Just about two and half hours away by car, this destination boasts sandy beaches and a laid-back vibe. Desaru is suitable for those itching for a short getaway away from the fast-paced urban life. Visit the Desaru Fruit Farm where it offers a variety of fruits and vegetables such as passion fruit and corn at affordable prices. The Pulai Desaru Beach Resort and Spa also hosts its own night market during the school holidays when it sells souvenirs and games like ring toss. It is worth a visit for families as there is night entertainment such as buskers and even kiddy rides for the children.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
You can take the Konsortium from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, which will take about five hours. There are so many shopping centers to choose from, such as The Pavilion for high fashion brands and Berjaya Times Square or Sungei Wang Plaza for affordable clothing. For electronic goods, the Low Yat Plaza is a famous mall worth visiting. After shopping, complete your tour around Kuala Lumpur by visiting the 88-story Petronas Towers. For MYR63.60 the view from the sky bridge is priceless.
Batam is a great place for affordable shopping, eating and getting a massage. Taking 45 minutes by ferry from Singapore, you can try the famous honey cake and shop at one of the many shopping malls clustered around the Nagoya area or the city center. Do visit Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall for the supermarket and choose from an assortment of kueh lapis stalls. BCS mall also has a wide array of clothing stalls where you can shop ’til you drop. If you are tired of shopping give Well Asih in Batam Center a try for a relaxing massage.
For a beach retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Bintan is the right place for you. Accessible by ferry in 55 minutes from Singapore, there is no shortage of hotels with superb sea views of Bintan. Some of the activities offered include bowling, elephant-riding, and horse-riding. Recreational activities and water sports such as parasailing are also commonplace here. For shopping enthusiasts, Plaza Lagoi offers plenty of dining and shopping options. Tuck into local dishes such as chicken noodles and fish cake soup or make a beeline for Polo Ralph Lauren where you can get some good quality T-shirts.
For the less budget-conscious, Bali offers many options for a luxurious retreat. It just takes under three hours to get there by plane from Singapore. Stand in the Pacific Ocean while the waves crash around you. You will not get the same powerful wave effect anywhere else. If being slammed by waves is not your cup of tea, visit the Bodyworks Bali where you can have a spa and a manicure. For those unable to drive, it can be a challenge to get around the island, so it is recommended to hire your own driver for the entire day. A lovely place to stay for people who want to avoid the crowds in the Seminyak area would be the Amaroossa Suite, where you can have a private pool to yourself.
Want to eat, shop and have a massage? There is no better place to do all these than in Bangkok. Reachable by plane in two and a half hours, stock up on Naraya pouches or bags and visit the numerous shopping centers. Some must-visit shopping centers include Platinum, MBK, and Siam Paragon. Pamper yourself with a massage at Terminal 21’s Let’s Relax by Blooming Spa on level 6. Visit markets such as the Chatuchak Market, where you can find the cheapest fashionable clothes and vintage items. Be prepared to queue for clothing at Kinnaree Silk and Linen, located at Section 9/Soi 18, where you can get a simple top or a wrap dress with floral details. Get your vintage fix at Section 6 stall 234, which sells beautifully crafted vintage leather handbags. Pratunam is another wholesale district to visit where there is a wide range of clothing options from caps to dresses.
Visit this beautiful island to get in touch with nature. Simply hop on a jet plane and arrive in just two hours. Hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking are some of the popular activities you can do on this island. Kayak through the Andaman Sea and take in the postcard-perfect scenery. You can also visit the Saline Hot Spring Khlong Thom to soak and relax your aching muscles after a day of exploring. Explore Ao Nang, a sea-facing resort town ideal for souvenir shopping and massages, and visit the beaches of limestone islands like Ko Hong, Ko Poda, and Ko Gai.
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
This destination is worth a short getaway despite the nine-hour coach ride. Home to strawberries and the juiciest corn, this place is great for a relaxing holiday destination. You can experience the coolest temperatures without traveling half way around the globe. A jacket is recommended as temperatures can drop to 18 degrees, especially at night. Tours available include hiking trails that allow you to explore the area or a visit to the farm for some strawberry picking fun. A hike to Gunung Brinchang, which has an elevation of 6,666 feet, rewards you with a panoramic view from the top of the Titiwangsa Mountains. On your visit to the night market, stock up on some strawberry-patterned paraphernalia such as strawberry-print socks and tissue box holders.