4 hours to heaven: 10 short trips to take from Singapore

Singapore is a vibrant city-state with something to offer everyone. But sometimes, you just need to get away from it all. That’s where short holidays near Singapore come in. With just a short flight, drive or ferry ride, you can be transported to another world.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway, an exciting city break, or an adventure in the jungle, there’s a short holiday so close that’s perfect for you.

Here’s our list of 10 short trips you can take that’s just 4 hours or less away! 

1. Desaru, Malaysia

shorttrips - desaru coast
Credit – Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

Desaru, a hidden gem nestled on the southeastern coast of Malaysia, just a stone’s throw away from Singapore. This idyllic coastal retreat offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Immerse yourself in the sun-kissed beaches that stretch for miles, their powdery sands inviting you to sink your toes into pure bliss.

Indulge in thrilling water sports, from jet skiing to kayaking, or simply bask in the warm tropical sun, letting the gentle sea breeze lull your cares away. Explore the lush surrounding rainforests, where nature’s symphony plays as you wander along nature trails and encounter exotic flora and fauna. For the adventure seekers, hop on an ATV and embark on an exhilarating ride through rugged terrains or discover the vibrant underwater world with a snorkelling expedition.

With its serene beauty and abundance of activities, Desaru beckons you to create unforgettable memories in this coastal paradise just a short journey away from Singapore.

How to get there:

By car: The drive from Singapore to Desaru takes about 2 hours. You can take the Causeway or the Tuas Second Link to Johor Bahru, and then follow the signs to Desaru.

By ferry: There is a ferry service that departs from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. The journey takes about 90 minutes.

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2. Bali, Indonesia

shorttrips - bali ocean view
Credit – InterContinental Bali Resort

My personal favourite getaway destination, Bali, an island in Indonesia that’s known for its beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and vibrant culture. It is a popular tourist destination, and for good reason. There’s something for everyone in Bali, from stunning scenery to delicious food to friendly people. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, Bali has plenty to offer. There are many beautiful beaches to choose from, each with its own unique charm. Some of the most popular beaches include Kuta Beach, Seminyak Beach, and Uluwatu Beach.

If you are looking for something more adventurous, there are many opportunities for hiking, biking, and swimming in the jungle. You can also go surfing, diving, or snorkelling in the ocean. In addition to its natural beauty, Bali is also home to a rich culture. There are many temples to visit, as well as traditional villages where you can learn about Balinese culture. You can also enjoy traditional Balinese dance and music performances.

With Bali’s wealth of activities and attractions, even a short visit allows for a multitude of unforgettable moments.

How to get there:

By flight: The flight time from Singapore to Bali is about 2 hours and 45 minutes. There are several airlines that offer direct flights from Singapore to Bali, including Singapore Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, and AirAsia. Flights depart from Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) and arrive at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Bali.

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3. Koh Samui, Thailand

shorttrips - koh samui resort
Credit – Holiday Inn Resort Samui Bophut

Ah, Koh Samui… a jewel nestled in the Gulf of Thailand. If you’re seeking a blissful beachfront escape or a tranquil retreat amidst lush greenery, Koh Samui should be at the top of your travel list. This idyllic island offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty and vibrant culture, perfect for those looking to unwind and rejuvenate.

Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear turquoise waters, laze on pristine sandy beaches, or explore the island’s lush interior with its cascading waterfalls and dense jungles. Koh Samui is also renowned for its wellness and spa retreats, where you can indulge in rejuvenating treatments and find inner peace.

With a rich tapestry of activities ranging from snorkelling and diving to exploring charming local markets, Koh Samui offers a perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. So, surrender to the island’s captivating charm, and let Koh Samui weave its magic, leaving you with memories that will last a lifetime.

How to get there:

By flight: Start your journey by taking a direct flight from Singapore Changi Airport to Samui International Airport. Several airlines offer flights to Koh Samui, with a travel time of approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.

Transfer from Samui Airport to the Pier: Upon arrival at Samui International Airport, you can easily find taxi services or pre-arrange a transfer to take you to one of the piers on Koh Samui. The most common piers for onward travel are Bangrak Pier (Big Buddha Pier) and Maenam Pier.

Ferry to Koh Samui: From the piers, you can catch a ferry to Koh Samui. There are several ferry operators offering frequent services throughout the day. The ferry journey takes around 20-30 minutes from Bangrak Pier and 30-45 minutes from Maenam Pier.

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4. Siem Reap, Cambodia

shorttrips - angkor wat
Credit – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Siem Reap, a captivating destination that unveils the wonders of ancient civilisations and immerses you in the rich cultural tapestry of Cambodia. Located in the northwest of the country, Siem Reap is renowned for its proximity to the magnificent temples of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Embark on a journey through time as you explore the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat, a majestic symbol of Khmer architecture and spirituality. Marvel at the intricate carvings and mystical atmosphere of Bayon Temple, or wander through the overgrown ruins of Ta Prohm, engulfed by the embrace of ancient trees.

Beyond the temples, Siem Reap offers a vibrant and eclectic blend of markets, traditional crafts, and local cuisine. Delve into the bustling streets of the Old Market, where the scent of exotic spices fills the air, or witness traditional Apsara dance performances that bring ancient legends to life. Siem Reap is a destination that seamlessly weaves together history, culture, and adventure, leaving visitors captivated and inspired by its timeless beauty.

How to get there:

By flight: The most convenient way to travel from Singapore to Siem Reap is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Siem Reap International Airport. The flight duration is typically around 2 to 3 hours.

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5. Da Nang, Vietnam

shorttrips - danang beach
Credit – Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

Stunning Da Nang is a coastal gem nestled in the heart of Vietnam. With its pristine beaches, majestic mountains, and rich cultural heritage, Da Nang offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and modern allure. The city’s pristine coastline stretches along the South China Sea, inviting you to bask in the sun, take a refreshing dip in the azure waters, or indulge in thrilling water sports.

For those seeking adventure, the Marble Mountains beckon with their mystical caves and panoramic views, while the Hai Van Pass offers a breathtaking journey through scenic landscapes.

Discover Da Nang’s vibrant culinary scene, where you can savour delectable street food, indulge in fresh seafood, and sample the flavours of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and culture by visiting iconic landmarks such as the Linh Ung Pagoda or exploring the ancient ruins of the Cham Museum. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, Da Nang promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you captivated and longing to return.

How to get there:

By flight: The most convenient way to travel from Singapore to Da Nang is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Da Nang International Airport. The flight duration is typically around 2.5 to 3 hours.

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6. Krabi, Thailand

shorttrips - krabi waters
Credit –

Krabi, a tropical paradise nestled on the Andaman Sea coast of Thailand. Known for its stunning limestone cliffs, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush jungles, Krabi is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach escape or an adrenaline-fuelled getaway, Krabi has something for everyone.

Explore the iconic Railay Beach, with its towering limestone cliffs and pristine sands, perfect for sunbathing and rock climbing. Embark on a boat tour to the nearby Phi Phi Islands, where you can snorkel in vibrant coral reefs and bask in the beauty of Maya Bay. Take a refreshing dip in the emerald waters of the Emerald Pool or venture into the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park to discover the hidden wonders of the Crystal Lagoon.

Immerse yourself in Thai culture by visiting the famous Tiger Cave Temple, where you can climb to the summit for panoramic views of the region. Indulge in delicious Thai cuisine at local markets and beachside restaurants, and pamper yourself with rejuvenating spa treatments. With its breathtaking landscapes and endless adventures, Krabi offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you enchanted and longing to return.

How to get there:

By flight: The most convenient way to travel from Singapore to Krabi is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Krabi International Airport. The flight duration is typically around 1.5 to 2 hours.

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7. Penang, Malaysia

shorttrips - penang georgetown
Credit – Penang Global Tourism

Penang is a captivating island destination located on the northwest coast of Malaysia. Known as the “Pearl of the Orient,” Penang is a melting pot of cultures, heritage, and delectable cuisine. As you step foot in Georgetown, the vibrant capital city, you’ll be enchanted by its UNESCO World Heritage-listed architecture and rich colonial history.

Explore the bustling streets adorned with colourful street art and visit iconic landmarks like the Kek Lok Si Temple and Fort Cornwallis. Indulge in a culinary adventure as you sample the famous street food of Penang, renowned for its mouthwatering flavors and diverse influences. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the night markets, where you can shop for local handicrafts, souvenirs, and delicious snacks.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Penang Hill, where you can take a funicular railway ride to enjoy panoramic views of the island. For beach lovers, Batu Ferringhi offers a stretch of golden sand and clear waters, perfect for sunbathing, water sports, and seaside dining. Whether you’re a history buff, food enthusiast, or nature lover, Penang will captivate you with its unique blend of old-world charm and modern delights.

How to get there:

By flight: The most convenient and fastest way to reach Penang from Singapore is by air. Several airlines offer direct flights from Singapore Changi Airport to Penang International Airport. The flight duration is typically around 1.5 to 2 hours.

By land and bridge: If you prefer a land-based journey, you can take a bus or drive from Singapore to Penang. You will need to cross the Causeway at the Johor-Singapore border and travel northward through Malaysia. The journey by road typically takes around 8 to 9 hours, depending on traffic conditions and border formalities. It’s important to check visa requirements and ensure you have the necessary documentation for cross-border travel.

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8. Bintan, Indonesia

shorttrips - glamping in bintan
Credit – The Anmon Resort Bintan

A journey to Bintan is always a delightful choice. Whether you seek a serene beachfront escape or a tranquil retreat amidst lush greenery, venturing to this Indonesian gem should top your travel agenda. With its picturesque landscapes and diverse terrain,

Bintan provides a perfect respite from the demands of urban living. Immerse yourself in spiritual experiences, ride the waves with invigorating surf lessons, or simply unwind on pristine beaches, surrendering to blissful idleness. Crafting a fulfilling itinerary is effortless, even if your stay is brief, as Bintan offers a wealth of activities to suit every taste.

Bintan’s natural beauty extends beyond its beaches. Explore the island’s lush rainforests and mangrove forests, where you can embark on thrilling nature walks, observe exotic wildlife, and discover hidden waterfalls. So why wait? Embark on a journey to Bintan and embrace the serene beauty and vibrant energy of this enchanting island.

How to get there:

By ferry: The most common and popular mode of transport to Bintan from Singapore is by ferry. There are several ferry operators that provide regular services between Singapore and Bintan, departing from various ferry terminals such as Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and HarbourFront Centre. The ferry ride typically takes around 1 to 2 hours, depending on the chosen route and sea conditions.

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9. Bangkok, Thailand

shorttrips - bangkok skyscrappers
Credit –

A sojourn to Bangkok is an exhilarating escapade that should never be overlooked. This vibrant metropolis pulsates with an energy that effortlessly captivates travelers from around the globe. Whether you seek a collision of modernity and tradition or an immersion into a rich cultural tapestry, the capital city of Thailand stands poised to enchant and inspire.

Bangkok’s bustling streets are a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and scents, a testament to its dynamic blend of history and innovation. Towering skyscrapers share the skyline with elegant temples, while traditional tuk-tuks and futuristic skytrains navigate the urban maze. The city’s streets are an open invitation to explore, as each corner reveals hidden gems and surprises waiting to be discovered.

Indulge in the sensory feast of Bangkok’s vibrant street markets, where aromatic delicacies entice your taste buds, and vibrant textiles and handicrafts beckon the discerning shopper. From the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market to the atmospheric floating markets along the Chao Phraya River, these vibrant bazaars offer a glimpse into the city’s lively spirit.

How to get there:

By flight: This is the most popular option and the fastest way to travel between the 2 cities. There are many airlines that offer direct flights from Singapore to Bangkok, including Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and AirAsia. Flights take around 2 hours and 30 minutes.

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10. Batam, Indonesia

shorttrips - batam resort
shorttrips - batam resort

Batam‘s pristine beaches, lined with soft sand and crystal-clear waters, beckon visitors to unwind and soak up the tropical sunshine. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beachfront retreat or thrilling water sports adventures, Batam has it all. Dive into the azure sea for snorkeling or scuba diving to discover the vibrant marine life beneath the surface, or engage in adrenaline-pumping activities like jet skiing and parasailing.

Beyond its natural beauty, Batam offers a rich cultural tapestry waiting to be explored. Immerse yourself in the local way of life by visiting traditional villages, where you can witness traditional arts and crafts, savor local delicacies, and experience the warm hospitality of the locals. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Barelang Bridge, an architectural marvel that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding islands.

Batam is also a paradise for golf enthusiasts, with numerous world-class golf courses set against stunning backdrops. Tee off amidst lush greenery and breathtaking views, and enjoy a round of golf in a serene and tropical setting.

How to get there:

By ferry: This is the most popular option and the fastest way to travel between Singapore ad Batam. There are many ferry companies that offer direct ferry services between Singapore and Batam, including Batam Fast Ferry, Majestic Ferry Batam, and Horizon Ferry Batam. The journey takes around 40 minutes to 1 hour.

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