Last-minute family holidays

Michele Koh Morollo
Y! Travel Journal

With the school holidays in full swing, it’s as good a time as any to take your family on a short break. Too busy to make travel plans? Don’t fret – here are five destinations that are easy to get to from Singapore, making them ideal last-minute holiday options.

Well-known among the Lesser Sunda Islands, Bali has something for everyone. Mum can shop for sarongs, jewellery, or Balinese arts and crafts around Kuta, while dad and the kids learn to surf. The kids will also enjoy frolicking at the Waterbom Waterpark in Jalan Kartika Plaza, building sandcastles on the beach, joining a nature walk, and watching a cultural show at night.

Where to stay: Bali Dynasty Resort in central Kuta is a good choice. Parents will love a cool beer, spirit or cocktail at the Gracie Kelly’s Irish Pub, after the kids try the 56-metre Caterpillar Splash waterslide in the hotel pool. The kids can also play with other kids at the Kupu-Kupu Kiddies’ Club, take cooking lessons, indulge in water games, watch fashion shows, and do a Balinese dress-up. Parents can sign their kids up for a full day of play at no extra charge.
How to get there: Air Asia, Garuda, Singapore Airlines, KLM, Qatar Airways and ValueAir fly direct from Singapore to Denpasar. Flight time is about two-and-a-half hours.

Besides swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing, Phuket is a great place to introduce your children to another culture. Spend an afternoon at Wat Chalong (one of Phuket’s most important and magnificent temples), marvel at the golden pagodas, or sample the street food. Also take the family to the Phuket FantaSea show, a live extravaganza with trapeze artists, elephants, costumed performers and pyrotechnics.

Where to stay: Just 15 minutes from the airport near Mai Khao Beach, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is a top choice for families. Mum and dad can relax at the spa, while the kids can join activities like circus training, Thai dancing or elephant treks. The resort also offers family cooking classes.

How to get there: The quickest way to get to Phuket from Singapore is by plane. Many airlines operate direct flights from Singapore to Phuket; the flight time is two hours.

Enjoy shopping and eating at the city’s many restaurants and food streets. Kids will love the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, where they can walk through one of the world’s largest aviaries, as well as a trip to Batu Caves, where you climb 272 steps to explore the mysterious and magical limestone caves.

Where to stay: Only 25 minutes by car from Kuala’s Lumpur’s city centre, Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa is an 800-acre resort that includes a lagoon theme park with a man-made surf beach. Its interactive wildlife zoo and exciting water rides will keep the kids happy, while parents can engage in a spot of retail therapy or watch a movie at the Sunway Pyramid shopping mall.

How to get there: You can get to Kuala Lumpur by train, bus or car, which may take between four to eight hours. Alternatively, you can catch a flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, which takes about 45 minutes.

Just under an hour from Singapore by ferry, Bintan Island in Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago is a small island with plenty of nature and golden beaches. Beach hotels and golf courses are found on the northeastern side.

Where to stay: At Loola Adventure Resort, families can bond as they participate in kayaking and sailing expeditions, ziplining, archery, raft building, trekking, obstacle courses, and survivor island adventures in a tranquil and remote beachside setting.

How to get there: Ferries depart from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and the Singapore Cruise Centre to Bintan’s capital, Tanjung Pinang, throughout the day.