Recharge your mind and body with a brief getaway from the Lion City, and snag attractive hotel and leisure deals for HomeTeamNS members.
TEXT: ALYWIN CHEW
1. Penang, Malaysia
From colorful street art to Instagram-worthy heritage buildings such as the elegant Victorian Eastern & Oriental Hotel and world-renowned street food, Penang’s George Town is arguably one of Malaysia’s most vibrant locales. When you’re done gorging on regional delicacies such as Sister Yao’s char koay kak (radish cake fried in sweet black sauce) at Macalistar Lane, don’t forget to stroll the old streets or snap pictures from the 68th-storey Rainbow Skywalk and Observatory Deck at Komtar Tower. Love a good bargain? Don’t forget to hit up the Batu Ferringhi Night Market.
Getting there: A 90-minute flight from Singapore
2. Belitung Island, Indonesia
Located off the eastern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, rustic Belitung Island has in recent years been gaining a reputation as the ideal alternative to the party haven of Bali. It was the backdrop for charming coming-of-age Indonesian film Laskar Pelangi, adapted from the eponymous novel by Andrea Hirata. Let your hair down and catch a tan on the island’s pristine white sand beaches, and be sure to check out the breathtakingly beautiful white clay mine at Tanjung Pandan. The town of Manggar also serves up some delicious coffee.
Getting there: An hour’s flight from Jakarta.
3. Da Nang, Vietnam
Previously known as the boondocks of Vietnam, Da Nang is today one of the most vibrant cities in the country that is renowned for its livability. It’s not difficult to see why many have now dubbed this place the Miami of Vietnam – it has stunning river bridges, picture-perfect beaches, charming French colonial buildings and a vivacious gastronomy scene to boot. Be sure to check out the city’s famous dragon bridge, hike through the picturesque Ba Na Hills, and party the night away at Sky36, the highest sky bar in Vietnam.
Getting there: A two-and-a-half hour flight from Singapore
4. Iskandar Puteri, Malaysia
Fancy a quick family getaway that is both affordable and kid-friendly? Head across the Causeway to Johor’s administrative capital Iskandar Puteri and spend a day at LEGOLAND theme park. Those looking for something more adventurous can also check out the EnergX Park, touted as Asia’s largest indoor extreme park that delivers an adrenaline rush with activities such as go-karting, dodge ball and trampolining.
Getting there: A 90-minute drive from downtown Singapore. Alternatively, hop onto a bus at the Tuas Checkpoint
5. Cempedak Island, Indonesia
Perform sun salutations on golden sand, get pampered with a massage and admire the pristine coral reefs at this adults-only private island that’s ideal for a romantic escape. You can immerse yourself in the dreamy natural surrounds at its sprawling grass-roofed bamboo villas that are open to the bracing sea breeze and feature private plunge pools.
Getting there: An hour-long high-speed catamaran ferry ride from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bintan, followed by a car ride and another short boat ride
6. Desaru, Malaysia
It isn’t surprising that this beach resort in Malaysia has always been one of the most popular destinations for Singaporeans: there’s something for everyone, from golf courses to nature hikes and waterparks, where HomeTeamNS members can enjoy special promos at Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast. Looking to live it up in style? New luxury resort One & Only Desaru Coast boasts an exceptional collection of suites – including one fringed by lush rainforest – a tony beach club, omakase restaurant and spa that combines western and eastern treatments in a tranquil setting shimmering with a lotus pond.
Getting there: A 90-minute ferry ride from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Desaru Coast, or a 3-hour drive from Singapore.
7. Phuket, Thailand
Boasting scrumptious Thai food, gorgeous white sand beaches and an effervescent nightlife scene, Phuket is a safe bet for a getaway that packs a punch. If lazing on the beach all day isn’t your idea of fun, strap on those boots and trek through the serene Khao Lak National Park. Rum aficionados should check out the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery, where the spirit is distilled from Thai sugarcane in French Armagnac copper stills.
Getting there: A two-hour flight from Singapore
8. Batam, Indonesia
If your idea of a blissed out sojourn is spending an entire day at the spa without breaking the bank, look no further. Located at Batam Island, the Tempat Senang Boutique Hotel & Spa offers a wide range of treatments ranging from Balinese massage to hot herbal compresses, foot reflexology and body scrubs. A full-day spa on the weekend typically costs just S$294 per person. How’s that for value? While you’re there, don’t miss out on amazing hawker fare at the open-air A2 Foodcourt next to Batam City Square mall. Cap your meal with coffee while lounging on colourful bean bags at the Cheryl Signature Cafe at Bengkong Laut.
Getting there: A 45-minute ferry ride from Harbourfront Center
9. Bali, Indonesia
The Island of Gods is as synonymous with fiercely guarded traditions and festivals such as Nyepi (the Hindu Day of Silence), as it is with pulsating nightlife and family-friendly attractions. Acceding to your teens’ pleas to take them to Waterbom Bali or Splash Water Park Bali at the Finns Recreation Club (sip on mimosas while they play) will render you the popular parent, while the entire family will surely get a kick out of Bali Safari and Marine Park. The latter is where you can spot the endangered Sumatran tiger and formidable Komodo Dragon that’s endemic to islands within Komodo National Park. Check the troops into the centrally located and ever-buzzy Hard Rock Hotel Bali, where you can enjoy promotional room rates.
Getting there: A two-and-a-half hour flight from Singapore
10. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Renowned for its multitude of food and leisure options, Kuala Lumpur is a highly urbanised city with surprising pockets of nature. Enjoy idyllic spots such as the KL Forest Eco Park in the heart of the city and the Perdana Botanical Garden. Have kids in tow? They’d love spending a day at KidZania KL.
Getting there: A one-hour flight or five-hour drive from Singapore
More travel deals for HomeTeamNS members