After a whole year of working hard, you’ve yearned and earned a long holiday. A proper escape from all the city stresses. A great trip abroad paid for in all that annual leave you’ve been saving. When it’s time to cash in your annual long leave, it’s well worth going somewhere farther and very different than Singapore. After all, with all the cheap flights connecting Singapore to so many great spots in Asia, weekend getaways to the likes of Phuket, Hong Kong, Bali are easy peasy throughout the year.

So here are 3 long trips you can take for that big holiday you’ve been waiting for all year. These multi-city travel itineraries  span between 10 days to 14 days and offer a great respite.

*This post was first published in Dec 2015

3 December Holidays Itineraries

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European Yuletide: London, Amsterdam and Bruges in 12 days

Ah, beautiful Europe. There’s no better time to visit the charming cities of Western Europe than at Christmas time, when there’s magic in the air, sparkles in the trees and Christmas sales love all around. It is a long time favourite destination for Singaporeans spending December holidays abroad.

London Eye Christmas End of Year Travel

Day 1- 4: London, United Kingdom

Fly to London for days one through four to kick off your Christmas escapade. By day, hit all of the city’s best Christmas-shopping hotspots: Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and, of course, Harrods. (Take a break for a decadent hot chocolate at Godiva Cafe at Harrods).

By night, take in a Christmas show in London’s West End or enjoy some no-money fun just wandering the city to admire the Christmas lights of Oxford Street, Covent Garden and Regent Street. Stop for a cosy candlelight wine – and some cheese to die for – at Gordon’s Wine Bar (47 Villiers Street, London).

Then hop aboard the Eurostar for a train ride through the famous Chunnel (Channel Tunnel) for the roughly five-hour trip to Amsterdam.

Day 5-8: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Spend days five through eight here – the must-dos for your itinerary include the Van Gogh Museum (Museumplein 6), Anne Frank’s House (Prisengracht 263-267) and the Heineken Experience (Stadhouderskade 78).

After dark, lace up some skates (you can hire them) for a glide across the ice rink at Leidseplein and finish off with a warm bite to eat there in the skating village. Try the yummy poffertjes (Dutch pancakes).

Day 9-12: Bruges, Belgium

Finally, make your way by train from Amsterdam (in about three hours) to the delightful town of Bruges, Belgium, where you’ll spend the last four days of your holiday.

The charming Christmas markets here will make you feel as though you’ve stumbled into a vibrant fairytale.

Climb the medieval Belfort (Markt 7), take a canal cruise and try the eel in green sauce – it’s a specialty here. And don’t forget to stock up on Belgian chocolate.

When To Go

Early to mid-December to take advantage of the Christmas markets. Keep in mind, though, that it will be a bit chilly and you may face some crowds as it is peak travel season.

Where To Stay
Getting There
Emirates offers flights from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to London Heathrow (LHR) with one stopover in Dubai (DXB). The airline also returns from Brussels Airport (BRU) to Kuala Lumpur, again stopping in Dubai.
Visa Requirements

European Visa for Malaysians:

Malaysian citizens do not need a visa to visit these three countries for a stay of less than 90 days.

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Christmas, California-style: San Francisco, Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe in 14 days

After watching endless Hollywood movies, these American landscapes seem so familiar to us. Spend your December holidays going from reel to real with this 14-day USA Itinerary.

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco end of year travel

Day 1-4: San Francisco

There’s so much to see, do and eat in San Francisco, you’ll want to set aside at least five days to spend here.

As for your to-do list, make sure you tick these boxes: be a true tourist at Fisherman’s Wharf (don’t miss the seals at Pier 39), visit Alcatraz prison also known as ‘The Rock’, walk or cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge, meander down the twists and turns of Lombard Street, ride a cable car and explore Chinatown and Union Square.

To dine out in style, make a booking at Boulevard (1 Mission Street, San Francisco) or Gary Danko (800 North Point Street, San Francisco). For more touristy but fun dining options, try The Stinking Rose at 325 Columbus Avenue (you must love garlic) or the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop at 900 North Point Street in Ghirardelli Square.

Day 5: Napa Valley

Now that you’ve primed your tastebuds, it’s time to hire a car for the second – even more culinary – leg of your trip: three days in the quaint and tasty towns of Napa Valley.

Less than a 90-minute drive from San Francisco, Napa Valley is renowned as a wine region. Raise your glass for tastings at Cakebread Cellars in Napa, Honig Vineyard & Winery in Rutherford and V. Sattui in Saint Helena. For something a bit different, book in for an olive mill tour and tasting at Round Pond Estate, also in Rutherford.

Day 6-12: Lake Tahoe and Nevada

After relaxing and unwinding with wine in Napa, it’s on to more active pursuits – in the mountains of Lake Tahoe.

Take your time here – six days – to enjoy the many winter activities on offer. Ski or snowboard at several of the resorts, including Heavenly MountainSquaw Valley (site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games), Kirkwood and Alpine Meadows.

Go snowshoeing, or hire a snowmobile to race through the backcountry. Or, for some indoor excitement, cross the state border into Lake Tahoe’s Nevada side for some high-stakes gambling at one of the numerous casinos.

When To Go

Anytime in December or January. You can expect cool temperatures in San Francisco and Napa Valley, and snow in Lake Tahoe.

Where To Stay
Getting There
Cathay Pacific and All Nippon Airways fly from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to San Francisco (SF) with a stopover in Hong Kong or Tokyo, respectively.
Visa Requirements

US Visa for Malaysians:

Malaysian tourists wishing to enter the US must apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV). Find out more here.

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Australia Coastal Road Trip: Melbourne to Adelaide in 10 days

Leave the Northern Hemisphere behind for this all-Aussie adventure over a sunnier Christmas holidays.
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Day 1-3: Melbourne

Make your way to Melbourne for days 1 through 3, to explore the coffee culture, stroll the laneways, shop, sample the local restaurants and check out the nightlife of Australia’s culturally diverse second largest city.

Don’t miss one of Australia’s best breakfasts at Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder (48-50 Bridge Road, Richmond, Victoria).

Once you’ve conquered Melbourne, hire a car and take to the road along Australia’s southeast coastline.

Day 4-6: Road Trip to the Great Ocean Road

On the first day, you’ll travel through neighbouring city Geelong and surfing mecca Torquay to the famous Great Ocean Road. Stop for the night at charming seaside Lorne, where you can peruse the art galleries and enjoy a meal of local produce and lovely wine at Mark’s Restaurant (122 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne, Victoria).

The next day, savour the scenery on the drive to Port Fairy. Stop to take advantage of the many natural pleasures of the Great Otway National Park. This is also the leg on which you’ll see the iconic Twelve Apostles rock formations. At Port Fairy, indulge in some pampering: book a spa treatment at Port Fairy Day Spa (56 Bank Street, Port Fairy, Victoria) or simply relax and sunbathe on the beach.

Day 6-7: The Road to South Australia

From here, make your way towards Robe in South Australia. Highlights of this stretch of the trip include Victoria’s first settlement at Portland, Cape Nelson State Park, the rugged cliffs of Cape Bridgewater, Mount Gambier and Blue Lake, which will be particularly vibrant this time of year. At Robe, treat yourself to succulent in-season lobster for dinner– and perhaps a glass of bubbles – at Sails (21 Victoria Street, Robe, South Australia).

On the road again, you’ll wend your way to Victor Harbor, stopping for such must-visits as the limestone caves of Naracoorte Caves National Park and the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse. When you get to Victor Harbor, don’t miss a horse-drawn tram ride to nearby Granite Island.

Day 8-10: Adelaide

Upon arrival in Adelaide (it won’t take you long to get there from Victor Harbor), settle in for a few days. Stay at lively beachfront Glenelg, tour Haigh’s Chocolates factory (154 Greenhill Road, Parkside, South Australia) and spend a day on a cellar-door tour of the nearby and renowned Adelaide Hills or Barossa Valley wine regions.

When To Go
Early December to avoid the crowds of the Australian school holidays and throughout January. Expect hot, summery Melbourne weather in December.
Where To Stay
Getting There
Emirates, Qantas and Malaysia Airlines offer direct flights from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Melbourne (MEL) in under 8 hours. Your return flight from Adelaide (ADL) will stop in Melbourne.
Visa Requirements

Australian Visa for Singaporeans:
To visit Australia, you need an Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601) visa. You can visit as many times as you want for up to a year and stay as long as three months for each visit.