past Bali. Similar to the Koh Rong archipelago, the town Labuan Bajo sits on an almost unspoiled area of breathtaking natural beauty.
Described as an adventurers paradise, the town has a lot to offer tourists who travel there seeking water sports and more. Some travelers are drawn by the allure of being able to see the Komodo dragons that live on the 80 islands within the region.
I’d be remiss to not mention Thailand. Bangkok is a perennially popular tourist destination. Boasting a vibrant nightlife, great food, a multitude of temples and its famously awful traffic jams, Bangkok deserves its spot as one of the hottest destinations within this region.
However, there are other less well known parts of Thailand that should definitely be on your radar. Koh Samui, is a region that has grown in popularity for tourists and having been there myself and experienced the serene nature coupled with the riotous street markets and excellent food, Koh Samui was one of my fondest memories.
I also recall heading to the gun range there and only being allowed to fire a pellet gun. However, they do have pistols, shotguns and more so if you ever wanted to let off steam in a unique way, the gun range is definitely something to try.
Chiang Mai has been described as the historic and cultural capital of Thailand. Hundreds of ancient temples dot the city juxtaposed by the ultra-modern cafes, restaurants and clothing stores, Chiang Mai offers a charmingly unique experience that is different from Bangkok.
Myanmar has a rich and largely unexplored culture. While many may direct you to head to Yangon or Naypyidyaw, Old Bagan is a destination that not many are aware of.
Although it is relatively unknown compared to the other more popular towns, Old Bagan has more than 2,000 temples that proves to be a breathtaking sight when viewed from a hot air balloon ride. Wake up in time to catch a sunrise hot air balloon ride and I promise you will be struck by the beauty of Myanmar.
There is of course, always our neighbour, Malaysia. From Kuala Lumpur, to Penang, to Ipoh and more. Malaysia is always a popular destination simply because of proximity. Johor Bahru is always popular with people hopping in for a great meal before coming back home.
Kuala Lumpur for shopping, eating and clubbing, Ipoh for its famous dishes such as Hor Fun, attractions such as an abandoned castle, hot springs and a cave temple make Ipoh something of a hidden gem to visit. Redang for some of the best diving in the world where if you are lucky, an elusive whale shark may decide to grace you with its presence. Malaysia can never be counted out as a potential travel destination.
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