How To Make The Most Of 2019's Public Holidays
A look at the 2019 public holiday calendar has got most of us feeling the blues - There are only four long weekends in the entire year!
Credit: Ministry of Manpower
The four long weekends are the Good Friday, Vesak Day, National Day, Hari Raya Haji and Deepavali holidays.
It goes without saying that that is not enough to satisfy the eager travellers in all of us. However, with just 2 days of leave, you can enjoy 2 more long weekends, totaling it to 6 long weekends! (Extra long weekends are for New Year’s Day and Chinese New Year since they both fall on Tuesday)
Time to plan all the trips for these long weekends to make the most of them!
1. New Year’s Day: Yangon, Myanmar (29 December to 1 January)
Just a short 3-hour flight away, the former capital city of Myanmar is a great choice for a short weekend getaway. Yangon is famous for its pagodas, mainly Shwedagon Pagoda, Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda and Swe Taw Myat Pagoda. Among these, Shwedagon Pagoda is the one not to be missed. Also known as the Golden Pagoda, it is a large, 105-metre tall golden gilded stupa that is also the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in the country.
Every year, crowds gather for a countdown at Kandawgyi Park to welcome the New Year with a spectacular firework display that glitters right above the glorious Golden Pagoda. It is a sight to behold! If you prefer a quieter company, head over to Vista Bar, a nearby rooftop bar with undisrupted view of the pyrotechnics show.
2. Chinese New Year: Hokkaido, Japan (2 to 6 February)
Winter wonderland beckons! Spend this 5-day long Chinese New Year holiday on a winter trip to Hokkaido. Not only is it a momentary escape from the unbearable Singapore heat, you can also dodge the nosey questions from your relatives! Besides heading off to Niseko for a snowboarding trip, you can also consider staying in the city for the highly anticipated annual Sapporo Snow Festival, happening from 4 to 11 February.
For long haul trips like this, it is always advisable to purchase Travel Insurance beforehand to insure yourself against unforeseen circumstances. It could be a case of missing luggage or unexpected medical expenses, but don’t let them bring your holiday mood down. Ease your mind with travel insurance that you can easily get online, such as Income’s Travel Insurance. If you’re thinking of hitting the ski slopes, all the more you should protect yourself from the financial implications in the event of ski accidents (yes, Income’s Travel Insurance also covers ski injuries!)
3. Good Friday: Pulau Rawa, Malaysia (19 to 21 April)
Image Credit: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi
The best kind of short trip is one that involves the beach, and there’s no more ideal island than Pulau Rawa in Johor, just a stone’s throw away from Singapore, for a rejuvenating weekend getaway.
One of the most underrated beaches in the region, Pulau Rawa is truly a hidden treasure. Boasting unspoilt beaches and pristine waters that calm one’s senses, it is the perfect place to be for a relaxing weekend from the hectic hustle of everyday work. Having only two resorts on the island, it promises privacy and a good, peaceful rest - just what we all need! Looking for a short trip for a romantic getaway this national holiday? Look no further.
Pulau Rawa is easily accessible from Singapore by coach to Mersing, then a 30-minute boat ride from Mersing Jetty.
4. Vesak Day: Yogyakarta, Indonesia (18 to 20 May)
Affectionately known as “Jogja” by the locals, Yogyakarta is high on the list of the best places to go for a short trip. Only a 2-hour flight away and friendly to the wallet, it is a destination suitable to travel to with friends and family.
The main attractions of Yogyakarta are Borobudur Temple, a Buddhist temple, and Prambanan Temple, a Hindu temple. Both temples are cultural jewels and architectural wonders of Indonesia, with history dating back to as old as the 9th century. Join the sunrise tour at Borobudur Temple and I promise your breath will be taken away by the sheer beauty of the sight.
The Vesak Day holiday is a great time to visit as May is a dry season in Indonesia. That means that there is a lower chance of rainfall when you visit, and a higher chance of seeing a clear sunrise!
5. National Day & Hari Raya Haji: Hong Kong (9 to 12 August)
An all-time favourite for short trips from Singapore, Hong Kong is one of those places that you will never get sick of visiting. Besides shopping and treating your stomach to delicious local fares, take this 4-day long weekend to properly bond with your family!
Spend it taking the fun rides at amusement parks like Ocean Park Hong Kong and Hong Kong Disneyland with (but definitely not restricted to) your young kids, or drag your parents to embark on a hiking adventure at spots like Dragon’s Back. One can never get tired of the stunning sceneries of Hong Kong city and its coasts from a high vantage point.
6. Deepavali: Road trip to Malaysia (26 to 28 October)
Image Credit: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi
Ran out of ideas for a short weekend getaway? Grab your passport and just start driving! While we are more or less familiar with the neighbouring city of Johor, there is so much more to explore in Malaysia.
Malacca, which is a 3-hour drive away, offers more than heritage sites and local delicacies. Its burgeoning cafe scene is sure to please coffee lovers and cafe hoppers. Another short 2-hour drive northward will bring you to Kuala Lumpur. This year, why not take the chance to bask in some Deepavali festive atmosphere at Batu Caves? For the last leg of the road trip, make a stopover in Johor to get your massage and manicure fix, as well as some do last minute shopping before returning home!
If you need 5 tips on how to beat the causeway jam, check out our post here.
As they always say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Don’t forget to apply for leave as soon as you can and get a head start on your holiday planning before your colleagues do! Flight and accommodation tend to be cheaper when purchased earlier too.
Here’s a friendly reminder to buy your travel insurance once your trip is confirmed. Coverage starts immediately after purchase to protect you against the unexpected that occurs even before your departure, such as travel cancellations or travel agency insolvency. Be sure to check through your travel insurance’s policy conditions to understand what you will be covered for.
What are you waiting for? Get your calendar out and mark your holidays now!