Travelling is well loved by Singaporeans of all ages, regardless whether you are single and pumped with adrenaline or married with children and prefer to take life easy. There are a multitude of reasons why travelling is so well loved. From expanding your perspective to letting you reflect on your life, travelling helps you rejuvenate more than anything. Truth be told, everyone yearns for a holiday, but the only problem is the lack of leave dates to embark on a holiday.
So, what can be done? Here’s a good solution for you: Leverage on every public holiday you get and combine them with your leave to create the ultimate holiday plans. You get a good break and you don’t waste too many precious leave dates. Here is a summary of the possible long weekend plans you can create in 2019, at a glance:
Now the next question is, where to go? Regardless whether you are a short-trip, medium-trip or long-trip person, we have just the right travel ideas for you. The only regret you will ever feel is to not have done the trip earlier. Read on.
Short trip ideas to take a break and refresh yourself
1. Go on a wild adventure in Thailand
Singaporeans are very familiar with Thailand. In particular, Bangkok is the most common go-to destination for for our favourite activity: Shopping. But besides the usual shopping and café hopping, did you know that Thailand has a series of hidden adventures for adrenaline junkies? If you are daring enough to call yourself a thrill seeker or daredevil, Thailand has all the adrenaline pumping activities to offer you. In Bangkok and Pattaya, you can find jump points to let you try sky diving and experience the exhilarating free fall. Besides skydiving, you can also try your hand at scuba diving with whale sharks. Between February to April, LiveAboard will bring you through Thailand’s national parks where you can dive with whale sharks. These creatures can be as big as 30 feet (9.14 metres)and the feeling of swimming beside such a giant creature is nothing short of amazing.
2. Short trip to Vietnam to relax your mind and body
Sometimes, a wild adventure is not something that you want to go for. Some of us prefer the quiet places just for relaxation. If there is any country that will fit nicely into your plan to relax your mind and body, it is Vietnam. With its natural beauty, Vietnam will captivate you and put your worries about work and social life behind you. On top of the list of destinations to visit in Vietnam is Ha Long Bay. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994, Ha Long Bay was recognised by the world for its outstanding geological and geomorphological value. It is known for its emerald waters and towering, mostly uninhabited limestone islands topped by rainforests, and every single bit is 100 per cent natural. It took 3,000 years of chemical reactions between limestone and dripping water to create the stunning karst outcroppings in Ha Long, so it certainly deserves a visit. Go on a day cruise to tour the bay, or, for a complete and stellar experience, choose an overnight cruise to wake up to a spectacularly scenic view.
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Medium trip ideas to expand your horizon
3. Experience the nomadic culture in Mongolia
Mongolia is an Asian country that often mysteriously disappears from anyone’s travel destination checklist. The reason why we say it is ‘mysterious’ is because Mongolia possesses a compelling list of reasons for us to visit. For one, Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Because of this, a large part of the country is still untouched and kept in its pristine condition. If you love the outdoors, Mongolia is theparadise for you. From the beautiful desert steppe and incredible sand dunes in the Gobi in the south, to the mountainous regions in the west, to the lakes in the north, Mongolia will only beat your expectations. Make sure you step foot onto the largest deserts in the world, the Gobi Desert, and explore the dinosaur remains petrified in the Flaming Cliffs, otherwise known as the Bayanzag. Besides the pristine nature, Mongolia has something even better to offer: Its nomadic culture. Travelling in Mongolia will give you the opportunity to stay with nomadic families in their Ger or Yurt (a traditional round tent covered in skins) to create an experience you will never forget. While you are out in the wild, don’t forget to stop and enjoy views of the famous Prezwalski horse, snow leopards, yaks and gazelles.
4. Immerse yourself in the hidden gem known as Sri Lanka
Although Sri Lanka is known best for its Ceylon tea, that’s not all there is to it. It is home to scenic train rides, gorgeous waterfalls, cave temples, ancient rock formations and national parks teeming with wildlife. Some places you can’t miss include the Ancient City of Sigiriya, known by locals as the Eighth Wonder of the World, where you can see the Sigiriya Lion Rock, formed from the magma of an extinct volcano. At 200 metres higher than the surrounding jungles, it’s a dramatic sight. The fortress complex includes remnants of a ruined palace, surrounded by an extensive network of fortifications, vast gardens, ponds, canals, alleys and fountains. Next, head to Kandy, which is defined by its peace and serenity. It’s known for what is considered the holiest place in Sri Lanka, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, that houses the tooth of Buddha. At the heart of the city is the idyllic and charming Kandy Lake where you can while away your time looking at a scenic view. The Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya, located just a few kilometres outside of the city, is also worth a visit. It is home to more than 4000 different plants species and attracts two million visitors annually. From Kandy, take the train to the rustic Nuwara Eliya for the most gorgeous views. Nuwara Eliya which boasts an eternal temperate weather and is known as “Little England” due to the lingering British colonial influence. Its highlights include the Grand Hotel — which was built in 1891 as the home for then governor of Sri Lanka, Sir Edward Barnes — where you can have a lovely high tea. Here’s where you can visit farms and sample produce, visit tea plantations, stroll around its Victoria Park and have a picnic at Gregory Lake, which was created during the period of British Governor Sir William Gregory in 1873.
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Long trip ideas to check off bucket list destinations
5. Enter into another dimension with Iceland
One of the biggest reasons why anyone would visit Iceland is because of the famous Northern Lights. This natural phenomenon can only be seen on the most northern edges on Earth that are not light polluted. It is said that seeing the Northern Lights with your naked eye is like witnessing pure magic. If you are lucky, you can get a room in the igloo hotels where you can stargaze and enjoy the brilliant sky view of Iceland’s starry night. But that’s not all there is to this amazing island country. The Iceland package comes with the beauty of natural wonders as well. Iceland is one of those countries in the world that boasts some of the most picturesque sceneries. Iceland has the unique black pebble beaches which are surrounded by black basalt cliffs with some incredible gigantic rock formations as its backdrop. Iceland also has waters filled with glaciers that create a living habitat for the unique wildlife. Waterfalls are also standout geographic landmarks of the country amongst the many active volcanoes. A trip to see these landscapes is definitely an art piece worthy for your eyes.
6. Visit Turkey, the confluence where East Meets West
If you are looking for a place that will make you feel that money is well spent, Turkey is the place for you. Turkey is a beautiful country that is modern enough to be comfortable and yet traditional enough to offer surprises. It is no wonder why Turkey is among the top 10 most visited travel destinations in the world. One thing in Turkey which you can’t find in any other region in the world is the culture. Because of its geographic location, Turkey is the only place where you can find Middle Eastern, European and Asian influences. This influence not only makes its food flavourful and unique, its architecture and culture is also very distinct and interesting.
Today, Turkey is a country where you can view the most cultural heritage in the world. If that is not enough to convince you that Turkey is the place you should be spending your long weekends in 2019, there’s more. Turkey is also world famous for its UNESCO World Heritage sites. As of 2018, it is home to 17 of them, and it has a pending list of 77 other sites that are waiting to be entered into the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The most famous UNESCO World Heritage sites that have been made popular by tourists is Cappadocia, a magical place that leaves people speechless when it comes to its beauty. It comes in a weird landscape that makes it look like it is a place that you can only find on other planets in the Milky Way. Mother Nature came up with the idea of this amazing creation by letting volcanic eruption ash form solidified soft rocks. Humans then came and left its mark by creating a network of human-created caves in the soft rocks. The best way to enjoy the beauty of Cappadocia is to take a ride on a hot air balloon where you can take in the whole landscape at once.
Not-sure-where-to-go trip ideas for the undecided
7. Go anywhere with Anywhr
If you are undecided on where to take a trip to in 2019, we have the perfect idea for you. Why not try Singapore start-up Anywhr? Anywhr is a bespoke travel curator that lets you personalise your own travel plans without actually knowing where you are going. Yeap — surprise trip FTW! You get to indicate your interests such as the type of holiday you want to have as well as your budget, accommodation style, travel dates and other information including dietary restrictions and places you prefer not to go to. For example, you can choose to go on a long trip (more than seven days) on an adventure theme with homestays throughout your trip. The only thing that is left out of your hands is the travel destination. Based on your travel preference and travel history, Anywhr will help you curate the perfect destination to fulfil your travel desires, and you’d only know where you’re heading to at the 11th hour. For someone who likes surprises, embarking on a trip with Anywhr is the perfect choice.
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