Did you that there are a total of SEVEN long weekends in Singapore in 2017?
Well, six actually since New Year's Day (1 Jan) has already passed. So that gives us these remaining public holidays which so happen to make the weekend slightly longer:
Chinese New Year (28 & 29 Jan, Sat & Sun)
Good Friday (14 Apr, Fri)
Labour Day (1 May, Mon)
Hari Raya Puasa (25 Jun, Sun)
Hari Raya Haji (1 Sep, Fri)
Christmas Day (25 Dec, Mon)
Additionally, Vesak Day (10 May), National Day (9 Aug) and Deepavali (18 Oct) all fall on a Wednesday this year... which means you just have to take 2 days of leave to enjoy a 5-day break!
Last year, I've listed 8 resorts that do not require too long of a travelling time if you are planning to head out of the country for a short break. This year, I have expanded the list to FIFTEEN getaway options - all of which are good for a 3-days-2-nights stay with the family.
All of them are family-friendly, bursting with activities to keep the kids occupied and most importantly, tried and tested by the monkies!
Once again, it is time to take out those calendars and plan away!
1. Sinar Eco Resort
Who says one needs to fly to Australia for a farm stay? Located in Pekan Nanas in Johor, Sinar Eco Resort is about one hour's drive away from Tuas Checkpoint. Not only can one stay in rooms constructed out of shipping containers, the resort is full of farm animals that kids can pet and feed. There is no better place where kids can come face to face with chickens, geese, horses, rabbits, cats, dogs, cows and goats.
Nestled in the quiet tranquillity of an oil palm estate, the resort newly opened in May 2016 and provides the perfect atmosphere for families to embrace the countryside. There are a total of 8 air-conditioned containers in all, and each consists of a queen-sized bed, safe, TV, refrigerator and private bathroom. For larger groups, book the apartment rooms which come with FOUR bedrooms each.
The resort is split into two main areas which are separated by a gravel road. One area houses the accommodation and cafe while the other larger area is home to all of the farm animals and activities. If your kids adore animals, they will go absolutely bonkers here. Even better if they love FEEDING and CUDDLING animals! Besides the animals, families can go kayaking along a river, as well as taking a dip in its sheltered swimming pool.
Address: Lot 2346 GM2535 kampung sungai molek Mukim jeram batu, Pekan Nanas
Price: From RM250 per night
Tel: +60 19-326 0172
2. The Canopi
Just a one-hour ferry ride from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and 5 minutes away from the Bintan jetty lies a cluster of uniquely designed safari tent-suites which offer camping at its glamorous best! Glamping (Glamorous Camping) is offered at Canopi via three types of air-conditioned tents: Safari Tent Suites, Lagoon Tent Suites (with views of the Crystal Lagoon) & Jaccuzi Tent Suites (with Lagoon views AND an outdoor Jacuzzi!).
The two-hectare resort is a wonderland for nature lovers as it is surrounded by bountiful bodies of water including a private mangrove river and an absolutely gorgeous crystal lagoon. The latter is the largest crystal lagoon in South East Asia, and is filled with filtered salt water, with NO waves at all - perfect for kids!
Where do I begin? If the kids get bored with jumping into the crystal clear lagoon, they can relish in the resort's offerings of numerous water activities including cable ski, stand-up paddle, water tricycles and kayak rentals. Or they might fancy scaling an inflatable climbing wall at the Floating Watersport Park!
Land activities include zipping around on a two-wheeler Segway, rough-roading around the forest area in the UTV and ATV or for the kids, there are always the oh-so-cute mini ATVs to ride around the resort.
Address: Treasure Bay Bintan, Jln Raya Haji, Lagoi, Riau, Indonesia 29152 (Right Beside Bintan Resorts Ferry Terminal)
Tel: (62) 77-069-2252
Price: From S$200 per night
3. Sunway Lagoon
Sunway Lagoon should be familiar to almost everyone - it is a 5-in-1 theme park which is home to a Theme Park, Water Park, Wildlife Park, Extreme Park and Scream Park. Make that 6-in-1 now because the Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon has newly opened in Sunway Lagoon last year! Being the first Nickelodeon themed attraction in Asia, it is a must-go if your kids are fans of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon is home to colossal water rides, water playgrounds, canopy walks and meandering pathways. Set amidst 10 acres of lush tropical rainforest and boasting 14 immersive attractions, Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon promises to be an kid explorer’s dream right from the start. Okay, make that an adult's one too!
Climbing “ancient temple” steps, explorers will pass pineapple columns and intricate carvings leading all the way up to a magnificent SpongeBob SquarePants structure. The adventure continues with geysers, sprouting water cannons, walks along cascading falls, and gooey moments with the signature green slime!
With 6 theme parks to cover to cover at Sunway Lagoon, how can one get bored? In fact, I would say one day is hardly enough! Accommodation-wise, choose from three options - Sunway Resort & Spa, Sunway Pyramid Pyramid Hotel and Sunway Clio Hotel. All three are located beside the theme parks, and connected to the humongous Sunway City shopping mall.
Address: 3, Jalan PJS 11/11, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Admission: Adult – RM153 | Child (12 & below) & Senior Citizens (60 & above) RM126 | Accommodation: From RM380 per night (Sunway Clio Hotel)
4. Telunas Resorts
(Riau Islands, Indonesia)
Combining the sun, sand and sea in an all-inclusive resort with full comfort and no airport time, Telunas Resorts is all about long days at the beach - building sandcastles, fishing, paddling in a kayak, without the distraction of technology. The Telunas Resorts is made up of two parts - Telunas Beach Resort and Telunas Private Island. For a more economical option, head to the family-friendly beach resort. Rooms are built over the sea so that when night falls, guests hear the gentle ripple of waves beneath the room.
Take your pick from the many nature-centric activities. Laze on the stunning beach where low tides are perfect for swimming, even with infants, as the waves are mild. Families can also go on a Jungle-Waterfall Trek, Mangrove River Tour, Low Ropes Obstacle Course, or simply experience the thrill of jumping from the dock into the sea.
Address: Desa Mentangun, Moro Kepulauan Riau (Riau Islands), Indonesia
Tel: +62 811 7710951
Price: From S$100 per night (Telunas Beach Resot & excluding full board meals)
5. Montigo Resorts Nongsa
Montigo Resorts Nongsa is THE place to head to with the kids for a luxurious and fun-filled getaway. A 40-min ferry ride from Singapore and a mere 5-min car ride away from Nongsapura Ferry Terminal, the resort is Batam’s first 5-star all-villa resort with villas dotting the coastal shoreline offering unobstructed magnificent views of the South China Sea. The villas come with three floors of living space, each one boasting a private infinity pool—right outside the living room.
The two storey OLO Kids’ Club will be a hit with the kids! The first level houses several cubicles with game consoles like Wii and Xbox Kinect to keep older kids entertained while the entire second level is littered with toys, books, boardgames, three tube slides and a ball pit. The Kids’ Club also has a wading pool for kids. Sign the kids up for the full-day or half-day programmes (chargeable) and staff at the Club will look after them, while parents sneak off to indulge at the Montigo Resorts Spa.
Address: Jl. Hang Lekir Nongsa, Batam, Indonesia
Tel: +65 6505 9381 (Singapore Sales Office)
Price: From S$250++ per night
6. Rimba Resort
(Pulau Sibu, Malaysia)
If you are looking to chill by the beach with only the bare necessities, then Rimba Resort is your answer. Located three hours from Singapore - 2.5 hours drive from Singapore to Tanjung Leman jetty and a 30-minute boat ride to Pulau Sibu, Rimba Resort offers the perfect place to relax without the usual resort frills.
That's right: NO aircon, NO hot water, NO TV, and NO WiFi. But what you do get are 21 charming seafront chalets all within a stone’s throw away from the resort's 350m private beach. And the beach will be where the kids will be spending most of their time there, thanks to the gorgeous house reef. Trust me when I say the monkies had never seen so many clown fish in one single snorkel session. In fact, they they begged to snorkel every single morning... and afternoon!
The resort is set up with a central dining room, lounge areas, bar, and sun deck. Meals are full board and are served at designated times. There is only one Family Chalet which comes with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, both with hot water showers while the other beach chalets each consist of one bedroom (1 queen bed, 1 single & 1 bunk bed) and one bathroom.
Besides snorkelling, other activities to keep the kiddos occupied include fishing, kayaking, jungle trekking, board games, beach vollyball and a mini library. For parents, the resort is the perfect place to get away from it all, just by relaxing on the beach with a cocktail and a good book whilst watching the sunset.
Address: Pulau Sibu, Malaysia
Tel: +60 12 710 6855
Price: From RM265 per person per night (Full Board)
7. Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm (KOREF) Resort
Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm Resort is a no ordinary resort. A little more than 2hrs by car from Tuas Checkpoint, the Eco Farm spans 260 acres of arable land at the fringe of the tropical Malaysian Rainforest Reserves. It is also the first and only certified organic rice farm in Malaysia that provides free and easy eco farm stays. Stay in its Floating Chalets on the lake for that simple kampong-living experience. Nature lovers will enjoy this rustic getaway.
Keep the kiddos occupied with the many outdoor activities. Kids can row on a bamboo raft, pretend they are participating in Ninja Warrior on the Water Obstacle Course, scurry like little hamsters in a Water Ball and go zipping down a Flying Fox line suspended over the lake. For something calmer, there are rabbits, ducks and fishes to feed.
Address: KM 43, Jalan Kluang – Mersing, 86 700 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: +60 0127683149
Price: From RM200 per person (Floating Chalet, based on 5-6 people per room & 4 meals included)
8. UK Agro Farm
Situated in Johor - about an hour’s drive from Singapore - UK Agro Farm Resort is Malaysia’s largest goat and sheep farm, with 100 acres of grazing land for 4,000 sheep. It offers a farmstay experience in the form of the ‘Long House’, a traditional house structure that has its roots in the Iban community in Sarawak. Built on stilts and with long corridors, the rooms overlook vast green meadows and grazing pastures. Rooms come with the usual amenities like air-conditioning and water heater so they are pretty decent, clean and functional.
There are tons of farm activities to do such as touring the Herb Sanctuary and Mushroom and Fruit Farms to learn all about plants. The highlight of the farm tour is probably feeding and cuddling sheep at the Sheep Farm. Kids can try bottle feeding baby goats, or feeding grain to ostriches at the Ostrich Park. For the adventurous, try your hand at the Sheep Challenge where participants are given 3 minutes to catch a sheep in an enclosure, and they stand to win a prize if successful.
Address: Plot 8, Project Pertanian Moden Kluang, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: +607-759 7555
Price: From RM180 per night
A small fishing village located in the district of Pontian, Johor, Kukup is famed for its open air seafood restaurants and retro chalet-style accommodations built on stilts over the water. Visitors can take a boat tour to visit fish farms, kelong, and take a closer look at the various species of sea creatures such as ikan selar, crabs and clams being farmed. A short boat ride away is Pulau Kukup, a protected uninhabited nature reserve covered in dense mangrove forest.
Kukup is a wonderful place for parents to share the kampong life with kids. To up the thrill factor, families can set off their own mini fireworks at night too! The fireworks can be purchased from stores in Kukup, and are a real treat for kids (under adult supervision, of course.)
Address: Kukup Village, Pontian, Johor, Malaysia
Price: Accommodation options typically start from $30 per person for full board meals.
10. LEGOLAND Malaysia Hotel
If your kids adore LEGO, they will love LEGOLAND Malaysia Hotel. Even during check-in, kids can dive into towers of LEGO bricks and start building while parents look on in envy as they wait in line. The rooms are the clincher for kids as each floor of the hotel is furnished with a different theme: Adventure, Kingdom and Pirate. In the kids’ room are bunk beds and a trundle bed to accommodate up to three kids, while parents have their own room furnished with a king-sized bed.
Are you kidding? Even within the room, kids can go treasure hunting in their room by looking for clues in the room. Answer the questions to crack the code on the number lock to unlock goodies from the safe! Younger kids will be busy with the box of LEGO Duplo bricks found in every room as well. Of course, there is still the tiny matter of bringing the kids for a full day's worth of fun at the nearby LEGOLAND Malaysia Theme Park and Water Park.
Address: 79100 Iskandar Puteri, 7, Jalan Legoland, Medini, 79100 Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: +607 5978888
Price: From RM770++ per night
11. KSL Resort
If you are looking for a fuss-free short break away from Singapore, KSL Resort may just be your best bet. Located within the city centre of Johor Bahru and a few minutes' drive away from Woodlands Checkpoint, the hotel is directly connected to KSL City Mall which houses shops, eateries, arcade, cinema and even an indoor playground. Best of all, hotel guests have free entry to its Dinosaur Water Park!
Compared to the usual swimming pools of other hotels, KSL Resort's dinosaur-themed water park will definitely be welcomed by the kiddos. While the swirling slides may not pack the same oomph as those found in water theme parks, they will keep the kids busy all the same. Younger children have the option of going on splashing into a shallower pool via gentler slides - together with dinosaurs that spray water occasionally!
Address: 33 Jalan Seladang 80250 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Tel: +607 288 2999
Price: From RM200 per night
12. Avillion Port Dickson
(Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia)
There may be other more luxurious resorts in Port Dickson but Avillion Port Dickson edges slightly ahead due to its fine beach. The Water Chalets come highly recommended by the monkies as they are built on stilts over the sea, and they loved it when it was high tide with the sound of the sea splashing just beneath the room. But low tide will bring the most joy out of the kids - if they love to go crab hunting!
A sure-fire hit with the kids will be the resort's Pet Farm, which will be opened every day in the morning for guests to feed animals such as chickens, rabbits and tortoises. Kids can even try bathing them every Wednesday and Sunday! The resort also has a kids' pool with a water slide, spice farm, nature walk and Kids' Club. Oh, and keep a lookout for the resort's roaming peacocks!
Address: 3rd Mile, Jalan Pantai, 71000 Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Tel: +606 647 6688
Price: From RM500++ per night (Water Chalet)
13. Lotus Desaru
Located on the southeastern tip of Johor, the Lotus Desaru Beach Resort offers apartments (1–4 bedrooms) with living and dining areas, as well as a kitchenette (microwave and fridge). In addition to fun at the beach, there are various activities that families can enjoy while at Desaru. Visit the nearby Desaru Fruit Farm and Ostrich Farm for a fun-filled educational day. Or go on an evening Fireflies Cruise where kids will see these fascinating insects light up the trees.
With a massive ‘spash-tacular’ water park situated in the middle of the resort, what do you think? Water park features include numerous water slides, a water playground and a huge tipping coconut - all of which are guaranteed to elicit squeals and screams from delighted kids. Don’t miss the Lazy River - a meandering slide that starts at the top of a slope and brings sliders down four water channels and three whirlpools!
Address: Lot 1854, Jalan Desaru, Bandar Penawar, 81930 Kota Tinggi, Johor Darul Ta'zim, Malaysia
Tel: +607-884 2800
Price: From RM250 per night (2-Bedroom)
14. Bintan Lagoon Resort
(Bintan Island, Indonesia)
Perched on the magni cent Pasir Panjang Beach, overlooking the majestic South China Sea, Bintan Lagoon Resort is a tropical paradise, home to sun, sea, and two spectacular golf courses. This Indonesian-style 470-room resort is HUGE and comes with a private beach that stretches nearly 1.5km.
But what sets this the resort apart from the rest of the other resorts on the island is its private ferry terminal. One can just take a ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and land directly at the resort’s doorstep! Room are huge, and come with a daybed which is adequate for a family of 2 adults and 3 children.
Plenty of land and water activities to choose from and for the younger kids, the resort has a rather reasonable sized indoor playground. It comprises of wave slides, foam ball guns, climbing wall and even a dedicated area for toddlers,
Address: Jalan Indera Segara Site A12, Lagoi, Teluk Sebong, Bintan, Kepri – Indonesia. 29155
Tel: 6223 3223 (Singapore Office)
Price: From S$120++ per night
15. Club Med Bintan
(Bintan Island, Indonesia)
Looking for a holiday where you can just kick back, relax and let the kids do all the planning of the activities? Then Club Med Bintan is the holiday resort you should be booking. The pioneer of an all-inclusive holiday where all meals, drinks and activities are included in the booking price, Club Med Bintan is just a short ferry ride from Singapore.
From treating yourself to a beautiful spa perched on the rocks, or gliding through the air on a flying trapeze overlooking the sea, or honing your land and water sports skills, I would recommend at least a 3-night stay to truly experience what the resort has to offer.
Kiddos can be packed off to the Mini Club Med (4-10 years old) or Junior Club Med (11-17 years old) where they will enjoy a full day's worth of activities while parents can chill the day away by indulging in their own activities as well. Come every evening, there will be a night show and dance segment where everyone will be encouraged to join in the revelry. Kids even have their very own (elevated) mocktail bar counter where they can order their drinks from!
Address: Bintan Island, Indonesia
Tel: +603-2053 1888
Price: From S$650 per person (3-night accommodation with all meals, and return ferry)
Do you have any other recommendations? I would love to know!