Sometimes, we all just need to reward ourselves with a short break from everything that’s going on in our lives so that we don’t get burnt out. One of the easiest ways to just get away for a while is to go on a quick weekend trip to one of Singapore’s neighbouring countries. Need a little inspiration? Here are some of the best places near Singapore worth visiting over a weekend!
Best Weekend Getaways from Singapore
1) Bali, Indonesia
Average travel time from Singapore to Bali: 2 h 40 min
When it comes to rest and relaxation, Bali is always at the forefront. Brimming with scenic beaches, world-class resorts, yoga retreats, cheap food, and hip bars, Bali has become one of the most visited destinations in the world.
- Amazing beaches
- Historic temples
- Cheap & delicious local food
- Private villas
- Vibrant nightlife
- Yoga retreats
- Golf resorts
Must-eats in Bali
You can’t leave Bali without getting a taste of some authentic Balinese cuisine.
Local favourites include nasi campur (mixed dish with rice), mie goreng (stir-fried noodles), and babi guling (suckling pig).
It’s not about Michelin stars out here. Wander in warungs where the locals are, you can get great food at rock bottom prices.
Babi guling / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / cwgoodroe
Best Places to Stay in Bali
Seminyak – Ideal for travelling foodies, Seminyak offers great, affordable food and restaurants.
Kuta – Kuta is conveniently located near a lot of beaches and tourist attractions but it’s also the busiest and most touristy area.
Ubud – Ubud is another ideal location and provides a lot of sightseeing opportunities, yoga retreats, and cultural areas.
Best Atas Hotel: Hanging Gardens of Bali
Best Budget Hotel: Ibis Styles Bali Petitenget
For a unique stay: Spend the night glamping in an inflatable igloo at Jungle Bubble Lodge in Bali.
2) Penang, Malaysia
Average travel time from Singapore to Penang: 1 h 25 min
Penang is one of Malaysia’s most popular tourist destinations. Known for its delicious food, Penang is a culinary paradise with a diverse food scene characterized by Malaysian spices, noodles, and a wide array of street food.
- Cheap & delicious local food
- Peranakan culture
- Street art
- Historical sites
Must-eats in Penang
The best way to experience Penang is with your palate and what better way to do that than to head straight to the street food stalls.
Try out Penang’s char kway teow (stir-fried rice cake strips/noodles), curry mee which comparable to the laksa found in other Asian countries.
To cool down from the heat, enjoy authentic ais kachang (a popular shaved ice dessert).
Char kway teow / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Sean Ng
Best Places to Stay in Penang
George Town – In Penang, the best location for first-time visitors is George Town where you’ll find street food, street art, coffee shops, and breathtaking scenery.
Batu Ferringhi – For families, Batu Ferringhi comes highly recommended for its sandy beaches, water sports activities, a number of tourist attractions, and more street food.
Bayan Lepas – For backpackers, Bayan Lepas is the place to be owing to its close proximity to George Town and other tourist attractions.
Best Atas Hotel: Eastern And Oriental Hotel
Best Budget Hotel: The Frame Guesthouse
For a unique stay: Immerse yourself in Penang’s history by checking into one of Penang’s most popular heritage hotels, Jawi Peranakan Mansion.
3) Jakarta, Indonesia
Average travel time from Singapore to Jakarta: 1 h 50 min
Jakarta is the busy capital of Indonesia and is easily the country’s most populous city. While Bali is the more popular tourist destination, Jakarta has its own hustle-and-bustle charm that attracts tourists from all around the world, too.
- Street food
- Batik shops
- Flea markets
- Historical sites
Must-eats in Jakarta
As is the case with most Southeast Asian countries, the best food in Jakarta can be found on the streets.
For a quick snack, try out the pisang goreng sambal roa (fried banana with chilli). Another spicy must-eat dish in Jakarta is kerak telor (spicy omelette). Made with glutinous rice and fried duck egg, this dish is topped with coconut, shallots, and dried shrimp. Indonesia is also known for satay.
Satay / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Boo Lee
Best Places to Stay in Jakarta
Menteng – Located in central Jakarta, Menteng is an ideal place to stay for your hotel due to its close proximity to popular tourist attractions like the National Museum.
Tanah Abang – Tanah Abang, also located in central Jakarta. It is home to the country’s largest textile market and is close to tourist attractions like the Dutch cemetery.
Central Business District – If you want to be closer to the city’s hustle and bustle, stay in a hotel within Jakarta’s Central Business District (CBD).
Best Atas Hotel: Hotel Raffles Jakarta
Best Budget Hotel: Ibis Budget Jakarta Menteng
For a unique stay: Get artsy and book a room at ARTOTEL Thamrin. Known for its avant-garde style and murals, this hotel makes for a great Instagram destination.
4) Siem Reap, Cambodia
Average travel time from Singapore to Siem Reap: 2 h 10 min
Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor Wat, the iconic ancient ruins of Cambodia. It offers a fascinating glimpse into Asia’s past where grand civilizations thrived. Today we get to admire how these grand structures were constructed without modern technology, and the dedication to spirituality and royalty. Beyond Angkor, Siem Reap has lots of historical sites, cultural treasures, and a sleepy old town feel. There are also nightlife spots.
- Ancient temples and ruins
- Tomb Raider temple
- Laid-back countryside vibes
- Cheap food
- Affordable markets
- Traditional Asia feel
Must-eats in Siem Reap
Cambodian cuisine is quite different (read: exotic) from dishes that you would normally find in most Southeast Asian countries. One example of this is the famous chilli fried insects. While it may not seem so appetizing, this Cambodian snack is not only cheap but also highly nutritious!
Other must-eats include amok curry (fish curry) and beef with fire ants.
Amok curry / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Flip Nomad
Best Places to Stay in Siem Reap
For first-time visitors, we highly recommend staying at the Old French Quarter because it’s close to the main thoroughfares and the top tourist attractions.
Old Market is also a good area to stay at as it is close to Angkor Wat and other parts of the city.
For families, we recommend Taphul Village for its safety and proximity to the city centre.
Top Hotel Picks
Best Atas Hotel: Belmond La Residence d’Angkor
Best Budget Hotel: Lub d Cambodia Siem Reap
For a unique stay: If you want to be as close to Angkor Wat as possible, check in at the Le Meridien Angkor. With its temple-style pool and stylish rooms, it’s definitely a hotel stay you won’t soon forget.
5) Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Average travel time from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh: 2 h 10 min
Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh city, is a lively and electric city in Vietnam best known for its delicious pho. The city offers so many places to see, eat, and its streets are renowned for intense traffic full of bikes. Travellers report that you just walk into traffic and the bikes will part — no traffic lights. That’s a unique experience in itself! The city is intense and fun itself, but you can easily do daytrips into nature as well.
- Cheap & delicious local food
- Vietnamese coffee
- Historic sites
- Old temples
- Unique city tempo
Must-eats in Ho Chi Minh
The moment you set foot in this vibrant city, you should grab a taste of a steaming hot bowl of pho. This world-renowned combination of soft noodles in hot soup with either beef or chicken has made its way into the hearts (and bellies) of people all over the world.
Another Vietnamese soup that’s a little less popular than pho is bun bo hue which is characterised by its strong chilli and lemongrass flavour. It’s laden with thick cuts of meat and its complicated flavour might overwhelm the inexperienced palate.
Banh mi is also a local favourite and is basically a Vietnamese baguette, inspired by its French colonial past.
Pho / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / powerplantop
Best Places to Stay in Ho Chi Minh
Dong Khoi – For first-timers, we highly recommend staying at Dong Khoi Street in District 1. District 1 is considered the heart of Ho Chi Minh and is a commercial, cultural, and business hub.
Pham Ngu – If you’re looking for somewhere closer to the nightlife, look no further than Pham Ngu Lao in District 1.
Thao Dien – For visiting families, we recommend Thao Dien in District 2 which is a safe location close to healthy restaurants, cafes, and high-rise buildings.
Best Atas Hotel: Park Hyatt Saigon
Best Budget Hotel: Amura Hotel
For a unique stay: Glamp by the beach at Coco Beach Camp which is about a 3-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh by car.
6) Cebu, Philippines
Average travel time from Singapore to Cebu: 3 h 50 min
Cebu is one of the Philippines’ major cities and is located in the Central Visayas region. It is a thriving city of both commerce and culture, surrounded by lush greenery and different water forms.
- Stunning beaches
- Marine life
- Delicious street food
- Historic sites
- Natural wonders
Must-eats in Cebu
Cebu is best known for its lechon which is a whole roasted pig. Originating from Spain, lechon is a well-loved dish normally served during special occasions.
Another popular (and exotic!) Cebuano dish is lansiao or lanciao (locally referred to as Soup Number 5) which is bull testicle soup.
For something a little more conservative, but still very tasty, we recommend trying out larang. Larang is a spicy-sour fish soup which can be made with any type of fish. However, some popular variants use parrotfish or eel.
Roasting lechon / CC BY 2.0 / Ronald Tagra
Best Places to Stay in Cebu
Mactan – If you want to be close to the beach, stay on Mactan Island in Cebu where you get to enjoy activities like snorkelling, diving, and island hopping.
City Centre – For nightlife, there’s no place better to stay than the heart of Cebu City.
Oslob – Oslob is also an amazing place to stay for those looking to be closer to nature.
Best Atas Hotel: Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa
Best Budget Hotel: Food District Hostel Cebu Central
For a unique stay: Go camping at Osmena Peak which is suitable for beginner climbers.
Osmena Peak / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Ian Go
7) Bangkok, Thailand
Average travel time from Singapore to Bangkok: 1 h 25 min
Bangkok needs little introduction. A long favourite with Singaporeans, Bangkok is now one of the top destinations for traveller from around the world! But we saw it first, so keep going back on weekends to chope our place!
Jokes aside, Bangkok is one of Asia’s most vibrant and urban cities, rich with culture, great food, beautiful landscapes, and friendly residents. It’s got that big city feel, inclusive of dirty streets which hold treasures like a fruit cart uncle serving the best mango juice in the world, and at the same lots of conservative tradition, and historical landmarks that are rich with Thai identity and Asia’s pre-colonial history. It really is hard to get bored of Bangkok.
- Cheap shopping
- Vibrant nightlife
- Amazing cheap food
- Historical sites
- Remarkable temples
- Traditional architecture
Must-eats in Bangkok
For a sweet, refreshing snack, try Bangkok’s mango sticky rice which is a surprisingly delicious combination.
Pad thai is one of Thailand’s most famous dishes and you can’t visit Bangkok without having a taste of it. It’s a stir-fried rice noodle dish that is commonly found in street food stalls and different restaurants all over the country.
Another signature Thai dish is tom yum goong, a type of spicy-sour soup mixed with fresh ingredients like lemongrass, kaffir lime, lime juice, and chilli.
Pad Thai / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Blue387
Best Places to Stay in Bangkok
Siam Square – For those looking to shop-til-you-drop, Siam Square is an ideal place to stay because it’s where all the markets, malls, and retail stores are located.
Khao San – For affordable lodging, we recommend Khao San which is also close to many cultural attractions.
Thonburi – Thonburi is also a popular albeit laid back location for visitors who want to take a break from city life.
Best Atas Hotel: Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel
Best Budget Hotel: Lamphu Tree House Boutique Hotel
For a unique stay: If you’re looking for a quirky place to stay in Bangkok, spend the night in a shipping container at WH Hostel. It’s got brightly-coloured shipping containers with stylish rooms.
8) Taipei, Taiwan
Average travel time from Singapore to Taipei: 4 h 45 min
Taipei is a modern, bustling metropolis located on the northern tip of Taiwan. The capital of Taiwan, Taipei has established itself as an iconic city best known for its busy night markets, Taipei 101 (the world’s 5th tallest building), delicious street food, and, of course, bubble tea. If you’re looking for a quick weekend escape, Taipei is a great place to unwind and immerse yourself in some Taiwanese culture.
- Cheap street food
- Night markets
- Bubble tea
- Bicycle-friendly city
- Bustling city
Must-eats in Taipei
Considered Taipei’s most famous food, beef noodles are a must-eat for all visitors. Because it’s such a popular dish, no two beef noodle soups will be the same.
Other must-eats in this city are bubble tea and hu jiao bing (pork pepper bun).
Best Places to Stay in Taipei
Xinyi – Xinyi is the perfect place to stay for first-time visitors to Taipei. It’s close to all the popular tourist attractions (Taipei 101, Taipei World Trade Centre, shopping malls, etc.).
Shilin – For a less busy neighbourhood, we recommend Shilin. It’s good for foodies as well due to its close proximity to Shilin Night Market.
Beitou – For families and those who want to be closer to nature, stay at Beitou. The main attraction in this area is Yangmingshan National Park.
Best Atas Hotel: Grand Hyatt Taipei
Best Budget Hotel: CU Hotel Taipei
For a unique stay: Fulfill your dreams of living in a castle and book a room at SATO Castle. Each room is uniquely designed to follow different themes.
9) Hoi An, Vietnam
Average travel time from Singapore to Hoi An: 2 h 45 min
Hoi An directly translates to “peaceful meeting place” and the name is very apt for what Hoi An is. If you’re looking for a relaxing time away, Hoi An offers beautiful sceneries, well-preserved historical sites, delicious Vietnamese food, and beaches. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An is certainly a sight to behold.
- Cheap delicious local food
- Relaxing beaches
- Historical sites
- Old Asia feel
- Lantern festivals
- Cheap tailors
Must-eats in Hoi An
One of Hoi An’s most popular comfort foods is com ga which is Vietnamese chicken rice. It’s a white rice dish that’s traditionally cooked with pandan leaves in chicken broth and topped with shredded chicken, coriander, and onions.
For noodle-lovers, another must-eat in Hoi An is cao lau which is a delicious, savoury pork noodle soup.
Enjoy a cuppa hot Vietnamese coffee (also known as ca phe) that’s a strong coffee balanced with a super sweet condensed milk.
Best Places to Stay in Hoi An
Ancient Town – Old Town is one of the best places to stay in Hoi An, as evidenced by its UNESCO World Heritage status. It’s closest to the main tourist attractions and has a lot of charming alleyways, traditional buildings, and shops.
An Hoi – For those looking to get into Hoi An’s nightlife scene, An Hoi is the place to be. Located on the Thu Bon River, An Hoi is characterised by colourful houses and stunning cultural attractions.
Cam Chau – Cam Chau is also a popular place to stay at if you want to avoid the city and be closer to nature.
Best Atas Hotel: Anantara Hoi An Resort
Best Budget Hotel: Blue Lake Homestay
For a unique stay: For an unforgettable and relaxing stay, book a room at the Hoi An Ancient House Village Resort & Spa where you can be surrounded by lush greenery.
10) Fukuoka, Japan
Average travel time from Singapore to Fukuoka: 6 h 15 min
Fukuoka is a great alternative to tourist-trappy Tokyo. Located on the southern tip of Japan, Fukuoka offers visitors a variety of fun activities, a vibrant nightlife, and affordable street food. If you’re looking to party it up in Japan, do it in laid back Fukuoka!
- tonkotsu ramen
- yatai (street food stalls)
- Fun beaches
- Vibrant nightlife
- Laidback feel
Must-eats in Fukuoka
The food most often associated with Fukuoka is tonkotsu ramen also known as Hakata ramen. This type of ramen originated in Fukuoka and is cooked with pork bone broth, topped with thinly sliced pork and some herbs.
Another dish to try while visiting Fukuoka is mentaiko (spicy and salted roe of pollock fish) and goboten udon (udon noodle soup).
Mentaiko / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Ashley Thredgold
Best Place to Stay in Fukuoka
Hakata – If you want to stay near the heart of the city, we recommend staying at Hakata Ward. It’s also close to the city’s cultural and religious sites.
Chuo – Another option would be to stay at Chuo Ward which could be referred to as Fukuoka’s central business district. It’s where you’ll find a lot of shopping centres, hip bars, and clubs.
Best Atas Hotel: Hotel Okura Fukuoka
Best Budget Hotel: Hakata Green Hotel No. 1
For a unique stay: If you aren’t claustrophobic, you might want to try one of Fukuoka’s capsule rooms which are rooms that are just small enough for you to lie down in. Book a room in an affordable capsule hotel at the First Cabin Hakata.
11) Phuket, Thailand
Average travel time from Singapore to Phuket: 1 h 50 min
If you’ve been to Bangkok one too many times and you want an equally fun Thai location to visit, Phuket is the place for you. Known for its vibrant nightlife, white sand beaches, and their beautiful ladyboys, Phuket is an ideal place to just sit back, relax, and have some well-deserved fun!
- Pristine white beaches
- Lush greenery
- Chaotic nightlife
- Beautiful temples
- Night markets
- Delicious seafood
Must-eats in Phuket
Thailand is the home of stir-fried anything and what better way to experience this than to indulge in a delicious meal of mee hokkien noodles. These are thick yellow noodles stir-fried with prawns, pork, squid, egg, and beansprouts.
Other must-eats include Massam curry and por pia (fried spring rolls).
Mee hokkien / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Nicholas Chan
Best Places to Stay in Phuket
Central Patong – If you’re visiting Phuket for the nightlife, stay in the Patong area. Considered Phuket’s premier party hub, it’s lined with brightly-lit bars blaring deafening music and selling cheap alcohol! It does however get a bit seedy and is the epitome of touristy. It is a convenient location, but if you’re looking for authentic Thai experience look elsewhere.
North or South Patong – For families, you might want to stay at either North or South Patong. You’ll be close to all the right tourist attractions without having to be caught up in the city’s craziness.
Karon – For beach bums, we highly recommend staying at Karon, the second biggest beach town after Patong. The beautiful Karon beach is close by and there are several shopping and restaurant options available.
Best Atas Hotel: COMO Point Yamu Phuket
Best Budget Hotel: Box Poshtel Phuket
For a unique stay: Stay at beautiful garden/beach-side villa in Phuket at the Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa. Enjoy breathtaking views of the beach at sunset and marvel at the scenic landscapes.
12) Hong Kong
Average travel time from Singapore to Hong Kong: 4 h
Easily one of the busiest and rapidly growing cities in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong is a great place to escape to if you want to enjoy some good Chinese food and go bargain shopping. It’s an ideal travel destination for families as well because it’s safe and has amusement parks such as Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland.
- Shopper’s paradise
- Dim Sum
- Cheap Chinese food
- Vibrant nightlife
- Modern meets traditional
Must-eats in Hong Kong
You can’t go to Hong Kong and not have some good ol’ Chinese dim sum. Often served in teahouses with freshly prepared tea, dim sum can range from braised chicken feet, pork siu mai, char siu bao (pork bun), and more!
Other must-eats in the city are roast goose and curry fish balls.
Roast goose / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Helen Flamme
Best Places to Stay in Hong Kong
Lan Kwai Fong – For those looking to be as close to the Hong Kong nightlife scene as possible, stay in Hong Kong’s party capital Lan Kwai Fong. You’ll find bars, clubs, restaurants, and even art galleries there.
Mong Kok – For those on a shoestring budget, we recommend staying at Mong Kok. Here, you’ll find cheap accommodation, cheap food, and the famous Ladies Market and Temple Street Night Market.
Wan Chai – If you want to be close to the Hong Kong hipster scene, book a hotel in Wan Chai where you’ll find several historical sites nearby as well as restaurants and cafes.
Best Atas Hotel: The Langham, Hong Kong
Best Budget Hotel: Mojo Nomad Aberdeen Harbour
For a unique stay: Book a room and go back in time at the Tai O Heritage Hotel. Beautifully designed rooms await you!
13) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Average travel time from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur: 6 h by train
Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital city and is known for the Petronas Towers, the world’s tallest twin skyscrapers. This bustling city is rich with culture, iconic landmarks, diverse communities, and, of course, a very lively nightlife scene.
- Vibrant nightlife
- Cheap, diverse food
- Religious sites
- Themeparks, kids attractions
For a filling, hearty meal, enjoy a hot meal of claypot chicken rice which is commonly found in Kuala Lumpur’s street food stalls. Chicken is marinated in soy and rice wine, cooked over a charcoal flame.
Another popular Malaysian dish is roti canai which is the Malaysian roti prata, served with a delicious curry sauce.
For dessert, try apom balik, or turnover pancake with peanuts.
Roti canai / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Jonathan Lin
Best Places to Stay in KL
Bukit Bintang – For first time visitors, we recommend staying at Bukit Bintang which is close to all the action. It’s considered KL’s entertainment district and is filled with shopping malls, theme parks, and nightclubs.
Chinatown – For KL on a budget, Chinatown has good options and is still a convenient location. Wake up to cheap food, markets and locals going about their business.
KLCC – You can also stay at Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) if you want to be near the Petronas Towers, KLCC Park, and have several choices for hotel accommodation and food. Golden Triangle hotels are as good, offering more luxury and high rise views.
Best Atas Hotel: Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Best Budget Hotel: Alpha Genesis Hotel
For a unique stay: Get in touch with your nature-loving side and stay at a cabin in the woods at The Sticks!
14) Darwin, Australia
Average travel time from Singapore to Darwin: 4 h 40 min
Darwin is the Australian city closest to Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia. Located on the northern tip of the land down under, Darwin boasts tropical warm weather all year round, fitting its natural attractions like beaches and nature parks.
- Beautiful beaches
- Incredible wildlife
- Laid-back vibe
- Natural paradise
- Home to saltwater crocodiles
Must-eats in Darwin
Because of its close proximity to the sea, Darwin is a great place to taste some seafood. One dish you must have while you’re in Darwin is oven-baked wild barramundi which you can find at Pee Wee’s at the Point.
You can also enjoy an exotic crocodile laksa dish at Elijah’s Kitchen.
Mud crabs (or “muddies” as the locals call them) are also incredibly popular in the Northern Territory.
Best Places to Stay in Darwin
Central Business District – For first time visitors, one of the best places to stay in Darwin is the Central Business District (CBD). Darwin’s oldest district, the CBD is home to lush parks, outdoor restaurants, and shopping centres.
Larrakeyah – If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, stay at Larrakeyah which is a quiet and peaceful coastal area.
Parap Village – For foodies and families, we recommend staying at Parap which is known for the Parap Village Market where you’ll find food, arts, and crafts.
Best Atas Hotel: Mindil Beach Casino and Resort
Best Budget Hotel: Oaks Elan Darwin
For a unique stay: Book a cabin at the Wildman Wilderness Lodge and enjoy being surrounded by nature and Darwin’s wildlife.
And there you go. 14 destinations that are perfect for weekend trips away from Singapore, all with a different flavour. Where’s your next weekend escapade?