Most Singaporeans go on a holiday once a year, even if that means Johor Bahru, Bangkok or Batam. There's just nothing like a getaway to restore sanity and recharge our morale after gruelling 44-hour work weeks.
The good thing is, you don't need to spend a few thousand bucks to visit a place halfway across the globe to enjoy yourself. There are plenty of cheap holiday destinations nearby where your SGD can go even further than you do.
1. BALI, INDONESIA
Bali offers something for just about every type of traveller. If you want to experience a fun nightlife, mingle with tourists from around the globe, there's Kuta.
If you want to detox from the daily grind of congested MRT stations and malls, there's Ubud, Uluwatu, and Nusa Dua. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. You can surf, golf, hik, trek, dive, and visit some magnificent temples on this island paradise.
Water sports enthusiasts will also love to go scuba diving, parasailing, or snorkeling. Outdoors activities such as canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting are also available.
Depending on when you fly, you can get tickets for as low as $200 if you purchase from a budget airline such as Scoot, Jetstar or Air Asia. For accommodation, you can find some decent villas at AirBnB for not more than $50 per person per night. This private villa located near Ubud is just $47 per night for 2.
As for food, you select a couple of hyped-up restaurants and cafes, but the true authentic flavour has got to be in the numerous hole-in-the-wall warungs where you can get a nasi goreng or mi goreng for less than $3 a pop.Photo: MoneySmart SG
2. BANGKOK, THAILAND
You don't need us to tell you what's great about Bangkok! It's arguably the best city for shopping in Asia (sorry Singapore), and it has amazing nightlife. For this reason, we'd recommend scrimping on flights and accommodation to budget more for shopping and entertainment.
But Bangkok is more than just a commercial paradise; it's also full of magnificent cultural sites that must be visited at least once, such as Wat Arun and the Grand Palace.
If you fly on a budget airline, a return flight to Bangkok costs just under $200 from Singapore.
Lodging in Bangkok varies according to the area you're staying at, but it's not hard to find a good hotel for as low as $50 a night if you book with Agoda. For instance, Baiyoke Boutique Hotel costs under $44 per person per night for an excellent location in the Pratunam area.Photo: MoneySmart SG
3. PULAU LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA
Pulau Langkawi is like a cheaper, cleaner, quieter, and less congested version of Phuket. Maybe that's why it has earned the nickname "The Jewel of Kedah," and UNESCO World Geopark status.
If you're looking for a destination offering plenty of beautiful scenery, adventurous activities, and a quieter but lively nightlife without the sleaziness of other locations, Langkawi is a destination you can't pass up!
Depending on when you fly, the best ticket deal is about $110 per person for a return flight from Singapore if you're flying with AirAsia.
Lodging in Langkawi varies according to the area you're staying at, but it can get really cheap if you are not picky. You can find a good hotel for as low as $20 a night. A comfortable choice like Resorts World Langkawi, located just 2.4 km from the city centre, costs $76 per night for two guests.Photo: MoneySmart SG
4. KRABI, THAILAND
One of Thailand's must-see destinations, Krabi is known for spanning over 150 islands that offer visitors what they can't get in their home countries - pristine, secluded beaches and diving spots that aren't overrun by tourists and cargo ships (think: Sentosa).
You can partake in the usual water activities as well as go island and beach hopping. Make sure to visit Poda Island, Tup Island, and Koh Phi Phi at least! If that's not your thing, you can always visit the many scenic temples (Tiger Cave Temple), go rock climbing, or watch some Muay Thai matches.
Scouring Skyscanner, you can get low flight deals under $130 for a return trip from Singapore to Krabi.
Lodging in Krabi varies according to the area you're staying at, but you can find a good hotel for as low as $30 a night if you book with Agoda. We found Aonang Princeville Villa Resort and Spa, just 80m from the beach that costs $70 per person per night.Photo: MoneySmart SG
5. HA LONG BAY (BAI CHAY), VIETNAM
If you're taking a short holiday at the end of this year, why not spend it visiting one of the most beautiful locations in Asia - Ha Long Bay. It's one of Vietnam's most iconic holiday destinations primarily for its beautiful and secluded grottoes, lagoons, semi-inhabited islands, and beaches.
Just keep in mind that even though the Vietnam Dong is the national currency, you should bring along at least $200 USD(S$271.30) in smaller denominations just in case. And make sure you sharpen your bargaining skills before you go!
Visiting Ha Long Bay without taking a cruise and taking in the scenery is like buying a ticket to Universal Studios Singapore and not getting on the rides - it's why you go! Aside from taking a cruise, you can also go kayaking, scuba diving, rock climbing, or visit the local casino.
Depending on when you fly, expect ticket prices to be about $250 to $300 per person. But you'll also need to take a bus (about USD $8+) or a taxi to Halong Bay (USD$20+). It can be a bit complex to get there, but following these directions helps.
A good 3-star hotel in Ha Long Bay could cost as low as $59 for two guests per night.Photo: MoneySmart SG
As cheap as these holiday destinations are, make sure that you've got travel insurance to give yourself complete peace of mind when travelling.
Where will you be travelling to this holiday season? Share your destinations with us on Facebook!
This article was first published in MoneySmart.SG.