What to do? Where to go? What to see? If these are some of the big questions you’ve been asking yourself, then no need to stress! Here are some tips to score brownie points with your biggest boss – your kids!
Here’s the ideal guide to help you discover the perfect holiday experience that your kids will never forget.
We’ve managed to pack in some unforgettable getaways that will not only fit your budget and a tight planning timeline, but will also cater to the whole family. There are plenty of spas, massage and relaxation for mum and dad, plus loads of fun activities and adventures to keep the little ones happy, and curiously engaged as well.
Take a peek, and discover some top spots close to home, and some, a little further afield. We hope this gives you plenty of ideas and options that won’t break the bank, will fit your busy schedule, and make for that perfect getaway break.
When there’s no place like home…
If you’re looking for the perfect vacation spot that’s close to home and ideal for the whole family, D’Kranji Farm Resort could be the place for you!
Located on the outskirts of Singapore, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, it’s getting away from it all without getting too far away.
This amazing place has ‘fun for the whole family’ written all over it! Known as Singapore’s first agri-tainment farm, the kids can get in touch with nature, learn a thing or two about fishing and farming, fruits and plants, and a whole lot more.
There’s even comfy AC rooms with queen-size bed, and a spa for Mum and Dad!
Activities for kids
- Visit the local fruit farm for some fun educational exploring
- Experience fishing and prawning at the Fishing Village
- Explore the nearby Hay Dairies Goat Farm and Jurong Frog Farm
If you plan on going, make sure you book your accommodation before it gets too full. Booking your accommodation early could also help you save up to 30% on room rates, which is never a bad thing!
When you have a blast at road trips…
Built in the rustic style of the Malay Kampong, Batu Batu Private Island Resort in Malaysia is a natural gem. If you’re looking for simple comfort, set in a natural wild environment, then this getaway is perfect for you! Located on the island of Pulau Tengah, in the South China Sea, Batu Batu Resort is wholly committed to the preservation and protection of the local flora and fauna, making it the ideal place for the family to experience nature in all its beauty.
With a coastline of 3km, you can pick one or many (or all!) amongst the resort’s eight powdery white sandy beaches. Junior Reef Beach, Batu Beach, Sunrise Beach and Tiny Beach are directly in front of the villas; and if you go further around the island, you will come across Coral Beach, Turtle Beach, Sunset Beach and Long Beach. Aside from lots of lounging access, this also means that there are lots of coral reefs and marine life to see close by. If you love adventure, you can explore coconut groves and a tropical forest right at your very own getaway backyard. And just before the sun goes down, head to the open-sided restaurant for a tasty bite to eat, a cool drink, and 270-degree views out to sea.
It’s no stranger to history too. Batu Island was home to over 100,000 Vietnamese “Boat People” from 1975 to 1981, when it was a United Nations Refugee Counsel Transit Camp for refugees awaiting to start their new lives in Europe, Australia and North America. It was also the film location for a popular Swedish reality TV show – predecessor to the highly acclaimed reality series, Survivor.
As a private island paradise, it’s a little bit pricey, but if your budget allows, it’s well worth the treat! As we say, an unforgettable experience is just priceless.
Activities for kids
- Explore the dense tropical rain forest or any of the eight beaches around the island and discover all its natural wonders
- Take in some spectacular views of the archipelago’s other islands from any of the 5 look out points on the island
- Snorkel in the island’s many coral reefs or kayak around the 3km coastline
- Take a variety of water courses such as Supplied Air Snorkelling (ages 5-7 years), Bubblemaker (ages 8+ years and above) and Discovery Scuba Diving (ages 10+ years and above)
Total travel time from Singapore to Batu Batu Island is approximately 4 hours. Depending on peak hour traffic from Singapore to Mersing, Johor, Malaysia, the journey should take between 2.5 to 3.5 hours. From Mersing, you can get to the island via Batu Batu’s private speedboat, which will take about 20 minutes in good weather.
Book early to secure one of 20 one-bedroom and 2 two-bedroom villas! The most suitable rooms for families with small children are the Beach Villas and Two-bedroom Poolside Villas, as they are closer to the ground and main resort facilities. Other villa types are accessible via a large number of steps and are a bit further away.
Right at Singapore’s doorstep, Malacca is a quaint town that feels like it’s a world away. It’s full of interesting things to see and do, and it won’t bust the budget either.
Give your kids a taste of history in this UNESCO World Heritage Port Town, where you can still see traces of British, Dutch and Portuguese settlers in forts, museums, churches and towers. With its rich history, you’ll discover hundreds of stalls and shops dotting small alleyways, making it a delight to explore. The Baba Nonya Heritage Museum is well worth the visit to see into the lives of the early residents of Malacca. And if you are big into tea – you can also discover the many charming tea houses Malacca has to offer, and sample a drop of their finest tea, the ‘proper’ way.
Where to stay: The Majestic Malacca
If you want to experience Malacca’s colourful and rich cultural history in all its glory, a stay at The Majestic Malacca is just what you need. Be transported back to a time of empires and the beginning of diverse lifestyles, architecture and cuisine.
The Majestic Malacca is a restored 1920s Straights Settlement mansion, still complete with its original teakwood fittings and porcelain tiled flooring. This old-world charm is echoed beautifully throughout the guestrooms and suites, right through to its award winning spa. It’s the perfect mix of luxury, tradition and modern relaxation for the whole family.
Activities for kids
- Visit St. John’s Fort where kids can climb up on the cannons and run up and down the hill
- Climb inside the SMD Ouessant, a real decommissioned submarine at the Malacca Submarine Museum
- Break the heat at the Melaka Wonderland Theme Park and Resort, which combines exciting water slides and a dinosaur park
- Explore Jonker Street, which are full of lovely Peranakan shop houses by day and is transformed into a night market on Friday and Saturday evenings
If you’re travelling from Singapore to Malacca by bus, the journey usually takes around 3 to 4 hours. If you travel by car, it’s much faster.
A visit to Malacca can be as quick as a full day trip but it would be much more relaxing and enjoyable spread over a few days.
There’s plenty for the whole family to explore, heaps of history down every street and alleyway, and yummy food to enjoy, which is always great for family bonding.
If you’re looking to escape a little further afield, but not completely off the local area map, Pulau Sibu might be just what you’re looking for! Being the closest Malaysian Island to Singapore, it won’t take you long to get there, and it won’t bust the budget.
Pulau Sibu is a great getaway destination, whether it’s just for a few days or even a bit longer. Pulau Sibu is much closer than other islands in Malaysia (compared to Pulau Rawa, Batu Batu or Pulau Tioman) and is a fantastic alternative to, say, Bintan or Batam.
Given that it may not be the best area for the beach and snorkelling, you’ll certainly feel like you’ve really escaped as well because it’s always a refreshing feeling when you go back to basics. It’s one of those easy-breezy spots that allows you to relax, disconnect from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature, making it an ideal spot for spending quality time and family bonding.
Where to stay: Sea Gypsy Resort
Sea Gypsy Village Resort & Dive Base is a tropical island resort complete with safe, secluded sandy beaches edged by a cooling jungle. The resort preserves Malay tradition by building wood and atap Malay-style chalets on stilts. Imagine living close to the water in an all-natural room with a roof covered by nipa palms. How much more natural can it get?
The beach area is approximately 350 meters long, with soft golden sand, making it a picture perfect backdrop, especially when the sun goes down on a clear day and you can enjoy the silhouette of the old volcano in Pulau Tinggi (don’t worry – the volcano is now extinct!) It also makes for breathtaking views of the night sky.
Facilities at Sea Gypsy Resort are basic but you’ll get everything you need there. Its great appeal lies in the back-to-nature kind of feel and the tons of exciting, hands-on activities the kids will enjoy – everything from silly and fun to essential life skills.
Activities for kids
- Hang out at the Sea Gypsy Kid’s Club, where children aged four years and up will have an absolute ball
- Join in the various activities at Dan’s Nasty, from kite making and flying to mask making and kids’ theatre, hand sculpting and treasure hunting
- Work out for fun at the upcycled Jungle Gym
- Learn essential skills the fun way, like building a shelter made entirely out of palm leaves or finding your way through the island using a compass
- Visit the Pulau Tinggi Waterfalls, which is about 20 feet high and take a plunge in the large fresh water pool at the base of the waterfall
- Enjoy short trips to nearby islands where you can explore more marine life
Pulau Sibu is roughly a 3.5 hour trip from Singapore. Travel time includes a 3 hour drive to Tanjong Lehman, followed by a 20 minute boat ride to Pulau Sibu.
Book your accommodation before you go, just to make sure you have somewhere to stay. Also, make sure you are well prepared with extras like medications, sun and insect lotions.
When you love being out at sea…
The largest island in the Riau Archipelago’s close to 3,000 islands, Bintan is a fairly quick trip from Singapore by high-speed catamaran (or boat), making it quite easy to organise an overnight or a 3D2N stay with the family.
Bintan has something for everyone and gives you plenty of opportunities for adventure, swimming, surfing, eco-tours and of course relaxing, with a capital ‘R’.
Being on an island, you’d also expect the seafood to be pretty good right? And you won’t be disappointed because seafood happens to be the speciality of the Riau Islands. It’s fresh, reasonably priced and you can enjoy it almost anywhere you like – a restaurant on stilts overlooking the sea sounds pretty good!
Where to stay: Nirwana Resort Hotel
Location, location, location. Nirwana Resort Hotel is located a mere 10 to 15 minutes from the Bandar Bentan Telani (BBT) Ferry Terminal, which is about 1 hour from Singapore via ferry.
With rustic Beachfront Chalets, air-conditioned Cabana Cottages, and luxury two and three bedroom Villas, it’s a great not-so-far-away place to enjoy the tranquillity of the sea, amidst a backdrop of sprawling greens, towering trees and blue skies.
There’s a huge swimming pool dotted with lounge chairs and cabanas where the kids can play a thrilling game of “Marco? Polo!”, and it’s just a few feet away from a huge stretch of white sandy beachfront where kids can build sandcastles as big as their imagination!
But what are the parents supposed to do, we hear you say? Well, you’ll just have to settle for a leisurely game of golf or a relaxing day at the Anindya Spa by Andaru, or a snooze on the beach after a refreshing swim. Someone’s gotta do it!
Activities for kids
- Visit Wildlife Explore – Nirwana’s very own mini-zoo where kids can meet friendly Guinea Pigs, Deer and Rabbits, and also more exotic creatures like White Crocodiles and the resident Himalayan Griffon Vulture
- Drop by the Jumbo Elephant Park where kids can ride atop these majestic creatures and watch them perform nifty tricks
- Enjoy a variety of land activities ranging from buggy rides, bungee trampoline, jungle and coastal trekking to crafts activities like Tie Dye and Batik Painting
- Enjoy a variety of water activities like snorkelling, kayaking and fishing
- Stay at Nirwana’s NABLEZ (Nirwana Adventure-Based Learning Zone), where children aged 4 years or older can enjoy balloon crafting, body painting, treasure hunts and make friends along the way
Head to the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal then hop on the high-speed catamaran, which should have you at Bintan’s Bandar Bentan Telani (BBT) Ferry Terminal within 55 minutes or so. Once you dock, you can enjoy complimentary two-way coach transfer (provided by Bintan Resort Hotel) to the resort grounds, and start relaxing.
Visit Wildlife Explore in the morning and see how happy animals are at feeding time! Feeding time starts from 9am daily.
Relatively unspoilt and still in pristine condition, Nikoi is a private island ringed with white sandy beaches and colourful coral reefs. Sounds pretty idyllic, right? But that’s not all it has to offer! The island also boasts a coastline of magnificent white granite boulders, a rain forest with giant trees and native Banyans, and even a sanctuary full of diverse species of local birds.
As you can probably imagine, such a paradise is going to be slightly up the budget scale, but if you don’t mind splurging a bit, it will be well worth it.
The family can expect traditional Indonesian-inspired beach houses on stilts that blend beautifully into its lush surroundings. Each beach house has its own modern en-suite bathroom and open air lounge areas complete with day beds or sun loungers, which catch cooling sea breezes. Imagine singing birds or crickets waking you up at daybreak, or star-gazing in the evening after dinner, surrounded by only the night sky as far as your eyes can see. Here, the kids can experience living and sleeping in nature and an overall experience of simple barefoot luxury.
If you fancy a dip in the pool, you’ll be totally blown away by the view. Set amongst the granite boulders, high above the gorgeous beaches below, you’ll have an uninterrupted view out over the South China Sea. There’s even a wading pool for your tots and a bar for the grown-ups – what more do you need?
Activities for kids
- Join pirate treasure hunts and be part of the brave Nikoi Scallywags Crew
- Be Tarzan for a day! Kids can safely climb on smooth granite boulders and swing on jungle vines to get really in touch with nature
- Explore a whole new world under the sea, with stunning reefs to snorkel in
- Discover the island’s flora and fauna, especially during low tide where rock pools form around the reef to make for exciting nature finds. Did anyone say tiny turtles!?
The overall journey time from Singapore to Nikoi Island is about 2.5 hours. Take a ferry from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bintan’s Bandar Bentan Telani (BBT) Ferry Terminal (approximately 1 hour), and then a 1 hour taxi ride from BBT terminal to the jetty taking you to Nikoi Island. From the jetty, you will ride a launch (an open motorboat) to take you right into Nikoi Island.
There are only 15 beach houses on Nikoi Island, so… what are you waiting for?
When you still marvel at flying…
Mystical Bali has long been a top choice for family getaways. It offers a rich blend of iconic Balinese culture, delicious cuisine, amazing architecture, beautiful beaches, lush rice terraces, stunning nature and great value for money. There’s loads of family accommodation and heaps of fun activities for everyone – sound good? Put simply; Bali has everything you could want, all on one island.
Where to stay: Hard Rock Hotel Bali
If you like being right where the action is, Hard Rock Hotel Bali, nestled nicely on the shores of Kuta Beach, is the place for you. Set on an impressive 3-hectare site, Hard Rock Resort’s rooms and suites pay tribute to the spirit of Rock & Roll, from the 50s to the 90s.
At Hard Rock, you’re never far from the heart of Bali’s entertainment precinct and shopping district, if that’s what you seek. But if it’s relaxation, fitness or recreation you’re after, you’ve got that too. Enjoy the resort pool or body therapy treatments at the Rock Spa for some extra downtime. There’s a well-equipped gym if you’ve got the energy or you can just relax in the bar with a refreshing drink. Once you’ve worked up an appetite head to the Starz Diner, hotel restaurant, for a tasty bite to eat.
Activities for kids
- Enjoy fun activites like Waterborn Bali, Bali Safari and Marine Park
- Join the the Lil’ Rock Kid’s Club, which offers fun activities and games, including Lego building, Balinese dances and treasure hunts
- Watch a variety of Balinese cultural performances like the Balinese Kecak Dance or a Ramayana Ballet
- Explore Ubud – the heart of Balinese culture – which is home to great restaurants, cafes and local shops selling handicrafts
- Visit the famous Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud
Flight time from Singapore to Bali is around 2.5 hours with a vast choice of major airlines and budget carriers. KLM offers great rates from Singapore to Bali.
If you’re looking for a family holiday where you’ll meet friendly locals, enjoy a melting pot of cuisine from Malay to Japanese, and everything else in between, Kota Kinabalu (KK) will give you exactly that and much, much more. You’ll enjoy everything from tasty street food to fancy gourmet restaurants, swanky malls, busy markets and a unique old-world-charm that meets 21st-Century transformation.
While it can be pretty hot and humid for long walks, the city itself is compact and easy to get around. As the capital of Sabah and located on the Island of Borneo, KK is a rapidly growing resort destination that has a bit of something for all. It’s close to tropical islands and lush rainforests for those who want to experience nature, but it also boasts a developing arts and music scene, if you fancy a bit of culture.
Exciting adventures await you at Kinabalu National Park, where you will experience a jungle paradise like no other and maybe be lucky enough to see a Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world. There are also tons of snorkelling and diving sites, and not to mention opportunities to trek Mt. Kinabalu for the brave ones.
Where to stay: Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
This award-winning resort is the definition of paradise for the senses. Located just 10 minutes away from the city centre, Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa is a luxurious tranquil retreat that makes for the perfect tropical getaway.
An island almost on its own, you don’t even need to step out of the hotel to have a fantastic time. You will be treated to seven local restaurants where you can get a sampling of what KK cuisine is all about. You can lounge by the pool or by the beach, while listening to the sounds of overlapping waves in the nearby Sunset Beach.
But just outside the hotel premises, both kids and adults alike will have heaps to do with stacks of nature and wildlife to discover. It’s a healthy mix of education, and experience for kids, not to mention, buckets of fun.
Activities for kids
- Visit the Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site, where kids can explore over 5,000 plant species and 90 mammal species
- Join a Ranger Experience tour and see Orangutans up close at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Nature Reserve, which is home to these rescued, endangered animals
- Visit the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, home to most of Borneo’s animals, including the Sumatran rhinoceros, Borneo Pygmy elephants and Proboscis monkeys
- Experience a thrilling 250 meter flight over the ocean, between Gaya Island and Sapi Island, on the Coral Flyer Zipline, which is located at the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park
- Pass by the Water Village, which has fascinating homes on stilts that are well worth a look
Flying from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu takes around 2 hours and 25 minutes, with a choice of major airlines and budget carriers to get you there.
If you prefer a shorter flight time so the kids will not get restless, why not take a short plane trip to Phuket? It’s a great getaway for the family and is always on many people’s list of places to visit, at least in Asia.
In this small island, you can expect beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery, stunning tropical sunsets, delicious Thai food, lots of kid friendly attractions, and of course, relaxing spa treatments for mum and dad – a little extra pampering never hurts. What’s more, Thais are known for their superb hospitality and sunny smiles; that is the best thing people remember from Thailand, and what keeps them coming back for more.
Where to stay: Angsana Laguna Phuket
Angsana Laguna Phuket has a reputation for its family oriented atmosphere, fantastic family accommodation, and amazing super child-friendly facilities, featuring the beloved Tree House Kid’s Club.
Located in scenic Bang Tao Bay, Phuket’s most coveted resort address, the resort is just 20 minutes from bustling Phuket Town, with a great view and beachfront access to the clear shores and emerald waters of the Andaman Sea. It features a 323 meter free-form pool that meanders around the resort.
You will never run out of things to see and do here: from a relaxing spa or family yoga session to a quiet sailing trip on the lagoon’s calm.
Activities for kids
- Join in the daily activities at the resort’s Tree House Kids Club
- Watch awe-inspiring trapeze artists and performing elephants at the island’s signature night show – Phuket Fantasea
- Snorkel around famous Phi Phi Island’s aquamarine waters or simply enjoy a relaxing picnic by the beach
- Discover more about marine life without getting wet at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre
The flight time from Singapore to Phuket is around 1 hour and 40 minutes. There’s a wide choice of airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Thai Air Asia, Tigerair, and Jetstar to take you to Phuket.
As you can see, there’s certainly lots places you can go to just around Singapore’s backyard. Each destination is unique in its own, special way, with so many things to discover and enjoy as a family. So why not make these school holidays an adventure to remember at one of these fantastic destinations?