Thinking of having a last-minute trip overseas but getting turn-offed by the surge in prices? You can either get really lucky, or very unlucky, with the prices of flights. If you haven’t booked your trips overseas but you’re hoping to score a good deal, try skipping the flight and go overseas in other ways instead. It could even be a great new experience trying out a boat ride or even a train ride around instead.
A peculiar place you can hop to get to without a flight, there are many ways to get from Singapore to Thailand by air and by land. If you’ve never taken an overnight train before, you’re in for a whole new experience. Since the closure of the KTM rail you may have thought it wouldn’t be possible to get across Malaysia this way, but lo and behold, if you still want to give this epic 30 hour journey a try, there are still ways for you to do it. The total cost of transportation comes up to just over $80, saving you hundreds on flight costs while letting you have an epic story to tell when you get back.
The journey starts from JB Sentral (get here either by a train from Woodlands or a bus across the causeway) where you can take train 40 up to Gemas. From here, swap over to the Electric Train Service to Padang Besar via train 9204 (there’s only 1 every day at 4pm so don’t miss it). Once you reach Padang Besar after 8 hours of scenic journey through Malaysia’s country side, you just walk across the border and viola, you’re in Thailand!
From Padang Besar (the train stations on opposite ends of the border share the same name), you can either catch a quick 1 hour ride to Hat Yai, or take an overnight sleeper train daily at 6:40pm to the nation’s capital.
Thailand’s southern-most commercial and shopping hub, you will find that even though it’s far away from the nation’s capital, it is quintessentially Thai in nature, yet with all the perks of being a sea-side town.
Bask in the sun along Samila Beach, an untouched paradise free of tourists and seemingly untouched by man.
Try hiking up Hat Yai’s Iconic Ton Nga Chang Waterfall and end your journey by taking a relaxing dip into its crystal clear waters as you empty your mind.
If you love shopping and you can’t help but crave the adrenaline of getting a good hustle and enjoy bargaining like a pro, head down to Asean Night Bazaar where you’re in for a treat. Similar to the shopping haven that is Bangkok, the sprawling bazaar has all kinds of clothes up for a good bargain. Get with the latest fashion trends at a fraction of the cost and give your outdated wardrobe its much-needed overhaul. With two storeys worth of food and clothes shops, you’ll never have to leave this place.
Finally, what’s Thailand without a food-laden night market? The Kim Yong night market boasts over 100 different street food stores ranging from your usual skewers of different meats to Thai tidbits and even artisan Thai Coconut Ice cream.
Indonesia has always been a hot spot for Singaporeans looking for overseas travel options without breaking the bank. Take a ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and within an hour, you’re transported to an entirely different country across the sea. Bintan is the tropical get-away for Asians and Westerners alike, with pristine beaches, luxury beach resorts and a plethora of good seafood available, it’s no wonder it’s so well-loved by all.
If you’re looking for a tropical beach getaway, look no further, from the fine sand beaches along the Lagoi Strip, let the day pass as you take in the sheer natural beauty surrounding you. The resorts along this stretch offer many different sea activities, clock your exercise goals with some kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. Or better yet go for a snorkelling trip and take in the gorgeous coral formations beneath you. For thrill-seekers, you can give paragliding a try and appreciate the island from a birds-eye view.
Not staying at a resort but want to have some fun in the sun? Head down to Treasure Bay, Bintan’s largest water amusement park. With an 800m stretch of crystal clear waters, the Crystal Lagoon accommodates activities including, swimming, kayaking, wakeboarding, water slides and more, all at the same time. The integrated resort lets you go “glamping” (a portmanteau of glamorous and camping) in it’s award-winning tent-styled resort rooms right at the edge of the lagoon, letting you wake up to unbeatable views every morning.
If you’re looking to do more than just water sports, fret not because Bintan has so much more to offer.
Transport yourself to the Middle-East in Gurun Pasir Busung, the now-abandoned mining site gives you the landscape for those Instagram worthy shots with nothing but clear skies and white mountains of white sand in the background.
The beauty of this place is something you won’t be able to resist.
Other great sites for sightseeing include the 500 Lohan Temple, Guan Yin Temple and Banyan Tree Temple. These religious sites are also wonders to behold with the amazing stories behind their construction and their unbelievable marvels.
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Why not have a trip where everything you need is provided? From food to lodging, to the entertainment, and you won’t have to make more than one single booking. Well, that’s exactly what Royal Caribbean Cruises offer, simply book a room on one of their cruises and they’ll take care of the rest for you. With plenty of activities to keep you busy over your holiday, you’ll never have a boring moment onboard the ship. In the day you and lounge on the deck and enjoy the pools available or even join in on an ongoing pool party. Give surfing a shot on their Flowrider, or try scaling their 40 feet rock wall which hangs over the pool, and take in the views if you manage to reach the top.
At night after a long day of activities, treat yourself to a host of different shows every night. Ice-Skating shows, original productions and your favourite silver screen classics reimagined on the stage, be enthralled by the different artistic genres available to you.
What’s more, the food never ends. With your room purchase, you have all-day dining options which are included in the room price. Meaning, you won’t have to fork out any more money if you get the munchies late at night, and be treated to fine dining experiences in a much more affordable way. If the included plans aren’t cutting it for you, you can still upgrade your experience and try out one of the many award winning restaurants available on the ship.
From now till the end of the year, choose from great deals for 2, 3 and even 4 night cruises departing from Singapore at just $210 (not including taxes) per person and give yourself a well deserved break!