One of the many advantages of living in Singapore is its proximity to a myriad of exotic getaways, that can be easily reached in just a few hours for a reasonable price. Even better, some of these places don’t require you to get on a plane, which cuts down the costs even further.
Having lived in Singapore for over a decade, I’ve definitely taken advantage of this. I have been exploring quite a few of these places myself!
What is considered a short weekend trip?
There are many places that can be considered a weekend getaway from Singapore, but for the sake of this post I want to highlight trips with the following requirements:
- Must be outside of Singapore
- Does not require getting on a flight
- Can be reached in under 6 hours door-to-door from Singapore
- Places that I have personally visited, so that I can give my own honest feedback about it!
There are not many destinations that can tick those requirements. In fact, it filtered the list down to only eight places.
So without further ado, here are the places that I think can truly be considered a short getaway from Singapore:
- Telunas Private Island in Riau Islands, Indonesia
- Bintan Island in Riau Islands, Indonesia
- Batam Island in Riau Islands, Indonesia
- Joyo Island in Riau Islands, Indonesia
- Desaru Coast in Malaysia
- Rawa Island in Malaysia
- Malacca in Malaysia
- Tioman Island in Malaysia
1. Telunas Private Island in Riau Islands, Indonesia
When it comes to places to visit in Riau Islands, most people would think about Batam and Bintan Islands. But if you truly want an exclusive getaway that is not crowded and doesn’t feel like you’re even remotely close to Singapore, you should consider Telunas Private Island.
Telunas is a small resort located on a tiny private island off Sugi Island. It’s actually only 50 km south of Singapore, but when you’re here, you will forget Singapore even exists. On this tiny island, there are only 15 overwater villas by the beach and 5 couples-only villas on the hills. However, it is still close enough to the main island that you won’t run out of things to do!
➡️ Interested? Read my in-depth review of visiting Telunas Private Island in this post
🛌 Where to stay in Telunas: There is only one resort in the area, which is Telunas Private Island itself, or its sister resort Telunas Beach Resort.
⛴️ How to get to Telunas from Singapore: Take the ferry from Harborfront Centre to Sekupang, then take a local boat from Sekupang to Telunas Private Island
⏰ Travel time to Telunas from Singapore: ~3 hours door-to-door from Singapore
🌞 Best time to visit Telunas: October to April has the best weather, and the waters are usually clearest from December to February.
2. Bintan Island in Riau Islands, Indonesia
Bintan is one of the bigger islands that is part of the Riau Island province of Indonesia. For Singapore residents, Bintan is famous for its concentration of upscale resorts and easy getaways from Singapore. The island can be reached with just a one-hour ferry ride from Singapore, and you’re off to a beach vacation!
🛌 Where to stay in Bintan: The Residence Bintan
⛴️ How to get to Bintan from Singapore: Take the ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bandar Bintan Telani.
⏰ Travel time to Bintan from Singapore: ~3.5 to 4.5 hours door-to-door from Singapore, depending on where in Bintan you want to stay
🌞 Best time to visit Bintan: April to October
3. Batam Island in Riau Islands, Indonesia
Batam is perhaps the most popular weekend getaway from Singapore. It is so close to Singapore, you can actually still see the skyline of Singapore when you’re in the northern part of Batam. Unlike its neighboring island Bintan, Batam is more known for eating and shopping. However, it does still have some nice resorts as well.
➡️ For more information: Read my experience of going to Batam for a weekend from Singapore
🛌 Where to stay in Batam: Montigo Resorts Nongsa
⛴️ How to get to Batam from Singapore: Take the ferry from Harborfront Centre to Nongsapura or Batam Center
⏰ Travel time from Singapore: ~3-4 hours door-to-door from Singapore depending on where you will be staying in Batam
🌞 Best time to visit Batam: February to August
4. Joyo Island in Riau Islands, Indonesia
Joyo is a small private island off Bintan Island in Indonesia. Accommodation in Joyo is designed to be shared, so it is better to go as a group. In fact, it is possible to book a whole island! Joyo Island can accommodate up to 45 people at a time. I went to Joyo as part of a group of around 15 people, and we pretty much had the island to ourselves.
🛌 Where to stay in Joyo: Because Joyo is such a small island, there is no other accommodation option aside from Joyo Resorts itself
⛴️ How to get to Joyo Island from Singapore: Take a ferry to Bintan, then take a car to the jetty and a boat to the island
⏰ Travel time to Joyo from Singapore: ~4 hours door-to-door from Singapore
🌞 Best time to visit Joyo: Good all year round
5. Desaru Coast in Malaysia
Desaru was already a well-known beach getaway in Malaysia that can be easily reached from Singapore. I visited Desaru in 2010 and found that it was a pretty average destination. However, in 2019, the town received an update with the opening of four new resorts on Desaru Coast, which gives it a renewed appeal.
➡️ Want to know more? You can read my experience of going to Desaru Coast for a weekend here
🛌 Where to stay in Desaru: Anantara Desaru Coast
🚗 How to get to Desaru from Singapore: Take the ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Desaru Coast or book a private transfer from Singapore to go directly to your accommodation
⏰ Travel time to Desaru from Singapore: ~3 hours door-to-door from Singapore, depending on traffic at the Singapore-Malaysia border
🌞 Best time to visit Desaru: March to September. June and August are peak months.
6. Rawa Island in Malaysia
Back when I was in my 20s, I used to go to Rawa frequently with a group of friends. The first time I went to Rawa, I couldn’t believe just how soft and white the sand was, and how the water around the island was clear and turquoise in color. It felt like I was living in a postcard! In total, I have gone to Rawa three times since ten years ago.
🛌 Where to stay on Rawa Island: There are two accommodations – Rawa Island Resort and Alang’s Rawa. Rawa Island Resort is better suited for families or couples looking for nicer accommodation, while Alang’s is more economical and better for younger people.
⛴️ How to get to Rawa Island from Singapore: Take a private transfer to Mersing, then take a local boat straight to Rawa Island
⏰ Travel time to Rawa from Singapore: ~4-5 hours door-to-door from Singapore, depending on traffic at the Singapore-Malaysia border
🌞 Best time to visit Rawa: Rawa is affected by Monsoon. Although the resort is open all year long, the best time to visit is March to October.
7. Malacca in Malaysia
Malacca is a well-known weekend destination from Singapore due to its proximity to the Singapore-Malaysia border. It is so close to Singapore that you can even do this as a day trip. We went via bus early in the morning and came back at night, though I felt it was a little too rushed.
Malacca is popular for its food scene and street market. I was also told by a friend who visited recently this year that it now has a budding cocktail bar scene!
🛌 Where to stay in Malacca: Baba House Malacca
🚗 How to get to Malacca from Singapore: Private transfer directly to Malacca
⏰ Travel time to Malacca from Singapore: ~4 hours door-to-door from Singapore, depending on traffic at the Singapore-Malaysia Border
🌞 Best time to visit Malacca: September – October
8. Tioman Island in Malaysia
Tioman is best known for diving, especially for beginners to get their certifications. The waters around Tioman tend to be clear with good visibility, and there are plenty of beginner-friendly dive sites. I personally did my Open Water and Advanced PADI certifications in Tioman, and I have gone back to the island twice since then for leisure diving. If you are not a diver – there are plenty of other activities you can do in Tioman, such as snorkeling and biking around the island.
🛌 Where to stay on Tioman Island: Japamala Resorts
⛴️ How to get to Tioman from Singapore: Private transfer to Mersing or Tanjong Gemok, then boat to Tioman Island
⏰ Travel time from Singapore: ~5-6 hours door-to-door from Singapore, depending on traffic at the Singapore-Malaysia Border
🌞 Best time to visit Tioman: July – August
More Short Weekend Getaways from Singapore
Here are a few more quick weekend getaways that potentially fit the bill, but I did not include them because I have yet to visit them myself:
- Legoland in Johor Bahru, Malaysia
- Nikoi Island in Indonesia
- Cempedak Island in Indonesia (adults only)
- Batu Batu in Malaysia
- Pulau Pangkil Private Island Resort in Malaysia
And that’s all I have on short weekend getaways that can be easily reached from Singapore! Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or even if you just want to say hi.
Until next time! 👋🏻