14 Cheap Weekend Getaway Destinations 2 Hours from Singapore

24 May 2023

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Cheap Weekend Getaways from Singapore

With 7 long weekends in 2023, it's time to start planning for all your getaways for the year ahead 😉! (after all, it's never too early when planning for a holiday, right?) Whether you’re searching for a beach island getaway, a foodie adventure or a shopping paradise, here are some places to check out.


1. Penang

Travel time ✈️: ~1.5hr

From mouthwatering hawker eats to laid-back cafes,  is a food heaven that serves more than great char kuey teow. Expect speakeasy bars, great coffee and pastries and more. 

Hop on the Penang Hill Funicular and go through the railway's 258ft-long tunnel, believed to be the steepest in the world! This 130 million year old rainforest has a myriad of flora and fauna which you can admire on your Tree Top Walk!

Photo Credits: @_alissasyazana

Located a short 10-minute ferry ride from Penang Island, don’t miss out on a day trip to Pulau Jerejak. This hidden gem is dotted with beautiful photo spots including a rainbow pier and a romantic swing on the beach. 

Don’t forget to book your stay in one of their many boutique heritage hotels for the complete Penang experience! Some top names include The Blue Mansion Cheong Fatt Tze, 23 Loveland Hotel and Yeng Keng Hotel.

2. Johor Bahru

Photo Credits: @tyeatsalot

Travel Time 🚶🚌🚗: From 30min (depending on immigration)

Oh, how we’ve missed trips across the causeway to Johor Bahru for cheap shopping, delicious food and much-needed massages! Parents, if you’re looking for ways to entertain your little ones, we definitely recommend Legoland Malaysia! It’s a theme park full of their favourite Lego toys, but just HUGE! 

3. Langkawi

Travel time ✈️: ~1.5hr

Tacked at the end of Langkawi’s dry season, March is a good time to visit for clear skies and warm days, with an odd rainy day or two. With days of sunshine and dry weather, a Langkawi holiday is great for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers. The temperature still remains fairly hot at around 30°C, but you can choose to visit in the later half of March when it gets slightly cooler.

With 99 islands making up this serene archipelago, get to exploring some on an island-hopping jet ski tour. Snorkel at Inchan Kechil, catch the eagle feeding at Pulau Singa Besar, and maybe even stop by the Tuba Island mangroves.

There’s only so much time you can spend chilling on the beach. Book yourself in for a ziplining adventure over jungle canopies and waterfalls, or head on a tour of the Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark to discover more about the islands’ vibrant ecosystems.

4. Kuala Lumpur

Travel time ✈️: ~1hr

If you’re looking for a place to go during the December peak travel season, Kuala Lumpur is a great destination that’s easy on the wallet. It’s as cool as it gets in the Malaysian capital during this month, at a comfortable average of 27°C – even dipping a few degrees lower during the night.

The Petronas Twin Towers is a must-visit for the best glimpse of KL's stunning skyline, with panoramic views from 80-storeys above. Another iconic attraction is the Aquarium KLCC, which houses over 5,000 exhibits of both land and sea creatures.

Although December is still considered one of the monsoon months, it sees less rain than the previous two months – so outdoor activities are always a possibility as long as you check the forecast and plan ahead.

Explore the culturally rich suburbs of KL on a half-day tour out to the countryside where you’ll explore the beautiful limestone Batu Caves, as well as tour pewter and batik factories. You can also take a short trip out to Kuala Selangor for a fireflies night tour and seafood dinner on the Kampung Kuantan river, for a brief escape from the city’s bustle.

5. Genting Highlands

Travel Time ✈️🚌🚗: ~3-6hr (depending on mode of transport)

Finally had enough of Singapore's unbearable heatwaves and you're looking for somewhere cool to spend the weekend? You'd be glad to know that the perpetually cool (24 degrees) Genting Highlands is just a short drive away, and you definitely won't need to spend much to make your way up for a couple of days of fun!

If you've had plenty of fun memories as a kid driving up to Genting during the school holidays for a weekend of fun, It's time to relive them as an adult and probably create some even better ones, especially with the opening of Genting SkyWorlds!

There have been many drastic changes in recent years to make Genting a new entertainment hub and it has become almost unrecognizable. So if you’re not one for gambling, there are loads of other fun things you can do since the major facelift and upgrade!

6. Desaru

Travel Time ⛴🚌🚗: ~1.5-2.5hr (depending on mode of transport)

Located along the east coast of Johor, Desaru is a laid-back coastal town that's an easy hour's drive from Johor Bahru. The town boasts lots to see and do, from its beaches to fishing villages for hearty seafood feasts, Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast and even an ostrich farm that's home to over 100 ostriches!

Photo Credit: @serenexoxo (Instagram)

Thinking of exploring further inland on your weekend getaway to Malaysia? Why not extend your road trip from JB to discover (or rediscover) what Desaru has to offer? From pristine beaches where you can surf to multiple waterparks where you can spend the day splashing away on the rides, check out some of the best things to see and do in Desaru!


7. Bali

Travel time ✈️: ~3hr

Bali is not just a tropical paradise of clear glistening water and white coconut trees. Think exquisite archaic monuments, sunsets setting the clouds on fire and breathtaking landscapes of rugged mountains and steep cliffs.

Swings have become a symbolic epitome of Bali; adrenaline, exhilaration, and thrill. Teetering on the edge of paradise, this is the perfect way to upgrade your ‘gram game!

From traditional Balinese restaurants to cool cafe joints and not forgetting authentic street food, the island has all your food cravings covered.

Nusa Penida Island is one of Bali’s many offshore islands that many have recently come to know and love. Home to beautiful rock formations, clear blue waters, a huge array of marine life (read: dolphins) and chill vibes all around, it’s no wonder many flock here to experience the island life.

8. Bintan

Travel time ⛴✈️: From 1-1.5hr (depending on mode of transport)

Bintan is perfect for a weekend staycation – pristine beaches, crystal blue waters, The ANMON Resort and luxurious resorts. is the glamping resort IG dreams are made of! You’ll also be in the middle of all the water sports action with Treasure Bay’s Chill Cove right beside. 

If you feel like getting out of your resort and exploring the island, you won’t be disappointed. Home to beautiful landmarks like Gurung Pasir and also an Ecofarm and Safari, there’s so much to see and do! 

9. Yogyakarta

Travel time ✈️: ~2.5hr

With pine tree forests, active volcanoes and stunning UNESCO World Heritage sites, Yogyakarta is truly a city like no other. The most iconic photo spot is an art installation in the form of a giant hand. Set against the beautiful panoramic views of the city, there are plenty of different photo spots around the area from giant brooms to bird cages and bird nests.

The Jomblang Cave is one of Yogyakarta’s natural highlights and is comprised of a huge sinkhole, a long tunnel and a central cave. Getting down to the cave is not for the faint of heart and it is when your life is in the hands of the locals, that you realize how strong the locals really are.


10. Bangkok

Travel time ✈️: ~2.5hr

Mention ‘Bangkok’ to anyone and you’ll most likely receive 2 unanimous replies; cheap food and shopping paradise!

Of course, you can’t miss out on some Cheap Michelin Eats when in Bangkok! You’ll find one of the best Tom Yum noodle bowls in Bangkok at Jeh O Chula. This humble diner is best known for its Mama Tom Yam Noodle Soup, with an iconic thick and savoury broth.

If you're looking to experience some lush nature, the picturesque town of Khao Yai couldn’t be more different from Thailand's bustling capital, and it's just a 3-hour drive away from Bangkok.

Apart from quirky European villages and some of the most bizarre accommodation options, Khao Yai is also home to Thailand’s largest national park where wild elephants roam free.

11. Chiang Mai

Travel time ✈️: ~3hr

Some of the things you must try out in Chiang Mai include - bathing an elephant at the Elephant Sanctuary, visiting the stunning White Temple and having a giant bowl of Kao Soi! 

Take a road trip out to Chiang Rai to visit the beautiful Blue Temple and have a scoop of Blue Coconut Ice Cream. 


12. Da Nang

Travel time ✈️: ~3hr

Da Nang is famed for its spectacular sunset views that can be enjoyed from Son Tra Mountain. The Marble Mountains, a cluster of five limestone and marble hills named after the five elements, lies just south of the city and is home to various caves and peaks.

Ba Na Hills is a must-visit when you’re in the region. This mountain-top resort complex is accessible only by cable car, with the cable car system holding the record for the greatest change in elevation!

Stroll the cobblestone streets in the French Village, and take a ride on the adrenaline-filled alpine coaster as part of your day out in the hills.

13. Hanoi

Travel time ✈️: ~3.5hr

Aside from cheap flights, the blissfully mild climate makes September one of the best times for a Hanoi holiday. Temperatures stay around the 20s as the month rolls by, and most days remain dry. Take a trip along the majestic Halong Bay for its crystal clear water and stunning cliffs.

Just two hours from Hanoi, Trang An makes for a picture-perfect day trip. With rolling banks of lush greenery, majestic mountains and sprawling cave complexes, it’s also home to the Bai Dinh Pagoda, the largest in Vietnam.

Don’t miss out on the incredible local food in Hanoi's Old Quarter, where you can sample fresh nem cuon spring rolls, grilled pork-topped bun cha, sizzling pancakes of bahn xeo and more. End off your meal with sweet chè chuối – a traditional banana and tapioca pudding – and a cup of deliciously creamy Vietnamese egg coffee!


14. Siem Reap

Travel time ✈️: ~2hr

Make Siem Reap your choice for a February vacation. Cambodia is typically hot and humid all year round, but during this month, the weather is relatively cooler compared to the months ahead, with lows of 23°C.

This makes exploring this “charming yet confounding kingdom” of temples and scenery much more pleasant in the day. Perfect for sunrise bike rides through the back roads of the Angkor ruins, or a tuk-tuk tour of the Angkor temples.

Beyond its iconic ruins, Siem Reap is a treasure trove of natural sights. If you’re in the mood for adventure, hop on a jeep for a journey to Phnom Kulen, where you’ll encounter hidden temples and stunning waterfalls.

Taking a Cambodian cooking class is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local cuisine. Peek into the lives of a local Khmer household, before getting hands-on at cooking up all kinds of dishes, from traditional Cambodian curry to Khmer brandy snaps.

Another perk of visiting in February: you’ll be missing the Christmas and New Year holiday crowds, so accommodation is likely cheaper!

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