Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend getaways from Singapore

Singapore may be a tropical island but it is very developed and its beaches have been completely consumed by land reclamation. Although well known paradise holiday islands like Phuket, Koh Samui and Bali are quite near by plane, there are also several nice weekend getaways from Singapore within a ferry or bus (or a combination of both) ride away from Singapore.

In this post we have listed some places for short getaway from Singapore. All of these can be accessed with a relatively short bus + ferry rise and requires no flight. A good way to find a good weekend getaway deal from Singapore would be checking group buying sites where there are tonnes of heavily discounted travel deals from Singapore to the destinations below.


Until recently Batam Island was a sex tourism and casino destination for Singapore residents (at least this was the first thing coming to mind). In the past few years, Batam has started to establish itself a short getaway destination from Singapore’s busy life. It offers cheap shopping, nice and cheap hotels, good food and some really nice resorts to have a tropical beach resort holiday right next to Singapore. Like Bintan, the island is accessible from Singapore by frequent ferriers.

For some of the best hotels and resorts in Batam, refer to this blog post : Best Hotels and Resorts in Batam Island.


Bintan is an Indonesian Island just 45 kilometers Southeast of Singapore. There are hotels and resorts in the island catering to tourists and the most famous resort area here is Bintan Resorts or Bintan Lagoi. This is an area on the northern most side of Bintan separated from the rest of the island with a forest. There are mostly luxury resorts here. It takes only 55 minutes to reach Bintan Resorts from Singapore. The ferry leaves Singapore from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and arrives to Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal.

The Bintan Island map and its location relative to Singapore.
The Bintan Island map and its location relative to Singapore.
Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru or simply JB has always been a popular weekend getaway from Singapore where you can eat cheap food and have your shopping. Just across the causeway from Singapore has not been very interesting for the casual tourist but recently JB has added a few interesting resorts and amusement parks which makes it a nice weekend getaway destination now. Danga World Theme Park (an amusement park more suitable for children), Danga World Petting Zoo and Legoland Malaysia (again more appealing to kids under 11).


Desaru offers the nearest beach weekend getaway from Singapore. The beach, which is on the South China Sea, is located just 88 kilometers east of Johor Bahru/Malaysia. Thanks to newly opened Senai–Desaru Expressway (Highway E22) and cable-span bridge across Sungai Johor, it is only 1:30 hours drive away from Johor Bahru and around 2:15 hours away from Singapore! You can also take a public bus to Desaru and a boat service is available from Changi Point, Singapore to Tanjong Belungkor, Malaysia.

Desaru’s main attraction is its clean, sandy beaches spanning almost 22 km and shallow and clear water. For more information about this destination, refer to Desaru beach weekend getaway from Singapore.

Tioman Island
Tioman Island is one of the most beautiful tropical islands of Malaysia and is a very popular getaway destination from Singapore. Excellent for swimming, snorkeling, skuba diving, trekking or simply doing nothing, this underdeveloped island is an excellent place to cut-off from modern life. There is no road system on the island so the resorts are accessible only by boat. It takes an 8 hour bus + ferry ride or a 45 minutes flight to get to Tioman from Singapore.

For more information on Tioman, check our Tioman Island articles.

Tioman Island (Panuba Inn Resort seen here)
Sibu Island

Just 3 hours away from Singapore with a bus + half an hour boat travel, Malaysia's Sibu Island is the closest island to Singapore for skuba diving and it offers excellent skuba diving and snorkeling experience. Sibu is actually an archipielago made up of Pulau Sibu Besar (base island), Pulau Sibu Tengah, Pulau Sibu Hujung, Pulau Kukus and Pulau Tinggi. Less popular and known than Tioman Island, it takes a less tiring journey to arrive Sibu Island.

For more information on Sibu Island, you can check our Sibu Island : A Tropical Heaven Right Next to Singapore article.

Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin is in fact is an island of Singapore but it it is quite different compared to mainland Singapore so we have included it here. Unlike Sentosa Island, this small island just in the north east of  Singapore is largely underdeveloped and accommodates the last kambung (village) in Singapore. It is a great place to get away from crowded Singapore island, cycle and witness how Singapore was in the past.

Many Singaporeans visit Pulau Ubin for a day trip but you can also stay in Pulau Ubin.

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